How to choose a wedding makeup artist, according to a MUA

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Every bride wants to look beautiful and feel confident on her wedding day, and once you’ve chosen your wedding venue, your photographer, and most importantly your dress, it’s time to think about completing the look.

We asked a professional makeup artist, Emma Mc Greevy of SW London Makeup, all your burning questions about bridal makeup. Emma trained at the prestigious DFMA Makeup Academy in London under several top makeup artists, and has helped numerous brides to look and feel their best on their wedding day.

So, whether you want to know how to find the right makeup artist, key questions to ask them before you commit, or how much you can expect to pay, we have all the answers below.

Wedding makeup tips

Above photo credit: Richard Greenly Photography.

How to find your perfect wedding MUA

Emma said choosing the makeup artist (MUA) for your wedding day is almost as important as choosing your dress. She encourages brides to find a talented and professional makeup artist they connect with and can trust.

Emma explained further: “The makeup artist you choose will be with you on the morning of your wedding day which is a special time full of nerves and excitement. You need to feel comfortable with them and they should fit in seamlessly, like an extension of your bridal party.”

She said choosing a bridal makeup artist is about more than the makeup.

“Besides the makeup, we end up helping with a whole host of other things including holding babies, zipping bridesmaid dresses up, answering the door, and most importantly, pep talks! When the bride is in our seat, we’re spending that time reassuring, easing their nerves and making them feel comfortable. It's all part of the job.”

To help you choose the right MUA for your wedding day, Emma has provided a step-by-step process to make sure your bridal makeup artist is the perfect fit.

Emma Mc Greevy - Tips for choosing a bridal makeup artist
Makeup Artist Emma Mc Greevy of SW London Makeup. Photo by Yvonne Keane Photography. 

How to choose a wedding makeup artist

1.    Find bridal makeup styles you like

When finding bridal makeup styles you like, Emma said: “Start with Google. Collect, screenshot and save pictures of makeup that you like and try to identify what it is you like about the make-up in the image. Be sure to take into account the features and skin tone of the person in the image – would the makeup look similar on you? If it wouldn’t, it’s probably not a good example.

"Then, once you’ve found and chosen your makeup artist, it’s their job to bring your vision to life.”

Makeup artist shares expert tips for choosing a makeup artist
Makeup by Emma Mc Greevy. Photo by Annie Poe Photography.

2.    Find makeup artists near your venue

“Start by searching for makeup artists based near where you plan to get ready. Look at their websites and social media profiles to see their previous work. They should have plenty of examples of brides they’ve worked with – look for bridal makeup photographs, not just occasional makeup. You need to be able to see past bridal looks from real weddings and make sure they have wedding makeup experience.”

How to choose a wedding makeup artist
Makeup by Emma Mc Greevy. Photo by Kentla Zarrage Photography.

3.    Read the reviews

“When brides take the time after their wedding to thank their makeup artist you know that they have done a great job. Look through the website to see if they have a testimonial page, and also their social media at any posts or reviews. There’s no hiding from Facebook or Google reviews – they’re from real people and can’t be taken down, so it’s a good place to start.”

Key questions to ask your wedding makeup artist before you book
Makeup by Emma Mc Greevy. Photo by Yvonne Keane Photography.

4.    Create a shortlist and reach out

“Create a shortlist of your favourite makeup artists and reach out to them to find out their availability, pricing and to see whether they would be a good fit. You may want to chat to several makeup artists to find someone you’re comfortable with, and whose style and vision matches yours.

"Organise to talk over the phone or in person, and make sure you ask them all the questions you have before making a decision."

How to choose a wedding makeup artist
Makeup by Emma Mc Greevy. Photo by Camilla J Hards Photography.

6 Key questions to ask your wedding makeup artist

When speaking with your potential makeup artist, Emma recommends asking them the following questions:

1. Can they travel to you on the day?

“Make sure they are a mobile makeup artist who is willing to travel to you on your wedding day and they’re not located too far away from where you are getting ready.”

2. Do they do trials? 

“A trial is essential to make sure your makeup artist can achieve the look you want, and it will also give you confidence on the day.”

3. What makeup brands do they use?

“Make sure you choose a makeup artist that uses high quality brands. Also be sure to let them know of any skin conditions or allergies so they can cater to this.”

4. How long will it take to do makeup on the day? 

“It takes roughly 45 minutes to an hour to do the bride’s makeup. If you are booking your makeup artist for your bridesmaid and mothers or other guests, I recommended to have at least 30 to 45 minutes for each additional person.”

5. How much will it cost?

“They should be happy to discuss the packages they offer and should be able to give you a quote over the phone. If you're planning to hire a wedding hair and makeup artist, you can expect an average cost of £100 to £280. Expertise level, location, and the size of the bridal party will all affect the cost.”

6. What happens if they fall ill or have an emergency on the day?

“While the chances of your makeup artist falling ill or having an emergency on your wedding day are slim, having a contingency plan in place will give you peace of mind. Make sure they have a solid back-up plan.”

How to choose a wedding makeup artist
Makeup by Emma Mc Greevy. Photo by Kentla Zarrage Photography.

Choose your MUA and book a trial

Based on your conversations with your potential makeup artists, you should feel confident in making a decision. If not, start the process again until you fit your perfect fit.

Emma recommends booking a trial so you can get to know your makeup artist and feel prepared on your wedding day.

“Make sure you have a trial because it’s important to meet your makeup artist and try out what you want. This also means that if you aren’t happy with the makeup artist for any reason, you have time to find someone else,” Emma explained. 

“Bring makeup references and ideas to your trial to go through together. Many of my clients create Instagram and Pinterest mood boards with makeup looks they like. Alternatively, you may not have any idea of what you want, and in that case you and your MUA can find your perfect bridal look together.”

Wedding makeup ideas
Makeup by Emma Mc Greevy. Photo by Yvonne Keane Photography.

How far in advance should you book your wedding MUA?

Emma said: “Most makeup artists open their calendar 12 months in advance, and you can start researching earlier to ensure you get your first choice. I wouldn’t recommend leaving it any later than three months before your wedding day.”

Makeup artist shares expert tips for choosing a makeup artist
Makeup by Emma Mc Greevy. Photo by Annie Poe Photography.

Emma’s top makeup tips for brides-to-be:

Don’t be scared of eyelashes

“Even if you are having a soft and natural makeup sometimes some little individual lashes can add something special on your big day, and they look great in photographs.

Bring essential makeup products with you

“Make sure a bridesmaid or the mother of the bride brings your lipstick, a powder, buffing brush, setting spray and any other little essentials your makeup artist recommends you take with you.”

For more information about makeup services offered by Emma Mc Greevy, visit SW London Makeup.

How to choose a wedding makeup artist
Makeup by Emma Mc Greevy. Photo by Kentla Zarrage Photography.

Find your perfect wedding venue

Have you found your wedding venue yet? Fuller’s wedding venues are located in stunning locations across southern England – each offering a unique and elegant backdrop for your wedding day.

From rustic wedding venues in the countryside, to historic listed buildings in the city, there’s a Fuller’s wedding venue to suit all styles of celebrations of love.

Find a pub wedding venue, and find a ceremony licensed pub wedding venue.

Read our list of the best pub wedding venues for inspiration, and use our wedding venue finder to find your perfect venue.

For wedding venue inspiration, check out our other wedding blogs:

This article was written by Janelle of ContentQueen.