The Planner Vendor Relationship: What Makeup Artists Wish Event Planners Knew

April 25, 2020  |  by:

The event planner vendor relationship is an integral part of an excellent client experience. It’s not only about interpersonal relationships, and contract negotiation, but when everyone pulls together and helps each other out, then the overall event runs smoother. 

For this reason, I’ve been interviewing vendors about how they view their roles and what they do to help event planners and clients. I also ask every vendor what planners can do to help get the best results for clients. We’ve chatted with photographers and venues, and we’re about to hear what helps build a good planner vendor relationship from a makeup artist.

Meet Your Makeup Artist

Jenn Dugan of The Makeup Curio

Jenn Dugan is the founder and owner of The Makeup Curio in Schenectady, New York. Jenn works in and around upstate New York and the Finger Lake district, which, incidentally, is gorgeous in the Fall.

Like many makeup studios, they don’t just do makeup for bridal parties and special occasions. The Makeup Curio also does theatrical makeup, as well as skincare and esthetic services. 

I’ve previously chatted with Jenn about the impact of COVID-19 on the event industry, and she was kind enough to answer even more questions about the art of event makeup and how the works with event planners and clients.

What The Makeup Artist Needs To Know Long Before The Event

Around the time of the booking, to give an accurate quote, the makeup artist needs some details. While these details are changeable, they are important. We’ll stick with weddings for context.

The makeup artist needs to know the number of people in the wedding party who’ll be getting makeup. Depending on the size, the makeup artist will hire an assistant. The earlier that Jenn knows the size of the bridal party, the sooner Jenn can book the best assistant. No one wants to scramble at the last minute. 

There are a few more small details that perhaps matter more than you might expect. If any of the bridal party need “extras” like lashes, the cost and the time necessary for makeup will change. The event planner will be essential in helping the makeup artist chase down these details. So if you’re using our event planning software, add this to the task list – trust me, it’ll boost the planner vendor relationship nicely.

The details matter to the event planner as well for obvious reasons. It takes time to do each person’s makeup. So the number of people in the bridal party who need the makeup artist’s services influences the event timeline. If two or three more people unexpectedly need makeup for, it can even push the ceremony time back. Or at least seriously annoy the photographer.

Lastly, there are supplies to order. Although most makeup artists will have their stock ready, sometimes there are special items needed. Jenn sometimes uses exclusive brands, and based on the trial session with the client, she needs a lead time to order them. 

The Planner Vendor Relationship: What Makeup Artists Wish Event Planners Knew
Photo by Raphael Lovaski

The Timing Of The Trial Matters

Your makeup artist will likely remind you about this, but I love insider knowledge like this. As an event planner, you might be involved in your client booking their trial session with the makeup artist. 

Jenn explains, “I don’t want to book it too close when the bride is having to do so many other things. But I don’t want it too far away either. If we’re talking different seasons, two months before a fall wedding is the middle of summer. People are tanning. They’re going to be a different shade than when they walk actually down the aisle.”

“That makes a difference! They’ll want a different color palette on their face for a late September, October wedding versus me even just testing it in August. Last year I had a November bride. Her bridal shower was in August, so that was officially the trial. But she wanted different makeups. So we ended up having two trials – another one in October.”

But sometimes, there are even more timing considerations.

Jenn explains, “A lot of people actually want their makeup done for their bridal showers. And you know, if the client wants a different color palette for the bridal shower, then we have to have another trial.”

Oh, and Jenn recommends a facial about two weeks before the event too. Skincare leading up to the wedding is crucial!

How Makeup Artists Think About Timelines

The big question is what time the bridal party, including the bride, needs to be ready. If the client needs to be prepared by 2:30, and there are five people in the bridal party, then Jenn will budget at least 5 hours. 

“I would want to be there no later than 8:30 in the morning. That also includes a little bit of buffer time. I always include buffer time when I gave clients a time estimate.”

The buffer matters because changes often happen on the fly. Someone might need a quick fix. Someone else decides they also want lashes when they’d previously opted to forego them. 

The Start of The Event Day

About two days before the event, Jenn confirms the assistant if needed, double checks her supplies, and confirms the timeline with the event planner. The night before the event, Jenn packs her bags, ready to roll. 

Like we’ve heard from other vendors, Jenn gets there early. “So I try to arrive before the agreed time. I can kind of scope it out, feel where I need to set up, and then it gives me a time to set up. So I’m actually ready to go at 8:30. I have a portable, foldable table, and a foldable tall chair. I also have a ring light I bring with me in case of crappy lighting. I’m also carrying my suitcase-sized makeup kit. And then I usually have an extra bag with some other stuff in it.”

The Order Of Makeup

Jenn likes to start with the moms. 

“I try to do the moms first because they’re the ones that are usually running around and helping people. So if we get them done first, then they feel like they can go do what they need to do to help. Then it’s a matter of who’s available and who’s ready.” 

“The bride is second to last.”

I ask why, and Jenn answers, “So their hair can be last.” 

This caught me by surprise. I’d recently seen several timelines where the event planner scheduled the bride first. Jenn explained why that wouldn’t have been her choice.

“I don’t like to do the makeup on the bride first. If they could sit down with the hair person and get their hair put into curlers first, yes. But essentially, the styling of the hair is last on the bride.”

The reasoning makes perfect sense. The makeup process takes hours, and Jenn wants the bride to step out the suite looking fresh. Because hair goes limp, Jenn likes to do the makeup, and pass the bride to the hairstylist. Then, once the hair is done, the client will be ready and fresh for the first look photographs.

Tips To Event Planners From The Makeup Artist

I asked Jenn if she had any tips for event planners to help her do her best work. And she shared something very cool. Before writing this article, I floated the idea past a few event planners, and none of them had ever considered this. I’ll let Jenn say it in her own words.

“Ideally, I’d have a space where there’s more natural light in the bridal suite, or wherever they’re getting ready. A hairstylist needs light, but not the same way I do as a makeup artist. Hairstylists also need access to plugs and outlets, but I need access to better natural lighting.

Why natural light? Because when the bride steps out into the sunshine for her photographs, her makeup should look natural too. While Jenn adapts and can work with “inside” light, ultimately, its best to work in a similar condition to the where the photographs will be. 

Clever, right?

The Planner Vendor Relationship: Don’t Forget To Tip

It’s customary to tip makeup and hair, but not all brides know this. As an event planner, your beauty vendors will love you if you gently remind the bridesmaid, or the bride, to have an envelope ready. It’ll be a great way to repay the artform for these excellent tips from Jenn. That’s the way to a solid event planner vendor relationship.

And if you’re a new event planner, just starting out, check out our Event Planning 101: A Guide For New Event Planners.

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