bride getting makeup done
HD Studio

Planning out your big day look? With the dress commanding so much attention, my guess is makeup is low on your list. You might even be thinking of doing it yourself, to save yourself the time and money it takes to hire a wedding makeup artist. After all, you slap that stuff on every day before heading out the door—how hard can it be? Answer: Very hard. Makeup may seem like a minor detail in a world of venue design and $5,000 gowns, but veteran brides agree: hiring a professional makeup artist is essential for your big day.

Here are all the reasons why a pro wedding makeup artist is an absolute must.

They know what works—and what doesn't. 

Wedding makeup is a whole different ball game from everyday makeup. And even if you’re generally pretty skilled when it comes to your your day-to-day routine, there are certain techniques, trends and skills that professional wedding makeup artists know to use for important events that you have probably never heard of (hello, that’s why we pay them!). For example, they’ll know how to keep your makeup locked in for 16 hours of partying (and crying), whereas your everyday makeup might be totally melted down by the time you kick off your evening commute. They also will be better at contouring without making you look like a Kardashian (can any of us mere mortals master that skill?), hiding under eye circles without making them appear pasty in pictures… I could go on, but you get where I’m going.

They do great work, fast. 

Maybe you’re good at makeup, but add on all the pressures of your wedding morning (time passing by faster than it ever has, your bridesmaids and mother chatting at a mile a minute all around you, bags and bags of your stuff sprawled out everywhere, a million last-minute things on your to-do list) and you could face some serious adversity. Professional makeup artists on the other hand? They’re used to working under pressure and in hectic environments—in fact, that’s kind of their M.O. So you can sit down, get pretty, and get on with your big day, without second-guessing whether your cat eye will take a few tries to get right or your mascara will accidentally drag across your perfectly applied foundation and you’ll have to start all over. If all you hire your professional wedding makeup artist for is to economize your time and cut down on stress on your wedding morning, it’s worth the money—trust. 

They don't take things personally. 

You might have a super-talented friend or bridesmaid who offered to do your makeup, but think again before bringing them on for the task. The main difference between makeup-loving pals and professional wedding makeup artists whom you’re paying is exactly that: you’re paying the latter! So you can be picky to get the look you like, ask them to redo things over and over again, and not worry about hurting their feelings—things you might feel too polite to do with a friend you’re not compensating (which could result in a subpar makeup look on the most photographed day of your life!). Makeup artists use your wedding photos for their websites (to get more clients!) so they want a perfect look for you just as much as you do—you’re on the same team in wanting a top-notch finished product, no matter how much tweaking it takes.

They know what photographs well. 

You’ve probably heard this one before, but it bears repeating—you really do need your makeup done differently if you want it to photograph well! And on a day when you will be photographed hundreds, maybe thousands, of times (seriously), it’s best to trust this rule of thumb to the professionals. Because even if you think you’re loading on a ton of makeup, it’s probably not enough to appear in photos—this is why it always takes brides a moment to get used to their professional makeup looks when they have it done the first time. At first glance, it may seem overdone, but after it sets in and later on in photos, it looks just right. Experienced wedding makeup artists know the secret to photograph-ready faces. They know what needs enhancing so it doesn’t disappear in pics (like eyes), and they know how to apply plenty of product without making you look clownish or highlighting fine lines and wrinkles. This is a skill that’s almost impossible to pull off by anyone but the pros, and even if you think you’ve got it figured out—you only get one set of wedding pics. Is it really worth the risk? 

They know how to recreate inspo. 

Like I mentioned before, winging your makeup on your wedding day isn’t a great idea. That’s why it’s a sound plan to find inspiration on Pinterest or even from celebrities whose red carpet looks you love, and show it to your makeup artist during your makeup trial. They’ve got the skills and experience to recreate those looks—whether it be a smoldering smoky eye or a youthful dewy glow—that the average gal probably wouldn’t be able to pull together. With a professional, you’re paying for consistency—that is, getting the exact look you ask for and the peace of mind that it can be recreated again on your wedding day! (Because we’ve all tried, and failed, to follow smokey eye tutorials from women’s magazines before!).

They can apply fake eyelashes perfectly (seriously). 

I’m not kidding. If this is the only reason you hire a professional MUA, that’s acceptable. Applying fake eyelashes is a b*tch! If you’ve tried it before and nearly glued a pair of tweezers to your face, you know what I’m saying. If you’ve never tried it and think it can’t be that bad, just take my word for it. Even if you do manage to get the things attached to your eyelashes in a way that looks somewhat natural, good luck trying to keep them there for longer than 10 minutes and great luck applying eyeliner over the glue and not looking like a possessed clown. Anyway, wedding makeup artists can apply these suckers in a few minutes flat, drama-free, without accidentally gluing your eyelids to your cornea. And if you want falsies on your big day (which you probably should, since they make your eyes look bigger and photograph better in general), it’s a job best left to a professional.