5 Tips For Doing Your Own Wedding Makeup

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Not everyone wants to bring in a professional makeup artist for their wedding day. Sometimes it’s not aligned with your budget or maybe you don’t feel comfortable with someone else touching your face, and you feel it would be less stressful to just do it yourself. Whatever your reasoning, there are a few key tips that you can take from the professionals to make sure your wedding makeup looks amazing in person and in photos.

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I know the common idea about wedding makeup is that it needs to be, like, 10x what you’d normally do, in order to “show up in photos.” This is true to an extent; however, with the amazing photography lenses and tools available these days, cameras generally capture what’s in front of them pretty spot-on. You can turn up the volume of your makeup a bit, especially if you don’t normally wear any, but you don’t need to go full on Mimi (okay, you can tell I’m old if you don’t get that reference). It’s important to pay attention to the editing style of your photographer. If they’re more “light and airy,” yes, soft peachy blushes or pink eyeshadows might get a little washed out so consider amping it up. If their photography style is on the dark and moody side, I’d go easier on a smokey eye because it can end up looking super black once they’re done with editing. From a makeup artist standpoint, we have a knack (and the experience) for knowing just how heavy the makeup needs to be to look great across all styles, but for someone who is not used to doing makeup for photography purposes, it’s a good idea to research and check out the makeup styles your photographer’s previous clients have done. Basically, it doesn’t have to be as heavy handed as it used to be back in the day.

Here’s a few examples of what the makeup looked like from my regular phone camera compared to the wedding photos from a professional photographer. The first, as you can see, has a bright and airy feel. The second was natural lighting so not much difference at all. The third has a slightly more dramatic and moody edit which was perfect for the glam style we chose for this bride’s makeup.

(Kaitlyn Blake Photography/Noreen Nooner Photography/Jess McGill Photography)

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Moisturize, but furthermore, adopt a good skin care routine a few months before your wedding and stick to it. You’d be amazed at how makeup that’s done with excellent technique can still look not-so-great on skin that’s been neglected. Skin care is the most crucial part of a good makeup application. Even if you think you’re oily, you still need to moisturize to create a balance for your skin. Your face goes through a lot in the day-to-day activities - sun damage, pollution, dehydration. It all takes a toll. So always cleanse your face, moisturize, and use sunscreen (sun damage is THE #1 reason for faster aging/unhealthy skin). Do a facial mask (one that you know you won’t have a reaction to) the night before your wedding for extra glow. You can gently exfoliate that morning for a nice, smooth base for makeup. And then on the day of your wedding, make sure your skin is nice and hydrated with a good moisturizer, and really give it time to sink into the skin before you do your foundation. Keep in mind that skin care can be different for everyone, depending on if you have sensitivities or other issues. These are very basic tips, and your skin may have different needs. That’s why it’s important to adopt a good routine months prior to your big day so that you’re not stressing over whether you’ll have a reaction to a product.

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I think many of us have seen the infamous Flashback Mary by now. Flashback is what happens when your makeup causes a white cast to show up in flash photography. Your photographer may bust out the flash later in the night when the sun has gone down and everyone is grooving on the dance floor during the reception, and you don’t want to be surprised when you receive your wedding gallery and realize it’s full of photos of you looking like a ghost. So how can you avoid that?

For starters, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and silica powder are the main causes of flashback. But it can get confusing because some products may be high in titanium dioxide/zinc oxide and still don’t create the white cast effect. And my favorite setting powder ever (RCMA No Color Powder) has silica in it and yet it does not cause flashback. The reason the Flashback Mary conundrum even happened is because this particular YouTuber coated his entire face heavily in setting powder. The reflective nature of these ingredients, when used in large amounts like that, will cause the flash photography light to bounce back and create that effect. You could use the same powder he did, but in a much smaller amount, and have no issues. Really, the simple answer is: if your products contain a large amount of any of these ingredients, just use a light hand. You really don’t need that much powder on your face, so I wouldn’t stress too much about this happening.

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They may be intimidating but false lashes look fan-freaking-tastic in wedding photos. My favorite are demi-wispy styles. They’re natural enough to not be over-the-top but give just enough “umph” to up your makeup game. I suggest buying a 5-pack and practicing, because applying falsies is not an easy feat and definitely not something to be trying out for the first time on your wedding day. But they’re worth the learning curve!

You’ll need lash glue, and I find a pair of tweezers helps me with placing them as well. You may need to trim the lashes to fit your eye, so before you apply any glue, put the lash on your lash line and see if it’s too long. Trim as needed. Then apply the lash glue and let it sit for about 30 to 45 seconds. If you try to put the lashes on too soon without giving the glue time to start drying enough to be slightly tacky, the glue will just slip and slide around and not actually stick. So these few seconds you’re waiting are a huge part of easy application. Pick the lash up with your tweezers and start in the middle of your eye when placing. Once the middle is secure, you can adjust the inner and outer edges. Once the lash is placed and seems to be set (you know, not lifting or moving around), carefully pinch your natural lashes and your false lash together in a few areas, to help blend them all together. And practice, practice, practice!

Here’s an example of some natural-style lashes that simply add the most perfect touch of drama to the look.

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Our faces, necks, and chest tend to be all different tones. The neck is generally lighter than the others, since our head is blocking it from the sun. The face can either be similar to the neck’s tone, or more similar to the typically-darker chest, depending on whether or not you wear SPF. If your wedding outfit is low cut and shows your chest, you’ll want to keep that in mind when selecting a foundation shade. You may feel quite strange that the foundation you’re putting on your face is not the same shade as the skin that it’s covering, but take a step back and look at the big picture of it all. Scan your face from your jaw and chin to your chest - do they look similar in tone? Good! You want everything to blend seamlessly. You don’t want your face to be way lighter or way darker than your body, and in order to make everything cohesive, you may need to bring the foundation down onto your neck and even your chest, so that it blends without a solid line of demarcation. Apply your makeup in front of a window with good day light streaming in. This will give you the most accurate representation of shades.

Whether doing your own makeup for your wedding or leaving it to the professionals, it should be a relaxing experience, so put on some good tunes and enjoy that precious time!

Did you do your own makeup for your wedding? Tell me how it went in the comments! And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for tons of makeup inspiration!

Why Does Wedding Makeup Cost So Much?

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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.

molly peach photography

molly peach photography

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!

kaitlyn blake photography

kaitlyn blake photography

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.

3 Steps to Creating Your Wedding Day Timeline

Your vendors are booked and you're all set for the big day... except for one thing: The schedule. How on Earth are you supposed to know who needs to be where, and when?

Between hair, makeup, and photos, it's important that things run as smoothly as possible before your ceremony (I mean, duh).

STEP ONE
First, speak with your photographer. Will he or she be on hand to capture your party getting glammed up? What about First Looks before the ceremony begins? Family pics? Wedding party photos? How much time does your photographer need if you are taking photos before the ceremony? The photographer should give you times of when (s)he is going to arrive, start taking the photos, and what the photography schedule will look like. Now, you can start planning around everyone else.

STEP TWO
The next step is to ask your makeup artist and hair stylist how much time they allot per service. For example, for makeup applications, I save 45 minutes for each bridesmaid and one hour per bride. Hair styling times can vary depending on length of hair and type of style, so be sure to communicate with your stylist about your ideal looks for both you and your party. 

As far as which comes first - hair or makeup - typically we know how to work around each other. If a bridesmaid's hair is already done when she sits in my makeup chair, I have no issue carefully working around a beautiful hair style without messing anything up. It can actually help having the hair already done so that the client can get the whole look all at once. Have you ever done your makeup but left your hair messy or flat? Yeah, somehow the makeup can sometimes look a bit... "too much."

If the photographer is going to capture photos of the party getting ready, you need to schedule yourself in either hair or makeup usually about 20 minutes after the photographer is set to arrive. They may want to walk around and get a feel for the lighting or get the detail shots (such as your shoes, dress buttons, bridal corsages, etc.) before coming and taking your getting ready photos. Of course, if you're already done with hair and makeup by the time the photographer comes around, the makeup artist can simply act like she's powdering you or applying lipstick. And also note that it's better to already have some makeup/hair done than have nothing done at all.

STEP THREE
You're ready to make your schedule! Simply swap out the people who are getting beauty services -  try not to have someone getting hair and makeup done at the same time. Granted, it can be done, but it's easier to do one at a time. Here is an example of how you can do the Wedding Day Timeline, with one hair stylist, one makeup artist, and 45 minutes per person (save for the bride - she gets an hour):

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Okay, but what happens if hair or makeup goes over the allotted time? What if a bridesmaid can't be found when she's supposed to be getting her hair done? Try and combat these issues by emailing the timeline to each person receiving services and printing out a copy and placing it in the getting-ready suite for everyone to see. Don't forget to send it to your hair and makeup vendors, too! But things happen, and the schedule may get switched up. Of course party members can switch places on the schedule if need be, and as long as the artists know that the schedule is starting to get out of order, we can adjust our timing as best as possible in order to accommodate. Communication is key! Little anecdote: I once had a party member show up four hours late. She showed up 45 minutes before the first photos were supposed to begin. I knew it was crunch time, and I was able to finish her look in about 25 minutes. She then had to go into hair (and luckily she was already dressed for the wedding). But as I was packing up, she was still in hair... and pictures had started without her. I knew we were in crunch time mode but I'm not sure if the hairstylist knew. This is why it's so important to have constant communication about the schedule, and a timeline to guide you throughout the day. Even though the schedule got thrown a bit, we adjust and make the best out of it. She still got to be in some pictures and I hear the wedding turned out amazing.

I'm not saying this to stress you, I'm saying this to let you know that it's all going to be okay. Trust your vendors, trust your friends and family, and know that it's going to be okay even if there are small nuances.

There's a lot to think about for your big day, so I hope this helps and gives you some guidance for making your schedule. Congratulations!