When I tell people that I’m a bridal makeup artist, I get a lot of the same replies: “Oh how fun! Playing with makeup all day”, “Must be cool to meet brides from all over the country!”, and “I wish I could just play with makeup for a living”. While all of these are great perks to the job, my goal is to create an experience, not just apply makeup. Take a look at some of the steps I take to ensure the best possible experience for my clients:
I’ve done a previous blog post about some of my favorite Vermont venues. I figured it was time for round two! If you’re planning your Vermont wedding, I suggest taking a peek at these amazing places- all located in the beautiful town of Manchester, Vermont. Manchester is a convenient location for destination couples coming from the Boston or NYC area. Less than 3 hours from the heart of Boston!
This is a scary time in the world, and even scarier for those who have weddings coming up in April, May, and even June of 2020. You spent countless hours (and money!) on booking your dream vendors. If you are in the boat of having to reschedule your date, here are some tips to help!
PC: Amelia Marie Photography
There are SO many options to choose from when selecting your wedding photographer. Some edit in styles that are dark and moody, and others edit their work to be light and airy. Whatever your aesthetic may be in a photographer, your makeup should still stand out! Let's chat some more about this:
1- Lights, Camera, Color: If your wedding makeup style is going to be a light, peachy, romantic look, you should know that you may need to go a bit deeper with tones than you think! If your photographer's style is light & airy, the already light peachy tones will be washed out, and may not show up well in photos. Using a cream blush AND powder blush with deeper peach tones will help ensure it shows through in photographs. If the photographer's style is deep & moody, we may need to take those peach tones down a bit, because they will likely be enhanced by the saturation that the photographer uses to edit. It's all about color play!
2- Tones & Layers: Another thing to look at with how photographer's edit, is what under tones and tones they apply. This means, do they have a more golden/ yellow edit style, black and white style, pink, etc. Once we know that, selecting colors like: eyes, lips, and cheeks can change a bit! Previously, I've applied a mauve lip, and had the photos come back showing up almost as an ORANGE lip. This photographer's style was very heavily saturated with a gold / yellow tone. Layering blushes and lip products can help us to achieve the perfect outcome that will photograph as the color YOU want.
3- Considerations: If your photographer's style is light and airy, be prepared to have on a bit more blush and dimension on your skin than you might be used to. Of course, there is a fine balance with looking good in person AND in photos; that's my job as a Pro MUA to make sure this happens! As an artist, I just don't want to see you looking washed out or pale in your photos. Dimension, depth, and color can help ensure this doesn't happen. On the contrary, if your photographer is the moodier style, and you want a dramatic look, I might suggest toning it back to a neutral level because in heavily saturated pictures, it will appear deeper & darker.
To wrap it all up, it's all about communication and your vision. I want to know how YOU want to look in your photographs, and what colors will suit you and your wedding style. I will take the time to review your photographers edits, and make suggestions for you. That's my job as an artist and professional! Let's create some magic. XO.
This photo is a great example of light, pinky makeup tones brought out enough to stand out in a lighter/ airy style of editing. This is three layers of cream blush, two powder blushes, and light contour shades. It appears very natural and romantic, while still standing out enough to provide dimension and depth to the face.
Photo by: Rodeo & Co Photography // Hair: Down the Aisle Upstyles // Gown: Everthine Bridal Boutique
For some brides, selecting their overall "look" is a piece of cake. It's something they've envisioned since they were five years old. For others, it's a huge challenge. Hair up or down? Red lip or neutral lip? Let's break down some factors that each play an important role in choosing your look:
1) Overall Theme: The biggest question to ask yourself is what is your theme/ color palette/ vibe of your wedding? Your look should play a big factor in matching, or being cohesive with this. For example, a Roaring 20's themed wedding could include a red lip, lashes, blusher, and finger waves shaping your face. So really think about what your overall style is and how it can blend with the wedding as an entirety.
2) Dress Style: Once you have your dress picked out, your hair and makeup style should compliment how it fits you. If you have an elegant, lace covered back, perhaps having your hair up to show it off would be best. If your dress has a lot of texture and detailing on it, a simple, clean makeup look would best show it off, and not overwhelm the look.
3) Your Comfort Level: Some people are very confident wearing a more dramatic makeup look, whereas others want a very simplistic look. This often depends on what you wear day-to-day. A key reason why trial runs are important! I always ask what you wear daily to gauge your comfort level with products. Feeling and looking like yourself on such a big day is necessary!
4) A Timeless Look: While makeup trends come and go, photos are forever! When choosing your look, keep that in mind! Will your look be timeless in years to come? A dramatic winged liner might be trending right now, but will it still be fifteen years from now? I'm not saying to not have fun with your look, but I encourage you to modify it to some extent so it remains elegant and timeless for years to come. Same goes for your hairstyle.
5) Combining Hair and Makeup: These two factors should again, COMPLIMENT each other. True professional hair and makeup artists will work together to create a cohesive and beautiful style for you. I encourage you to show each artist what you're thinking for makeup and for hair, or even better, do the trial runs together if possible! If you're wanting soft, romantic waves for your hair, you makeup artist should keep to that style; soft and romantic.
If you're still unsure of how you want to look, experiment! It's okay to do a couple of trial runs with your hair stylist and makeup artist. Or, try a few different lip colors at your trial run. At the end of the day, it's about YOU and what you're envisioning. My final plug: Remember that Pinterest photos can be a good reference point, BUT they are often over-edited, photo-shopped pictures done on models. Try to find reference images of someone that replicates your skin tone, hair color, face shape, and eye color. Lastly, remember to enjoy the process and have fun!
Photo by: Anne Mientka Photography // Hair by: Down the Aisle Upstyles // Florals: Nancy Bishop Floral // Venue: Inn at Manchester // Gown: Everthine
There is a lot of appeal in the idea of having to deal with one less wedding vendor! Often, brides think that hiring just one person who can do both hair and makeup can save them money on a travel fee, and make the morning go more smoothly. Here are a few reasons why you should hire TWO separate artists (or more!):
PC: Hannah Photography / Hair: Down The Aisle Upstyles
Creating a wedding budget is stressful; plain and simple! Determining what's important, what costs the most, what's negotiable, what's not... the list goes on. Often, bridal makeup and hair are one of the last things booked for the big day. Sometimes, seeing bridal makeup and hair rates can be startling. Let me break down some factors that come into play when we determine our pricing:
1- Education/ Marketing: Depending on state regulations, hair and makeup artists have to become licensed. The average cost of cosmetology school in the United States is $17,000 (average taken per capital). If a license isn't required, like in Vermont for makeup, reputable artists will still seek out some type of education. Marketing is also important for businesses! Facebook ads, Google ads, website domains, WeddingWire, etc all add up! So, on average, each artist is spending thousands of dollars towards classes, schooling and marketing. Let's call it an average of $15,000 for the first year, and $6,000 on years after the license/school is paid for.
2- Inventory/ Kit: Probably the most obvious cost for H/MUA's would be the cost of their kit! A professional kit takes a long time to build up and perfect. I am always adding and changing things out, too! I could create an itemized list of all the products and tools I carry, but this blog would turn into a few pages long! For quick cost examples: $80 eye shadow palette, $45 foundation bottle, $65 moisturizer, $21 eyeliner, $50 brush. Now, multiple those by a few shade ranges and styles! And remember, makeup expires! We have to replace items every single year, or multiple times a year to keep items fresh. Let's call the kit cost an average of $6,500 to build, and $3,000 on re-stocks and upgrades for each year after.
3- Insurance/ Taxes: No, we don't just play with makeup and hair for fun! We, like any other business, pay taxes and carry insurance. The government cuts us no breaks on being small businesses. On average, I pay thousands per year into taxes and insurance. Gotta keep the IRS happy! Depending on the size of the business, average cost can vary, but let's say it's $6,000 annually for these.
4- Travel: The majority of makeup and hair folks travel onsite for events/ weddings. That's part of what makes our jobs a luxury experience for our clients! Sometimes the commute can be ten minutes, other times, it's five hours. Travel fees apply because you're paying for our time in the car, the gas to go into the car, and the maintenance on our vehicles. After all, we need reliable transportation! According to the Huffpost, the average american spends $2,000 on gas alone each year. Add on car maintenance, and we're talking around $3,200 annually.
5- "Office Time": For lack of better terms, I'm calling "office time" the time spent on our computers updating our websites, marketing on social media, answering emails, scheduling client phone calls, etc. This is the business side of things! Every quote we create, contract we send out, question we answer is our office time and calculated appropriately into our rates. I personally love the customer service/ office side of things just as much as applying makeup, but it's still work, no matter how much I enjoy it! I usually spend about 20-25 hours a week on office tasks. Apply Vermont minimum wage, and that's about $14,000 a year I should be getting paid.
6- Application Time: The part where we actually apply makeup or style hair!! Crazy, right? When all is said and done, this is actually a small portion of our job! This is typically a 3-6 hour time slot, depending on how many bridesmaids/ mothers we are glamming up. Remember, we also have loads of stuff we bring with us that we have to carry in, set up, break down, and carry out again. (Kit, chair, table, lighting system, etc!)
7- The Cleanup: After we leave the venue and get home, we don't just kick up our feet and relax with wine (well not right away!). The kit has to be cleaned out, re-sanitized, and TONS of brushes have to get deep cleaned. On average, I spend around 2 hours post-wedding doing this.
So, with all of those pieces broken down, let's add up some of the total costs/ payments: Education, kit, travel, office time, application, and cleanup: ALMOST $45,000 for year one, and around $28,000 for years after (take out the schooling license and kit startup cost).
If you see an artist charging $50 a face, please realize that they are likely not paying taxes, carrying insurance, or offering the best quality products on the market. You truly get what you pay for! As much fun as this job is, I still have a house to pay for, pets to feed, and bills each month, too. Now when you start getting bridal makeup/hair quotes that seem expensive, please note ALL of the factors that go into setting our rates.
(I based these rates on Vermont, and working as an individual freelance artist, not a bridal team or salon).
When you think of getting your makeup professionally done, you may imagine J-Lo or another celebrity sitting in a big directors chair chatting on their phone, eating a snack, sipping a drink, and having tons of people clustered around them. Well, for brides, I try to provide the opposite experience! Here are some tips and things to think about for your big day:
1- Timing: Before you even sit in my chair, ensure that you and your bridal party know the timeline for the day. In order to keep things on time, people have to BE on time. This also means that each person receiving makeup should come to me with a clean, makeup-free face. If I have to remove last nights makeup, that tacks on an additional 5+ minutes to their time slot. If things start on time, the day is much more likely to run smoothly!
2- Cell Phones: This is probably the biggest offender! I completely understand that wedding mornings can be hectic and fast paced. However, every time you have to answer a call or text, that adds on unnecessary time to your appointment, and runs the risk of us falling behind schedule. My suggestion is, designate your maid of honor or another trusted friend to be in charge of your phone while you get your makeup done. After all, you should be RELAXING and enjoying yourself while getting pampered! This goes for bridesmaids, too!
3- Vendor Interruptions: This is a touchy subject because, well, I AM a vendor! But, if you have the planner, florist, caterer, photographer, etc., interrupting our appointment time, well, you know by now- things will run behind! It's difficult because we each were hired for a specific job, and sometimes that means getting final approval from the bride. If you find vendors coming in and needing to chat, just let them know that you have X amount of time left in makeup, and then they can have your FULL attention. Of course, there are always exceptions to this! Something may need immediate attention, or the photographer might be there to capture you getting ready. I am always happy to share the space with those who are capturing this special time.
4- Bridesmaid Interruptions: Another touchy subject! Of course you should be enjoying your time getting ready with all your favorite gal pals. However, it makes my job difficult if you have to keep turning your head or getting up to see their hair, their nails, their snap chat, etc, etc. It's also a safety risk if I'm working around your eyes and you keep moving or turning your head abruptly. Try to take the time in my chair to reflect on the day ahead, and really soak it all up. I promise, their hair will still be there to look at after 30 minutes ;)
Wrapping things up, I just want you to enjoy your time in my chair and take a moment to breathe. Even though that one text, or that one vendor chat might not seem like a lot of time, it does add up. Unfortunately for makeup (and hair) folks, if the morning falls behind schedule, we are usually the scapegoat. Just keep in mind how stressful that rushed first look might be, or rushed group photos might be, all because of distractions. I try to build in an extra 15-30 minutes of "buffer" time, in case distractions come up, but you (and your bride tribes') cooperation is extremely helpful!
Planning a wedding can be a challenging, yet rewarding experience. Planning a wedding in another state or country can create a whole new level of challenges! Let me break down some tips to help get your special destination day planned:
1- Invest in a planner: Investing in a wedding planner can be an extremely helpful asset. Not only do they know timelines and coordination, but they will have a large list of trusted wedding vendors! If you're planning a destination wedding, hiring someone who is familiar with the area you're going to, and can provide local insight will help ease the whole process for you. A favorite Vermont planner of mine is harlowdahliaevents.com/.
2- Google Search: If a planner isn't in your budget, searching vendors on the world wide web can be extremely overwhelming. The biggest questions to ask yourself when searching are: Does this company have a website? Is this company active on social media platforms? Does the company have lots of reviews? Does the company list prices, or are they in my price range? In today's day and age, anyone can claim to be a florist, makeup artist, planner, etc. Do your research and look for lots of testimonials, pictures, etc. A clean, professional, and easy to navigate website are all important!
3- Social Media: Taking it one step further from #2, looking into social media platforms is huge. Again, ANYONE can create a Facebook or Instagram page. Be sure that the company has an actual business page, and not a personal one. Look at the quality of the content they're posting, and how active they are. Of course, there are exceptions of vendors who are top notch, but aren't on Facebook. Instagram in particular is a great way to see a quick visual portfolio. As a makeup artist, it's a great way for me to express and show my work off in a visually pleasing atmosphere. As you're looking over pages, you'll get a great idea of the style, talent, and tone of the vendor. Then ask yourself, can you see yourself or your big day presented on their page? Does your style match theirs? PS- search #hashtags relevant to what you're looking for; i.e., #vermontmakeupartist or #vermontweddingvenue
4- Wedding Wire/ The Knot: These two sites offer a wide range of vendors in an easy to use search function. My caution with these is that the companies who pay the most per month for their listing will be at the top of the search list. This doesn't always mean the ones paying the most are the best option. Take your time and scroll through the listings, click on website links, and even reach out for a phone call with the vendor. A great alternative to these, if you're looking in Vermont, is www.vermontweddings.com/. The layout of the site is easy to navigate, and since it's a local who runs it, she vets and screens the listings a bit better than Wedding Wire/ The Knot.
5- Vendor communication: Once you see what you like, reach out to that vendor with some questions! Don't just email or call saying "how much is this". Reach out and genuinely ask the questions you want answers to. Some great ones include: "What is your availability for X date in 202_", "We have X number of guests, can you accommodate that?", "Have you done weddings at X venue before?, If so, what was your experience?" Once you've sent your initial inquiry, see how long it takes that vendor to reply. It is guaranteed by me that I will reply within 24 hours. I always try for even less, though. If a vendor takes days or weeks to reply to your initial inquiry, that is a red flag. Granted, during peak wedding season, we all get very busy! However, clear and quick communication is a good sign that they know what's up.
6- Other vendor recommendations: Once you start booking some of your bigger vendors, like the venue or photographer, ask them if they can recommend a great hair stylist, makeup artist or DJ. Chances are, they will have a few in mind! Vermont is a relatively small knit community, and in general, everyone is happy to team up and work with or recommend other talented professionals.
7- When to start booking: There are many mixed opinions on this topic. The biggest things to keep in mind is, when is your wedding? Peak New England dates are May through October. If your date falls on a Saturday in October, chances are, you'll need to start the booking process a year to a year and a half in advance for ALL vendors. If your date is a Sunday in December, chances are, you can wait a bit longer as it's not a peak time of year or day of the week (at least for New England!). As a makeup artist, I've found a lot of brides reaching out 3-4 months prior to their wedding date wanting to book. I hate turning anyone away, but I always try to educate that a year or more is usually necessary, and will recommend some other great artists.
So that's it, folks! I hope these little pointers will help guide you to your dream team of wedding vendors. Happy booking!
With 2019 wedding season well under way, I'm noticing a few bridal makeup trends popping up. I'm also conducting a lot of trial runs for the 2020 season. Between the two, I am seeing some fun and inspiring looks come to life!
Skin looking like skin: The BIGGEST thing I am seeing right now is the request for skin to look and feel like skin. A lot of brides come to me who typically don't wear a ton of makeup in their daily life. Because of that, they're not wanting to feel or look totally different on their big day. Having a lightweight feeling on their wedding day is most important to them. I use a series of luxury skin preparation and techniques to blend the foundation and concealers perfectly into your skin.
More blush less contour: Don't get me wrong, contouring has the right time and place, but some people simply don't need a ton of it. They may have naturally carved out features that simply already accentuate their face. Adding more blush and less contour has come up a few times this season, and I love it! I think adding that rosy flush to create a supple and soft bridal look is one of the most elegant things to do. I use a combination of cream and powder blushes to achieve this desired look.
Statement lip color: Keeping the rest of the face simple, and adding a bold lip statement is popular with a lot of fall and winter weddings. Often, hints of red or burgundy to match the wedding color palette is requested. I think this is a great way to tie in your floral colors, or colors of your bridesmaid dresses. I have some great matte lip options to ensure the bold color stays put throughout the evening.
Lashes: Although many clients come to me having only worn false lashes once or twice, I always encourage them! I use brands that have a small, comfortable band on them, so you barely know they exist! Lashes make a huge difference in the overall finish and polished appearance of the look. Not only do they complete the look in person, they make the biggest difference in photographs. I will work with you to find the perfect ones to fit your style, face, and eye shape.
Hillary Fay, Vermont Makeup Artist.