As a professional makeup artist, I work almost exclusively with brides.In many conversations with young women planning Their Day, I often hear anobvious lack of knowledge about what they should be discussing with me. I findthey really have no idea what questions to ask….or what answers they ought tobe getting.
The person you choose to provide your makeup services theday of your wedding will likely be spending several hours with you and yourbridal party. It’s important that she or he be a person you like being around!You might even suggest to your attendants that they have makeup done by thisperson, which means that the results of her work will be the focal point ofabout 80% of the photos taken that day. So trust and confidence in this personis very important, wouldn’t you agree?
Book an artist you feel comfortable with, that youcommunicate easily with and who you naturally find yourself trusting. Themakeup artist’s first priority is to provide beautiful makeup in the style youwant, but she should also offer some moral support, help to boost yourconfidence and soothe your raw nerves in those last hours before you walk downthe aisle.
So here is a list of questions that you should ask most of,if not all, based on your needs and circumstances, to ensure you’re hiring aprofessional who will provide the level of services you deserve on Your Day.
1) How do I book you formy wedding date? Do you require a deposit? What about a contract?
Understand what the artist requires to secure your date onher book. Sometimes the deposit will be nominal, but most will require 25 – 50%of the total package of services. And be sure to get it all in writing, withreceipts for each payment. A well-written contract will list the services beingprovided to each member of your bridal party with a schedule of appointmenttimes. There should also be provisions made for unusual or unforeseen eventslike cancellation of the contract or illness on the wedding day. This gives youlegal recourse to recover your funds if the artist does not provide theservices as agreed. Be wary of any artist who does not provide a contract ordoes not want a deposit. There once was a time when all business could be doneon a handshake, but for something this important, do you really want to riskit?
2) Will it be YOU at mywedding or another artist? What happens if you can’t make it on my day?
The artist who does your Trial Run or Preview Session shouldbe the artist who does your makeup on your wedding day. This is the personyou’ve discussed the details of your wishes and developed a report with. Somelarger studios and salons will not give you that promise, so be sure to ask.Also ask what happens if that artist is unable to come on your weddingday. Any studio, salon or even free-lanceartist worth booking will have a back-up plan.
3) How many weddingshave you done? Do you normally work with brides?
Just as in any profession, makeup artists can “specialize”in any number of areas. Those who work with brides exclusively will understandtheir needs better than an artist who works with runway models or for printadvertising. In addition to providing beautiful makeup in the style requested,a bridal artist must be mobile, be able to work with unpredictable lighting andspace in various settings (hotel rooms or wedding venue dressing rooms), adhereto a tight schedule, and remain calm, relaxed and supportive for nervous bridesexperiencing the occasional pre-ceremony meltdown.
4) What is yourbackground? Where did you learn to applymakeup?
While I do not believe that this is the most importantquestion to ask, it should still be asked. After all, there are incrediblytalented artists who have never set foot in a classroom! Overall, the artist’sportfolio or most recent work should weigh more heavily in your decision. Butthe answer to this question may give you insight into who this person is andwhether you’ll “click” with them.
5) May I see yourportfolio?
Her portfolio will give you a good indication of herversatility and style. Are all the faces made up the same like a cookie-cutter,or has she brought out the best in each face? Will she follow your stylerequests and welcome input from you and your bridal party? After all, this dayis about YOU, not her portfolio, career advancement or ego.
6) Do you have a websiteor blog?
This is a good indication of the artist’s level ofprofessionalism and dedication to her career. You will probably gain your firstimpression of the artist from online media, and so it should be informative,complete and current. Any artist with photos of work she did in the 20thcentury on her site is not the artist you want on your wedding day.
7) May I call a fewreferences?
This is probably the most forgotten or skipped step inhiring any wedding professional, not just makeup artists. If you’ve got good“people instincts”, you may choose to trust your judgment alone in order tosave time making additional phone calls. But hearing feedback from previous bridalclients ensures this artist is working regularly in the bridal field. Ask forthree references from the last 12 – 18 months and then be diligent aboutcontacting them.
8) What do you charge?
While this shouldn’t be the only criteria you look at beforehiring an artist, it must be considered, of course! Ask about packages that fitthe size of your bridal party or if there’s a rate reduction with a certainsize group. Also ask what’s included in that rate, such as products fortouch-ups or if she stays through the ceremony.
9) What size of bridalparty do you accommodate? How long will it take to get makeup for my bridalparty of <fill in the blank>?
If you have a large bridal party, this will be a veryimportant question to ask. If you ceremony is at 11:00 AM and you have 8attendants, be prepared to be out of bed early that day. Most artists will needa minimum of 30 minutes with each bridesmaid, to as much as an hour with thebride. Make sure you carefully plan enough time on the wedding day so that preparationsare not rushed.
10) Can you duplicate amakeup look from pictures in a magazine?
Not all artists are comfortable working from a picture,while others may insist you provide one. Just be sure the picture you take heris of a woman with similar bone structure and skin tone as yourself. Eye makeupstyles that look great on large, almond-shaped eyes like Madonna’s will notlook the same on smaller, round eyes like Katie Couric.
11) What methods ofpayment do you accept?
Make sure that you have the funds available for herpreferred payment method and get a receipt for every installment.
12) My wedding is on aSaturday and the services that I need are less than the weekend minimum to book.Can I still hire you?
If your bridal party is very small or they are not optingfor makeup services, you may run into this with artists who provide bridal makeupservices for a living, and thus must reserve their in-demand dates for largergroups. And while most artists will allow you to pay the difference between thesmaller package and the weekend minimum, others may refuse or require a highernon-refundable deposit to protect their interests should you change your mind.But if you love the artist’s work and feel comfortable with her, you may feelthe extra cost is money well spent.
13) What kinds/brands ofproducts do you use? Is this makeup good for pictures or photography?
You may not recognize the name brands used by pro artists, andthat’s OK. What you’re really looking for is to exclude any artists who use onespecific brand exclusively. As a professional who has used many, many brands, Ican assure you that no single company does everything “right” for every personor situation. Select an artist who can change products to fit your needs andyour skin. A bride having her morning wedding outdoors in July in Texas willneed very different products than a bride in Chicago for her evening candlelitceremony in January.
14) How do I keep mymakeup fresh for the whole day? How will the product wear? What aboutcolor-matched products to touch up with?
This is another area where choice of products is soimportant, and having an artist that can tailor those products to fit yourneeds and skin. Professional productswill stay fresh looking for many hours longer than most consumer-gradeproducts. Many artists will also provide products for touch-ups at her cost orinclude it in her services.
15) I have skin allergiesor severe acne. Can you work with me? Do you airbrush? Can you contour my face?How about covering blemishes or my tattoo? Do you apply false lashes? Do you dowedding hair?
Based on your particular needs, you may want to ask some orall of these questions and I’ve listed them here as a group just to get yourmind thinking these details……
16) Do you charge atravel or location fee? How far do you travel for that fee? What othertravel-related expenses will I need to cover? What will be the total cost ofthe services I want?
Many artists will offer on-location makeup for your weddingday, but may require that you travel to their studio or salon for your TrialRun. It may be possible to have a Trial Run at your location for an extra fee. Some artists tack on a “location fee” for anywedding venue, no matter the driving distance, while others include a rangefrom their home or studio included in their service fee. Are you being quotedan hourly or per person rate for your bridal party? Either way (hourly or perperson) is fine, but it’s best that you know so there are no surprises. Otherfees or costs that may be extra or are deferred to the bride include parking atthe hotel, covering large tattoos or providing products for touch-ups, afterthe artist has departed. Be sure to get a full list of what is, and is not,included in writing…or better yet, a signed contract.
17) What happens at theTrial Run or Preview Session? Do I come to you for this appointment? How muchis the Trial or is it included in your services? How long will the Trial Runtake? What is included in the Trial Run?
The Trial Run or Preview Session is so important to ensurethat the makeup your artist provides on Your Day is everything that youwant. It’s a good idea to take a camerawith you to preserve the look she creates for you. But remember, no one evershoots pictures of you at less than four feet away, and with a flash, exceptwhen they are trying to get details of your makeup! Shots taken that close willnever be flattering – to you or the makeup! Take pictures from a naturaldistance in order to get a “real” feel for how it will look.
One word ofcaution: the “point and shoot” digital cameras readily available on theconsumer market today for under $500 have a flash that is VERY different technologyfrom the synchronized flash of your photographer’s camera. Thus, the pictures you take with these kindsof cameras WILL NOT do justice to the makeup you’re photographing. This can bevery discouraging to both the bride and the artist! To avoid this, turn on all theavailable lights in the room and use only ambient lighting – no flash – to takepictures of the makeup. Also, have the person shooting the picture stand atleast 4 feet away from you and use the zoom function, instead of coming upclose to your face with the camera.
18) On my wedding day, doI come to you, or do you travel to my venue (or where I’m getting dressed)?
Many brides select a studio or salon for the convenience ofhaving all their beauty services under one roof. But before you opt againston-location services, consider what traveling will be like on the date of yourwedding. Is it on a Saturday in the middle of football season and you live in acollege town? If you have a large bridal party, how many cars will be needed toget everyone to the salon and back? Make sure you are willing to take thepressure of traveling from one location to another in any kind of traffic orweather. These are great reasons to find an artist who will come to you at yourvenue and take that traveling stress off your shoulders.
19) Do you sell cosmeticproducts? Will my bridal party hear a sales pitch on my wedding day?
Is she an artist or a sales person? You’ll find very fewpeople who have both skill sets. And on your wedding day, do you really want tohear a sales pitch, or have your bridal party surprised by one? In my opinion,that’s not only unprofessional, but also rude.
20 How many events willyou work on my wedding day?
This is often an overlooked, yet crucial, question to askbefore booking. If preparations on The Day don’t go quite as planned and runlate, you need to know that your makeup artist will not be leaving before allthe bridesmaids are done, just because she has another wedding that day. Youalso want to ensure you won’t be the third bridal party she’s worked for thatday and arriving at your venue with dirty equipment and physically tired.
An artist who books only one wedding a day will give you and your bridal partytheir full attention, best work, and bemore likely to stay until the job is done, regardless of delays. Keep in mind,though, that an artist who works this way may also have a minimum bookingrequirement, especially on weekends or for in-demand dates. Smaller bridalparties may need to recruit additional family members to have services in orderto make that minimum, or pay the difference.