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5 Steps for Finding the Perfect Bridal Makeup Artist

The search for "the one" doesn't stop after your engagement.
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When it comes to wedding planning, I've actually been displaying out-of-character levels of chill. Truly nothing in the process has phased me, except when it comes to wedding beauty. Perhaps it's because beauty is such a big part of my job or because I've been dabbling in it since I was a kid, but I was not going to allow anything to fall through in regards to my makeup on the big day. 

Makeup artists are incredibly talented, and I'm constantly amazed at how easily they can look at someone's face and just know what to do. That doesn't mean that every artist is for you, however. Each artist comes with their own style (think bold and bright versus barely there), and if you pick the wrong one, you could look completely different than intended on your wedding day. 

When it came time to find my own makeup artist, I was already hit by a dilemma of location. How was I supposed to find an artist in Western New York, all the way from Los Angeles? How could I make sure their style aligned with mine? Over the past few months, I've narrowed down my best tips for finding, working with, and loving your makeup artist for your wedding (so you don't have to ;) ). Here's what I found: 

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When you live far away and have little references to follow, this can be incredibly tricky. Instead of scouring sites like The Knot, as I find the site more overwhelming than helpful, I decided to do some Instagram sleuthing. First, I went to the profiles and location tags of venues in the area that I felt matched my aesthetic for the day. For me, that meant whimsical, romantic, and luxe. Often, venues will be tagged by the wedding photographer or bride who has also tagged all of her other vendors. From there, I started looking at makeup artist profiles that kept coming up and seeing what looked best to me. 

When the location was switched to Western NY- the average cost dropped by $100. 

When the location was switched to Western NY- the average cost dropped by $100. 

Look into your finances and decide what you want to spend on the big day. Bridal makeup and hair do have a price markup (even if you're just doing a blowout, as I learned), and there is almost always a fee for "traveling" out of the studio. Set a firm price and start to reach out to vendors. Make your budget very clear, and the vendors will be honest with you if it's feasible to work with them. After setting my budget based on my finances and typical prices in the area, I found two artists that made the most sense for me. 


I reached out to both artists to talk about what they love about makeup. Perhaps it's a bit neurotic, but when I heard my makeup artist say she loves the Hollywood glow and burnished bronze shades, I knew she was the one for me and my search was over! 

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Ideally, your trial will be included in the price of your bridal makeup, but it isn't always. Since mine was not, I went in with tons of research, examples, and general questions in order to make the most of my appointment. I made a Pinterest board of looks I loved and elements I thought would look good on me, as well as examples of makeup that I really hated. For me, thick matte shadows, heavy contouring, or any layered foundation would be an instant disaster. I asked for a glowy, golden, model-eqsue look rather than a traditional bride, and my artist understood right away.

I also recommend bringing in products you swear by, including some that you may ask your artist to use. While I was open to trying all the artist's products, I brought my go-to foundation, brow gel, and eyeliner so she could get a sense of what I like (texture, color, application method). While you should almost always take advice from the expert, express your non-negotiables. The riskiest areas are your foundation and brows, so make clear what you're looking for. 

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After my trial! 

After my trial! 

This has always been hard for me. I've gotten some truly heinous haircuts in my life and sat in the chair saying how much I loved it. When it comes to your wedding, you don't want to take the risk, so be open with your artist in a kind, productive way. I was 90% happy with my makeup trial, but I asked for our next time to have less matte shadow on the eye (I love a nice shimmer), for the lashes to stay in the corners rather than using a full band, and for a bit more blush for a natural, flushed look. If you're honest throughout the trial, you're more likely to walk away happy and with fewer, more clear critiques for the final look. The wedding look is a true collaboration, and your makeup artist wants me to be happy with it as much as you do! 

Beauty is incredibly personal, and your wedding even more so. Be sure to make your voice heard, stick to what you love and your budget, and enjoy being pampered for your big day! Then, the rest will simply fall into place. 

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