It was never my intention to become a bridal makeup artist. To be honest, I had an idea of brides being complete nutjobs. That plus the pressure of being in charge of such an important part of the biggest day of someone’s life. I was completely put off.
But since having my second son and needing a job that fits around my family commitments. I decided that it would be the perfect option. Given most weddings take place on weekends.
I decided to write this post because as mentioned above I was pretty terrified of doing bridal makeup. I would have loved to find a detailed post on what to expect! However, there really wasn’t too much information aimed at makeup artists. So I kind of went into it blind.
Now after 18 months I’m finally happy to be a bridal makeup artist. In fact, I love it! So now that I have picked up enough experience I wanted to share some tips that I’ve learned along the way, either for new makeup artist’s or experienced artists that want to move into this area of the industry and are as freaked out at the idea of bridal makeup as I was.
So now that I have picked up enough experience I wanted to share some tips that I’ve learned along the way. Either for new make-up artist’s or experienced artists that want to move into this area of the industry. And are as freaked out at the idea of bridal make-up as I was.
Firstly the trial, which I used to get extremely nervous about beforehand! As if I were literally ‘on trial.’ Which in a way as an artist you are. But it’s a necessary step to making both the bride and yourself comfortable before the big day.I have only done one wedding where I didn’t do a trial on any of the bridal party, in fact, I’d never met any of them, that lady was a total bad ass in my opinion!
I have only done one wedding where I didn’t do a trial on any of the bridal party. In fact, I’d never met any of them.That lady was a total bad ass in my opinion!
Bridal Makeup Trial
- Whenever possible plan trials for the daytime. Preferably when the bride has an evening out/her hen party later on. This way as well you have natural light to work. She will also have the whole day and night to see how the make-up feels, wears, and photographs.
- Check where the trial is being held beforehand. And plan your route so that you arrive on time.
- Have the bridal party sign a contract stating any allergies/skin concerns. And to either give or deny their consent to you using images of them on your professional website/social media.
- Offer skincare advice for the lead up to the wedding. Explain that makeup applies and lasts better on well-maintained skin.
- As well as your regular kit, also pack a towel (to protect clients furniture.) Tweezers and scissors (either for lashes or stray facial hairs.) Hair clips, lip balm, water spray (either to cool people off or to dampen brushes and sponges.) A mobile stool is also handy. As bending down for hours while your client sits on a dining chair is back breaking (even when you’re 5’2.”)
- Personal hygiene is an obvious one. And it’s always good to carry mints (not gum) hand sanitizer and deodorant/body spray.
- Face charts or a Notepad/pen to write up the finished look.- Very important!
Bridal makeup basics
- That leads me to a random one. I like to rename the colours in any eye or lip palette that have easily forgettable names. For example-SDE435322! This makes writing up looks so much easier and quicker! Especially when you have a large bridal party for a trial.
- Of course, it is totally up to the bride and her party whether they all have their trials at the same time. Ideally, it is better for the bride to have a separate one. That way the time spent is completely focused on her.
- Once the bride is completely happy, make sure that she knows that she can contact you at any point leading up to the wedding with any questions she might have.
Check out this post on building a pro makeup kit on a budget.
So moving on to the big day. With regards to planning and packing be prepared as above.
In a way, the actual wedding day is easier. You will have already met the bridal party and be prepared with the look that they want to achieve (face charts/notes.)
The wedding day
- Recheck your face charts/notes the day before. So you can double check you have everything needed in your kit. Also, remember to pack them for reference.
- What you wear. Obviously, you will want to be comfortable as you would with any job. The difference when preparing a bride for her wedding is that the wedding photographer will usually be snapping away as you do! It’s good to make sure your hair and nails look neat. And you are wearing clothes that aren’t likely to roll up/down which could lead to an unfortunate picture ending up online.
- Speaking of the photographer, some of them can be quite intrusive and seem to think that poking their lens close to the bride while you are working is perfectly fine! Don’t be scared to ask them to stop if you feel they are hindering your work.
- Timing is key! Give yourself as much time as possible. To account for brush cleaning between clients, occasional sneaky people requesting make-up or a quick chin hair pluck (older ladies are usually the ones to watch out for here!) Factor in stoppage time (always happens!) Often the bride will be needed to talk to family members, photographers etc.
Not all weddings are hectic affairs. But the majority are. If you have plenty of time you will keep a cool head in the chaos. I always wear a watch spun backwards so that I can check the time quickly.
- Do the Brides makeup first whenever possible.
- Sometimes you will be required (and paid) to come back in the evening. Either to refresh or redo the makeup. If this isn’t the case then it’s a nice to give the bride a ‘touch up’ kit with her lipstick and powder in.
- It’s also a good move to pop your business card in.
I realise upon re-reading this that some of the points are pretty obvious and basic. But like I mentioned at the start of the post I would have liked to have stumbled upon a post like this when I first went into bridal makeup. So I really hope that it might help a few of you out!
Also, don’t worry that all brides are ‘nutjobs.’ They really aren’t.