Questions to Ask your Wedding Makeup Artist

25 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Makeup Artist for your Wedding!

The person you choose to provide your makeup services the day of your wedding will likely be spending several hours with you and your bridal party. Book an artist you feel comfortable with, that you communicate easily with and who you naturally find yourself trusting. The makeup artist’s first priority is to provide beautiful makeup in the style you want, but she should also offer some moral support, help to boost your confidence and calm your nerves in those last hours before you walk down the aisle. So here is a list of questions that you should ask most of, if not all, based on your needs and circumstances, to ensure you’re hiring a professional who will provide the level of services you deserve on your day.

1) How do I book you for my wedding date? Do you require a deposit? What about a contract?

Understand what the artist requires to secure your date on her book. Sometimes the deposit will be nominal, but most will require 25 – 50% of the total package of services. And be sure to get it all in writing, with receipts for each payment. A well-written contract will list the services being provided to each member of your bridal party with a schedule of appointment times. There should also be provisions made for unusual or unforeseen events like cancellation of the contract or illness on the wedding day. This gives you legal recourse to recover your funds if the artist does not provide the services as agreed. Be wary of any artist who does not provide a contract or does not want a deposit. There once was a time when all business could be done on a handshake, but for something this important, do you really want to risk it?

2) Will it be YOU at my wedding or another artist? What happens if you can’t make it on my day?

The artist who does your Trial Run or Preview Session should be the artist who does your makeup on your wedding day. This is the person you’ve discussed the details of your wishes and developed a report with. Some larger studios and salons will not give you that promise, so be sure to ask. Also ask what happens if that artist is unable to come on your wedding day. Any studio, salon or even free-lance artist worth booking will have a back-up plan.

3) How many weddings have you done? Do you normally work with brides?

Just as in any profession, makeup artists can “specialize” in any number of areas. Those who work with brides exclusively will understand their needs better than an artist who works with runway models or for print advertising. In addition to providing beautiful makeup in the style requested, a bridal artist must be mobile, be able to work with unpredictable lighting and space in various settings (hotel rooms or wedding venue dressing rooms), adhere to a tight schedule, and remain calm, relaxed and supportive for nervous brides experiencing the occasional pre-ceremony meltdown.

4) What is your background? Where did you learn to apply makeup?

While I do not believe that this is the most important question to ask, it should still be asked. After all, there are incredibly talented artists who have never set foot in a classroom! Overall, the artist’s portfolio or most recent work should weigh more heavily in your decision. But the answer to this question may give you insight into who this person is and whether you’ll “click” with them.

5) May I see your portfolio?

 Her portfolio will give you a good indication of her versatility and style. Are all the faces made up the same like a cookie-cutter, or has she brought out the best in each face? Will she follow your style requests and welcome input from you and your bridal party? After all, this day is about YOU, not her portfolio, career advancement or ego.

6) Do you have a website or blog?

 This is a good indication of the artist’s level of professionalism and dedication to her career. You will probably gain your first impression of the artist from online media, and so it should uninformative, complete and current. Any artist with photos of work she did in the 20th century on her site is not the artist you want on your wedding day.

7) May I call a few references?

This is probably the most forgotten or skipped step in hiring any wedding professional, not just makeup artists. If you’ve got good “people instincts”, you may choose to trust your judgment alone in order to save time making additional phone calls. But hearing feedback from previous bridal clients ensures this artist is working regularly in the bridal field. Ask for three references from the last 12 – 18 months and then be diligent about contacting them.

8) What do you charge?

While this shouldn’t be the only criteria you look at before hiring an artist, it must be considered, of course! Ask about packages that fit the size of your bridal party or if there’s a rate reduction with a certain size group. Also ask what’s included in that rate, such as product for touch-ups or if she stays through the ceremony.

9) What size of bridal party do you accommodate? How long will it take to get makeup for my bridal party of blank>?

If you have a large bridal party, this will be a very important question to ask. If you ceremony is at 11:00 AM and you have 8 attendants, be prepared to be out of bed early that day. Most artists will need a minimum of 30 minutes with each bridesmaid, to as much as an hour with the bride. Make sure you carefully plan enough time on the wedding day so that preparations are not rushed.

10) Can you duplicate makeup looks from pictures?

Not all artists are comfortable working from a picture, while others may insist you provide one. Just be sure the picture you provide is of a woman with similar bone structure and skin tone as yourself. Eye makeup styles that look great on large, almond-shaped eyes like Madonna’s will not look the same on smaller, round eyes like Katie Couric.

11) What methods of payment do you accept?

Make sure that you have the funds available for her preferred payment method and get a receipt for every installment. I accept major debit/credit cards, checks, and of course, cash.

12) What kinds/brands of products do you use? Is this makeup good for pictures or photography?

 You may not recognize the name brands used by pro artists, and that’s OK. What you’re really looking for is to exclude any artists who use one specific brand exclusively. As a professional who has used many, many brands, I can assure you that no single company does everything “right” for every person or situation. Select an artist who can change products to fit your needs and your skin. A bride having her morning wedding outdoors in July in Texas will need very different products than a bride in Chicago for her evening candlelit ceremony in January.

 13) How do I keep my makeup fresh for the whole day? How will the product wear? What color-matched products to touch up with?

This is another area where choice of products is so important, and having an artist that can tailor those products to fit your needs and skin. Professional products will stay fresh looking for many hours longer than most consumer-grade products. Many artists will also provide products for touch-ups at her cost or include it in her services.

 14) I have skin allergies or severe acne. Can you work with me? Do you airbrush? Can you contour my face? How about covering blemishes or my tattoo? Do you apply false lashes? Do you do wedding hair?

Based on your particular needs, you may want to ask some or all of these questions and I’ve listed them here as a group just to get your mind thinking these details……

 15) Do you charge a travel or location fee? How far do you travel for that fee? What other travel-related expenses will I need to cover? What will be the total cost of the services I want?

 Many artists will offer on-location makeup for your wedding day, but may require that you travel to their studio or salon for your Trial Run.As a freelancer, it is likely that you will have a Trial Run at your location of choice with travel and parking at your expense. Some artists tack on a“location fee” for any wedding venue, no matter the driving distance, while others include a range from their home or studio included in their service fee. Are you being quoted an hourly or per person rate for your bridal party? Either way (hourly or per person) is fine, but it’s best that you know so there are no surprises. Other fees or costs that may be extra or are deferred to the bride include parking at the hotel, covering large tattoos or providing products for touch-ups, after the artist has departed. Be sure to get a full list of what is, and is not, included in writing…or better yet, a signed contract.

16) What happens at the Trial Run or Preview Session? Do I come to you for this appointment? How much is the Trial or is it included in your services? How long will the Trial Run take? What is included in the Trial Run?

The Trial Run or Preview Session is so important to ensure that the makeup your artist provides on Your Day is everything that you want. It’s a good idea to take a camera with you to preserve the look she creates for you. But remember, no one ever shoots pictures of you at less than four feet away, and with a flash, except when they are trying to get details of your makeup! Shots taken that close will never be flattering – to you or the makeup! Take pictures from a natural distance in order to get a “real” feel for how it will look. One word of caution: the “point and shoot” digital cameras readily available on the consumer market today for under $500 have a flash that is VERY different technology from the synchronized flash of your photographer’s camera. Thus, the pictures you take with these kinds of cameras WILL NOT do justice to the makeup you’re photographing. This can be very discouraging to both the bride and the artist! To avoid this, turn on all the available lights in the room and use only ambient lighting – no flash – to take pictures of the makeup. Also, have the person shooting the picture stand at least 4 feet away from you and use the zoom function, instead of coming up close to your face with the camera.

 17) On my wedding day, do I come to you, or do you travel to my venue (or where I’m getting dressed)?

Many brides select a studio or salon for the convenience of having all their beauty services under one roof. But before you opt against on-location services, consider what traveling will be like on the date of your wedding. Is it on a Saturday in the middle of football season and you live in a college town? If you have a large bridal party, how many cars will be needed to get everyone to the salon and back? Make sure you are willing to take the pressure of traveling from one location to another in any kind of traffic or weather. These are great reasons to find an artist who will come to you at your venue and take that traveling stress off your shoulders.

18) Do you sell cosmetic products? Will my bridal party hear a sales pitch on my wedding day?

Is she an artist or a sales person? You’ll find very few people who have both skill sets. And on your wedding day, do you really want to hear a sales pitch, or have your bridal party surprised by one? In my opinion, that’s not only unprofessional, but also rude.

 19) How many events will you work on my wedding day?

 This is often an overlooked, yet crucial, question to ask before booking. If preparations on The Day don’t go quite as planned and run late, you need to know that your makeup artist will not be leaving before all the bridesmaids are done, just because she has another wedding that day. You also want to ensure you won’t be the third bridal party she’s worked for that day and arriving at your venue with dirty equipment and physically tired. An artist who books only one wedding a day will give you and your bridal party their full attention, best work, and be more likely to stay until the job is done, regardless of delays. Keep in mind, though, that an artist who works this way may also have a minimum booking requirement, especially on weekends or for in-demand dates. Smaller bridal parties may need to recruit additional family members to have services in order to make that minimum, or pay the difference.

20) Why should I book Arianna for my wedding day?

“It is very important to hire a professional hair and makeup artist you trust for your wedding day. A professional hair and makeup artist will make sure that your hair and makeup will last all day and photograph beautifully. Your wedding day is not a good day to risk doing your own makeup, or having a friend do it, only a professional artist will ensure that you will look and feel your absolute best on this very important day that you will remember in your thoughts and photographs for years to come. Your makeup is particularly important to have done by an experienced professional. Everyday consumer brands of makeup will just not cut it on your wedding day, through the hugs, perspiration and tears, and that type of makeup is not meant for professional photography. My research has gone far passed what is taught in cosmetology school, and I have over 5 years of experience doing makeup for photography and bridal, so you can be sure that your makeup will last all day and look amazing in your photos. I will also be sure to provide you with a fun, enjoyable and relaxing experience on your wedding day, because I travel to you!”

21) I have sensitive skin – what brands of hair and makeup products do you use?

“Most of the hair and makeup products that I use are professional brands designed to give long lasting results and look beautiful in photography. Not only are they hypoallergenic, they are obtained through professional retailers and are not brands that you will find in the stores.”

22) Is a contract or deposit required to reserve my wedding day?

“Yes, a signed bridal contract and a 50% deposit from the total amount due on your wedding day is required in order to reserve your date. Be advised that no date will be reserved until the contract has been signed and the deposit has been paid. I start booking for wedding season up to 18 months in advance, so don’t put this off for too long! The deposit will be put towards your final bill and it is non-refundable.”

23) I don’t wear a lot of makeup but I still want to look beautiful on my wedding day. Should I hire a professional makeup artist?

“Absolutely! You don’t have to wear a lot of makeup on your wedding day to look beautiful, it just needs to be applied correctly and with the appropriate products. If you don’t want to look too “made up” for your wedding, I can give you a very soft, natural bridal look. It is most important on this day that your makeup lasts, looks great in photographs, makes you feel beautiful and is applied flawlessly to make you feel and look your best on this very special day.”

24) How do you keep your products sanitary?

“It is very important to make sure that the person you hire for your hair and makeup is sanitary. A good makeup artist will sanitize there hands right in front of you, have clean brushes, and a tidy makeup kit. I always begin applying makeup using sanitized brushes and products. I have been properly trained to know how to keep everything clean and sanitary. My brushes are cleaned before each work day, and cleaned with antibacterial brush cleaner between clients. I do not share lipsticks and other products between clients, they are always taken out with spatulas and then mixed on a sanitized cosmetic palette. All eye shadows and eye/lip liners are disinfected with cosmetic sanitizer between usages as well.”

25) Do you provide on-site services?

“Yes I do! Why worry about getting yourself and all of your party to and from the salon and off to the venue on time when I can come to you?! Trial run sessions and weddings day services are all done on-site. I can come to the venue, hotel, your home, or wherever you are most comfortable and is the most convenient for you and your wedding party.”

Arianna