10 ways to make the most of your bridal makeup trial

J S Coates Wedding Photography

J S Coates Wedding Photography


As a Bridal makeup specialist, I have spoken to many brides (as you can imagine!) and you won’t be surprised how many times I hear the same re-accruing concerns at the trial stage. For most this is a completely new experience and naturally won’t know what is to be expected and how to best prepare for getting the most out of the trial stage. It’s also not uncommon for me to speak to brides who have already had a trial and found the experience uncomfortable leaving them feeling underwhelmed and misunderstood by their artist. Knowing what to expect at a trial and what you know about your makeup artist is equally important as the big day itself so I wanted to compile a list of ways for you to get the absolute most out of the experience and talk you through how I do things so you know what to expect!

1)  Lets Talk!

I know, it’s one of those things where some dread conversations over the phone, but for me scheduling a time to talk properly before anything else is an absolute prerequisite. It’s very likely when you initially make an enquiry it will be roughly 6 months to a year (or sometimes more!) before you are getting married so having that initial conversation is paramount to feeling confident with the process ahead of you. Exchanging emails doesn’t always lead to an open and honest discussion about how you feel about having your makeup done so first things first, lets talk! You will quickly find that I am an easy going, laid back and an understanding person and I appreciate that this is all new to you, so no question is a silly one for me. This is the perfect time to be completely honest about how you are feeling about your wedding day makeup, what your concerns are, where you feel you may need more information and more importantly, to have a conversation where you are going to feel completely confident, more relaxed and feel like you have been listened to.

2)  How close to the wedding day should I have my trial?

I have tried and tested many timescales in my time as a Bridal Makeup artist and I have found that 3-4 months before your wedding day is the ideal time to have your trial. There are a number of reasons why, for example around that stage you’re more than likely going to have most of the details of the wedding ticked off like bridesmaids dresses, flower consultations, location where you will be getting ready, hair stylists and photographer and most importantly, the wedding dress! This is all going to help you create an image in your mind of how you want your wedding makeup to look. You are also less likely to forget what your wedding makeup looked like if you have it closer to the time which is key with final dress fittings etc.

3)  What time of day is best to have the trial?

I always recommend doing your trial in the morning between 9.30am – 11am. It seems early but there is method to my madness. I recommend you wear it for as long as possible as I heavily rely on your feedback as to how the makeup wears throughout the day. It must last from morning through to the late-night dancing AND still look just as fresh as what it did when first applied. Makeup also looks different in various times of the day and lighting and when it has had a chance to settle into the skin so I prefer to try and replicate the same time as you would potentially have your wedding makeup done on your wedding day.

4)  Have someone at the trial who you trust!

I ALWAYS recommend having a close friend or family member or your bridesmaids at your trial. It will not only help you feel comfortable and relaxed, but they will be the most honest with you about how you look and be able to give constructive feedback if they feel something isn’t right but equally keep you feeling reassured throughout the process. Personally, for me I love having others there at the trial. It helps to create a fun atmosphere and gives me the chance to meet your nearest and dearest who are likely to be there on your big day.

5)  Bring anyone who isn’t sure about having their makeup done.

This on links to the last point but I often find that there may be reservations within a couple of the Bridal party including Mothers of Brides which can make it hard for the bride to decide what is best and whether to include everyone or not. If there are one or two who really don’t know/feel comfortable with having their makeup done, then meeting me and watching me apply the makeup can often put their mind at ease as they will quickly realise that I don’t trowel on the makeup making them feel a lot more comfortable with making the decision!

6)  Come to your trial with your makeup on.

I know that a lot of people feel that coming with a bare face will save time however there is plenty of time to take off makeup and cleanse the skin which I do anyway before any appointment begins. For me, seeing you with your daily makeup is the most important part of visualising and creating your perfect wedding makeup. As you will know, my passion is to be able to deliver a natural Bridal look which still looks like you but at your absolute best. Your wedding makeup will always be more than your everyday makeup but to see how much you wear is absolutely paramount for me to understand what your comfort zones are and what “natural” means to you which I can guarantee is completely different from one person to the next.

7)  What information to have ready for your trial.

As it will have been a while before since having the initial phone conversation, a lot of the details may have been altered or changed and if so, these will be the things we shall discuss so together we can build a picture of what your morning will look like.

-          You “getting ready” location

-          The time you’ll be allowed into the dressing area if it’s at a venue

-          Your time of ceremony

-          Photographer

-          Have pictures of your wedding dress (the most important!)

-          Swatches/photos of your colour scheme

-          Pictures of your bridesmaids’ dresses

-          Images of what your flowers may look like.

Having this information will really help me get an understanding of the overall look and theme of the wedding which is imperative to creating wedding makeup which will compliment your dress and the feel of the day. This is also key as I will be discussing your bridesmaids’ makeup look too so having an idea of the colour they are wearing makes this easier to decide what will look the best.

8)  Stay true to your style.

Inspirational Images are great to give you some ideas about wedding makeup looks but ultimately really think about if what you are looking at will suit you. I have mentioned in previous posts that a lot of images are highly edited and photo-shopped and that makes them less than ideal as realistically they are misleading. However, they are great to know what colours you like and for hair inspiration too, so I still recommend looking, but just remember to stay true to your own style! I have said before, but it is incredibly important to keep reiterating that there is no right or wrong to how you should look on your wedding day except to look and feel like you! This about how much makeup you wear, the things you like doing and the things you don’t, for example, do you wear mascara on your bottom lashes? If no then don’t be talked into it by anyone that you must on your big day!

9)  Try and get your wedding hair appointment on the same day

Now, this isn’t always an easy thing to arrange so if you can’t do this then it’s not a deal-breaker but often it’s useful to see your hair and makeup look done on the same day. Trials can sometimes be a little overwhelming especially with makeup because it will always be more than you wear on a daily basis so having your hair done too can instantly put you in a different frame of mind, help you to imagine how it would look on the big day and help you to see if there are any changes you would like to make.

10)  Don’t worry if you change your mind!

I make sure we discuss it all properly before we do your makeup, but you won’t know until you have it done. My job is to get it right and that means tweaking things which you weren’t sure about at your trial. Often after wearing the makeup for a day and seeing it in different lights you’ll have a better idea if it’s right for you or not and if there are any changes you would like to make.  Depending on your feedback I will always make sure that it’s listened to and make the necessary changes to help you feel confident. It’s your big day and your opinion matters so if you change your mind about anything it’s not like having a bad haircut where you can’t change it, there is a solution to everything!


This service is all about you so for more advice or for further questions please don’t hesitate to contact me!