I see a lot of weddings in my job, as you can imagine, but ever...
This afternoon we are joined by one of our Boho Experts, Jen Edwards. She is here to debunk all hair and makeup myths, answer some FAQs and generally give you the low-down on how a freelance bridal hair and MUA works. Having had the pleasure of Jen’s beauty magic a couple of times now, I can attest to her skills and all-round loveliness! It can be nerve-wracking putting your hair and makeup in someone else’s hands but if you have someone fantastic, trust that they will make you look and feel a million dollars!
If you’ve hired a professional hair and/or makeup artist to attend you and your bridal party on your big day, or maybe you are considering doing so, you’ll want to read this!
I am a professional hair and makeup artist and, along with my trusty team of 5, we’ve attended some 500 plus weddings to date. Today I would like to offer you an insight into the difficulties we experience in our profession, and I know I speak on behalf of every other wedding hair and makeup artist working the field too.
You see, there are certain situations we find ourselves in with our brides which frustrate the life out of us, but we often won’t tell them this, instead we smile through it in order to maintain a good relationship. It’s often not our brides fault, it’s not intentional, our brides just don’t see things from our perspective, they have no idea that what they are saying is offensive, or that what they are requesting is making life difficult for us. Well, if you’re a bride, now you’ll know…… and that’s a good thing because, you may not know it yet but your hair and makeup artist will do so much more for you than apply your makeup or style your hair. You’ll have a fairy godmother by your side at a time when you most need one.
We’ll sigh as we read this, trust me! Would you take your own pizza base into Pizza hut and ask how much they’d charge you to just put their topping on your base? If it’s because you love your own foundation so much or maybe you suffer with sensitive skin or allergies then fine, let your artist apply your foundation if they are happy to do so, but don’t expect a discount.
Our immediate though will be; Your Mum should go to her local salon.
You’re not forced to book a freelance artist. You can go to a salon, or even get makeup applied at a department store for free, that’s right; absolutely free! but you can’t expect the same level of customer care and attention to detail. You get one shot at a wedding day, is it worth taking risks? Wedding vendors are specialists and perfectionists that spend a great deal of time ensuring that there is no room for error. You are not just another name in a column or another bottom on a seat. ‘Cheap’ can be an expensive mistake!
It’s such a common mistake to believe that the money exchanged is for the hair styling or makeup application alone (something which takes only around 45 minutes per person). I guess it’s only natural that our fee’s will be questioned from time to time.
I once stood at the checkout in my local supermarket when I overheard a conversation between the two ladies in front of me, it was evident one was getting married and had been gathering quotes from makeup artists. “45 pounds” I heard her screech, “just to put a bit of makeup on my face”. I desperately wanted to tell her that that was dirt cheap and that there’s so much more to our job than applying makeup. I smiled politely through gritted teeth as she placed the divider on the conveyer belt for me.
Here’s a snippet into what happens ‘behind the scenes’- Admin admin admin – replying to emails, invoicing, book keeping, managing accounts, planning timings and routes, keeping records and the running of a busy diary. Updating all social media and blogging is a full time job in itself. Advertising is drain on both time and money.
Photoshoots are generally unpaid but are necessary in order to keep our Portfolios current and to give us exposure without the hefty advertising costs.
For those of us that exhibit at wedding fayres etc.; we pay to attend and it’s often a very long day.
Maintaining our kit swallows up a huge amount of our time. As well as replenishing stock we have to clean and sanitise every item after every use in order to maintain good hygiene standards. Research and training is also timely but vital if we are to keep up with trends and the latest beauty ‘must haves’.
There’s much more too believe me!
My guess is that just 20% of our time is spend on actual hair styling and makeup application but, for obvious reasons, we can’t charge you just 20% of the price. Would you put in a 40-hour week knowing you were only being paid for 8? No matter how much we love our job, we still have bills to pay.
Okay, Kim Kardashian may not be your choice of inspiration but what I’m trying to say here is; think carefully about what you’re asking for. The better the communication, the more successful your trial will be. When you refer to pinterest and Instagram just be aware that many images have been edited and if you were to see that same person with your naked eye her makeup would look very different. We do not have a magic wand, nor are we mind readers, and it does upset us when we are unable to achieve what you desire first time so please help us to help you. Another piece of advice I’d like to offer is; trust us, and allow us to utilize our knowledge skill and experience.
This is true to some extent but hair that is too dirty is impossible to style and no amount of dry shampoo can recover hair that is thick with grease. If we are not planning on blow-drying our bride’s hair on the morning of her wedding then we ask her to wash her hair on the evening before as a general rule, but you should always check with your stylist as we all work differently. Once you’ve had your hair trial your stylist will advise in terms of washing and product use depending on your hair type and what you wish to achieve.
You’ll be hard fetched to find a freelance artist/stylist that does not have a minimum booking fee of between £250 – £350 unless they are just starting out and are short of enquiries. It’s usually not possible for us to attend more than one wedding in a day due to logistics and conflicting times. We receive multiple enquiries for one single date so if we’re going to dedicate a day to just one bride/wedding then it has to be cost effective. You can book for 1 person but expect to still pay an artist’s minimum booking fee.
If we could teleport ourselves to your wedding venue and avoid all that time on the road and that crazy early start to the day it would be a dream come true. You could always look for someone local!?
You don’t have to! But, be aware that hair and makeup artists will not reserve a date without a deposit. If you’ve done your research and are confident you’ve found the right person/s for the job then you’ll not want to lose out. You can, of course, book a trial in the immediate future and then put down a deposit but expect there to be a wait if you’re chosen professional is in demand. Her/his upcoming brides will take priority in terms of appointment availability.
It’s your wedding day and you have a million and one thinks to think about, paying suppliers is the last think you’ll want to be doing. We certainly don’t want to hassle you for money on your wedding day either. And then there’s that embarrassing situation where you or your bridesmaids have forgotten altogether and don’t have payment. Not good!
If you want good results then don’t put your hairstylist or makeup artist under unnecessary pressure. We don’t guess when it comes to timing on the day. It’s our job to have everyone ready on schedule and we allocate time for each person in advance. You may even risk being late for your ceremony and some registrars’ refuse to wait for you if your late – fact!
I hope you’ve found this read to be interesting useful but if you do have further questions for our professional hair and makeup team lease leave them in the comments below.
Also, If you have your own experiences which you’d like to share, we’d love to hear from you.
Jenn is multi award-winning wedding hair and makeup artist based in Sheffield. She’s Queen Bee when it comes to boho hair styling, soft waves, braids and festival looks and, although she insists that less is more when it comes to makeup, her kit barely fits in her car.