Wedding Planning: Make-up

Wedding Planning: Make-up

Here’s the question: Do I need a make-up artist for my wedding day?

I’m already planning to have my hair done (my hair being impossibly fine and curly and in much need of a professional taming). I think I’m pretty good at doing my own make-up. Do I need a $150 make-up pro to come in before the wedding? Or could I put half that toward new cosmetics to just apply myself?

What do you think? What were your experiences with wedding make-up?

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There are 28 comments for this article
  1. Nicole at 8:58 pm

    I would recommend it. I think a professional makeup job (if you get the right person) is well worth the money. I have had a couple friends with makeup training do their own, but I think it is worth the small cost on your big day.

  2. Jessica at 9:05 pm

    I’d say it’s a toss up. I had a friend do mine- she worked for Clinique for years and had just moved on to Dior. But I’m absolutely a novice when it comes to makeup, and can’t even apply my own eyeliner.

  3. Anonymous at 9:07 pm

    I think it’s well worth it to have a professional do your makeup on your wedding day. He/she will know how to “set” your makeup so it stays on all day, and also so it looks great in photos.

    If you go to a makeup counter or store, such as Sephora, and someone gives you a makeover that you like, you might ask that person if they freelance and are available to do makeup for your wedding.

  4. ashlynn at 9:55 pm

    If you wear make-up everyday I say hire someone. I hired someone for my wedding day & I didn’t have to worry at all. I never wear lipstick & she put on a dark purpley color on me … I was wiping it off all the way to the event. So if you do it, make sure they know your style even on your wedding day!

  5. Beulah Sorensen at 9:55 pm

    Anonymous had it right on the money. The professional can adjust your makeup so it’s perfect for the photographs, which is a tricky business, indeed. You don’t want to end up ghostly white (or in my case, white-ER) or completely without eyes (long line of squinters, we are).

  6. anne at 9:59 pm

    I had a friend do mine – she likes doing that kind of stuff, and we just went together to the Bobbi Brown counter a few weeks beforehand and she watched what they did. I bought the make-up and she applied. Perfect! Plus it was kind of fun having her do it. 🙂

  7. Christine at 10:01 pm

    Definitely, definitely! The lady who did my makeup for our wedding made me so much more beautiful than I could have made myself. Think of the difference between doing your own hair vs having it done! I would recommend doing a “practice run” first, though!
    ps. You feel like such a superstar getting your makeup done, too– well worth it =)

  8. MissScientistSF at 10:34 pm

    I am gonna have to be the voice of dissent. I have seen a lot of brides come out looking nothing like what they normal do, thanks to an overzealous makeup artist. I think you know what works best for you and can splurge on some extras that will last longer for the photos, etc. You should be comfortable and looking like you, not stressed out and with two tons of cake powder. Just my opinion. Depends on the formality of the event too, I suppose. Maybe go and have a makeover at one of the counters and buy all the goodies they recommend.. best of both worlds?

  9. About at 10:35 pm

    I would highly recommend a professional…I didn’t have to retouch or worry about a thing all day long—WELL worth every single penny. (Plus she did something that made my eyes look so much bigger and my skin all glowy!)
    P.S. Am loving your blog!

  10. Sara at 10:40 pm

    add me to the voice of dissent, i did my own (after a makeup trial at MAC), along with my own hair (which in my case is curly and easy). It was part necessity, I was married on an Island and didn’t want to pick from the few people available there , but also I wanted control over how I looked.
    I liked the MAC thing, I got advice on the colors and which foundation was right so I didn’t look funny in photos, but I got to apply it how I wanted it. And I both saved money and got to keep the stuff afterwards.
    I think if you are a person who likes having control and things the way you want it, and you are capable of DIY then you should.

  11. Haley v. at 10:48 pm

    You would think Jean and I used to be roomies or something…I totally agree with her. I think I’d go to my favorite makeup counter, talk out some goals, and then take good notes. Spend 1/2 the money on the makeup and look like yourself on the big day. How exciting!

  12. Miche at 11:40 pm

    I am in the ‘do it yourself’ category. I had a Bobbi Brown makeover, as well, bought the products (which omg i still have 6 yrs later. ew?) and did it on my own. I did a fine job and felt like myself and my husband appreciated that. Someone should have told me to reapply my lipstick before getting my photos taken, though :/

  13. Aviva at 12:08 am

    I do my own makeup regularly and am quite experienced at it — but was still very happy to have hired someone to do it for me the day of my wedding. A good one will help you look like yourself, just better (and perfect in your pictures). My best advice to make sure that you don’t hate how you look is to do a trial with them first (schedule it on a day when you have an excuse to be made up extensively), most people will do this for a greatly reduced rate and it’s key for making sure you are happy. I’d recommend mine but she only does East Bay weddings now.

    good luck!

  14. Sarah at 12:15 am

    I say have your makeup done. An experienced professional really can make you look even better in photos. For sure do a run-through beforehand.

  15. atlanta social at 12:43 am

    In my case it was totally worth it. Plus, when they want to put more make-up on you, it is for photos, so let them. Highly recommend.

  16. Danielle at 1:59 am

    I also recommend having it done professionally. I know for my wedding day that was half the fun and it makes such a big difference in pictures. I thought I had so much on but when I look back at the pictures now I do look like myself.

    I think a trial is necessary though. I did my trial for my shower (wasn’t a surprise) and there were a few tweaks that had to be made for the wedding.

    You can see my pics here:

  17. Ruth at 5:22 am

    Ach. ‘Twas 7 years ago now that I wed. So take the following as relevant or not. But I researched and practiced and did my own makeup. I have nothing against a lot of makeup, but I wanted it placed where I wanted it and had never had a satisfactory experience with a makeup artist. And let me just say that knowing how to really do your own make up, the right way, is a valuable life skill that has served me well. Good luck!

  18. Beth at 12:04 pm

    I have to say I had a professional do my make-up and it looked very similar to what I could have done myself. I’d vote for getting new supplies, practicing a couple of times, and doing it on your own. Besides, its just one less appointment to get frazzled over on the big day.

  19. Stine at 1:05 pm

    I’m not a big makeup person and feel fine doing my own, but I’m so glad I had a professional help me. I think my pictures turned out much better. As for the people who say you don’t look like your every day self, this is somewhat true. But you likely are already not looking like yourself – how many days do you put on a big white dress and carry a sheaf of flowers around? The pictures last forever and you’re going to appreciate someone who will be able to enhance your good features in those pictures!
    If you don’t want to spend $150, check with some of your favorite people at the makeup counter you use. They may be willing to do it for substantially less.

  20. amanda at 1:45 pm

    I had a really bad experience with my trial-run with my makeup artist so I bagged her and went to the makeup counter at Nordstrom and had someone show me how to do exactly what I wanted. Then I just bought all of the stuff and practiced several times.

    Don’t forget to give yourself plenty of time to get ready (including time for interruptions from family and friends) on the wedding day, if you do decide to do your own.

  21. kaili at 2:14 pm

    I absolutley think that you should go with the professional – but would go with the freelance girls from your favourite makeup counter. I had someone from stila come to my apartment the day of the wedding and she only charged $60. Conversely, you could probably also make arrangements with then to go to the counter if it’s only you. MAC does it for $40 in purchases…good luck!

  22. Katie at 3:17 pm

    I say you should just go for it yourself. If you feel like you’re up to it you should save the $150 and spend it somewhere else.

    This is exactly the kind of thing that the wedding industry makes brides think the NEED to have, when really they can get away without it.

  23. Anne at 3:21 pm

    I did my own too. The only thing was it took me a long time to find a lipstick I liked. I ended up going with the Maybelline superstay. It was fun. But I also like makeup and feel pretty comfortable with applying it.

    I would say, just depends on how much time & money you have.

    I have a couple of friends who got their makeup done this summer for their weddings and it did look pretty nice.

    Makeup for cameras and makeup for daily is totally different! So I would research that a little if you do decide to go it alone.

  24. Adrienne at 3:23 pm

    I’ll add my voice of dissent as well. I did my own makeup (March 3) for two reasons: (1) I did not have a lot of extra money to spend, (2) IRL, I hardly wear any makeup. So if I showed up to my wedding wearing foundation, concealer, etc., I would not look like myself and would have felt very uncomfortable. So I read fashion magazines and practiced several times beforehand and it turned out great! I have no regrets.

    My friend hired someone for her wedding day but brought her own makeup so she knew the shades would match – that’s an option, too.

    $150 could go a long way for something else – shoes, jewelry, rehearsal dinner dress, honeymoon clothes, etc. It’s all up to you and how comfortable you are. If you decide to DIY, then make sure you have powder on hand to touch up before the portraits. Also if you get a good long-wearing lipstick (MAC Pro Longwear), you’ll never have to reapply it. Good luck!

  25. Abbie at 3:48 pm

    Adding my vote to “get a professional.” Getting my makeup and hair done was the only time that I sat down and just talked with my bridesmaids all day. It was one less thing I had to worry about (if I had done it myself it would have been a rush job right before the wedding). And, as others said, she knew exactly the right amount/colors to look natural in person and amazing in photos. Definitely do a trial run before you hire someone though.

  26. Tonia Conger at 7:56 pm

    I had mine done and it was worth it. It’s just one less thing you have to worry about on that day. What’s $150 more when you’re looking at the entire wedding budget anyway, right? Do it!!!
    PLUS, I’d recommend using false lashes. They look really fun and dramatic and it’s so much easier to have a professional apply them and the makeup that goes with them.

  27. Magdalena at 4:12 pm

    Save your money for something else, I did my make-up on my own and I think the result was good even though I’m not wearing heaps of make-up every day. I went to a make-up artist a month before the wedding and had her give me advice and show me how to do. That was a lot cheaper and I was a happy bride even though my make-up wasn’t professional!