Make Up Budgeting for the Bride-To-Be

Make Up Budgeting for the Bride-To-Be

Cara B. Design & Wellness is owned and operated by Cara B. Drescher, Licensed Esthetician & Makeup Artist.  A 2003 graduate of The Lansdale School of Cosmetology, Cara’s professional background includes work at high end salons and spas in the Philadelphia Metro area and the Main Line, as well as freelance work for local photographers, models, hairstylists, and more.  In addition to skincare and makeup, she is a Pennsylvania Licensed and Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Continuing Education Provider.  


Make Up Budgeting for the Bride-To-Be

by Cara Bendler Drescher


When it comes to planning a wedding, there are many variables to keep in mind. Where will I get married? Who will cater? What is my budget? The following guide can be used for almost any wedding vendor, including catering, wedding cake, music, venue, and so on, though the main focus is hiring a makeup artist.


Figuring out your wedding budget and what expenses you need to account for, can be quite a daunting task. Dress, venue, photographer, music, caterer, hair, makeup, and so on. How do you decide what is worth splurging on, and what is worth scaling back?


As far as beauty services for your wedding, budgeting can be a bit tricky, as the price range for a makeup artist can vary greatly. You may see prices starting as low as $35 for the bride, and on the high end ranging from $500-$1000. Why is there such a huge range? It all depends on the experience, quality, knowledge and “extras” that a makeup artist can provide, as well as your location. Comparing NYC to Philadelphia prices is really like comparing apples to oranges. Your particular market will dictate appropriate prices, but it’s not the only factor in determining an appropriate price for a makeup artist.


 Make up artist and guest blogger Cara Bendler Drescher


To start, it’s very important to know your location for getting ready on the day of the wedding. This will come in handy when hiring your makeup artist. Why? If you’re planning on getting ready at your house, a hotel or the wedding venue, the makeup artist may charge a travel fee, which may or may not include a toll booth fee, a valet fee, and so on. Not all artists charge additional fees for travel. Depending on the artist, it can be beneficial to travel to the artist’s studio or salon, if they have one, to avoid potential travel fees. This is a very subjective decision, and is also entirely dependent on the fees that the artist charges.


It is also important to know from the beginning how many people in your party will also require having their makeup done. If the bride, plus 10 people, are going to have their makeup done, the artist may need to hire additional help for the day of the wedding. Depending on the artist, this may come in the form of an assistant, or an additional makeup artist, or both. If they need to hire additional help, their fee may go up, as they’ll need to pay the additional artist and/or assistant for their work. It’s also important in terms of scheduling for the day of the wedding. Most makeup artists have a set time frame for makeup for each person. Most artists require anywhere from 30 minutes per person to 60 minutes per person, and knowing exactly how many people they have on their schedule will help to determine how much time they need for each person.


Understanding your makeup artist’s level of experience is extremely important as well. Greater experience usually coincides with a higher price-point. However, just because a makeup artist has a lot of experience, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the right artist for you. Looking through their portfolio is the very best way to determine if they are the right fit. Seeing the artist’s portfolio through your own eyes and seeing what kind of work they can do, will help you determine if they can meet your expectations.


Knowing what kind of look you are going for on your wedding day is important, as your artist may or may not be able to provide that look. Do you want a dramatic look? A neutral look? Natural? Trendy? Retro/Vintage? Knowing what look you want, and what look your artist can actually create for you, will save you time and energy. Don’t assume that all makeup artists are able to create any look you want. Take your time looking through their portfolio, and ask them questions. Not all makeup artists are created equal. Most artists have an area they specialize in, and it’s best to choose an artist who specializes in the style you are looking for.


Your wedding day is a very special day. For many brides, making the decision to hire a makeup artist is difficult, as budgeting is frequently the starting point when planning a wedding. Many artists offer various options in terms of the amount of time they can make available for your wedding. While a lot of artists set up, do the makeup, then leave, there is an emerging trend with makeup artists to offer a day rate/weekend rate experience. This tends to be a higher priced service as the offer is to provide assistance to the bride for the entire day, and sometimes the entire wedding weekend, including the rehearsal dinner and any post-wedding activities. If this is something you may be interested in, be sure to mention it to the makeup artist from the start, as they may not offer this service.


One of the most important things prior to hiring a makeup artist, is doing a trial or consultation. It’s important to have a trial so that on the day of your wedding, you are both on the same page and there are no questions about what is being done. Most makeup artists will suggest a trial so that on the wedding day, everything can run smoothly. Usually during a makeup trial, the makeup artist will ask questions including what your dress looks like, your bridesmaids dresses and color, how your hair will be styled, etc. Some makeup artists also do hair, but in many cases, they specialize in makeup only. It is up to you to decide whether or not you want one person to do both.


Finally, what is your budget? Knowing your budget, where you can cut corners, and where you can spend more is very important in determining the right artist for you. When meeting a potential makeup artist for the first time, it is most beneficial for you to have a budget in mind. Many makeup artists tailor their prices to fit each client’s needs, and don’t have a standard set amount. Asking them right off the bat what they charge per person, or for a group of a certain amount of people, will add time to your planning process because they will usually come back and ask more details about your wedding. Often times you won’t see prices listed on a makeup artist’s website, and the main reason for this, is that every wedding is unique. Every bride’s needs are different, and makeup artists work very hard to customize their services for each wedding.


Planning a wedding is serious business and can stress out the most laid back people. Taking the time to go through your budget and your needs can go a long way in taking down the stress level.


Tying the knot? Schedule your makeup session with Cara at or for more information, visit