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The Diary of a pro makeup artist

Join me on this light read for all things bridal, beauty, tips & tricks, cool stuff and whatever else.

georgia bridal hair and makeup

Getting ready with your crew, wedding day edition. A how to-                   

When it comes to getting ready on your wedding day, this is often looked back on as one of the most fun and relaxing parts of the day. The suspense, the music, the mimosas. All good times. I have compiled the list below to ensure everyone has a laid back & fun morning.

1) Getting ready location

When choosing a place to get ready, there is a lot to take into consideration here. Most people think the venue where the wedding will take place is best, and this can be a great & convenient option but be sure to check on the venue's policies and layout. Oftentimes venues will not allow early entry times, some as late as 2:00PM. If you have a large bridal party, this will not work with timing. Similarly with having a large bridal party, if the venue's provided "getting ready" space is small, getting ready off-site may be the best option. But don't fret, in my experience off site locations are often the most ideal! Allow me to explain- In the event your venue doesn't work, you're left with two options, A close by hotel or Airbnb.


With a hotel, I highly suggest inquiring about the hotel's conference room. This provides a large open area to get ready in, often with great lighting and plenty of table space for eating and celebrating pre-ceremony, all while still having your own private hotel room to go back to if needed. 

With an Airbnb, you have your choice of location, layout, and lighting. Be sure to choose a spot close to your venue with plenty of space for everyone to comfortably get ready, (Also, keep in mind your vendors who may be there along with their equipment.) A space with great lighting for fantastic hair, makeup, and photos. And lastly, a beautiful photo worthy Airbnb never hurts either. :)

2) Wedding chores 

If you will be sleeping at the venue, this is a huge perk. Consider steaming dresses the night before. If that's not possible, have someone steam the dresses the day of who has not yet received their hair and makeup services yet to avoid curls falling flat or breaking a sweat with all that steam.


3) Who goes first?

Have a designated person to begin hair and makeup first. I’ve seen it, honestly we’ve probably all seen it when the hair and makeup person is all set up and ready to begin and suddenly everyone avoids eye contact, and desperately tries to look busy. I get it. Really, I do. But in this instance, it can be really helpful to sort over that first hump of who goes first in advance to avoid slow downs.


Aside from that, you may pre-plan name per name who goes after that, but I highly recommend taking that with a grain of salt. Allow me to explain: I have found somewhere along the way, the schedule will either not be followed because the person next in line isn’t ready quite yet, OR even worse, people try to follow the schedule exactly even at the expense of slowing down the day. But trust me, it will be much more beneficial to go ahead and move on to the next person while Auntie fights her way through traffic to get her services done. Pinky promise, lol.


With that said, it’s best to figure out who’s going first, where the bride is going in line, and after that have everyone go in order of who is ready and available to be seated to receive their service. And if you prefer to have names next to time slots, that’s alright too, but make sure that won't be at the expense of slowing down the schedule if the next person isn’t ready to begin, for whatever reason. 


4) Pre plan breakfast and lunch

& Yes, you HAVE to eat even if you're nervous!


5) Gotta have a speaker

Nothing sets the tone quite like blasting your favorite music with a group of your fav people.


6) Wedding gifts before hair and makeup

Get as much of the tears out before hair and makeup is on.

7) Get a good nights rest. It’ll be a long day, in the best way

Trust me, nothing is worse then waking up on the day of your wedding feeling exhausted or even sick. So don't go too hard the day before the wedding- save it for the after party. ;)

working makeup artist

The face of unwavering focus and attention. LOL!

Getting ready with your crew, Wedding day edition. A how to-                   

How to secure and research the best wedding vendors

Searching for vendors to help with your special day can be nerve wracking, to say the least.  Between finding someone with the right style, price point, availability and reliability there is a lot to consider! Heck- I have even seen where a vendor produces a stunning result, but may be unpleasant, or even unresponsive, so much it negates the overall quality of the service. That’s no fun. 


So how can we know who exactly we’re getting before we commit and sign on the dotted line? 


1) Your vendor should have a website.

In the day of social media, it’s easier than ever to see a beautiful and active IG, TikTok or FB and feel confident in booking. However, to be extra, I advise to ensure they have an up and running website as well. If someone is truly a professional and serious about what they offer, they should have a website displaying just that. It may be different if it’s a family member, or a personal friend helping out, but if you’re paying a good chunk of change to an otherwise stranger to produce an excellent service, a website is truly a minimum.


2) Reviews.

You’ve verified they have a website, maybe a social media presence too?! Awesome. But wait. One thing. They designed both of those. No really, us vendors, (yes, me too) post the highlights of our business to those platforms-  posting things that makes us look good, and all the reasons you should book. We love a good unashamed self promo. Butttt the best place to go for true, unfiltered truth on the quality of service you may receive? Public reviews. Do they have any? Any platforms that are open to receiving a review? If not, it’s possible they could be a new business but that’s certainly something to consider if you have no way to cross reference the quality of what you see on a self-designed platform, versus what you see from the client’s perspective. 


Another great thing to remember is if you’re seeing reviews maybe on their website, or socials but they’ve been retyped, there’s no way to verify that came from an actual client. Now, now, I’m not knocking anyone who may repost true and honest reviews (ahem maybe because I do it myself, and I’ll also humbly admit it’s because I couldn’t figure out a way to embed my google reviews on to my website. Lol!) With that said, the best way to verify is to check a Google listing, a Facebook page, Yelp, wedding wire and/or the knot- that way you know they’re verified clients, coming from real people with real experiences. Just type their biz name, or real name into Google, and the above listings with reviews should appear if there are any. &&& Yes, check mine out too @rachelharrisartistry on googlebiz & FB. ;)


3) Someone you know and trust has used them and had a positive experience.

Probably one of the best ways to book a vendor is through a referral. If someone had such a great experience that they’re willing to stick their neck out there to vouch for them, they must be pretty great. One thing reviews from strangers may not be able to do is know how the vendor will work with your personal style- that is something unique and great about booking someone from a personal recommendation. 


I see it all too often; people seeing these once in a lifetime events as a quick cash grab, or a perfect opportunity to take advantage of someone. Even recently being dubbed the “white tax” in regards to how prices may double, or even triple at the mention of a wedding. 


In my experience, most of my brides go into planning a wedding completely blind as for most, it’s their first go at this, so I truly hope this may be insightful on the best ways to begin your search for your dream team of wedding day vendors. If even one person may be helped by this in a small way my job is done!

Breaking Tradition

Breaking traditional wedding ideals, and why I love them

Something I have consistently noticed throughout my near decade long experience in the bridal industry is how the once "Must do" traditions are truly a thing of the past. I love that people are beginning to really take a look at what works for them and their special day. Here are some of the best takes I love to see at weddings for a personalized touch.

Mix-matched wedding party outfits.

I'm not just talking color, I'm talking outfits ranging in textures, cut, pattern AND (or) color. I love this for so many reasons; It allows for each person to have their own "flair," it allows all body types and skin tones to look their best, and one of the best features is the beautiful texture and dimension it brings in your final photos. It gives a curated & high fashion look I just adore. Now, with that being said if you're particular like I am, that doesn't mean the colors, patterns, textures and cut can't still flow together very well & intentionally. Stacey London said it best- "It doesn't have to has to go" I couldn't agree more.


The person who marries you being a close friend.

If you have a leader in your church or community you'd love to kick off your union with, by all means. If not, consider having a close friend or family member marry you! It only takes 10 minutes to become officially ordained and it really adds something special and meaningful to your ceremony.

Fake cake.

Weddings are expensive. Like really, really REALLY expensive. If you're looking for one of the best and most clever ways to save some cash for your special day, this one might be for you. Here's how it works: You have your grand "cake" for all the amazing photos and for spectators to view, then when it's time to serve, catering whisks the beautiful cake off to the kitchen to be served up on plates. But here's the kick, they're serving sheet cake, just as tasty and no one will ever know. Wanna do the cute cutting the cake pics? You also have the option to have your base tier as real cake, and the tiers on top as fake. Pretty clever, right? Had I known this hack when I was getting married, I ABSOLUTELY would have done it. 

Fur-babies for ring-bearers. 

Anyone who knows me, knows I live for my pups. I think this is such a special touch that you'll be so glad you did.

Bridesmen, Mama matron/maid of honor, and Dad bestman. 

When choosing who to have in your wedding party, choose who you want to be by your side through it all as you attend bach parties, take photos, & walk down the isle. There are no rules, and only you can choose who that may be. :)


Trending hair and makeup

We've seen some major shifts in the beauty industry as far as trends go. From full, super defined eyebrows, to the glued straight up, laminated look- It's pretty safe to say there are a lot of ebbs and flows.

For 2024 and beyond, these are some trending looks I think we'll be seeing a lot of.


For hair: 

  • French twist

  • High buns

  • Big & bouncy blowout curls, leaning away from the perfect Hollywood wave we've all come to know & love


Myself and many other beauty pros are beginning to notice a cleaner, more polished hair style being requested more and more. The kind where every hair is in its place and and the "messy" look is no longer.

For makeup: 

  • Glowing & blushing skin

  • Sheer to no lipstick or gloss instead

  • Half lashes to give a "lifted" and cat eye effect (or maybe even no lashes!) and minimal eyeshadow- I'm talking maybe a quick sweep of a golden champagne shimmer minimal

For makeup, I'm noticing a similar trend. Clean and fresh makeup that gives a "no makeup" makeup look. Basically, take 2016 "instaglam" makeup, and do the opposite. Lol. No more harsh brows, heavy, yellow-y foundation, heavy contour, crazy sparkly highlighter, matte lips, cut creases etc.

In most cases, I welcome the change. I love all forms of makeup but of course, I always believe your best bet is to do what makes YOU most happy, and what makes you feel the most beautiful. I for one won't be giving up my lashes anytime soon. ;)

trending hair and makeup
Trending H&M
Preview Prep

Preview hair and makeup prep 

My top tips for nailing your preview wedding hair and makeup look, the first time. 

blush toned makeup look

Cortney's blush toned preview session. So beautiful!

Wear white. 

Cause why not? It’ll make it that much closer to the wedding day, and avoids a loud color skewing your look. 

Try to have the same skin color as your wedding day.

It truly makes a difference. If you plan to be darker on your wedding day, even a bit of self tanning will do the trick! And if that isn't possible we may discuss pivoting to a slightly deeper or lighter lip, blush or eye look to make up for a darker or lighter skin tone on wedding day.


Your body and your skin! Moisturize well in the days leading up to your preview appointment for a buttery smooth application. And yes, even if you're oily!

No crazy high neck line

In case you'd like to experiment with a bit of glow on your decolletage....? Could be fun!

Clean hair, dry hair.

No exceptions lol. 

Bring your extensions.

If doing extensions, make sure to have them at the trial. If not, it won’t look anything like the trial. That's the simple truth- It'll look different in a good way, yes, but might as well wait until you can see the real deal, right?!

Bring along your hair accessories and veil. 

Your veil &/or hair accessory placement will have a lot to do with the style you choose so make sure to bring those along so we can find the placement that works best. 

Inspo photos-

This is a crucial part in the "trialing" process. Be prepared to point out what you like, don’t like, along with what you typically do on a daily basis, as well as a special occasion. 

Be open to talking through the look-

That’s what a preview is all about and I love being able to collaborate on a look with my bride. :)

Be realistic-

If you never wear makeup, are you absolutely sure you want that super glam look? You still want to feel like yourself on your wedding day afterall! For hair, is the main thing you're loving in your inspo photos that effortless volume? You're probably gunna want extensions to achieve that beautiful fullness.

Take advantage of the preview.

I don’t include the preview in the wedding timeline for this reason- do it on a day that makes sense. Where you can truly see the wear of the makeup, or even how it photographs! Try your engagement photos, bridal shower, dress fitting, boudoir photos as a wedding gift to your spouse, or even a special date night. 

Bridal Prep

Bridal Prep

Bridal Wedding prep timeline. A series of events. I know a lot of this would be great to get done heck, ideally the day before the wedding right?! I get it, but realistically, there won't be any time the day before. Even the weeks leading up can be quite busy so this timeline will be helpful when deciding what can wait, and what has to be done as close as possible to the wedding day.


  • 4-6 months out. Want to establish a new routine to start looking your best before the wedding? Now’s the time to try out that new facial, or slightly brighter balayage. Never had a spray tan before? Give it a go in advance to make sure you like the results. Now's your time to experiment. I suggest trying dermaplaning, if no reaction, get the week of the wedding. Get a hydra facial too, if no reactions, get 1-2 weeks before wedding. 

  • 6-8 weeks out freshen up your ends with a quick trim. Make sure it’s just a trim! 

  • 2 weeks out, hydra facial, hair color, teeth whitening

  • 7-5 days out, dermaplaning, nails. 

  • 3 days out fake tan, waxing

Questions on when something should be done? Ask your professional! I.e, unsure how far in advance to try Botox or filler? Ask your injector! New skin care procedure? Ask your dermatologist or esthetician- they'll know exactly how long if any recovery period + how long to see maximum results.

Remember to drink plenty of water throughout to look and feel your best and establish a consistent skin care routine. I would suggest no new products/treatments during wedding month. 

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