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Do All of My Bridesmaids Need to Have Their Makeup Professionally Done for the Wedding?

And if so, who pays?

Contributing Writer
bridesmaids at spa drinking champagne
Photography by: Ashley Sawtelle

Your bridesmaids will be by your side for most of the big day—while you're getting ready, taking wedding photos, and ultimately saying "I do"—so many brides wonder if it's necessary for their 'maids to schedule appointments with a professional makeup artist, too? "I do think it's a good idea if possible," celebrity makeup artist Carl Ray tells us. Of course, it's not always in the cards because of budget or time restraints, but if the glam squad can squeeze in services for all of your attendants, it's worth the time and money. After all, there will be so many eyes on the bridal party throughout the day (and when it's over, in the wedding pictures). Your closest family members and friends should also be able to feel and look their best.

 

Plus, there are benefits to working with a professional makeup artist as opposed to having your bridal party apply their own makeup. "Hire an artist who knows makeup's capabilities—lighting, contouring, highlighting, and blending," Ray, who works with notable clients including former first lady Michelle Obama and actress Meryl Streep, as well as brides, explains. "A good artist will be able to apply the bridesmaids' makeup to coordinate and be cohesive with the bride's wedding style and personality. For instance, if the wedding is the morning or outside with peach and pink florals, it's probably best to have a beautiful, natural, clean makeup application. If it is an evening wedding, a more glam makeup look would be gorgeous."

 

While there are many upsides to hiring a professional makeup artist for the bridesmaids, it's definitely not necessary unless you want it. If you do decide to go the pro route, here's what you need to consider.

 

Related: Should the Bride Pay for Her Bridesmaids' Hair and Makeup?

 

Figure out who's paying.

First things first: Let's talk money. Traditionally, if the bride decides she wants all of her bridesmaids to be made up by a pro, she'll cover the costs—unless the bridesmaids offer to pay for the services themselves. If it's simply not in the wedding budget, they may opt to do their own makeup or book an appointment out of pocket. As with anything, it's important to communicate your expectations for your friends; after the bridesmaids' dresses and the bachelorette party, this should be second nature. Just have a plan nailed down well in advance so you can carve out plenty of time with the artist or team of artists. If you're fine with bridesmaids either having their makeup done professionally or applying it themselves, then you're under no obligation to foot the bill.

 

Coordinate, don't compete.

Whether they're going to a pro or doing it themselves, bridesmaids should strive for a cohesive look. "Remember the bride and bridesmaids should coordinate and not compete," Ray says, adding that they should start by getting a feel for the wedding. "Consider the venue, the bride's gown, your dress style, hairstyle, season, time of day, and the flowers chosen for the wedding. For instance, if your hair is going to have braids or beachy waves, you might want to consider wearing simple, glowy makeup—think pink or soft berry lips. If it's a evening black-tie wedding, a nice smoky eye and beautiful nude lip are perfect." Ray's favorite for almost any wedding? Full lashes—be it strip or individual lashes.

 

Have a makeup trial.

Whatever you decide, Ray recommends a practice run prior to the big day. "A trial gives bridesmaids a chance to see and feel how the makeup looks, lasts, and photographs," he explains. Make a day of it—perhaps even incorporating the trial into your bridal shower or bachelorette party—or do so individually. "Take selfies or ask a friend with a digital camera to see how it translates through different lenses," Ray suggests. For long-distance 'maids, he adds: "You could even send photos to the bride prior to the wedding."

 

If they DIY, ensure they do it right.

That means choosing products that are going to hold up and look great all day long. For a fresh face through thousands of photos and several spins on the dance floor, Ray recommends starting with long-lasting primer, foundation, and eyeshadow. They should also prepare for happy tears during the ceremony with waterproof eyeliner and mascara. Each woman should slip a smudge-proof lipstick they love into their clutches for a pout that stays put through Champagne toasts and smooches. Last but not least, they should set the whole look with finishing spray.