Why Is Bridal Makeup More Expensive?

Michael Bold
Written by Michael Bold · Posted in Beauty Last Updated April 25, 2023 · minute read

As you probably know, finding the right makeup artist for your big day is a tough job. You’re essentially trusting them with your whole wedding day appearance. It’s a decision that you really can’t afford to get wrong.

But why is bridal makeup more expensive? What are you paying extra for over the rest of your bridal party? That is right where we’ve got your back. 

We’ve worked closely with makeup artists at over 1000 weddings and there is definitely a wide variety in quality. Trust us! Photographing brides with terrible makeup is not something to look forward to. Luckily, however, the vast majority are great at what they do which makes our job a whole lot easier.

bride having hair and makeup done before wedding

Why Is Bridal Makeup More Expensive?

Here at Story Amour, we’d often ask ourselves the same thing. Why are they charging so much more for bridal makeup? We’ve finally found the answer and are happy to share the results.

In this article, we’ll tell you the differences between traditional makeup and bridal makeup. We’ll then go through some of the reasons why bridal makeup is more expensive. Finally, we’ll round up by giving some advice on how much to spend, who pays, and whether it’s worth giving it a go yourself.

Let’s get started as we tell you why bridal makeup is more expensive.

What is the difference between bridal makeup and regular makeup?

Whilst on the surface bridal and regular makeup may look similar there are some big differences.

Bridal makeup usually takes a lot longer to apply, is intended to last the entirety of the wedding, and is applied by a trained professional. 

A makeup artist will usually have multiple conversations or meetings with a bride to get the look just right. On the other hand, regular makeup may just take place on the same day. You might apply it yourself or an MUA might replicate a look across multiple bridesmaids.

Makeup for a night doesn’t need to stand up to tears, it doesn’t need to be on point for all your wedding photos and generally doesn’t need to be as durable.

Why is bridal makeup more expensive? Factors to consider

So, with all that in mind let’s take a look at some of the factors involved that affect the cost of bridal makeup. 

This should help you to gain an understanding and appreciate why it can be so much more expensive.


A key part of getting the look just right for the wedding day is the makeup trial. 

This allows a bride to discuss face to face with a makeup artist her exact vision for the day. It also allows the makeup artist to share their wealth of experience and expertise. 

This trial allows both parties to see if they’re the right fit for each other. A makeup trial of course costs money. In some cases, it might be included in the overall fee but is a definite consideration as to why bridal makeup is more expensive.

At the same time, it’s an opportunity to discuss any allergies or concerns you have. You can also see how it looks on camera before the big day which is always a bonus. 

Equally, a bride may try multiple products. Things like eyelashes can’t be reused or maybe they don’t like the look of the initial makeup. Well, you can rub it off and try again but it’s costing the MUA financially in their products.

Correspondence with the bride

Essentially time is money. A bride will no doubt be in contact with the makeup artist from the moment they book all the way through to the wedding itself. They’ll be discussing the looks you’ve chosen, looking at any mood boards you’ve created, and discussing arrival times, etc.

They’ll also be on hand to offer advice if you change your mind about the style and theme. As well as offer guidance once they know the decor of your wedding so they can match the makeup style.

MUA’s wedding day experience

If you’re hiring a makeup artist whose profession is in weddings that’s what you’re paying for. Weddings are different from any other event in that it’s viewed as one of the biggest days in a person’s life. Nothing can afford to go wrong. Especially the makeup.

You’re paying for the experience of this professional to be calm under pressure and someone who is backed by multiple positive reviews or awards. This is their livelihood and it shouldn’t be underestimated. 

They will likely have seen it all over the years so they are well placed to deal with any last minute hiccups or changes.


Another consideration is whether or not your makeup artist includes travel in their costs. If you’ve chosen a local MUA to where you live and you’re getting married out of town this may bump up the fee. 

Equally, if you’re having a destination wedding you might ask your MUA to arrive earlier than your wedding day. This is inevitably something that will affect how much they quote you as they’ll need to factor in their travel and accommodation.


As we’ve already discussed with the trial, products cost money. Your makeup artist will likely pride themselves on using the best of the best. 

This should ensure you achieve the best possible look for your big day. The best products often carry with them a price tag to match which will be reflected in the overall costs they charge. 

They can look the best in photos as well as ensure your makeup handles the stresses of the wedding. 

Bespoke service 

When you hire any wedding professional you’re paying for a bespoke service. They’re tailoring the product specifically to you. 

This is especially true of bridal makeup. They aren’t just churning out the same product week after week. Instead, this is specifically curated to your wants and needs and as such comes at a premium.

MUA’s demand 

Professional makeup artists who do this week in and week out are highly sought after. Therefore they can choose to charge a premium compared to a regular makeup artist. 

At the same time to do bridal makeup they might have to turn down the regular business they’d get on the same day from multiple clients. Therefore they need to charge accordingly for their figures to match. 

Equally, due to the timings of weddings usually running quite similar, they may only be able to do one wedding a week. As a result, there is a premium on the cost you’ll pay.

Assistants fees

Some bridal makeup artists we’ve seen have assistants to help with their jobs on the day. 

Bridal makeup artists need to pay these and as a result, it may affect your costs. However, you should have more eyes and hands to ensure a smooth and problem free job is done. 

That being said, these costs are normally explained and are usually an added extra. 


Unlike hiring an amateur makeup artist a professional one is more likely to have insurance should anything bad happen. This is of course a cost of running their business but will be reflected in the price they charge. 

It’s invaluable and any good bridal makeup artist will be more than happy to share their paperwork with you.


Bridal makeup takes a long time. Trust us! As photographers we often see the makeup artists arriving at 6am on the run sheet. 

They also stick around for any last minute touch ups before the bride walks down the aisle. At the same time, some makeup artists even stay for the entire day making sure the bride looks great throughout.

You should also consider that it’s not just the time spent on the day of the wedding. It’s answering emails, phone calls, and text messages. This all takes time and thought from your MUA.


It’s really important to have a contract between both parties to protect them should anyone break the agreement. 

A contract pretty much guarantees that your MUA will turn up on the day. Should they fail to show they’re obviously breaking the contract and will have to compensate you accordingly. 

Essentially, you’re paying for this level of professionalism and the likelihood of them being a no show when a contract is in place is very slim.

More than just a makeup artist 

Finally, when you hire a bridal makeup artist you’re getting more than a flawless look for your big day.

They do this week in and week out so can provide a calming presence and talk you through their wealth of experience. They know the ins and outs of weddings and how long everything typically takes.

Additionally, they’ll also bring their own lighting and seating for you which can cost hundreds of dollars. Hotel rooms are often dark and dingy and the seating is often too low so this is well worth it in our opinion.

How much should you spend on bridal makeup?

In the Knots 2022 wedding study [1], they found the average cost of bridal makeup to be $120. This is of course an average price across the whole of the U.S. so it’ll really depend on where you’re getting married.

In addition, the price can vary greatly depending on the level of experience and how in demand your makeup artist is. Someone who has been in the industry for 10 years and works at celebrity weddings will inevitably be more expensive than someone just starting out.

At the same time, someone who is booked up year and year out may increase their price on a regular basis. This can help them find the sweet spot between the number of bookings they take on and still having a life.

At the end of the day, makeup artists love what they do but they’ve still got to pay the bills. This is their business after all so it’s understandable they charge a lot for their services.

Does the bride pay for everyone’s makeup?

Another reason bridal makeup is more expensive than traditional makeup is if you’ve decided to pay for the entire bridal party.

Some brides do this while others will ask their bridesmaids to front the cost. This is an individual decision that only you can make. You’ll need to look at your budget and decide whether it’s something you can afford to do.

Your makeup artist may offer reduced rates if you’re booking a package deal but it will still ultimately cost more than just having bridal makeup.

Is it worth doing your own makeup for the wedding?

Errmmm in a word, no. It’s not a good idea In our opinion. Unless you prefer a very minimal amount of makeup it’s best to get the professionals in.

This is what they do for a living and will have done so many times to create you the perfect look. It’s an area of your wedding that’s definitely worth paying that little bit extra for to get the best.

We’ve seen brides who have done their own makeup and let’s just say it didn’t look good in photos. A professional knows just the right amount to apply so that it looks great on camera.

Additionally, a professional makeup artist has experience working with products that last. You want your look to hold up throughout the day and that might be something you can’t achieve on your own.

Whilst we agree that this is an obvious way to save money on your big day it’s not worth the risk. You don’t want to look back at your wedding photos and regret not spending an extra few hundred dollars, do you?


As you can no doubt appreciate there is a lot that goes into creating the perfect bridal makeup. 

They not only use the best products on the market but also invest a lot of time into their clients.

In our opinion, this is definitely one aspect of a wedding day that you shouldn’t skimp on. 

Having worked with some of the best makeup artists in the business we can definitely tell you the high cost is there for a reason. You’ll feel a million dollars as you walk down the aisle and that feeling will be worth every cent!


[1] – https://www.theknot.com/content/average-cost-wedding-hair-makeup