Ask An Expert Series | Wedding Makeup
Today we are focusing on Weddings as it's a major milestone for many happy couples. Regardless if the wedding is big or small, one thing is for sure – it takes a lot of work to plan all of the details — everything from the photographer, outfits & flowers, to the venue, food & seating arrangements. The list is long and endless.
I decided to reach out to Stephanie Daga, a Makeup & Hair Artist, based out of Toronto. Stephanie and her team do a lot of makeup & hair for weddings. The services offered at her business BlushPretty make sure everyone walks out looking beautiful for the big day. She makes it look effortless. However, as we all know, if you can make something look easy, it usually means A LOT of experience and work has gone into honing your talent. Getting your hair and makeup done professionally for your special occasion is, in my opinion, a necessity. Let's face it; people are going to view those pictures and videos for many years (decades or even long after you're gone) to come! Wouldn't it be nice to look back and have no regrets? So grab a cup of coffee and read on!
Q. I know you have been a Makeup Artist for a few years now and you do makeup for many different industries. The aesthetic of your work is always fresh & clean. Your work is beautiful, and I can see why many Brides and individuals come to you, seeking your help on their big day or occasion. What attracted you to the business? How did you first get started?
A. Thank you! I appreciate the kind words.
It’s funny because my love for beauty and fashion started young, but my own actual experiences with full makeup applications started late. From a young age, I was really into images in magazines: Sassy, Seventeen, YM, Mademoiselle, and as I got older, it turned into Allure, InStyle, and Glamour. I loved the images, and I loved buying and playing with products - but from 12-18, I didn’t wear much makeup. I was an athlete and sat in limbo between being a jock and a glam girl! In fact, in Grade 9 - because it was the start of High School and I thought I had to - I wore a full face of makeup ... Clinique everything to be exact, but that slowly petered off in Grade 10 when I wasn’t a Minor Niner anymore.
My defining love for makeup and even applying it to myself came later after University. I started taking courses at George Brown and Seneca for makeup application and started buying almost everything in sight. Becoming a makeup artist just started happening slowly. It all happened organically. I was doing makeup on the side of my day job for about three years, and then in 2008 - at the time when the economy was going downhill - I convinced my husband (poor guy) to let me stay home with our young son so that we could grow our family. I wanted to get pregnant again. To nail the idea back with him, I told him I would take my business full time!
Q. When hiring a Makeup Artist, what questions would you recommend a Bride ask to help her make the right decision?
A. This is a great question because I don’t think there are any right or wrong questions to ask. You should ask anything that’s on your mind about makeup and hair and style, and your makeup artist should make you feel like no question is too small (or silly!) to ask.
What I usually recommend to anyone interviewing before hiring a makeup artist is to look at their skill set and expertise, BUT ALSO focus on how they make you feel. Do you feel comfortable with him or her? Do they seem confident to you? Do you feel like you don’t have to micromanage them on the wedding day? Can you trust them to everything agreed upon for the day?
Q. Weddings & special occasions take a lot of planning. How far in advance should someone book with you for the big day?
A. It’s great to be able to meet with a bride for a consultation and/or trial at least 6-8 months pre-wedding day. This is a generous amount of time to ensure that you can schedule a consultation, schedule a trial run and, if needed, schedule another trial run if you change your mind on your inspiration style, (i.e. going more glam than natural). In addition, booking early ensures you have time to shop around for makeup artists and book the one you genuinely want to work with - before another bride steals the date!
Q. For a big event such as a wedding, can you explain why getting your makeup professionally done (and hair too) is important? What are some factors that someone wouldn't normally think about? What are the benefits of this service?
A. With all the planning and preparation that takes place leading up to that one special day - especially in the week right before - a bride has zero downtime. Think of hiring a professional team as a way to pamper yourself in the final moments before you walk down the aisle. Pampering yourself and letting yourself get cared for has additional benefits:
- Makeup that looks great on camera and video, and also in person
- Makeup Artists know all the tips and tricks to handle last minute “surprises” like pimples from stress, or puffy eyes from a restless night
- Their kits are basically 75% of whatever you might need from Sephora - so it’s a budget-friendly option to go with a pro. People often think they can buy whatever they need for just that one day. What they don't realize is it could cost them over $200 for half of all the products they would actually need. If you are the type of person that doesn’t wear a lot of makeup or doesn’t have extensive knowledge in its application, all that product will go to waste!
Q. I'm assuming the same benefits would apply and extend towards a Bridal Party, Mothers of the Bride & Groom too. When a Bride books for her big day, should she book for the group also?
A. If a bride wants to ensure a cohesive and uniform look amongst her bridal party for the wedding day, it’s great to book for the entire group with one Beauty Company that suits the bride’s taste and ideas. This way, everyone shares the same aesthetic, and every one of your BFFs (and your family) will look picture perfect.
Also, you’ve already created a relationship with your beauty team. You can easily communicate about everyone’s personal style, your preferences (‘cause you’re the bride and what you say, goes!), and determine a schedule.
Having your bridal party gather in one place for beauty creates a warm and fun atmosphere in the few hours leading up to your vows, and ensures everyone is where they are supposed to be ON TIME! I mean, can you imagine if all 6 of your bridesmaids were getting ready separately at 6 different locations across the city and you needed them back at your venue by 10:30 am? That’s a lot of stress and anxiety to create for yourself!
Q. A pretrial for hair and makeup are essential. How should a Bride and her group prepare for the pretrial?
A. A trial run for the bride is a must. You have to see it come together to help ease the stress and anxiety of wondering if it’s all going to work out and look proper. It also allows the bride to get some tips, tricks, and prep info from her makeup artist in advance. Not to mention - adjustments! After seeing your chosen inspirational look come together, you and your makeup artist can make the necessary adjustments to make your inspiration look become YOUR look. This could be anything such as more natural eyelashes, a bolder lip color, or less contour!
For prep, I always tell brides to:
- Try to go makeup free for a few days before the trial run;
- Stay on top of your skincare and be disciplined enough to do it daily;
- Exfoliate the skin at least two days before your appointment, but not the day of your appointment; and,
- Bring lots of pictures of the styles that inspire you!
Q. Bridesmaids often wear the same style of dress and color. As a result, it’s usually assumed that they should all wear the same makeup. Must everyone in a Bridal Party have the same makeup look? What is your advice?
A. I don’t think every bridesmaid should have the same look for both makeup and hair - that is not a fair request. While they should respect any preferences of the bride (i.e., don’t go full glam if she asked for natural, dewy look), a Bride should also respect their individuality both in personality and appearance. Asking every female to wear the same coral pink lipstick is unreasonable, especially if your bridal party is a mix ‘n’ match of skin tones and undertones. You want to them complement each other, not be a row of Stepford Bridesmaids that look unnatural in their makeup.
Many Brides say, “well, I don’t want their look to compete with mine,” and I usually say, “you’ll be the one front and center in the white dress kissing the handsome man - none of them will come close to matching you!”.
Q. Timing is everything. On the big day, how much time should a wedding party expect & plan to get ready?
A. Timing depends on size, but for an average party of a Bride plus 4 bridesmaids, I always schedule and advise giving the BlushPretty team a 4-hour timeframe to work with you and your bridal party.
In my many years of experience, and working with bridal parties big and small, 4 hours is that sweet spot. It's long enough so that everyone feels like they are getting pampered and not being rushed through makeup and hair. It's also short enough so when those four hours are up, no one feels like they have been in the room waiting SO LONG for the big show to start. No one is overly tired from being up early, and most importantly no one's personality - whether that be big and boisterous, aloof and unconcerned, or meticulous and micromanaging - has grated on the bride's nerves to the point that she can't stand them and needs them to leave!
Q. Leading up to the big day, what do you recommend a Bride do to get her hair and skin in good shape?
A. It's the same as the pre-trial prep really which is just staying on top of your skincare, exfoliate, and trying to let your skin breathe a bit. Diet also plays a significant role in skincare in my opinion, so I often suggest staying away from sugar and sodium and any other items that might trigger skin issues, (for example, spicy foods that might flare up rosacea).
For the hair, it's a good idea to get an appointment with your hairstylist for a trim and color if needed, usually 1-2 weeks before the wedding day. I'm a big fan of vitamins that foster healthy hair, skin, and nails so I suggest supplements too.
Q. Likewise, what don't you recommend they do before the big day? I can imagine you have seen some mishaps.
A. Don't do anything major; no major haircuts, brow shaping, cosmetic enhancements, or facials within 6 days of the wedding. I shouldn't have to explain this any further, haha. Let's just say, "what could go wrong, will go wrong." Try to get these appointments out of the way one week before the wedding day, this way, if there is a mishap (no jinxes), there is some time to find a solution!
Q. Makeup looks and trends are continually changing. What current trends do you love to see on Brides these days?
A. We’re seeing the return of breathable, see-through makeup. Makeup that looks like fresh skin and youthfulness. The skin looks enhanced instead of covering up! I see less overly contoured and heavily powdered faces, though that was never the BlushPretty aesthetic in the first place. I’m here for it and love seeing my brides embrace their natural beauty.
Q. What are the top 5 items that everyone should have in their makeup bag (after they have had their makeup & hair done) so they can continue to look fresh throughout the big day?
A. Such a good question because I think everyone is a clutch bag over-packer. Haha!
Makeup Bag Essentials:
1. Lipstick or gloss for touch-ups.
2. Blotting paper or pressed powder to reduce shine.
3. Cosmetic cotton swabs to dab and clean around the eyes after some happy tears.
4. A handful of bobby pins.
5. Lip balm, you’ll be surprised at how dry your lips begin to feel after smiling and kissing and talking all day long.
Q. Let's talk about the Groom & his party briefly. So much focus is on the Bride. Do you offer services for Grooms? What do you suggest that he do to get ready for the big day?
A. Grooms tend to have it a bit easier than the bride when it comes to getting ready, but I think there are a few things the groom should do.
He should get matched for concealer. Little bumps - whether from razor burn or from stress - tend to pop up on the wedding day and teaching the groom how to conceal them can do wonders for photos.
Speaking of razor bumps, he should treat himself to a hot towel shave from his local barber. Not only does it look super fresh and tidy, but hey - who says a groom cannot get pampered himself?
A big thank you to Stephanie for sharing her amazing & sound advice with us!
STEPHANIE DAGA | FOUNDER BLUSHPRETTY
Stephanie Daga founded BlushPretty: Makeup+Hair Artistry and BlushPretty.com in 2004. Between being a key artist for the company and managing both BlushPretty’s Studio and Beauty Bar in Toronto, all she does is eat, sleep, and breathe makeup and hairspray (and that’s a good thing – isn’t it?!). Stephanie’s expert tips and work can be seen in a variety of publications including WedLuxe, WeddingStar, StyleMePretty.com, TheKnot.com, ElleCanada.com, Hello Canada, Anokhi, First for Women, Surreal Beauty, NIF, and Toronto Life Wedding Guide.
From time to time you can also catch her on the small screen for shows like RogerTV’s Midday, Oh So Cosmo, and CBC’s Living in Toronto. She’s also had the absolute pleasure of working with some amazing agencies and companies in the GTA, including: Henkaa, Foxy Originals, Canada Goose, Melissa Clemente Designs, THE FACE SHOP, Physicians Formula, Minling Pan, The Artist Project, The City of Pickering, Pravda Bar+Lounge, Rogers Media, WeirFoulds LLP, SunLife Global Investments, Wedding Planners Institute of Canada, Samsung, Maternite et Apres, dara dot designs, Elite Model Management, Next Models, and Elmer Olsen Models.
Who else has Stephanie had the honour of working with? Some familiar names like the LEGENDARY Linda Ronstadt and Canadian songstress Anjulie; Maika Harper, Jennifer Pudavick, Heather White and Brittany LeBorgne, the female lead cast of Mohawk Girls from APTN; Kirby Bliss Blanton of The Green Inferno; Producer Blye Faust; Alyson Modano (pro-golfer and wife of NHL Hall of Famer Michael Modano) and Lakiha Spicer, (wife of Mike Tyson)!
You can visit her website at www.blushpretty.com and follow her on Instagram @blushprettyteam.