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How to find a wedding make-up artist

Essential advice for choosing your wedding make-up artist

Unless you’re a Love Island graduate, a Hollywood star, or a member of the Kardashian clan, the chances are that you don’t have a make-up artist (MUA) at your beck and call. Choosing one for your wedding day can seem like a daunting task, especially if it’s the first time you’ve ever had someone else make you up.

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Read on for our advice on how to find the perfect wedding make-up artist for you.

Think about your make-up style

Before you book your MUA think about how you want to look on your big day. Are you dreaming of super-glam contouring, or something more natural and glowing, à la the Duchess of Sussex?

MUAs often have a signature style, so if you are hoping for something specific (such as gothic glamour or a retro Dita Von Teese vibe), look for an artist who can work to this brief.

Ask your married friends for recommendations 

“It’s always great to go on recommendations from friends who have recently got married,” says wedding hair stylist and make-up artist Jessica Short.

Similarly, if you’ve been a bridesmaid recently and loved the way your make-up looked, why not check that MUA’s availability for your own big day?

This can also be a useful way to work out what you do (or don’t) want…

“I’m going to be a bridesmaid for my friend,” says bride-to-be Amy. “My trial with her MUA helped me to understand what I didn’t want, which was really helpful.”

How to find a make-up artist on social media

If you’ve found a MUA you like online, browse their social media pages to see their work, and check to see if it’s a look you think would suit you.

While Pinterest is a bride-to-be’s best friend for dreamy inspiration, Instagram is invaluable when it comes to finding a make-up artist, with a wealth of pros showing off their work on their grids.

“Looking at his or her Instagram account will give you an idea if they’re the one for you,” says Amanda Bell, Pixi’s global director of make-up artistry.

“I followed my MUA on Instagram for a while prior to even getting engaged,” says bride-to-be Ashley. “She had amassed a fairly big following online, and her work is fantastic. I thought she’d be way out of my budget, but I sent an enquiry anyway– to my complete delight, she wasn’t! I definitely think social media is the best platform for research, as you can see lots of photos and get an idea of work before making an enquiry.”

Facebook is also a useful tool for finding a MUA. “I wanted to see photos of make-up-artists’ work, and Facebook was perfect for this,” recalls newlywed Alison. “I ended up searching direct on Facebook rather than Googling. I could quickly see those who were consistently good, or to my taste. I also found the reviews from other clients on Facebook very helpful. I found two potential MUAs this way – both posted updated shots of recent weddings they’d done, and because Facebook has the Messenger feature, it made contacting and communicating with them very quick and easy.”

Apps such as Treatwell are amazing for finding MUAs in your local area – you can check out reviews and price lists all in one place, without having to make formal enquiries.

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How much should a wedding make-up artist cost?

If you’ve allocated lots of your wedding budget to a skilled caterer or an incredible dress and now can’t afford a MUA for the big day, consider a visit to your local department store.

Beauty counters often offer make-up appointments, and if you love your look, you can even buy the products used to recreate it at a later date.

“There’s so much more to it than going and having a makeover,” says Amy Conway, Bobbi Brown Pro make-up artist. “It becomes a lesson in how to make you look and feel like yourself at your best.”

A few words of advice if you do decide to get your wedding make-up done at a make-up counter: be sure to book in advance, as they can get very busy, especially if your wedding is on a Saturday. In addition, go in for a trial run to make sure they can create exactly what you’re after. Finally, don’t be afraid to go to several different counters to see how they style you.

Make a group booking

If you want your MUA to also do your bridal party’s make-up, check if he or she offers this, or if they’d need a second artist on hand to get everyone ready in time.

If you do decide to have the same artist do everyone’s face, make sure to choose a MUA who has a big beauty kit and can create a variety of different looks to suit different skin tones. Make sure you leave plenty of time for them to work their magic on you, too – nobody wants to be rushed on her wedding morning.

Check for extra charges

Wedding are full of hidden costs, and some MUAs might charge for false lash application, or expect you to provide your own, so be sure to check with them about this before the day.

Consider if you want your MUA to come to you on your wedding morning, or whether you want to go to their salon for a full-on pampering experience. If you’re pressed for time, having someone come to you is a better bet, as you won’t have to travel. See if there are costs involved.

How do I book my wedding make-up artist?

Once you’ve decided on your MUA, book yourself in for a make-up trial.

“If you like someone’s work, try to meet with them as soon as possible for the best chance of securing them on the day,” says Hannah Martin of Bobbi Brown.

Your trial isn’t just about working out your big-day look, it’s also about making sure your potential MUA is a good fit.

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With the right make-up artist by your side, you’re guaranteed to feel incredible on the big day; they’re the finishing piece of your big day beauty puzzle – it’s just a shame they can’t be on call on a day-to-day basis!