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Should I use a Make-Up Artist for my Wedding?

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

If your wedding is on the horizon chances are you’re keeping a close eye on what’s happening on the make-up front ahead of the big day. I remember being glued to websites and scrutinising the lasting power of a bride’s flawless finish at every wedding I attended in the run up to my own.

When you're trying to stay in control of your wedding budget, cutting the cost of using a make-up artist for your bridal look can seem like an easy money saving option. I myself did my own make-up, but then again I had worked as a model and actor from the age of 16 so I'd had a lot of experience. That said, I also invested an enormous amount of time and energy into researching and trialing different looks. In hind-site, if anyone is determined to do their own make-up, I would recommend having a lesson with a professional make-up artist beforehand.

Wedding Make-up Artist casual portrait sitting in chair with cup
Photo Credit: Samuel Geals

To save you the same pain-staking journey I met with bridal make-up artist, Becky Howie, to discuss what to expect on a bridal trial and how to get the most out of using a professional for your wedding. And yes, she also offers makeup lessons.

Based in Sussex, Becky holds a degree in hair and make-up, and has been an industry success story for over a decade. She averages a very impressive 60 to 70 weddings a year. With her brides describing their experience as 'incredible' and their look 'flawless', its easy to understand why she is so busy. That and she happens to be one of the nicest, most genuine people you'll have the pleasure meeting.

"I'm not a cookie cutter make-up artist, I don't just do one look, I bring a brides personality out, focus on their preferences, make them feel the best version of them."

Social Media sites such as Instagram and Tik-Tok have revolutionised the make-up industry as a whole. Make-up trends and the vast array of products have never been as accessible as they are today.

Brown Haired Bride in Dress, holding Bouquet having make-up done
Photo Credit: Sarah Wenban

Becky advises it’s normal to get a bit overwhelmed by it all. There are 1000s of variations of bridal looks. An experienced professional will be able to guide you through and adapt anything to suit your style. They should be using top of the range products and ensuring that your make-up lasts all day.

Ever noticed how what looks good in real life doesn’t photograph well? Or vice versa? That’s because bridal make-up application is not the same as your normal everyday look. A professional make-up artist will know how to strike the right balance.

"I love the process of manipulating the product to ensure its perfect."

To get you started Becky recommends creating Pinterest or Instagram boards to save all the looks that appeal to you. Give yourself enough time to revisit it regularly, slowly editing it down by removing any you no longer like. 'You'll soon notice a trend to what you do and don't want'.

Becky recommends committing to a trial ahead of the wedding. While, yes, this is an additional expense it ensures you are getting what you want and what you expect - more on that later!

By booking your trial around the 3 - 6 month mark you're likely to be firmly settled. 'By that point you're less likely to change the look and feel of your wedding but its still a good amount of time to not feel rushed'. This will also allow you a bit of room to invest in a decent pre-wedding skincare regime.

"I use a lot of Charlotte Tilbury Skincare products and MAC for their range of lipsticks for colour and durability."
Bride in robe, hair up, having wedding make-up applied
Photo credit: Jane Sacco

‘At the trial I always like to start with a very low key, pulled back version of what the bride has shown me and build from there’. This application has saved a lot of shock and heartache for many a future bride. A recent client, who didn’t wear make-up on a day-to-day basis, found that the lightest version of what she interpreted as her dream look still felt too much for her. So what happened next? Well, like any client focussed professional, Becky started again but this time with more of a sense of what the bride would enjoy wearing. ‘Had I replicated the image exactly we would have started with a heavy smoky eye, deep contouring and full lip’. Once Becky had reworked her magic, the bride was ecstatic with her look and still felt like herself.

'Getting it wrong is actually a really good thing', Becky reassures. 'The whole point of a trial is to try things and work out what does and doesn't suit you, but most importantly what you feel comfortable in.'

"Getting to know the individual brides I work with is actually one of my favourite parts of my job. I love making people feel good in their own skin."

One of the common hurdles that Becky faces is brides who fall into the trap of trying to please everyone. It’s easy to get sucked into everyone else's expectations, be it the dress, the hair or the make-up. 'I spend time getting to really know my brides. I want to make sure they feel comfortable in their own skin. I encourage their own style to come through, not what other people think a bride should look like. I don't want anyone to feel like they are part of the wedding conveyor belt’.

On the morning of your wedding Becky will arrive ready and willing to start you off on the right foot. Looking at her reviews, brides have said how they felt like she was part of the wedding party. She won’t leave until you are perfect, and she’ll give you tips on how to touch up throughout the day if needed.

I asked if she had a favourite wedding to date. 'That's such a difficult one to answer. I love the fact that I get on so well with my brides, that we often keep in touch for a long time after the wedding. I guess if I had to choose a wedding it would be my best friends. It was such a personal day and I was so honoured to be one of her bridesmaid’s. And yes, I did her makeup! '

What about a favourite venue? ‘I have such a great relationship with a lot of venues and my job has offered me the opportunity to see them far and wide. I got married at Millbridge Court which at the time I hadn't worked at. It was important to me that I got to experience being the bride at a venue that didn't see me as a supplier. I've been back as a make-up artist for a few weddings since and it always feels very special’.

Full details of Becky’s services can be found her website or her Instagram feed @beckyhowiemua

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