“Established makeup artists look for assistants to help with large bridal parties.” says Alexa Johnson, Instructor at the Nina MUA Makeup Academy NYC. “There can be 6-20 people that need to be serviced within a short time frame, so you can start by assisting and gain experience in wedding makeup by servicing bridesmaids and observing an established makeup artist prior to having the pressure of servicing a bride.”
Johnson says assisting is an essential part of networking and growing a clientele as a makeup artist. “Once you do a couple weddings, chances are bridesmaids you have serviced will be getting married a few years later, and may want to use you for their wedding. Always keep business cards on you so you can give out your information.”
Nina MUA Makeup Academy NYC Instructor Taylor Levitan says during wedding season she is booked nearly every weekend with bridal parties. As established makeup artists both Levitan and Johnson utilize bridal websites like The Knot and Wedding Wire. “Most wedding planning sites allow you to advertise your wedding services (though they do come with a price tag).” Says Levitan. “Past clients are able to leave reviews, so prospective clients can gain insight to your work ethic and who you are as a person.” Business, Branding & Marketing is a part of Nina MUA’s Master Makeup Artistry Program and Extensive Level 1 & 2 Program, which includes education on how to create your brand, build your book of business, and network!
And, successful bridal makeup artist does more than great makeup. Time management skills are a must. Levitan says artists can easily have 20 clients booked for one wedding. “Bridesmaids/mother of the bride, mother of the groom, grandmas, etc. The quicker and more efficient you are the more clients you are able to book.” Also, be prepared for any and every request. “Make sure you have every product so you are prepared for whatever kind of client sits in your chair and you have every product to achieve the look.”
Johnson agrees, time management is essential. “Typically you are working on a tight time schedule, If you are late or go over the 45 minute or 1 hour time slot you have for one client, you can set the entire wedding day back.”
She has these tips for keeping things moving on the big day.
Be able to adjust:
Maybe grandma was supposed to have her makeup done at 10am, but got stuck in traffic on the way over… You’ll need to figure out a way to change up the schedule to keep things moving efficiently so you don’t fall behind.
Wake up early:
I have had to start a bridal party at 4:30am to be ready to leave to take photos at 8am. If you’re not a morning person, make sure you do what you need to do to be up, alert, and on it!
Be ready for changes in schedule:
I will typically schedule bridesmaids and family members with 5 minute extra time cushions. You have to allot that time for mom to be chatting with the florist, or the bride to get teary eyed for a moment in your chair.
Be on top of administrative work that happens before the big day:
If you are working for yourself, you will probably find yourself going back and forth emailing with brides regarding scheduling, figuring out their perfect makeup look, where the hair and makeup setup will be, and other little details. There is a lot of work that happens on the back end.
And beyond the wedding day itself, specializing in wedding makeup can lead to additional business. “Once you have a bridal party booked, you can add on additional appointments for other wedding related events, such as engagement photos, engagement party, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, etc.” adds Levitan. “Working for yourself you can set your own prices to what will properly cover your expenses and your talent.”
Lastly, Johnson says don’t shy away from weddings simply because you’ve heard a few bad stories. “There is this misconception that brides are crazy and stressful to work with, but in reality, working with brides is an incredibly rewarding experience. You get to be a part of the most important and special day of your client’s life, and you get to be the one that makes them feel like a million bucks.”