Getting the best from your Bridal Make Up Trial

Today I am really thrilled to have the fabulous Katy Messer of Make Up by Katy giving some sound advice on getting the best from your Bridal Make Up Trial.

Katy is an internationally traveled professional makeup artist who has worked with some of the biggest names in the beauty industry, including many years as an International Make-up Artist and Trainer with Laura Mercier.

With a career spanning more than 16 years, Katy has worked with celebrities in the music and television industries, is relied upon for advice in national magazines and newspapers and regularly creates timeless looks for brides.

A recent addition to her list of credits is the role of Bridal Beauty Editor for The Ultimate Wedding Magazine.




I pass over to Katy to share her wisdom,

“Lovely Brides to be – this is a guide on how to get the most out of your Bridal Make Up Trial. As with all other aspects of the lead up to your wedding, it has to be fun and enjoyable.”

“In order to ensure this happens, these suggestions should, I hope (!) take away some of the problems that can occur and just reassure you, lovely Brides that trials don’t have to be stressful!”

“First off, the part about it being fun. This is important! It shouldn’t be stressful; it shouldn’t feel like a chore. You should be relaxed, if not during (because you are allowed to be nervous) then at least after.”

“A huge part of this can be down to picking the right make-up artist. We’re pretty much going to be right in there, touching your face and all that. So you have to like us!”

“I make a big effort to build a good, friendly yet professional relationship with my clients. It will probably be in my chair on the wedding morning that you’ll get your ‘it’s actually happening’ moment.”

“I love that I share that with so many brides. It’d feel intrusive if I wasn’t on a good level with her.”

“So, research, read testimonials, call him/her! Arrange to meet for a coffee and a chat, maybe one afternoon after they’ve worked a wedding. See if you get on.”

“Next it’s all about preparation. Gather information and have it all there for us to peruse…. Laptop/iPad/scrap-book, it’s all good. It’s part of the process and will probably have been factored into the timings by the MUA. You can show us as much as you like!”

“The style of the dress may not really have a lot of impact on the make-up style, nor will the shoes but that doesn’t mean we don’t want to see them. Everything you show us helps to build a good picture for us. An idea of the feel and heart of your wedding.”

“When it comes to make-up looks, this is really essential. REALLY!  The difference between verbalising your ideas and showing us is what will make your make-up work.”

For instance – “I’d like a soft, yet defined, smoky eye, kind of warm greys, not too heavy or dark. But I LOVE lots of black liquid liner. Flicked. Oh and lashes, I like my lashes to look natural. I only use 3/4 coats mascara.”

“This is about as clear as mud. Your idea of warm grey can be another girls taupe/brown/purple/greige. Your idea of natural is another girls over-done.”

“Pinterest will be your very best friend in the planning of your wedding. Make your own, cruise other peoples; all wedding blogs will have them, as will most make-up artists. Mine is here.”

“Don’t be afraid to mix and match your look. Say, the shape of that smoky eye but with the colour of another image. This lip with that glowy skin etc.”

“Another important step in creating your look is your own everyday make-up. I can’t stress this enough. A make-up artist is many things but I’m pretty sure that none of the ones that I know are MIND READERS!”

“If you have a signature look or style that makes you who you are, we need to know. You will not feel yourself when you see the final look. No matter if it is a blindingly elegant, beautiful glowing look, that your whole family are dumbstruck with it’s gorgeousness. If you’re used to wearing kohl on the inner rim of your eye, you will not like it without.”

“So, come to the trial with your make-up on. Failing that, show us pictures. Failing that, tell us… What we’re not here to do is recreate your usual make-up, all the while guessing what you usually do.”

“It’s really hard and can create tension if we’re made to feel like we’re being tested! Testing to see whether we agree with your daily make-up choices and confirming it by doing the exact same. Recreating it exactly will a) be quite impossible and b) be a big old waste of your money!”

“If you have super sensitive skin and react to most moisturisers, bring yours along. Most of the time we love trying new things and you may end up selling us a new product!”

“I’m happy to use most of my clients’ skincare (unless it’s laden with mica or too high a sunscreen). Foundation, not so much. I know how my bases perform photographically etc and I mix to get exactly the right colour. Unless yours is perfect, I am hesitant…”


“I carry a tall chair with me for work. So this doesn’t apply to me but it’s important. Your make-up artist needs his/her back to make a living!”

“Please don’t sit in a really low chair, slumped forward so the MUA is practically straddling you to see your face! One client once sat in a beanbag. I almost had to lie on top of her. Not dignified! I purchased my chair the following week.”

“We need light and surface space. So a kitchen table next to or near a window is ideal. I tend to turn most lights off and just work with the daylight where possible.”

“Home lighting casts a yellow hue over the skin and changes colours and casts peculiar shadows.”

“This is also a factor when booking the trial in the winter months. By 3.30pm, we’re pretty much squinting and working too fast so we don’t lose all light.”

“Our kits and brush belts/rolls can be quite extensive and it’s quicker and easier if we can lay everything out. A table isn’t always to hand, so a kitchen worktop is fine. Please don’t make us work off the floor! (Yes, this also happened…)”




“Is it important to you to have a second opinion?”

“If yes, bring a bridesmaid or your sister along. Mums are ok too, as long as you’re ok with having mum there. Is it important to you what your significant other thinks? He may have ‘make-up issues’ and be reluctant for you to change anything. This is your call. Hopefully he can be reassured that you’ll still look like yourself.”

The Reveal

“To put it plainly, if you don’t like it. Say. Say it now whilst we’re still there with kit out and brushes to hand! The trial is there for exactly this reason! As a make-up artist it is my job to make you happy and ensure that you look your very best.”

“If you’re not sure about something, we can tweak it. This is why the trials are scheduled to take longer, a LOT longer! I’m not precious about whether you love everything 100% the very first time.”

“Whilst I’m being a stickler for details, can I add in about the mirror you look in?”

“Please don’t look in a tiny hand mirror, or a palette mirror. You’ll literally be able to see it an eye at a time. You need to see the whoooole picture.”

“A full length mirror is ideal, in daylight. If you’re wearing a white dress, throw on one of your other half’s white shirts so you can see it in the same context.”

“Bridal make-up is designed to work against the brightness of the dress (or whatever colour you’re wearing, as long as you’ve shared it with the artist) and what can look a bit ‘meh’ in your grey jumper will come alive in the right light.”

“One last word about the actual make-up, don’t be fooled into believing that the make-up needs to be any heavier. It doesn’t. You’re getting married not performing on stage under a spotlight.”

“You do need to increase your definition, so your usual brown mascara gets switched to black etc. However if you feel it looks more matte than usual, wear it for the day, see how it looks after an hour or so. This make-up is designed for longevity.”

“In order to see it on camera and be reassured, it’s simple. Take a photo! On a real camera where possible. If not, a phone will do but camera phones do tend to make normal people look like convicts.”

“Finally, and this is an absolute must- put the kettle on. I am only half kidding! A cuppa always goes down well, as does the odd hobnob.”

“But on a serious note, if your artist is working on 2 or more people, he/she will probably need a drink break. We’re probably rushing around fitting numerous people in on the same day. Or dragging kits that weigh an absolute TON on trains or in and out of cars. And talking, lots!”

“Other than that, enjoy it! If you are keeping the make-up on to show him, get him to take you out to dinner that night at least. Staying in and doing laundry looking that good is just criminal.”


Thanks to Katy for sharing her expert knowledge and a more in depth experience of what goes on behind the scenes at a Bridal Make Up trial.

To contact Katy for your own Big Day, see details below.


To Contact Make Up by Katy









UK Wedding Blogger with an eclectic style based in Glasgow

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