Hiring a Makeup Artist for your Wedding

by Dr. Punita Rice Life

Why Hire a Makeup Artist for your Wedding

Brides, women who might one day be brides, and former brides — did you/would you hire a makeup artist for your wedding?  For most of the South Asian American women I know, particularly for those who have big, multi-day events weddings, the answer tends to be yes. But why hire a makeup artist for your wedding? Here are some reasons why you may want to hire a makeup artist for your wedding, and some reasons you may not want to. If you’re interested, read on…

Why Hire a Makeup Artist for your Wedding - 5 Reasons

Why hire a makeup artist for your wedding: 5 Reasons

Even though I’m very particular about doing my own makeup (I used to work for Sephora, and maybe more tellingly, I literally used to make makeup and hair tutorial videos on YouTube), for my own wedding two years ago, I hired a makeup artist (actually, two different makeup artists, since we had multiple wedding events). Here are some reasons why:

(1) Hiring a makeup artist for your wedding means one less thing for you to worry about getting right on the day(s) of the event(s).

(2) For South Asian weddings, your makeup artist may likely also be your “stylist” — meaning the person who pins your dupatta and/or sari and/or jewelry (which is no easy task)

Why Hire a Makeup Artist for your Wedding

My makeup artist also did my jewelry and dupatta setting

(3) Even if you’re particular about your makeup, you may not be comfortable/experienced in doing makeup for wedding-level makeup (this may be particularly true for South Asian weddings, where wedding-level can mean something different than it might in other/non-SA weddings)

(4) Even if you’re an expert at applying your own everyday makeup, these artists are experts at wedding makeup, which should also last all day and also photograph well

(5) You’re supporting (typically) small businesses and/or self-employed artists, who are often women

“Why hire a makeup artist for your wedding” Bonus Reason:

Because it’s your day.

Why you may not want to hire a makeup artist for your wedding…

Here are some reasons you may not want to hire a makeup artist for your wedding:

(1) It’s one more thing for your to have to manage, and one more trial to do before the “big day”

(2) If you are having a South Asian wedding, and if your makeup artist isn’t also your stylist, you may (potentially) have to find a second person to help with those components of your look

(3) It’s another expense

(4) You’d just rather do it yourself and/or not wear makeup at all

(5) You may hate other people touching your face

…I’m weird about people touching my face! But the advantages of having makeup artists outweighed this concern (at least for my wedding weekend).

If my miniature pro/con list didn’t help, and you’re torn about whether or not to hire a makeup artist for your wedding, here’s an old thread from Wedding Wire on reasons for and against it.

Finding a Makeup Artist for your Wedding

Let’s say you’re convinced that you should hire a makeup artist for your wedding. What do you do next? Here are some ideas…

How to find a makeup artist for your wedding

Ask around.

You really never know who might know a great possible makeup artist.
(And if you’re South Asian, ask an Aunty. Seriously, don’t sleep on Aunties — chances are pretty good that some Aunty already has a good makeup lady for you.)

Get on social media.

Go on Facebook or Instagram, and look at photos from friends (or acquaintances) who have gotten married recently. Chances are, they will have shared at least one closeup that shows their bridal makeup. Do you like their makeup? Now send them a message and ask them who did it.

Try the mall.

MAC tends to be the obvious choice for finding a possible makeup artist for your wedding, but as a former Sephora employee, I’d recommend visiting there, too. You can usually get a free-ish trial (meaning you’re committed to spending X amount of dollars on product, but your makeup application may be free — but you can just spend the amount on something you already needed) at specialty beauty stores.

Learn what you like (and be able to communicate it effectively!).

Start Googling makeup looks / celebrity makeup, and collecting photos of what you like most. Then, weed out things that would be unflattering on you. Once you’ve narrowed down what you like, begin studying the look(s) you’re most attracted to, and make a list of what you like about them. I thought I did a decent job of this, but in hindsight I could have done a much better job. It’s helpful if you can clearly articulate what you want to look like for your wedding day / events. (Knowing what I know now, and having done it all already, I wish I’d done a better job of this.)

When you’re ready for it, Oh Happy Day has this great post on why professional makeup artists for your wedding are worth the investment, and what to expect from the experience of hiring one.

Punita having her makeup done by Mona Badshah for her wedding ceremony

Having my makeup done by Mona Badshah for my wedding ceremony

Whether you had (or are having) a big fat Indian or other South Asian wedding or not, did you (or would you) hire a makeup artist for your wedding? What are your reasons for (or for not) hiring one?

P.S. – My hair and makeup for my sangeet (not pictured here) were done by Sanober Azam. For the remaining events, my hair and makeup  were done by Mona Badshah. The incredible and amazing Julian Mackler did our wedding photos. You can see the remaining photos here, and watch our wedding video here.

About the Author

Dr. Punita Rice

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Dr. Punita Rice is a wife and mama, an education researcher, a writer, the founder and director of ISAASE, and an advisor with Johns Hopkins University School of Education's Doctor of Education program. Her work centers around multicultural education and equity, and South Asian American experiences in school. You can read more about Punita and her work here. Punita also writes about life, culture, education, and motherhood here on her blog. She works from home in Maryland, and drinks a great deal of coffee.