Expert Advice: A Guide to Hiring the Best Tampa Bay Wedding Hair and Makeup Artist`

Expert Advice: A Guide to Hiring a Wedding Hair and Makeup Artist

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What Should Brides Know about Choosing a Hair and Makeup Artist (HMUA)?

“Clear communication is key when choosing a hair and makeup artist that fits your style. We love to see inspiration pictures from our clients and pinpoint exactly what they love about that particular look. An inspiration picture allows your potential stylist to use their expertise to recreate that look on you. View pictures on their website and social media pages to determine if their style matches yours, and most importantly, have a consultation with your stylist. It’s always good to ask for recommendations on what you might need to do to achieve your desired look. For example, many bridal hairstyles found on Pinterest require extensions or color services. When looking for makeup inspiration pictures, it’s important to look for pictures where the model has a similar skin tone and facial features (such as eye color, face shape, etc.). An experienced stylist can recognize what is needed to create the look and give you honest advice, rather than over-promising and under-delivering.” -Kelcey Yeager, owner of Adore Bridal

“Hiring a bridal stylist should be fun! Of course, you want to love your look, but you should also love their vibe. Take a look at their social media and make sure the styles they are posting are similar to the styles you love. When looking for inspiration photos, try to find ones featured on their page with similar coloring to your own. Having a clear vision coming into a trial is so helpful for both sides! Having a bridal stylist come on location on your wedding day is a luxury service and is 100% worth it for peace of mind and ease! We are also really big on timelines and schedules so that your day runs smoothly and is stress-free, so definitely ask your artist about how they operate in that department. Don’t be afraid to speak up with your artist! They are there for you and want you to be happy. We also love when our brides book hair and makeup for other events leading up to the wedding, so we have more chances to interact and work with you to fine-tune any preferences! ” -Christine Wheaton, owner of Femme Akoi Beauty Studio

“Stalk your HMUA like she/he is an ex! Rival the FBI. Google their Instagram and Facebook, and find out their consistent hair and makeup style. You want to make sure they are an expert in your hairstyle and that they are not doing it for the first time. Also, a HMUA’s personality is super important. Will their personality match up with yours? Remember, you are going to have to spend at least two hours with this person. As a bride, you want to make sure that the ‘getting ready’ experience is going to be relaxing for you. You don’t want your HMUA to drive you crazy on an already stressful day. Lastly, make sure your HMUA is open to critique. If you don’t like your hair the day of your wedding or want to change something, will your HMUA take the critique with an open heart or will she burn you with a curling iron? Make sure you have good communication. Your HMUA will forever be a memory in your life. Make sure that memory is a good one!” -Michele Renee Zerda, owner of Michele Renee The Studio

“It is most important to find an artist that features the looks you are going for. Whether you are looking for dramatic glam, soft glam, or a natural look, it is so important to find an artist who does that hair and makeup style often. Most of our personal clients wear little to no makeup in their day-to-day, so it is important to always have a trial to see if you are comfortable with the amount of makeup the artist uses. The amount of makeup one woman considers natural could be dramatic for another client. If you wouldn’t personally want to look like any of the clients on their Instagram, then they are not the right fit for you! Always read reviews thoroughly and set up a phone call to get the vibe of the artist because the second most important thing besides their skill is their personality and if you will enjoy working with them. Bridal glam is so personal; we are literally touching your face! You want to feel very comfortable being honest with your stylist.” -Kaitlyn Webb, owner of K.Ley Bridal

What Are Some Common Misconceptions Brides Have About Hiring a Wedding HMUA?

“The biggest misconception when hiring a glam squad is the timelines and use of bridal suites for glam. The larger your party, the more time is needed for hair and makeup. With most brides, due to first looks, first touches, bridal portraits etc., the finish time is typically quite earlier than you would expect. Trust your artist with timing! We do this every single week, multiple times a week. We want you to enjoy every moment of getting ready, and if we are rushed and stressed you will be as well! Every artist is different when it comes to what time they need to provide their best work. I highly recommend using a hotel conference room or Airbnb as opposed to a bridal suite if you have a larger party because most likely the venue will not let you in early enough. This way, the bridal suite is all clean and ready for staged photos with your photographer as well! Sip on a mimosa, put on your favorite music, and enjoy this special moment with your girls!” -Kaitlyn Webb, owner of K.Ley Bridal

“A common misconception is believing that one HMUA artist can complete hair and makeup for a large party in a limited amount of time. Hiring a HMUA team who sends at least two artists to accommodate your bridal party is imperative in order to accommodate your overall wedding day timeline. Your hair and makeup artist should be scheduled at least 45 minutes for each person. Be cautious if the estimated time is less than that. It could mean the artist either rush through applications or does not take the time to properly sanitize their equipment between guests. Hiring a reputable team that provides a schedule and multiple artists will set you up for a stress-free day of pampering.” -Kelcey Yeager, owner of Adore Bridal

“You don’t have to put on a POUND of makeup for your features to show up in pictures. Nowadays with hi-resolution and digital film, the camera can define your natural features. Heck, you don’t even really need to wear foundation if you don’t want to. It is all about feeling beYOUtiful, and only you can define your beauty. (Can I get an AMEN!) ” -Michele Renee Zerda, owner of Michele Renee the Studio

“I find some brides will say, ‘Oh my friend is really good at makeup; I’ll have her do it!’ You don’t want to do that to your friend! There is a big difference between makeup for a dinner party and makeup for a wedding. There are so many things a HMUA does to make your hair and makeup photograph well and last all day. In the grand scheme of things, your photos will be all you have left once the wedding is over, and having amazing hair and makeup in that photo is priceless!” -Christine Wheaton, owner of Femme Akoi Beauty Studio

Bridal Glamour Shot Wedding Portrait | Orange, Purple, Pink, and Yellow Bouquet | Tampa Bay Hair and Makeup Artist Michele Renee The Studio | Florist Save the Date Florida

What Should Brides Budget for Wedding HMUA Services in the Tampa Bay Area?

“Compare hiring a wedding HMAU to going to a hairstylist for a balayage for a bargain; we know this usually results in a color correction and spending twice the money to fix it. Hiring a bargain bridal HMUA is the same risk without a correction option for your wedding day. If you are looking for an industry professional, expect to pay at least $200 per person for hair and makeup. Your luxury hair and makeup artist has invested thousands of dollars in experience, education, training, product knowledge, safe and high-end products, and insurance. If they are charging less, you can expect less quality.” -Kelcey Yeager, owner of Adore Bridal

“Your wedding day is one of the most important moments of your life! Hair and makeup can make or break all of your photos and videography services you are investing in! Also, you want to feel like a million bucks when all eyes are on you! You start the first few hours of your day with your glam squad; it sets the tone for the day. Make sure your artist makes you feel comfortable and is someone you would enjoy spending hours with. I do not recommend searching for your artist based on a budget; I recommend searching for an artist based on who will make you feel the most confident and beautiful you have ever felt!” -Kaitlyn Webb, owner of K.Ley Bridal

“Hair and makeup services can run in the thousands. It just depends on how elaborate you want them. For example, you can add extensions which can cost up to $1,000. I always tell my brides they can find a nice dress at Target, Dillards, and Nordstroms, but for a special occasion, you probably want to shop at least at Dillards or Nordstroms. For your wedding, you want quality and service, which comes with a higher price tag.” -Michele Renee Zerda, owner of Michele Renee the Studio

What Should Brides Do Before Coming to Their Trial?

“Do not schedule your trial too early! We recommend 3-4 months out from your wedding date. This ensures that your hair color, skin tone, and style are going to be the same for your wedding day. A common misconception is that you need dirty hair for styling. This can be counterproductive and prevent us from getting the volume we need because our hair is weighed down by the oils. We suggest washing your hair one to two days prior. We are aware that it is uncomfortable to come to your trial with a bare face, but it helps your makeup artist get a proper skin evaluation. Skincare is key for flawless bridal makeup. Our licensed aestheticians can recommend custom skincare regimens prior to your wedding date to give you that bridal glow that every girl dreams of!” -Kelcey Yeager, owner of Adore Bridal

“Wear a shirt color the same color as your dress so you know how the makeup will look according to color context, and so that you can find a suitable lipstick. Send a picture of the dress to the artist so you can make sure the hair and makeup style will go along with the overall look. If you want to bring a friend that is great, but remember that you really need to bond with the makeup artist and make sure you have great communication before adding more voices and options to the mix.” -Michele Renee Zerda, owner of Michele Renee The Studio

“The most important thing is to come prepared! It is your wedding and your vision, so enlightening your artist with lots of pictures and inspiration is key so that they can do the best job possible in bringing that to life.” -Christine Wheaton, owner of Femme Akoi Beauty Studio

Bride with Smokey Eye and Soft Curls with Beaded Head Piece | Lace Illusion Long Sleeve Boho Wedding Dress | Tampa Bay Adore Bridal Hair and Makeup

What Insight Would You Give to Help a Bride Feel Comfortable During Her Trial?

“Firstly, I recommend doing your trial three months or less from your date. Why? Because so many moving parts will change while you are wedding planning. We all know when you are wedding planning your Pinterest and Instagram will be overflowing with beautiful hair and makeup ideas, and it can be very overwhelming. By doing the trial three months out, you will have nailed down the look you want. My second biggest piece of advice is to do your trial alone. I know this can be intimidating, but it is your chance to get to know your artist one on one and build a relationship with them. It’s almost like a first date! The more people you have at your trial, the more opinions you will have that might sway you from what you really want. Think of your friend who wears a red lip and smokey eye every day while you prefer a natural look; her opinion of makeup and what she likes is completely different than yours! All that matters is that you feel amazingly beautiful with your look, not what anyone else thinks. The third thing I recommend is wearing a full face of makeup for five days leading up to your trial. Since COVID, a lot of clients wear a lot less makeup, and any amount of makeup can be overwhelming. By doing this, you at least get used to seeing yourself with more makeup than you do every day. Trials are my favorite part of the process; it is so fun, so always go into it with an open mindset and honesty!” -Kaitlyn Webb, owner of K.Ley Bridal

“Communication before you actually start hair and makeup is so important. Talk about your overall wedding. What is the location of the wedding? What are your bridesmaids’ colors? When you walk down the aisle, what do you want people to say about your look (sexy, beautiful, she looks like a princess, etc). If you are anxious, ask the artist if you can have a conversation before the trial or plan an online meeting. Sometimes when you get to know the personality of the artist, it will put your mind to rest.” -Michele Renee Zerda, owner of Michele Renee The Studio

“Knowing that you can be transparent with your hair and makeup artist will make you feel the most comfortable. Establishing that trust and relationship with your bridal beauty company in the beginning, helps you feel at ease with giving feedback. A true professional can handle constructive criticism without getting defensive. Your trial is all about figuring out what you like and don’t like and providing a safe space for feedback.” -Kelcey Yeager, owner of Adore Bridal

“Relax because the trial is just that, a trial! This is where you get to play, try things and really get to know your artist. It’s supposed to be fun!” -Christine Wheaton, owner of Femme Akoi Beauty Studio

What Additional Insight Would You Give About Hiring a Wedding HMUA?

“When selecting your HMUA, it is important to ask straightforward questions; there is no such thing as over-communication. Quite often, your hair and makeup team are the first people to greet you on your wedding day. It’s so important to trust and know that you are in good hands. Once you find the one you like, book them! Most good, reputable bridal vendors reserve their bridal parties one to two years in advance.” -Kelcey Yeager, owner of Adore Bridal

“You should always have a contract with an artist, and if they do not have or offer a contract, I would consider that a red flag.” -Christine Wheaton, owner of Femme Akoi Beauty Studio

“This is controversial, but I have found that many hair and makeup artists are not licensed. Or they may be licensed estheticians and still doing hair. For your safety and your family’s safety, it might be a good idea to check licensure and insurance before signing a contract.” -Michele Renee Zerda, owner of Michele Renee The Studio

“Trust your artist! You hired them for a reason. We do this multiple times a week, and we love honest feedback, but we do have a reason why we do every step in the glam process. From timing, clip-in extensions, and skincare, we want to make your glam goals come true, and sometimes we will recommend things you never thought about! Let us be your glam bestie so you can feel like a queen.” -Kaitlyn Webb, owner of K.Ley Bridal

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Hair & MakeupAdore Bridal
Hair & MakeupK. Ley Bridal

About the Author

Anna Coats

Marry Me Tampa Bay editor Anna Coats created Marry Me Tampa Bay in 2012 to showcase the area’s best local weddings and vendors. She has been featured as a wedding expert on the national talk show Daytime, Fox13, ABC Action News, Great Day Tampa Bay, and Bay News 9 (now Spectrum).

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