Bridal Beauty and your Wedding Day: Why it isn't just all about the hair and makeup!

Sacramento, California

Yesterday, I had lunch (...and dessert...okay, two desserts..but they were tiny!) with one of my favorite photographer friends Jessica Giblin. After a little bit of personal catch up about our kids, dogs, and diets, (ahem) we moved onto coffee and turned to our usual subject of marketing and branding, and vetting our clients, and the difficulty we face as artists and small business owners of truly setting ourselves apart in the industry.

I was sharing with her a few of my own challenges, and Jessica, as always, had nothing but kind words to say about my services saying she always refers professional artists to her clients because our talent is such a benefit to our clients' photos, and their overall experience.

That got me to thinking...

In the past few years, I have noticed that often the very first thing that my photographer friends mention to me when describing to their clients the benefit of hiring a makeup artist on their wedding day is the long wearing, photo perfected result of having it professionally applied.

Now. Of course I fully agree with this, and my colleagues and I are always flattered by (and BEYOND grateful!) to our vendor friends for referring our services to their brides for beautiful, long lasting work that will look amazing in all of their very important photos. And, I know that the vendors I work with regularly are familiar with my professionalism and they know that my work with brides is my full time business, not just my hobby or something I am particularly good at.

However, I am always
 a bit surprised 
when I hear a vendor 
recommend an artist 
to a bride based on her 
beautiful makeup work alone.

When I hear "Check out Sally, Mary, and Ashley! They all do beautiful work!" I have to it mostly the promise of beautiful, photo friendly makeup that is the main selling point of importance when recommending that their bridal client hire a makeup artist on her big day? I have seen top wedding professional artists (very established, super experienced, with amazing client reviews and beautiful, diverse portfolios on their business websites) tagged for a referral in the same post in social media groups as newer artists that have little to none of the same qualifications (...and sometimes with no business website or portfolio at all).

I understand that we always want to offer a range of options (and a range of rates to fit a budget) to our clients, however, I want to share with my vendor friends and their clients a few more reasons why strongly recommending that their client hire a TRUE bridal beauty professional benefits everyone on the wedding day- not just the bride-which I do so below in three main bullet points.

But first, here is my take on what separates a person who does gorgeous makeup from someone who is a true bridal beauty professional:

1)  Anyone can learn to do makeup with the right amount of time, practice and experience...

Yep, I said it. It may take one year, ten, or twenty. I even teach every day women in my studio how to do their own. It may not come as a natural creative instinct, or even be very beautiful or photography friendly. However, there are many that have learned the skill, and execute it well, and will charge a rate to apply it. It may be a lower rate than some, or a higher rate than many, and that rate is determined by many factors, including value, reputation, availability, and cost of business (or lack thereof) for the artist.

2) ...but NOT everyone that does even the most beautiful makeup has what it takes to do bridal makeup.

...nor may they know how to do makeup on and interact with various other people (ie: bridesmaids, mother of the groom, grandma, etc.). Not everyone that does beautiful makeup has the skills required, or the personality, to work effortlessly and efficiently, and with kindness and patience, with multiple women, in a small space, and address their various unique needs. And, most importantly, not everyone knows what it takes to truly prepare a bride for a long, possibly hot (and definitely emotional) day of wearing her makeup, and the required products, techniques, and preparation (and communication) this takes to accomplish, and still look gorgeous up close and personal, and on camera.

If the artist that piques your interest has a strong social media presence, but only has photos and videos featuring the awesome makeup she does on herself, or she has no actual portfolio or business website, I recommend continuing your research of artists.

3) A bridal beauty artist is not just in charge of how her bride looks on her wedding day, she is literally THE ONE in charge of how the bride feels about herself. 

...sometimes many hours before her other vendors arrive.

This is HUGE.

This factor alone impacts everything, and everyone, and it definitely impacts her photos. We are the first vendor your brides sees on her wedding day, and the last one she sees before the show must go on. We set the tone, the mood, and the pace of the day.

Now, in order to get to this point in the day, the point where we have all worked for months now to get to, the point where everything must run smoothly and on time for the required images on the photography shot list, and the wedding coordinator's seating schedule so the filet doesn't get cold, several things need to have already long since happened:

  • Communication. LOTS of it. A full time, independent bridal beauty professional's job is this main factor. And since she isn't operating a big team, or working full time at a salon, or doing Youtube videos, she is committed to the emails and correspondence required to truly be there for her bride, walk her through what is typical for her wedding morning, and manage her expectations with kindness, and experience. She has all the required information: who her photographer and planner are, the time her bride needs to be dressed and ready for photos, what kind of lighting is available in her getting ready location for her getting ready photos.

(A family friend or someone that does "great makeup" 
may not know that she needs to know all this.)

  • Organization. A professional is going to have all of the details of the needs of the venue, what time the bridal suite can be accessed, and all past email correspondence and a record of conversations and transactions so there are no surprises. She will be on time (and early for set up) because she is familiar with the venue (or mapped it if she isn't) and will keep to the getting ready schedule she has designed to accommodate the bride's timeline.

(Again, a family friend or someone that does "great makeup" 
may not know that she needs to know, or do, all of this.)

  • A SECURE booking. This is the most important thing of all. I can't tell you how many frantic, tearful calls I get during wedding season from brides (and her vendors)  who are absolutely desperate because her hair and makeup artist "bailed on her".
Photographers and planners, be certain that your bride is working with an artist who has a solid, detailed contract. Any professional will have one. A hobbyist or makeup enthusiast probably will not, because they aren't running a business. An artist who does weddings on the side may not because she doesn't need to. If an artist doesn't have one in place, she can easily cancel for any reason. And? She won't be worried about her reputation, because bridal beauty is not her business...or she would have a contract.

In closing, I absolutely DO pride myself and the handful of local professional bridal beauty artists I regularly refer out for the years we have spent on continued education, practice, and our natural talent and creativity for providing beautiful makeup for our brides. Our portfolios are fantastic, and we love what we do very, very much and we really love to experience all the ways our art benefits our clients, and our vendor friends too.

However, I hope that the important points I have outlined above have  given you just a few more benefits to share with your brides when they are investing in your services, and considering enhancing them by investing in ours. 

I know that as wedding vendors, our shared goal is  to make certain that our bride has the very best experience we have promised to provide her, and she is absolutely getting all that she has bargained (and paid) for!



  1. I am really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your blog. Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a great blog like this one today. Mobile Wedding Makeup Artist


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