Photo:  Heather & Sarah Photography   Model: Marilyn Manchell  Makeup: Amy Lewis Jewelry: Belle Amour Bridal 

Photo: Heather & Sarah Photography  Model: Marilyn Manchell  Makeup: Amy Lewis Jewelry: Belle Amour Bridal 

So you found a fantastic venue, hired a brilliant photographer, sent out save the dates, and found The Perfect Dress! Congrats! You’re off to a great start. 

If you’re like most brides, you've probably spent a pretty penny on your wedding so far. You’re overwhelmed by how much things actually cost and your plan is to save as much money possible on the rest of the planning. Which means you may have to go without a few things or decide to cheap out on others. 

Unfortunately, professional makeup & hair are often the first things to go, mostly because you didn’t budget for them originally. So perhaps you resort to letting a friend or family member do it for you, or you hire the most affordable makeup artist/hairstylist you can find to save some cash. What most brides don’t realize is, you’re selling yourself short here. While it seems saving money is the way to go, its actually quite the opposite when it comes to beauty. When you have your friend, family member, or cheap hair/makeup artist do your trial and you look in the mirror, 9 times out of 10 you will be unpleasantly surprised... maybe even horrified. Makeup/hair tends to be an afterthought expense and many brides try to book their stylists 2-3 months before the wedding. To put things in perspective, most veteran makeup pros book weddings 10-12 months out or more. Which leaves you desperately scrambling to find someone because all the top artists are likely booked at this point. 

How does this happen? Who’s to blame for you not including beauty in your budget? Well, most likely whatever budget planner or tool you’re using! Most brides find helpful planning resources from The Knot and Wedding Wire. Surprisingly, The Knot doesn’t even list a hair/makeup category on their budget percentage chart. So we’re assuming it’s supposed to get lumped into the Attire category. Let's break it down...

The average Toledo wedding cost is between $15,000-25,000 (according to costofwedding.com). The Knot suggests you set aside 8-10% of your total budget for Attire, that means you only have around $1200 minimum (8%) to work with. That’s the total amount you can spend on your dress, veil, shoes, tuxes, undergarments, and hair and makeup. Are you kidding me? That’s just not a realistic number for all of those things in today’s market. No wonder nearly every couple goes over their wedding budget! 

We’d like to suggest a more realistic approach - not just because we’re makeup artists, but because we’ve done thorough research in the Toledo area on average rates for onsite hair and makeup. Setting aside at least 3% of your total for the bride’s hair/makeup is a much more practical strategy. It may seem like an unnecessary expense since you didn’t originally plan for an extra $450-750 in your budget, but hear us out!

Think about how much you’re paying your photographer. If they’re a really talented professional, you’re spending a minimum of $2000 or more on amazing photography for this super important day. If you've listened to your married friends' advice, you will happily pay that price because after the knot is tied and the wedding is over, the most valuable thing that will remain as a reminder of the best day ever is, of course, your photos! You’ll look back through your wedding album fondly and smile because your photographer captured so many great memories. You can see the value in that expense now, right? Good, then we're on the same page!

So if you’re spending thousands on your wedding photography, don’t you think it would be a silly risk to have a non-professional do your makeup/hair to save a couple hundred bucks? Or even worse....attempt to do your own makeup. You probably hadn’t previously considered how cold, shaky and nervous your hands will be on the big day. Trust us when we say we have been in the wedding industry long enough to have witnessed some real beauty catastrophes on the day of. Orange foundations, crusty long lashes, thick black eyeliner, way too much blush, etc. It’s not something we enjoy. We really want to arm brides with accurate information so as to avoid such future catastrophes! Why waste your money on hair/makeup trials with cheap artists when you could save that money (and time) and put it toward hiring an experienced professional that you can trust? The alternative is not liking the way you look in your wedding photos and there is not much you can do about that after the fact. In the grand scheme of things, 3% of your wedding budget isn’t much after all. 

Our bottom line here is this: The wedding planning tools and websites don’t have all the right answers. Like most things in life-you get what you pay for. If you pay bottom-of-the-barrel prices for your makeup artist or hairstylist, then that is exactly the result you can expect to receive. Why take unnecessary risks on the way you look? Especially on a day where your every move will be photographed and/or filmed in front of lots of people! 

In all the wedding days we’ve had the pleasure of being a part of, we’ve learned a thing or two about beauty. Beauty comes from within. It comes from a talented makeup artist showing you that you can feel as beautiful as you look. When you feel truly beautiful, you’re confident, happy, and comfortable in your own skin- ready to take on the world. Professional makeup artists & hair stylists bring out the best version of you so that you can thoroughly enjoy one of the most memorable days of your life and look amazing doing it. Doesn't every bride deserve that?

If you designate a realistic beauty budget now, that’s one less thing you’ll be stressing out over as the wedding day gets closer. So why not take the steps to make it happen!

We came up with a few ideas on how to save up for your Bridal Beauty Budget:

1. Cut down on your Starbucks visits. Instead of 4-5 coffees a week, trim it down to 2-3. Or order a regular coffee instead of a specialty drink. At $3-5 a pop, those savings can add up quickly!

2.  Meal planning. Most people don’t realize how much of their money is spent on food. It’s         super convenient to eat out for lunch, or grab some fast food on the way home from work. But those bills add up! You will save a surprising amount of money by sitting down once a week to map out which days you’ll pack a lunch and what to make at home for dinner. You can still eat out, just go half as much as you usually do. (Sidenote: by doing this in our own household and switching grocery stores from Kroger to Aldi, we managed to save $250+/month! Crazy, right?)

3. Girls night out could take place at a bar with happy hour specials instead of one with regular prices. Or, you can all pitch in for a few bottles of wine and stay in! Get creative with wine pairings and snacks. 

By incorporating a few of these savings strategies into your lifestyle, you will be able to build up a realistic beauty budget in no time. Then you will be able to afford the makeup and hair professionals you deserve on your wedding day so you can look and feel your best! 

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