Today I want to share with you something exciting… Emily Katherine Events’ first guest blogger! I’ve been working with some amazing wedding professionals to bring you even more content to satisfy your wedding cravings. My goal with these guest posts is simple. To bring you different ideas and viewpoints as you embark on the exciting process of planning your event. I love seeing so many different ways to get married (and there are a LOT of ways). Maybe you know what you want already, maybe you’re still finding your style. Maybe you thought you knew but now that last idea you saw on Pinterest seems like a better plan…

As a planning company, Emily Katherine Events is here to guide you through this process. I hope by including additional viewpoints and ideas on this blog, I can help inspire you in your own planning.  Every bride is different, and every event will be different. So every wedding I review and every guest article I post may not resonate with you, but hopefully some will.  And that brings me to today’s post, written by our first guest blogger, Natalie Setareh. Natalie is the owner and makeup artist (MUA) behind Setareh Beauty. Today she shares with us four questions to ask a prospective MUA.

So take a look, and let us know if any of these tips are particularly helpful for you!




Four Questions to Ask Your Wedding Makeup Artist

(Before Hiring Them)

Makeup artist at work

Before I get into the 4 questions you should ask… I need to preface this with a backstory because there’s always a backstory. Brides are always concerned with finding the planner and/or the perfect dress {shop}, invitation {shop}, venue, caterers, photographers, blah blah blah. I know all of this because I was a bride once! I also work in the industry where brides consume large portions of my year between engagement sessions, bridal boudoir, and of course weddings. Believe it or not, when I myself was a bride and before Setareh Beauty was born, makeup was the last item to check off my list. I already had an amazing hair stylist and he agreed to make the trek up to Sedona for my wedding at travel cost. Makeup is a little trickier because not all hairstylists do makeup (or do makeup really well). So what ends up happening is brides end up trusting whatever salon/makeup counter first, offers makeup services (as one of 100 different salon services), second, fits their budget, third, see if they can travel (and if the fee still fits into their budget), and fourth, sign a contract and book them as soon as possible. Many smart brides schedule a consultation or trial run prior to the wedding to test out their hair + makeup for their big day but they still don’t necessarily know what they are going to get unless the MUAs at the salon have portfolios and social media presence.

So, there’s nothing really wrong with booking services this way but remember, there’s a salon that charges a premium for overhead, the actual hair stylists/makeup artists probably are not getting as financially compensated as they should be, and well, they have another wedding next week so no big deal, right? Let’s not even get into whether or not the makeup artist (or assistant) hired to do your wedding makeup is an actual full-time, exclusive makeup artist… This article is not whether or not you should hire a pro MUA for your wedding, it’s how you should hire a pro MUA for your wedding (or special event). Check out my 5 Reasons to Hire a Pro MUA here, if you are interested.

Being a pro MUA, these are the five questions I would ask a potential MUA before hiring not only for my wedding, but any special event. If you are in a situation where you need to hire from a salon, this advice still applies.

Setareh Beauty Makeup Kit

1. “What Products Do You Use?” Or, “What’s In Your Kit?”

If your MUA responds with one or two brand names, I’d be suspicious. There are tons of low-quality makeup kits for sale and easily purchased online, site unseen. Just go to Amazon, Craigslist, or Google and search “professional makeup kit.” You’ll see what I mean.

Another option a lot of brides choose is going to a salon/day spa for their services. The thing is that just because these spas/salons offer makeup services doesn’t mean they have an exclusive makeup artist there really invested in their work and portfolio. If they offer makeup applications, they are generally using the brand of makeup the salon uses. Even if the quality of product is good, they more than likely aren’t carrying the brands needed for standard for HD photoshoots and long-lasting application.

If the salon does happen to carry a premium brand, remember exclusively using just those products might not be right for your skin type and/or event type. Makeup wears different on everyone, so a hiring a MUA with a diverse kit that can adapt to different situations is vital.

Which brings me to my helpful hint. You know you will have an awesome MUA if, when asked what’s in their kit, they look at you like you just asked a rhetorical or highly complex question.


2. “Do You Have A Website/Online Portfolio?”

With YouTube, it seems like anyone and everyone has become a MUA. Although majority of the most talented MUAs in the world are self-taught or learned through apprenticeships (note* many cosmetology/esthetician certifications lightly cover makeup application as part of their curriculum), serious MUAs document their work and make it readily available to whoever asks. If the MUA doesn’t invest in their profession – it’s most likely something they like to do “for fun” of for some extra side cash. Sure, many folks “hire” their family friend to take their wedding pictures and regret it years later because they didn’t receive the same timeless quality they might would’ve received if they invested someone who was equally invested in them. Now, if you have a bestie who does makeup like a boss lady – go to her! You already know what you are going to get and she probably knows your personality and style more than a stranger. Just make sure she has the right makeup. I did one of my best girlfriends makeup (gratis, of course) and gave her a list of items to purchase and brought my own. This was long before Setareh Beauty was born. Her makeup was stunning – I knew exactly what would look good on her and what products would artist portfolio

If the MUA you are looking to hire doesn’t have a website? See if they have pictures of their work on Instagram, Facebook, or Tumblr. If they don’t, I’d walk away. But if they do have work, see if their work in line with your style? Are there lots of different makeup looks in their portfolio or do they all kind of look the same? I see this A LOT!the rising tide society


3. “Do You Work With Other Wedding/Special Event Professionals?”

This question may feel awkward to ask but if you are asking the right MUA, it won’t feel awkward. As a pro-MUA, it is my job to be connected to professionals in the special events/wedding industry — photographers, stylists, hairstylists, other fellow-MUAs, etc. Groups like the Rising Tide Society and local Tuesdays Together chapters have made networking so much easier. The MUA doesn’t necessarily need to know exactly who you are working with or for or where your venue is… but a good MUA will be able to name some of their professional relationships – which will show that they care about being invested in the community they serve.


makeup artist contract


4. “Do You Have A Contract?”

This question may also seem obvious but you’d be amazed how many hair & makeup artists do not take the time to craft a contract. Sure, contracts are intimidating BUT if there’s no contract signed, there’s NOTHING protecting the bride/client from a no-show MUA or last minute cancellation. Since a lot of freelance MUAs get paid AFTER services are rendered, there’s nothing really binding except your word. For all my weddings, I require brides to fill out an extensive and custom beauty questionnaire (which my brides LOVE) as well as require them to sign a contract and pay half of the services booked in order to secure the date. This way, they have protection in knowing both parties are liable per the terms of the contract.



Final Thoughts/Bottom Line:

You want to hire someone who is as passionate about doing your makeup as you are in hiring someone to do your makeup. With that being said, whoever you are looking to hire should also be asking you questions! Are they asking you specific detailed questions on your event? Asking about your skin type & makeup preferences? Color scheme? Venue? After all, interviewees are always supposed to ask questions too, right? Personally and if possible, I like to study as much of my clients style, preferences, event type, color scheme, weather/lighting, before I even show up and apply makeup. For destination weddings where face-to-face trial runs/consultations are not an option, I make myself available via Skype or FaceTime and do a free virtual consultation. Weddings are generally the most photographed event of the bride’s life and makeup plays a vital role in ultimately, how well the photos turn out.

Natalie Setareh

photo credit: 11th Door Photography


Natalie is a pro MUA + blogger. She loves bringing out the inner confidence and beauty of her clients through the art of makeup application. When she’s not working, she’s having dance parties with her son, memorizing complicated rap lyrics, and wondering what is for dessert. She’d LOVE to meet you!

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