I read something the other day on a wedding planning Instagram page that really didn’t sit well with me. This page was encouraging soonlyweds to lie to vendors and act like they were planning a fancy birthday party in order to get cheaper rates, because apparently all wedding vendors are just out to price gauge and screw you over, as though we just make up our rates for fun.
That’s not how it works. I promise you, wedding professionals are not sitting there mischievously like Mr. Burns, concocting ways we can throw in hidden fees and taking you for all we can get. There is a lot that goes into our rates, and yes, wedding makeup and anything having to do with weddings typically costs more. Why? Let’s talk about it.
First of all, weddings can be stressful and time consuming. There is a lot of back and forth when planning a wedding, from meetings to emails to last minute changes. The amount of time I spend communicating with clients - discussing their needs and wants, drawing up a contract, answering every question over the course of their wedding planning period, etc. - it adds up. Most people in a “normal” job don’t work off the clock, and wedding professionals shouldn’t be expected to, either. You may not see it happening or even think about it, but this behind-the-scenes office-type work also has to be accounted for when it comes to our rates. Weddings take more time: more time the day of the wedding, more time behind the scenes. Soonlyweds get very personalized attention because this is one of the biggest days of their lives, and trust me, we care as much as you do about your day and we want the best for you. We put the time in for you because we know how important it is, but we have to charge accordingly.
Secondly, contracts. Weddings must have contracts because there’s so much detail and information needed and we both need to be protected. And contracts costs money. We need to have them created by - or at least have them looked over by - a lawyer. Guess what? Yup. $$$
Of course, coming from a makeup artistry point of view, the products come into play. My kit costs are very expensive. A lot of that stems from the non-reusable items like sponges, mascara wands, and lashes. Say I’m doing a large wedding party, I can go through an entire sleeve of cotton rounds (especially if some of the members are still rocking makeup from the night before and I have to use half a bottle of Micellar Water to get it all off…). Replenishing our kits adds up very quickly, and we go through items faster when doing weddings.
We’re not just makeup artists, either. Sometimes we have to be gentle mediators (like when your Maid of Honor wants a heavy party look but you're wanting everyone to look more natural), sometimes we have to play stylist and zip up dresses or cut off tags - all of which is part of providing our clients with the best experience possible. I don’t show up to a wedding, not talk to anyone, do the makeup, and leave without a word. I do whatever I can to make the time you’re with me feel as luxurious and relaxing as possible. Part of providing such an experience is charging appropriately for it. If I charged $40 for everybody’s makeup, I honestly wouldn’t be very happy about being there. That’s not enough to cover my business expenses nor my time, and I would feel discouraged very quickly; in turn, my attitude can totally ruin your experience on such a special day. But I know you’re paying me what I’m worth to be there, and I will be damned sure you get your money’s worth!
Business expenses, kit costs, the experience, and time are all part of our rates. Weddings take more of all of those things, so they cost more. And usually, you get what you pay for in these circumstances. I hope I’ve cleared up some misconceptions when it comes to wedding costs. I know everyone is on a budget but maybe it can ease your mind knowing that wedding professionals are not just trying to pull one over on you.