Should I do my own makeup for my wedding?

May 11, 2018

Thinking about doing your own hair and makeup for your wedding day? This is a must read! 

I was doing hair and makeup for Jess’s wedding in February this year,  and got chatting to the lovely maid of honour Jo.  Both of us had kids of similar ages, so we had a good laugh at the situations we now find ourselves in as parents. From toddler tantrums, to throwing routines out the window to my need to add Dettol to my kids bath when they get home from daycare…we had a lot of fun chatting all things mum life ( and yes, I absolutely DO add a tiny bit of Dettol to every bath!)

I asked Jo about her own wedding day,  and she described a gorgeous casual affair hosted on her uncles private property. It sounded amazing! I asked her “who did you have do your hair and makeup for your day?’. The answer was not what I was expecting!

“I did it myself, and if it’s one piece of advice I’d tell other brides, is to hire someone to do it for you!”

After Jo said this, I picked her brain a little further about her experience, and then asked if it would be ok to share that experience with you, my followers, because I think she made some really great points to consider, especially if you think you may tackle your own hair and makeup on your wedding day.

Looking at the images below,  I actually think Jo did a fantastic job on her hair and makeup!  But it’s how she felt during a rushed morning and that she has these memories so vividly still, 3 years on, is what really made me stop and think about just how special those precious hours are!


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“I missed the whole getting ready ritual, and instead spent the morning completely frazzled…”

I know it’s tempting to save a whole heap by doing it yourself, because, you can buy so much makeup with that money, right?!  Yes while that’s true, you probably don’t really know how to use all the products properly to maximise their performance on your skin. A quick lesson at a makeup store isn’t going to be enough practise for you before the big day.

As a professional hair and makeup artist I’ve always been amused when brides will spend a fortune on reception, dress, flowers, alcohol and food, when at the end of the day the way they look is so important and your images are the only thing you have left to remember the day by. The way you look, will dictate the way you feel- and that to me, should be priority number one on such an important day where everyone is looking at the you, the bride!

So with this in mind I’ve often wondered why it is that hair and makeup budget sometimes gets pushed to the side, or is half of what it should be. I absolutely understand that budgets vary, but I think my point here is more about the true emotional value of this, not just the monetary value.

I found Jo’s story really interesting as it was from a totally different perspective, and I’m so pleased that she allowed me to share her experience with you all!

Jo’s wedding day took place on the 18th April 2015 on her uncles property in Razorback, NSW and was celebrated with 50 of their closest friends and family.

She had a laid back, boho theme with pinks, peaches and cream as a colour theme. Here are some of her answers to my pressing questions!

Q. What hair and makeup did you DIY for your wedding day ? 
Hair and Makeup on myself, my Mum and my Bridesmaid

Q. What was the most fun to DYI?
I loved doing my Mums makeup and my bridesmaid’s hair

Q. What was the least fun to DYI?
My makeup, no fun… Not any funs at all!!!!

“No matter how capable you think you are leading up to your wedding, you cannot anticipate how you will be feeling on the day”.

Q. What were the main reasons you choose to do your own hair and makeup?
The main reason was to save money, but I actually spent more on the products I used than it would have cost me to hire a professional!! I was also very picky at the time as to how I wanted my makeup done, and had (and still do) have a massive love and passion for makeup. I figured I could do just as good as good a job as any professional.. While the photos are still beautiful, I did NOT factor in the pressure I would feel on the day, the stress I would be under or the time it would actually take to complete.

Q. Did  your bridesmaid also do her own hair and makeup?
I did my bridesmaids hair, but unfortunately I ran out of time to do her Makeup… So she had to do her own 🙁

Q. Were you happy with the job you did for your own hair and makeup ? 
Yes and no, I’m not totally unhappy with the end result, or the way it lasted and looked in photographs, however the process I went through to do it myself was soooo not worth it.

Q. Why did you wish you hired someone to do this?
If I could change anything it would definitely be that I didn’t attempt to do my own makeup. Just the stress I felt alone is enough to make me wish it had have been different. However one of the saddest things is, I missed the whole getting ready ritual, and instead spent the morning completely frazzled and on the verge of a complete meltdown!! It’s not how a bride should spend the morning of one of the most important days of her life, that’s for sure!!

Q. For brides wanting to save, and do their own, what advice would you give them?
Don’t do it, and HIRE MICHELLE CATO!! Haha no seriously, no matter how capable you think you are leading up to your wedding, you cannot anticipate how you will be feeling on the day. Please don’t put that amount of pressure on yourself, you will already be feeling the heat without that responsibility on your shoulders.  ((NOTE: I never asked her to say to hire me!! But I’m so glad she said that because she was obviously over the moon how she looked that day as a maid of honour! ))

Q. Any other advice for future DIY brides? 
Go easy on yourself, only take on what you’re sure you can handle. Try not to take anything on that you’ll need to worry about on your actual wedding day, that’s what your slaves ahem.. bridesmaids are for!!

Q. After having your hair and makeup professionally done as a maid of honour for your best friends wedding, what are your thoughts on good quality hair and makeup for events and weddings ? How does that differ to before you got married? 
There is absolutely a clear difference in photography, and I also never realised the thought process and experience behind the scenes (ie skin types, colouring etc) or the time it actually takes!

“Go easy on yourself, only take on what you’re sure you can handle”.

I think the biggest thing that stands out for me in all of those questions I asked Jo, was that it was a shame that she missed out on the “getting ready ritual” as Jo puts  it. It’s such a beautiful morning when you are with your closest friends and family, having a glass of bubbles and reflecting  on all the life events that you’ve experienced that have led unto this amazing day- your wedding day!

Pics From Jess’s Wedding where Jo was the Maid of Honour, held at Montrose Berry Farm, Sutton Forrest.

Hair & Makeup by me. Images By Gavin Cato Photography

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If  you are still keen on attempting to do your own makeup for the day, here are my top tips!

  1. Get ourself into a really good skincare routine before the day. Cleanse and moisturise daily, and exfoliate regularly.
  2. Clean up your diet and drink 3 litres of water a day. The better your skin or ‘canvas’ the better the painting!
  3. Have a makeup lesson by a professional makeup artist. Not just someone at a counter that is restricted to one makeup brand. PRACTISE the style as many times as you can before the day and time yourself so you know how long you need to really nail it.
  4. Purchase 2 different foundations. A lighter one and a darker one so you can mix these colours to get a better match especially if your wedding is in summer and you’re going to get a little bit of colour, or to blend in your spray tan better. Nothing worse than a pale looking face on a tanned body!
  5. Don’t fuss with eyelashes on the day. For the inexperienced, they are a nightmare to put on especially with wedding jitters and nerves!  Instead have a lash tint and lift or opt for a natural set of eyelash extensions. Eyelash growth products like Eye Envy are a great alternative and you get fantastic results from, but you need to start using lash growth serums like this at least 6 weeks before the day.
  6. Allow 1 hour locked away in the bathroom to perfect your look without any distractions from anyone. This will give you the time to relax, and take your time.
  7. Do not underestimate point 6.

There is a reason makeup artists start earlier than needed on the day.  We need to allow plenty of time for things to happen naturally on your day so you aren’t having your hair and makeup rushed, time for you to have lunch, have a glass of bubbles, chat to your florist when your flowers get delivered, cry through the gift your husband to be just sent you….

So many things happen on the morning of a wedding that you simply can’t predict, ( but after hundreds of weddings,  I can!!).

If all of the above sounds way too hard and confusing, start looking around for a makeup artist you feel you connect with, that will listen to you and that you can trust will have your back to give you the best version of yourself on your day.  Remembering that , how you look will dictate how you feel, and how you feel will reflect in your photos which is all you have left to remember the day by! Trust your gut and make the best decision for yourself, and the type of day you want to have, whether that be doing your own, or having someone do it for you. 

A question I get asked all the time is, “did YOU do your own hair and makeup for your wedding?”.

It was a pretty tough decision for me, as a makeup artist, to make up my own face for my own wedding. I had someone do my hair, ( because I certainly didn’t want that stress!)  but I did do my own makeup. I was pretty shaky to be honest,  I locked myself away in the bathroom, laid out all of my products in a line so I wouldn’t forget anything and I had eyelash extensions applied a few days before so I didn’t have to worry about putting them on myself. All in all, I was happy I did it this way, but even I was a bit shaky, knowing what I was doing! The most relaxed I was that morning, was sitting having my hair done with a glass of champagne in hand!

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My wedding day images by Hilary Cam Photography


Michelle x