For those of you who are planning your own wedding it can be tricky to know where to begin when it comes to sourcing your top wedding suppliers, and bridal make-up in particular can be a minefield. As a wedding planner, we often have brides coming to us unhappy after their trials, or struggling to find someone who can do ‘the natural look’. So, check out our top tips from guest expert, Katy Angelidi, of Make Up By Katy, for tips on the key things to be aware of when choosing your bridal make-up artist.
My name is Katy, I’ve been in make-up for 22 years, I’ve worked solely in the bridal field for the last ten. Bridal work is my heart and soul. It is SO much more than just putting makeup on people. I mentor other make-up artists and this is something I focus heavily on.
Choosing your make-up artist, alongside many of the other supplier choices you’ve got to make for the Big Day can be massively overwhelming and often one of the hardest parts of wedding planning. Quite often, when it comes to make-up, people have had more BAD experiences than good. This is a key part of what makes up my role. Reassurance. Making my clients feel comfortable, relaxed and trust me.
Yes, my application has to be exceptional 100% of the time but there are so many other aspects that make up what I do and keep me consistently booked via word of mouth. And I think it’s important to know what they are so you too can make the best decision.
All make-up artists have to start somewhere. Most of us practised relentlessly on who ever would sit still at the beginning of our careers. We don’t just fall into a career with enough bookings to sustain us. We practise. The tricky thing with Bridal make-up is that it’s a real mixture of multiple makeup skills. It’s make-up that needs to last, this takes extensive skin and product knowledge. It needs to photograph well, this needs experience with photographers, different lighting scenarios and product knowledge so nothing flashes back on camera. It needs to look fresh and flattering in real life, so it can’t be ‘heavy’ photographic make-up. This is not something that can be learned in a short amount of time. So pick someone who has a good few years of make-up, especially bridal make-up under their belt. These makeup artists may well be more £ than newbies but for good reason. If a makeup artist charges more than you expected, know that she probably runs this as a full time stand alone business. And if she can sustain herself and probably a family on this income alone, it means she has multiple bookings which means she is worth the investment.
When I work on a wedding, I have a schedule drafted up that coordinates with the hairdresser, the photographer, the wedding planner etc. I schedule in enough time to unpack, set up, adequate time for each person, brush cleaning time, champagne breaks! I allow enough of a buffer that if there is an unexpected gift opening session that we don’t run over. I check how long the dress takes to do up and I factor that in to the timetable. Nothing is left to chance. I always joke that there is no bride late on my watch, but it isn’t a laughing matter. I’ve worked with suppliers who have just ‘winged it’ and I’ve had to pull things back to ensure everyone is ready, relaxed and happy.
I invoice and have a contract (SO important for us BOTH) and I don’t deal with cash on the day. It’s time consuming, it can be awkward, it’s clumsy when someone forgets.
Much like a photographer, good equipment does not a professional make. Some of the best make-up artists could make you look the very best you could look on products from Superdrug, so the overall cost of the product isn’t always that important – just because someone has got the top brands, it doesn’t mean they’re the best at their job. Aside from quality of equipment, variety is so important. Make sure your make-up artist has a full, varied and extensive kit. It is our job to have everything for every occasion. It is NOT acceptable for one of your bridal party to not be able to have amazing make-up because the make-up artist doesn’t carry her skin tone. We need multiple shades (yes, we can mix but I can’t create foundation for women of colour from 3 light shades) and we need multiple textures. Because you’re all wonderfully different!
We carry palettes of varying shades. We need not only the latest, fun sparkly trend items but also the boring neutral palettes that we need very much to create timeless looks.
I can’t say this enough. Hygiene should NOT be an afterthought. If your make-up artist doesn’t safely and hygienically apply make-up on you, you’re open to a wide range of bacterial infections. It is not something we can chance. Disposable mascara wands, good hand hygiene, CLEAN products are non negotiable as far as I am concerned. All brushes must be thoroughly cleaned before arriving on the job and safely sanitised in between clients.
Much like with your photographer, you should scour a gallery of a makeup artist before selecting who you work with. Look for a wide variety of looks, styles, trends etc. Look also very carefully for extensive use of filters. These are so easily added on these days and I think they are one of the worst culprits when it comes to misleading clients.
Personally, I trained in a time where there was simply no access to Photoshop, to filters, to facetune. I had to produce clean, perfected work straight off the bat. It had to translate to camera without any backup ‘in case’. I believe so strongly in this that I show all my work 100% unedited.
I have the option of waiting for the lovely professional portraits from the photographer, however often there is a filter added to them (to keep in tune with the photographers style and branding) so I take full face portrait shots on a professional camera and I download them directly to my galleries on my website, Instagram and Facebook. If the photographs of your chosen makeup artist all look soft focus, I would be hesitant. Ask to see fully unedited photos and if you can’t, you’re not likely to achieve the look you want.
Lastly, you have to get on. You have to like her. She has to be able to fit in with your bridal party on the day. If you’re all a very quiet family and you know your wedding morning will be a quiet affair, don’t hire a makeup artist who will be loud and boisterous. If you know you’re going to have a few challenging members of the bridal party, make sure your artist has the strength of character to handle them in a firm but respectful way. We are with you at one of the most intimate times of your wedding. We are amalgamated into your friends and family for those hours, so we have to be to your liking. Being a chameleon is another skill experienced makeup artists have.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to call us up and ask questions. Nothing you ask is a silly question, I can guarantee we’ve probably been asked it before! Book your makeup suppliers well in advance, the best ones get booked up 12-18 months out quite often, especially on peak dates.
Happy wedding planning!