Welcome to the first of likely many posts of a new series I’d like to call “Whee, it’s your Wedding.” Because, hey, it’s something to be something incredibly excited about.

We’re starting with finding a make-up artist (or MUA, as Instagram would say), though finding a makeup artist would technically come after many other big bookings (like your venue, catering, and probably wedding dress).

I’ve had meetings with many a MUAs and many of these sessions left much to be desired. First things first, getting in touch with a professional MUA proved to be a challenge in itself. Prepare yourself for casual, non-committal responses, month late responses and lack of responses altogether. Never trust an artist (or anyone in the business for that matter) that doesn’t return your phone calls. Not worth the fear and headache leading up to the day and definitely not the day of. That’s the most cynical thing I have to say about my search. Otherwise, I loved getting my makeup done.

I recommend selecting MUAs the same way you would a venue. Do a lot of research online. I’m talking blogs, Pinterest and Instagram. Find out what kind of style suits you best (but more appropriately, who’s makeup blows you away). Narrow a selection to three candidates and then setup makeup consultations with them. Consultations (a.ka. trials) will likely cost you upwards of $100, so be a harsh critic.

Look for someone who can provide suggestions on the overall “look”. By all means, come prepared with pictures of what you want, but lean on a professional stylist to build on it with hair and jewelry.

They should make you feel good about yourself. The first thing my chosen MUA/stylist said me was “You’re going to make a beautiful bride.” Let me contrast this with what another makeup artist said to me after I showed her a picture of what I wanted: “No, this won’t look good on you. You don’t have the eyes for it.” MUAs will claim they are being honest to help you. That’s fine and dandy, but you should leave the appointment feeling like a thousand bucks, not like you can’t pull something off or you need heaps of makeup to fix your face. All brides are beautiful, and your stylist should be able to bring that out of you.

You should feel the good vibes. I can’t describe this is any other way than you should feel comfortable chatting with your stylist. They should make you smile. Bonus points if they can make you laugh. If things ain’t vibing right, you’ll know. Don’t settle. This is literally the person responsible for your face on your wedding day. There is almost nothing more important.

Last, and also least glamorous…

Make sure you get a contract and receipts for deposits. There are a lot of details that need to be confirmed with your makeup artist:

  • When do they need to arrive at the place you’re getting ready at?
  • When do you need to be ready by (for the ceremony or photos)?
  • Will they need a team to help your bridesmaids as well?
  • Are they doing multiple looks? Many Indian brides will have one look for the ceremony and one for the reception. If this is the case for you, you’ll want to be explicit that this is what you’re asking for and more importantly, that they’re quoting you correctly.