Bridal Beauty: Should You Hire a Make-Up Artist for Your Big Day?

The topic of whether or not to hire a professional make-up artist for the wedding day is a big one. Do you put your beauty in the hands of another, or do you do it yourself? Well, we have some great advice to share with you, that was sent over to us from Kate Tunstall, whom is the founder and writer of Refined Prose. She covers the pros and cons of both having a pro do make-up vs. doing it yourself. I'm going to turn it over to Kate now, so please read on and see what her tips are!

If you are in the process of planning your wedding, you will already know that there are many, many expenses - some of which you won’t have even considered before you set a date. And as we all know, one has only to mention the word ‘wedding’ to the florist or the caterers to see fees instantly and spectacularly increase.

Perhaps you are already trying to establish which items and options are non-negotiable, and which superfluous. If not, it won’t be long: it usually coincides with the first few invoices landing on the doormat - and the sudden, hideous realisation that this huge, magnificent event does actually have to be paid for. Quite soon. Unless of course you are one of the lucky few whose parents are traditional and plan to foot the bill for you. Jammy. (Or you are bookmarking your wedding mags with your seemingly endless maxed out credit cards. Hopefully not this – debt is a dirty word where weddings are concerned! See my blog post The Smart Bride’s Guide to Planning a Wedding  for more on this.)

Why You Can’t Trust Most Blogs About Make-Up Artists

One of the choices that you are bound to waiver about is whether or not to hire a make-up artist. If you trust our good ol’ pal Google to help you make your decision, you may come against a problem: almost all blogs about this precise topic are written by the experts themselves; so of course they will be trying to convince you that their services are essential.

I am going to address the quandary with a balanced view, looking at both the pros and the cons of hiring a specialist (admittedly, it may tip over into a slight bias towards how I handled the predicament myself).

6 Advantages of Hiring a Make-Up Artist

1. Indulgence

Envision leisurely taking a bath (with a decadent glass of champagne, naturally), slipping into a silky dressing gown and then being pampered by various professionals. After all the months of stress, and headaches involved with planning an event of this scale, being spoilt for the morning must surely feature heavily as a reason to hire an expert to have you looking your best. I can feel myself sliding down into my chair and my shoulders slumping just imagining it…

2. The Extended Hen

A mini party with the girls before making your big entrance would be fun, right? After all, when else is it acceptable to crack open the champers at 10am? It’s important to make the most of these little pleasures in life! Especially now you’re getting married: give it a couple of years and by the time hubby has been roused for work, you’ve made and cleared up breakfast, and the baby has been changed twice, you’ll be lucky to have a cup of tea by 10am.

3. Products

We all have our trusty fall-back, fail-safe make-up. But are they the same products we would choose to use on our wedding day? Possibly not. And you won’t necessarily know the best items to choose, particularly for your skin type and colouring, and the look you want to achieve. And it’s expensive stuff – with make-up being one of the few things that cannot be returned, you won’t want to get it wrong. Easier to leave that faff to the pros.

4. Artist’s Tricks

You may be proud of the little battle scar on your forehead from when you rescued your cat from the tree that time. But do you want it displayed in all your wedding photos? Perhaps – but I’m betting you definitely won’t want that uninvited guest to your wedding to be paraded on your face all day: yes, the dreaded zit. No matter how perfect your skin, it is almost inevitable one will show up just in time for your nuptials. A professional make-up artist should be able to blend that horror into submission so nobody is any the wiser. Can you honestly say you possess the required skill yourself to do an Al Capone and disappear it?

5. Enduring Make-Up

One of the most crucial objectives for brides choosing to hire an artist is to ensure their make-up does not slide off by the evening. When there will be plenty else vying for your attention on your wedding day, it’s an unnecessary extra hassle!

6. One Less Worry

Despite everybody’s best intentions, it is inevitable that you will be on tenterhooks to ensure everything is perfect on the day. You could go into meltdown at any given time (my moment was not until I was literally walking out of the Bridal Suite, but it’s different for everyone). The last thing you need is to get the jitters and be unable to apply your eyeliner in a straight line! Essentially, it is just one fewer concern for you.

6 Advantages of DIY Make-Up

1. The Savings…

The most obvious reason to do your own make-up is the significant expense of hiring a professional. Yes, in theory, they will do a fab job – but is it worth the several hundred pounds you will spend on trials and the wedding day itself? The saving could be spent on more champagne, better shoes or those gorgeous earrings you can’t otherwise justify!

2. …Including Bridesmaids

Don’t forget that for each additional person who is having their make-up applied by the artist, there will be an extra cost – not a sum to be sniffed at! Of course, you always have the option of only paying to have your own face done, but do you really want to be that bride? Besides which, there is a separate issue concerning the bridesmaids: if you have a different idea about how they should look than they do, you could run into problems. At least if they are doing their own you will already have a fair idea of the outcome.

3. Your Make-Up Trial May Be a Disaster

Picture the scene: you are thoroughly excited to have your make-up done for you for all of the reasons outlined above. You have a chat about your requirements and what you are hoping to achieve. And then you look in the mirror… How do you tell somebody that you hate how they have made you look? That’s their art and their bread and butter. Awkward is somewhere close to covering it; rather you than me.

4. You Are Confident in Your Own Style and Skill

This is really an extension to the above point. If you know what you like, are confident in applying your make-up and have no concerns about the staying power of your own products (or are happy to experiment with a few new items in the preceding months), then you may just as well save your cash. Despite presenting some pretty compelling arguments in favour of hiring an artist, personally I can think of nothing worse. I wanted to look like a polished version of me on my wedding day, not a stranger’s idea of my best self. I know what styles suit me and unfortunately, even qualified artists get it wrong sometimes.

5. Plenty of Tips Available Online

If you are looking for a particular style and need some assistance, there are plenty of vlogs online to help you. Alternatively, you can get free make-overs in most department stores with make-up artists who can recommend products and give you useful hints.

6. Retouching

If you do go for a professional and disaster strikes, you may need to fix your make-up after all. However, it will be far more difficult to touch up somebody else’s handiwork, particularly when you do not have the same products to hand, or their know-how and skill. Far easier, in this respect, to stick with what you’re familiar with. Besides which, your face is with you all the time – you have plenty of opportunity to practice. And your own time is free. And you won’t be causing offence if you don’t like your first attempt.

I would never personally pay for somebody to apply my make-up for me, though I can absolutely see the merits of doing so in certain cases. However, on balance and from a neutral viewpoint, I think it makes a lot of sense to visit department stores and have a go yourself. You can always change your mind and hire instead.

Kate Tunstall is the founder of Refined Prose (, where she writes and finesses wedding literature with elegance and precision. For more hints and tips, check out her blog (

Many thanks to Kate for sharing with us these savvy tips! As for me, I love having my makeup done! It's kind of calming when there's stress of the ceremony coming around the corner. I was a bride nearly 6 years ago, and a bridesmaid in Nov and just last done by a pro, and I found is super relaxing. They all did a fabulous job, by the way.  The wedding make-up artist from last weekend did make up for Marcia Cross, to name a few celebrities! I was quite relieved about that, not just because Marcia Cross is gorgeous and I love her, but I'm fair skinned and she knew how to work with my pale skin, yet could go bold and smokey eye for my dark blue eyes.  I communicated what I can work with, and she listened well.  My hair, on the other hand, well, that's a topic for another day! 

Let us know if you're prefer to do make-up yourself, or have a pro do it for you!

Photo Sources: 
Image 1, 3: Clicking Through Life, featured here
Image 2: Mario Colli Photography, featured here