Your big day is coming up the date has been set, the wedding dress chosen, the venue booked, the caterers hired, and a hundred-and-one other concerns that form part of a bride-to-be’s to-do list. At some point you come across a line that simply reads ‘makeup artist’ and you start to panic. After all, this might not be the first time that you’ve hired a band, or ordered flowers from a florist, but the world of wedding makeup vendors is a complete mystery to you?
Where do you start?
Well, we can help you there, with our eleven questions every bride should ask their potential wedding makeup artist.
How do I book you for my wedding day?
This is essential to get right. Most wedding makeup vendors will have certain requirements that you will need to meet before they will secure the date of your wedding in their diary. The most common of these is a deposit, usually somewhere between 25 and 50 per cent of the final fee, payable upfront. Some artists may have other requirements they may need somebody to pick them up and drive them to the house, or they may insist on a certain number of people from the bridal party to have their makeup done as well. Remember, until you have a formal agreement, this is all stuff that can be negotiated.Never forget, this is your big day, and if you feel the artist expects too much from you, there is no harm in moving on.
Do we have a contract?
Again, this is standard practice with most wedding makeup vendors these days. A well-written contract protects both the bride and the artist in the event of unforeseen circumstances. In it you should list all of the services that the makeup artist is expected to provide, along with confirmation of dates and appointment times, whether your bridal party will attend the artist’s salon, or whether the artist will come to your home on the morning of the wedding. There should also be a list of provisions confirming what the artist will do in the event of illness on the wedding day, and what will happen should the contract be cancelled prior to fulfilment.
How many weddings have you done?
There are specialist wedding makeup vendors and then there are makeup artists who happen to do weddings as well. It is always advisable to hire a specialist in these matters, if only because there are quirks to the wedding makeup process that simply do not occur in other settings. Your makeup artist needs to be a calming and supportive influence on the day of your wedding, able to handle the inevitable chaos of a pre-wedding bridal party, and capable of tailoring her work to the demands of unpredictable lighting, weather and photographers. It is not a job for an amateur.
Do you have portfolio?
Any wedding makeup artist worth the name will have an extensive portfolio of her past clients, and this could well be a deciding factor in whether or not to hire her. Do all the brides look identical as you flick from photo to photo? If so, perhaps the artist is not prepared to be flexible with what she sees as her art. Whilst commitment to a vision is a commendable thing, this wedding is your big day, not your makeup artist’s. Be sure she is willing to adapt a style to what you want from her.
May I speak to some of your previous clients?
If your wedding makeup artist is confident in her service, she should have no qualms in presenting you will a couple of names and phone numbers from her client list so you can call them up and have a chat about how the artist handled the makeup on the day. Remember, this reference check is less about the quality of the product (which should be evident from the artist’s portfolio) but about the artist as a person was she punctual? Was she friendly? Did she know what she was doing?
How much will it all cost?
An obvious question, but one that needs clearing up before you sign the contract. Now is the time to see if there are bulk discounts for larger bridal parties, and whether her fee includes staying throughout the ceremony to provide touch-ups for you and your party.
How long will it take to attend to my bridal party?
Most wedding makeup vendors will require at least 30 minutes per person in the bridal party, and closer to an hour for the bride. If you have a large bridal party, it is essential to clarify and confirm times from the outset. This is not only important for your contract with the artist, but also to make sure that the rest of your party knows when they have to turn up.
What makeup products do you use?
This is a trick question. Any decent makeup artist would not dream of restricting themselves to a single brand. No matter the size of the company or the quality of the product, no single makeup firm has a product that is right for every single occasion. An artist who insists on using only products from a particular company should be avoided.
Do you provide touch-up service
Some wedding make-up artists will stay with you for the whole day, touching up your make-up as and when you need it. Naturally this service comes with an attendant cost to be added to the bill, but it is an investment well worth making, especially if you expect your wedding to be a long day and night.
If a member of my bridal party have special requirements for my skin: can you accommodate them?
Sensitive skin, allergies, severe acne, visible tattoos, birthmarks, or blemishes. They’re all part of who you are, but they might not be something you want on display on the day of your wedding. Now’s the time to ask your makeup artist how good she is at working with such conditions. Does she have hypoallergenic makeup? Can she convincingly conceal a tattoo? Does she have experience of working with clients who suffer from eczema or psoriasis? Important considerations to work through at the early stages.
How many events will you be working on the day of my wedding?
This is an essential question to ask. The last thing you need is for your makeup artist to be watching the clock when she should be adding a layer of blusher to your maid-of-honour. Or, if you’re her last wedding of the day, you don’t want her turning up late because she was delayed by the previous bridal party, and her makeup equipment is now dirty. If you hire a makeup artist who can commit to just one wedding on any given day, then you know that you have her at your disposal, and that she will be committed to getting the best results for you and your party. Some artists make charge a premium rate for this, since they are essentially booking themselves out for the whole day, but it will almost certainly be worth it.