I’ve been married exactly zero times, so you may be wondering why I’m offering any advice for planning a wedding. I’ve been a bridesmaid about a zillion times and I’ve done makeup for weddings even more than that!  Weddings are fun. Planning them…less so.

The one area to which I can add guidance is the beauty & makeup department.  In this article, I’m going to give you a timeline and advice for each step of the process. At the end, there’s even a Beauty Checklist you can download and add to your wedding planning file! Nifty, huh?

1. You’re engaged, congrats!

Now what? Most people will agree that the order of decisions goes something like this; Date, Venue, Photographer/Videographer, Music…..etc. I would recommend throwing Makeup & Hair in there as soon as possible.  Although there are many makeup artists, the one/s you like might be sought after and if you leave it too late, you might not get a booking. I’d say the latest you should book your Makeup Artist is 6 months before the wedding.

2. How to find a Makeup Artist

Step one; ask your mates. Perhaps they’re recently married or they work in the industry or they know someone from events. Even if you don’t think they’ll know someone, try! You’d be surprised by how many people have secret makeup artists lying around!

Before Google and facebook, I would recommend emailing talent agencies and asking if any of their artists do weddings and are available. Hint; we all do and if you’re early enough, we will be available!  By doing this, you are getting in touch with professional makeup artists who work for magazines and international clients.  We’ve worked on all skin types, tones and ethnicities. We’re trained to work quickly, professionally and take stress in our stride.

Once you’ve done the asking and the searching, you should have a list of MUA’s you like.  Now to narrow them down and find The One.

3. How to find YOUR makeup artist

Start by setting your budget for makeup and hair. Work out how many bridesmaids you’ll have, which moms will want their makeup done and perhaps an aunty or two. It doesn’t have to be final, but it’ll give you a good idea of your budget.

Set your budget realistically; don’t overextend yourself but also be aware that the rates will be more than getting your face beat at a makeup counter.

Look at the MUA’s websites, facebook pages and instagrams. Read their blog. Watch their youtube videos. Ask yourself these questions;

  • Do they have a good selection of the type of makeup look you want for your wedding?
  • Have they worked on skin similar to yours?
  • Do they have a variety of models in their book – age, ethnicity etc?
  • Are there photos over photoshopped or facetuned?
  • Are they a professional makeup artist or an influencer?
  • Do you like their vibe?

Remember that long-lasting makeup does not mean lots of makeup.  I use layers of creams and stains to create a perfect and long-lasting look.  Your MUA will also need to find that delicate balance between seeing the makeup look in person (people should recognise you!) and it translating into a beautiful photograph.  The look has to work in natural and ambient light as well as flash.

This should narrow your search somewhat so now you just need to email them requesting rates and availability.  You might get a range in prices and the most expensive doesn’t always mean the best. However if the price seems too good to be true, it might just well be! Makeup is not where you want to save bucks on your wedding. It’s your face. It’ll be in photos. Get the best you can afford.

4. The trial

Do I recommend a trial? Abso-bloodly-lutely! Do the trial as soon as you’ve decided on your makeup artist. Maybe you’re undecided between two MUAs? Do a trial with each. It’ll be worth it, I swear.  There will be a nominal charge for the trial (just to cover product costs) and most MUAs will do the trial in the evening or during the weekend at their home.

Before the trial, send the MUA some reference pics of the look you’re hoping to achieve. Look for reference pictures of people with the same skin as yours, perhaps around the same age and with the same hair colour.  This really helps us plan and prep.  If you have a photo of yourself that you love and everyone has commented on, send that too.

If you’re thinking about getting a fake tan for the wedding, please do this for the trial too. You wouldn’t believe the difference a spray tan can make to the overall look and makeup would need to be adjusted to suit it.

When you arrive for the actual trial, I usually make some tea and coffee and we’ll chat for a little about what you’re hoping for and how I can make that happen. I ask my brides to wear a white shirt to the trial (or whatever colour your dress will be) as this gives a better idea of the final look.  Also, bring any accessories you’ll be using in your hair.  I like to schedule 45mins to an hour for the trial as well as makeup on the day.

After the trial, I send the bride a face chart that lists the products I’ve used on her face as well as photos I took of the look we created. I also recommend using this opportunity to really wear the look so that you can see how long it lasts. Go out for a drink with the girls and get them to take lots of pics in all kinds of lighting.  You want to feel comfortable, it needs to last and it needs to show up in photographs. Even a natural look takes some work.

I also offer the option of creating a touch-up kit for the wedding day, which just means you have one less thing to worry about 😉

5. The lead up to The Big Day

I wouldn’t recommend a drastic skincare change months before the wedding but at least 10 months before you do need to start taking some extra care.  If you’re not already using a broad spectrum SPF50 (or higher) every day….get on it, girl! Nothing is better for your skin than preventing sun damage.

Also, make sure your skin is hydrated, your diet is clean to prevent breakouts and if heaven forbid, you do get some pimples….please don’t pick at them. Just trust mamma on this, munchkins.

Monthly facials are amazing but could be out of your price range (like me!) so don’t forget about facial massages. Seriously underrated and overlooked, facial massage is relaxing and toning.  They’re cheap too because you do it yourself, at home, using essential oils.

If you’re planning a hair cut, go for a trim about 1-2 months before the wedding, depending on how quickly your hair grows.

And please, if you change your mind about your makeup look or decide that perhaps you do want false lashes, after all, let you MUA know.  Sooner rather than later. Pretty please.

6. The day before

Jeepers, things are getting exciting! You’ve survived the aunties, deciding on cake flavours and you’ve even found a meal for your vegan cousin. You are a strong, independent woman and you have organised the sh*t outta this wedding. You go, girl!  Now’s the time to do a little pamper session.

Wash your hair the night before and give it a blow-dry. Unless your MUA/Hairstylist has told you otherwise, this is usually the best route to go. Don’t add any product to your hair.

Clean your face but lay off the exfoliators. Be gentle.  Use a hydrating face mask (one that you’ve tested before and you know is gentle and effective) and take a moment to chill.  Maybe there’s a glass of wine (only one!). If it were me, I know that there would be a foot rub too.

If you’re staying somewhere other than home for the night, take your pillow, maybe a candle you like the smell of and some camomile tea. This will relax you and make you feel a bit more settled so that you get a good nights sleep.

7. The Big Day

Well cover me in honey and call me a lollipop! We’ve made it. By now you should have enjoyed breakfast, your bridesmaids have confiscated your phone and the butterflies have settled in. Enjoy it.

Before makeup starts, you’ll want to clean your face gently and use a light moisturiser. Maybe a little facial massage or use a jade roller to tone the face one last time.

Everyone arrives for the Getting Ready portion of the day.  You and the MUA have decided on a schedule so you can really relax and enjoy this special time.  The bridesmaids have the touch-up kit in their bags with some tissues and maybe blotting paper.

Here’s what I tell each and every bride once they’re in my chair; Relax and enjoy the moment. From here it’s into the dress and down the aisle, so take a breath and remember that you’re surrounded by people who love you and are here to celebrate with you.  This day goes so quickly, so take a moment with your partner to step aside and take in everything you have created together and the love that surrounds you.

(I’m not crying, you’re crying!  Who has those tissues?)

Remember that your MUA is there for you and will do whatever she/he can do to make you happy. So don’t keep quiet if something isn’t quite right or is bothering you.  We’re not precious; we want you to feel flawless and confident.

As promised, here is the Wedding Beauty Checklist I created to make your life easier 🙂

DOWNLOAD HERE: Wedding Beauty Checklist or drag and drop below.


You’re welcome!