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What Does Wedding Hair and Makeup Cost (And Why)?

Financially, weddings can sometimes feel like a swift jab to the kidney. Or a series of them.

We’ve questioned why we have this response – it’s not like we didn’t expect to fork out cash to make a major event happen. And after much consideration, we can say with reasonable certainty it comes down to this:

You didn’t realise how much each service would be.

See, for most people it’s the first time you’ve engaged a photographer for a day-long photoshoot, or a florist to create a number of bouquets and floral installations (here’s why wedding flowers cost what they do), or a caterer to feed you and 100 of your loved ones.

And the same goes for wedding hair and makeup.

Perhaps it’s because most women do their own hair and makeup everyday but the expense of professional beautification can take brides by surprise. The result being, it can be tempting to cut this cost or outsource the job to a friend that seems to always look flawless.

However, unless you really know your shiz on the skin and makeup front, we’d advise you don’t. Because there’s a lot more that goes on than meets the eye to create flawless wedding hair and makeup. That is, a look that will last all day long – through tears, hugs, weather, hours of smiling, eating and drinking.

The last thing you want ahead of your wedding is a few extra frown lines. So allow us to reassure you that while it’s an expense, it’s one that on the day, is worth every cent.


Featured hair and makeup by Karina Prebble, captured by Petter Karlstrøm Weddings.

wedding hair and makeup
Hair by The Salon Alternative and makeup by Karina Prebble, captured by Good Thanks Media.

Here are the average costs of wedding hair and makeup (per service):

Bride: $140 – $200

Bridesmaid: $120 – $180

Others (e.g. mother of the bride, mother in law): $100 – $160

Why? The reason for the difference in costs here is simple: time. Naturally, more time is spent getting the bride ready.

Here’s what these prices include:

  • Experience – how long have they been mastering their skills and service?
  • Product – the cost of high-performing beauty and hair products that are suitable for all skin and hair types, shades and concerns (which are expensive and often perishable – think moisturiser, foundation, concealer, primer, lipstick, mascara, hair extensions, false lashes etc.)
  • Prep – ensuring all products are sanitised, brushes are clean etc. plus setting up and packing down their kit.

Note: Keep in mind there may be some additional costs which will impact the final quote such as:

  • Travel fees – are they coming to you? If the artist isn’t local, how far are they having to travel?
  • Pre-wedding trials – a hair and makeup ‘rehearsal’ before the big day. These are usually for the bride only and cost approx. the same as above.
  • Ceremony time – how early do they need to start hair and makeup?
  • Number of people – do they need an assistant or second artist/stylist? Is this something they will organise and coordinate?
  • Touch-ups or second looks – are you keeping them around for touch-ups or a second hair and makeup look?
  • Public holidays and long weekends – some artists charge an additional fee.
  • Parking – some artists will pass on any parking fees incurred.

This doesn’t even take into account the time that’s spent liaising with you:

  • Sending quotes
  • Multiple back and forth emails
  • Organising a pre-wedding trial date and time
  • Discussing your vision and creating your ultimate wedding look
  • Putting together run-sheets

And like any business:

  • The damn tax man
  • Rent (if not an entirely mobile service)
  • Website running costs
  • Advertising
  • Software
  • Insurance
  • Transport costs
  • Product costs
  • Training and up-skilling (you’ve probably noticed there are new products and beauty inventions popping on up daily)

Not to mention the fact they need to make a little margin too (as much as it’s a labour of love for all the hair and makeup artists we know, they’ve got to make money just like we all want to make a salary).

Also remember the main thing you’re paying for here is their knowledge and skills – most wedding hair and makeup artists have spent years refining and perfecting their craft and building their knowledge around skincare and product recommendations and their prices are usually reflective of this.

If you’re someone who finds the beauty industry confusing (retinol? Hyaluronic powder? Primer?) it’s because it is. If it is within your budget, it’s wise to book a professional hair and makeup artist to help you figure out the best approach for your skin and achieving your desired look.

Still, searching for a hair or makeup artist yourself? Find a bunch we love here on Wedshed.



READ: 10 Gorgeous Ceremony Backdrops
ELOPEMENT: Tash + Ben – Great Ocean Road
LEARN: Planning A Destination Wedding During A Pandemic

18th March, 2021

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