Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Lights, Camera, Makeup!

Coming from a person who rarely wears it, my wedding makeup wasn’t first and foremost on my mind the  minute I got engaged (every time I put on mascara I get a big “You look nice!” from my husband). Sure, I knew I wanted someone to do my makeup, but that could wait, right?

Wrong. In fact, trying my first (of two) makeup artists was the second thing I did in planning, right after hiring a photographer. You see, with eight months to plan a wedding, I didn’t have much time to find an artist. Indeed, my planner (Ms. Heather herself) was very clear (unlike the makeup I’d be wearing, get it?) that makeup was something that needed to be begun ASAP. So, like any dutiful bride, I started on that task about two weeks into planning. My mother thought I was nuts (when doesn’t she?), but, when I settled on a makeup artist less than six weeks before our wedding, she and I both realized the truth behind Heather’s words.

One of the first questions HJ Planners asks every bride is whether she plans on having a makeup artist apply her makeup on her big day. In fact, the swiftness with which we ask this question – at our first meeting – often takes many brides by surprise and usually leads to more than a few follow up questions.

We ask this very important question as soon as possible because finding the right makeup artist is a trial-and-error process, and one that takes a long, long time to get right. It’s not unusual for a bride to try two or more artists before finding “the one” for her (“The one,” get it? I’m full of these today!), and it’s also not unusual for this process to take many, many months. Yup, months, solely because scheduling times for everyone to meet can be quite tricky.

Before delving into how to search for a makeup artist, I want to talk about why makeup is such an important part of a wedding ensemble. In essence, the importance of makeup stems from its BFF-type relationship with photographs: good makeup = good pictures.

Makeup helps a bride look healthy and happy on her wedding day. Of course, many brides are exactly those two things as they walk down the aisle, but, unfortunately, unadorned skin doesn’t translate this fact into photographs very well, be those photographs black and white or color. Makeup, therefore, is a completely selfish aspect of a wedding: it helps the bride like how she looks in photographs.

The two rules about wedding day makeup are that 1) a bride must always wear more of it than she normally would and 2) she must feel comfortable with how it looks. Implementing these two rules requires the trial-and-error process mentioned above.

Searching for a makeup artist is not difficult, but finding one to try is. There are numerous artists out there who specialize in or do side-work (meaning they work at a makeup counter, for a stylist or at a salon during the week) applying wedding makeup on the weekends. Some considerations when interviewing artists:

Cost: how much does the artist charge for a trial-run? Can this cost be applied to the charges for the day of your wedding if you decide to hire the artist? How and when must payment for the day of be made? Does the artist charge for traveling?  

Products: what products does the artist use? How does she handle brides with your sensitive, dry, etc., skin? Is the artist willing to use any products that you absolutely love instead of something he or she uses all the time? (i.e., if you just love your mascara, make sure that the artist is willing to use yours instead of theirs.)

Time: how long does it take the artist to do a trial run? Is that the same amount of time it takes for him/her to do your makeup on the day of your wedding? If not, what are the times he or she allocates to a bride’s makeup on the day of?

Party size: is the artist willing to travel to apply just the bride’s makeup? If not, what is the minimum party size that he or she requires to travel to a location?

Cleanliness: how often does the artist use/re-use brushes and other application instruments prior to cleaning them? Here, ideally the answer is “never” or “we use disposable brushes.” The latter, I must admit, is rare. However, the goal is to have an artist show that they care about cleanliness; if an artist is stumped by this question, consider moving on.

Also, don’t be afraid to go it alone. A bride often knows her face, makeup style and skin type the best. Therefore, if you’re willing to dedicate a few afternoons to trying out your current makeup or making a trip to makeup counters to try new products, you might be able to apply your makeup yourself. The rule that applies in this instance is to never buy new products until trying them first – after all, makeup is part of the wedding budget!