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How to prep for your makeup artist on your wedding day.

Updated: Nov 18, 2023

Wedding mornings can set the tone for the whole day. Good preparation can change the vibe from potentially chaotic to calm. Here are a few ways to keep the chaos away.

Tip #1 - Schedule a little cushion in your timeline.

My rule of thumb is that the bride is never last in the makeup chair. We don't want to be stressed for time or have a million people asking questions while the bride is getting ready. It should be the last moment of calm before the whirlwind of the rest of the day. Allow her to be pampered and take a moment to let it all sink in.

I typically schedule arrival time about 20minutes before I need to start to find the room and get set up. It is a good idea to assign someone to receive the hair and makeup artists and show them where to go.

Timeline varies per artist, but for my weddings, I run 25-35 minutes per bridesmaid/mom and 35-45 minutes for the bride. Have the next person on the list ready to go 15 minutes early to keep the day flowing just in case we are running ahead.

Tip #2 - Clean and dry faces are the best canvas.

It is important for every person that is getting makeup done to be ready BEFORE their appointment time. This includes having a clean, dry face to work with. I can't tell you how many times I've called for the next person, then have to wait for them to go wash off their makeup from the night before. Just a few minutes here and there can add up quickly.

Tip #3 - Tell everyone to bring inspiration photos!

There is a huge range of styles for makeup. Your version of a "smokey eye" might just be a bit of liner smudged on the lash line. Pretty far from a true smokey eye with back shadow isn't it? Having a photo to start from really helps get us on the same page. Your artist can help you pick apart what you like about the photo and how it will translate to your face shape, skin type, etc.

Tip #4 - Buy the same lip from your trial to touch up with.

No matter what we do to waterproof your lip, it will wear down throughout the day. You'll be eating and smooching all day so having something to touch up with will make you look your best in photos alllll day. Discuss with your artist during the trial and take a photo so you can buy your own!

Tip #5 - Speaking of trials, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE ONE!

Trials are the best way to get on the same page with your artist. Bring inspo photos and discuss what direction you want go. This is your chance to speak up about what you do and don't like, so don't be shy! We can't change anything if we don't know that it's bothering you. I promise, you can't hurt our feelings, we just want to make you happy.

You absolutely need a trial. If you are coming from out of town, sometimes we can do the trial the night before for rehearsal. Having a time to discuss with your artist in a low stress environment without a time crunch will ensure you get what you want. It also gives you time to sit with the makeup and think about it. Maybe what you loved at the trial looks slightly different on camera (this is a real thing, take photos of your trial) and you want to make adjustments. Totally fine! Or maybe there was something you didn't love but couldn't put your finger on it while you were with the artist. That's why trials are so important!

After your trial, take selfies in different lighting situations and take notes for your artist. Inside, outside, bathroom, flash, all of it. You typically need more makeup than you think to register on camera. Kind of crappy for the brides that want light and natural, I know. But I was a wedding photographer for a decade and know what looks best on camera, so trust me and I won't steer you wrong.

Tip #6 - Drink lots of water during wedding week.

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Tip #7 - Take care of your skin.

There is really no way to truly hide texture. The best route is to take care of your skin in the months leading up to the big day. See a dermatologist for any serious issues and an aesthetician to get your skin glowing. Regular facials can make a world of difference with how your makeup sits.

Another way to create a smoother surface to apply makeup to is to have a dermaplane done prior to get rid of dead skin and peach fuzz. This is truly the easiest way to up your makeup game.

Tip #8 - Consider lash extensions.

There are pros and cons to having lash extensions on your wedding day. Talk to your artist about the details.

One of the biggest things to consider is timing for your fill prior to the wedding. Wedding week is going to be busy, but you definitely want it to be within a week of the wedding. Closer if you are leaving for honey moon after. Another thing to consider is that your makeup artist will be using a lot of products to waterproof your makeup as much as possible. Oil based products are needed to remove waterproof makeup. Oil and lashes don't mix, so you'll have to be extra careful around the eyes and do a lash bath right after to remove oils.

Also, your lash extensions will look amazing with no effort straight out of bed every day so that's obviously a huge plus. Most makeup artists carry an arsenal of strip lashes to choose from as well as individual lashes, so the choice is yours.

Tip #9 - Have appropriate getting ready space.

A couple of ways to make your makeup artist love you:

-Have a tall chair ready to go. It's a long day for your artist (and their back!) and tall chairs really help with comfort.

-Natural light is best if possible. Don't worry if this doesn't work out, I bring my own lighting too.

-Counter space! Ideally 2' x 3' of counter space would be great. I've worked in some cramped, crazy spots, so we can definitely make anything work, but it is so much easier when we have room to work.

-Don't forget outlets! Airbrush and lighting need outlets. I bring a small extension cord, but don't want to be a trip hazard. Your hair artists will also need similar accomodations, but usually prefer a shorter chair.

Communication is key.

Your artist doesn't know what you don't tell them, so find someone you are comfortable with and trust so you can relax and have one less thing to worry about.

Have questions or tips you've learned to add to the list? Let me know!

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