How to Choose a Professional Bridal Makeup Artist

Sacramento, California

How to Choose a Professional Bridal Makeup and Hair Artist

There is a certain way we envision ourselves looking on our wedding day...the hair, the makeup, the jewelry, the shoes, that perfect gown...Our Pinterest albums are literally loaded with gorgeous images of flawless, happy brides. do we get that vision to become a reality? And what does it take to get there? Well...Step into my studio..Let me guide you!

My typical trial run session makeup set up
Christi Reynolds Beauty Studio

#1. Add "Professional Bridal Beauty Artist" to that list of wedding vendor booking priorities...and to your budget.

And DON'T wait until the last minute, or even 3 months before your big day like the recycled information of wedding magazines and bridal blogs will recommend. Your professional bridal beauty artist should be booked at the same time as your most important vendors-and your bridal beauty is important.

Sometimes I have had brides say

"Thanks for information...but I am busy choosing my wedding vendors so I will get back to you later"

And I'm like...

...I AM a wedding vendor!  I am actually a very valuable and important piece of the entire process of your desire to make your wedding day dreams come true. And... it is very likely that there are only a handful of true, dedicated, experienced full time bridal beauty experts in your area, and like all vendors the great ones book up fast.

The artist you choose to get you bridally beautiful will be the first vendor you see on your wedding day, and the last one you see before you slip into your gown. She sets the tone for your entire day, and is in charge of not only completing your vision, but also of how you feel. She is the one that gives your photography what you are dreaming of! All of these factors are HUGE and often not considered by brides until it is actually happening.

Your Pinterest account has never seen more action! How do you see yourself as a bride?
A bridal beauty expert will help you bring your vision and experience to fruition.

Makeup by Christi Reynolds Beauty
Photographed by Allison Stahl
So...How you get this kind of experience?

#2. The most important part-Hire a PROFESSIONAL.

What exactly does this mean? What makes a professional a professional? Well, a few things:

  • A professional bridal beauty artist is someone whose primary source of income is exclusively their bridal hair and/or makeup artistry business.  She doesn't squeeze weddings in around another work schedule, or sometimes do them on weekends for her good friends and clients. It's her business. She depends on clients like you to keep her in business, so she will take your calls, email you with answers to your questions, and have insight and knowledge about the needs of your wedding day and timeline. She will have a solid contract so if something "better" comes along, she won't leave you hanging (..oh the horror stories I have heard! I must get at least one call a week from a frantic bride whose artist bailed on her, and it's always because they are a part time artist, a friend, or a hobbyist with no contract. And, sadly, I can't accommodate her because I am booked.

  • A professional pays her taxes and works hard to run her business and afford to continue to stock her kit. She pours countless hours into networking and vetting clients, and into her marketing and office work. She invests time and money in her education to perfect and hone the craft of not only beautiful hair and makeup, but also of perfecting her work with brides and the varying needs and challenges of their wedding day. She works very closely with wedding vendors and has a knowledge of what your day will entail, and where your bridal beauty fits in. This is her job-not a hobby- and hair and makeup are not just something she is "really great at". 

  • A professional bridal beauty expert will bring her service to you. No need to arrange a ride from your hotel suite to the mall or salon, or organize multiple appointments with the stylists and the salon owner-or makeup counter manager. A bridal beauty pro's business is to provide a luxury on location service that allows you to enjoy a relaxed environment with no appointment mix ups, and a cohesive, consistent experience for everyone.  She will bring her kit, service and talent right to your suite or getting ready location. Have a lot of ladies that want their hair and makeup done? No worries. Your pro will likely be connected to some of the best artists and stylists in town to help accommodate you and your party, in the convenience of your own location. This is what she does! Full time.

  • A pro has touched hundreds, even thousands of faces. She has learned many mistakes and lessons, and dealt with many people-not just her own or a model's face- in real-life scenarios before comfortably, and confidently, offering her services for a rate. A professional bridal beauty artist knows that true artistry is more than just a pretty face. She understands a bit about skin physiology, elements of light and nature, photography and color theory. She has a lot of diverse product knowledge, knows about proper hygiene, and a lot about customer service. She's punctual, consistent, reliable, and has walked the walk. People are her first love. Art is her way. She is excellent at doing makeup and hair on others-not just herself. 

  • She has touched the faces of hundreds or thousands of brides. Brides come in all colors, shapes, sizes and with many different scenarios, requests, and needs. They have concerns about their beauty and their day that the every day woman does not have. She wants- and deserves-to feel cool, calm, collected, and of course, beautiful. She wants her ladies to be happy, and her expensive photos to look amazing. She wants to be able to enjoy her day from beginning to end. The ability to deliver THAT kind of experience has very little to do with just a pretty hair and makeup! 

A true, full time professional bridal beauty expert's business
is to bring the experience right to you-wherever you are. 

My makeup set up at a recent wedding on location at Vizcaya

So how do you choose a professional? 

In my opinion, choosing a professional Bridal Beauty Expert means considering several things :

Their Rate
First-Consider your budget. What do you value most? A less expensive artist with a handful of good reviews and a decent portfolio? Or the artist whose package comes out to be a few hundred dollars more, however, she has dozens of stellar reviews from blown away brides, and an awesome book of work? Chances are, not spending those few extra hundred dollars will haunt you later if you don't choose the latter. I may know what kind of car or handbag I want, but I can't put a realistic budget or price point on it until I have done my research and compared value over price.

Their experience and education.
Check out the artist's website. Fully. Read up on their bio, their resume of work, and their education and accomplishments. The level of experience of an artist will also determine her rate and the level of service she will offer her brides.

Their Work.
  Is the work you see in the artist's portfolio in line with your esthetic, and the style you like? Is there enough diversity in her portfolio make you feel confident that she will know how to address your unique needs? While most artists (including me) show many styles in their portfolio, their bridal work should show a nice array of different styles, scenarios, skin tones, and levels of intensity. Some artists will also clearly show their personal esthetic or style. Decide if it is right for you.

Their Communication/Responsiveness
A Professional Makeup artist should get back to you within 24-48 hours of your inquiry or less. Her reply to you should be in specific response to your questions, with confident answers and solutions to what you are requesting. Rates sheets, contract information, booking process...If he or she doesn't have clear cut strategies and prepared answers for these, it is likely that their artistry is not their full time business, nor their full time focus or priority. A true Professional not only wants your business; she needs it! She should get back to you as soon as she can with her availability, and some trusted recommendations if she is not. She should continue this level of consistent communication from the day you book her to the big day itself.

Their reviews
How do you go about finding a Professional Makeup Artist? Easy; Ask around! Brides LOVE telling all about their great experiences, and their bad ones. A dazzled bride will tell all their friends, vendors and venues, and shout from the mountain tops of Yelp and Wedding Wire and point out all the reasons why her artist made her feel amazing-or didn't. Review sites are excellent resources for clients to research my clout as a professional bridal beauty expert, and I would also say that 75% of my business comes from recommendations and referrals alone. Ask your photographer, venue coordinator and other wedding vendors who they recommend, and why. Ask your recently married girlfriends and co-workers what their experience was, and what they wish they had done differently.

Your bridal beauty experience should be just that-an experience.
Effortless, stress free, organized and professional.

Hair and Makeup by 
Christi Reynolds Beauty
Photographed by Charleton Churchill

#3. Think of your bridal beauty as more of an experience-not just a splurge.

Of course, having your hair and makeup done is really fun, and to some it may even feel like an extravagance or an unnecessary splurge. You may feel almost silly saying that you are having a professional artist come to your location to do hair and makeup for your ladies, and are willing to pay a pretty penny to do it.  What I want every bride to know, is that when working with a true professional as explained above, your morning of bridal beauty, and the several months leading up to it, are so much more than  pretty hair and makeup!

A professional bridal beauty artist is trained and experienced in all the areas of artistry and business I outlined before, but she specializes in brides. Her bride's vision, her needs, and her worries and concerns. What kind of  hairstyle will work with her veil and gown. What her makeup will potentially look like after being worn for six hours based on the weather, her emotions and skin tone, and what it will take to protect it.

Your professional bridal beauty artist will have patience, never feel stressed out, and she will be a great communicator. She will know for you when and where to be concerned, and what areas to be firm or flexible. She's GOT this!  She's done this a few times!

And... she knows a LOT about weddings. She is well versed on the varying needs and challenges of a wedding day-the planner's timeline, your photographer's schedule, even the lighting accommodations of your venue because she has worked there dozens of times. She will be planning your morning of beauty according to all of these important factors.Then there's a lot that goes into that morning of getting ready that only a seasoned professional knows how to handle. The diverse of needs of your group. The commons concerns of your bridesmaids. That intense energy and sense of urgency at the very end before you are putting your dress on when everything is coming together. There is almost nothing your professional bridal beauty artist hasn't handled before, and isn't prepared to tackle for you. Let Cousin Carrie who works at Sephora have her mimosa and be part of the fun, and hire a pro.

Your professional will work with you to create a bridal beauty
experience that will make you look as
amazing as you want to feel on your wedding day.

Hair and Makeup by Christi Reynolds Beauty
Photographed by Charleton Churchill

In closing, I admit that of course my advice may seem a bit (okay, a lot) biased coming from a place of being an experienced bridal beauty expert myself. However, I am super passionate about steering all brides in the direction of choosing the very best beauty artistry options available to them for the most important day of their lives-even if it isn't me they choose.

Everything I have just mentioned above are definitely what I know are the 'little things' that have made such a big difference for the hundreds of brides I have worked with in my career. I only want for you to have the same experience.

Be sure to choose the bridal beauty expert that is the right for you...just be sure to choose a pro!



Photographed by Jessica Giblin 

Christi Reynolds has waterproofed and bustled hundreds of brides over her decade (plus!) long career.

To read her bio, reviews, or to book her for a session, visit

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