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Wedspiration > Advice > Your Wedding Makeup Trial Questions Answered (by a Makeup Artist).
Your Wedding Makeup Trial Questions Answered (by a Makeup Artist).
What is a pre-wedding makeup trial? Are they really worth it? How much do they cost? We asked makeup artist Karina Prebble to answer the most common FAQs.
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Words by Karina Prebble

As a bridal makeup artist, one of the most common questions I get asked by clients is who I had do my wedding makeup.

Obviously, I chose the best person for the job (*ahem* myself) and while I don’t regret my decision entirely, I did make one irretractable error - I didn’t have a pre-wedding makeup trial. 

Not because I was too busy or couldn’t be bothered. I simply forgot. 

My wedding day rolled around and when the time came for me to start getting ready, I realised I had no idea how I wanted my wedding makeup to look. I hadn’t chosen a lip colour or given any thought to things like false lashes, eyeshadow colour, blush and how I wanted to bring them all together into a timeless, once-in-a-lifetime look (so, no pressure).

In all fairness, it wasn’t like this was my first rodeo (I’d done my own makeup plenty of times) so I knew it wasn’t going to be a complete fail. But it did create a mild sense of panic that I wasn’t anticipating on my wedding day. It’s a day where every bride wants to look and feel their best - and I was no exception - and I regretted that I’d let my wedding makeup become an afterthought. 

The irony of it all is that, in my professional life, I always encourage brides-to-be to have a pre-wedding makeup trial. It’s something I feel so strongly about that I decided to put it into writing here. 

I hope I’ve tackled the most common and important questions, but if there is anything else you’d like answered feel free to contact me via DM here or email here. 

What is a pre-wedding makeup trial?

A pre-wedding makeup trial is an opportunity for the bride and their makeup artist to meet face-to-face and to collaborate on your ultimate wedding makeup look.

It’s a chance to try out different products, see how they look and feel on your skin and how they hold up after a few hours. And if you’re unsure about how you want your wedding makeup to look, this is the perfect time to try out different options. 

Your makeup trial is also when your makeup artist will share advice on skin prep in the lead up to the big day so that you can achieve the best results. Good skin = good makeup.

Note: pre-wedding trials aren’t exclusively for brides. Anyone who is having their makeup done on the day is welcome to have a trial (eg. bridesmaids, mothers, grooms etc). 

How to prepare for a bridal makeup trial?

Every artist has their own process and way of doing things, but generally speaking, a makeup trial follows on from some initial correspondence regarding availability, pricing etc. 

Once you’ve agreed to a trial and set a date your makeup artist will send you all the relevant details and any required forms (some artists like to have all the information they need ahead of time, while others will be happy to discuss details at the trial). 

Your chosen artist may offer to come to you or they will ask you to meet them at a particular location - usually, their home or salon.

Some artists might ask you to arrive with a clean face (no makeup) and to bring along any reference photos of makeup looks you like if you haven’t already sent them through. It’s a good idea to wear the same colour clothing as your wedding dress too (eg. white) so that you can see how the makeup looks against that colour. 

A makeup trial usually takes around 1-2 hours and afterwards your makeup artist will take note of all the products used and how they were applied so that it can be replicated again on your wedding day. 

Are makeup trials worth it?

In my professional opinion, makeup trials are 100% worth it. Here's just some of the reasons why...

Guaranteed results

The main benefit of having a pre-wedding makeup trial is knowing that on your wedding day, you can sit back and relax, confident that you’ll be pleased with the final result. Makeup is so personal, and it’s a big risk to hire a makeup artist you’ve never worked with before hoping that they’ll nail your brief first go. Plus, there is always a small risk that you might react to one of the products, which is not what you want on your wedding day. Having a makeup trial helps mitigate all of these potential dramas.

Good vibes and peace of mind

There’s also a lot to be said for having met your makeup artist prior to the big day. Alongside your hair stylist, they will be the first vendor you see on your wedding day and their professionalism and energy can set the tone for the entire day. It’s important to know that you connect with your makeup artist on a personal level, especially as they’re literally in your face for a significant period. For these reasons, it’s nice to have some degree of familiarity with your makeup artist.  


They say your wedding day goes in a blink, and it’s true. It might seem like there are hours to spare before your wedding ceremony starts but trust me, the morning flies! This is not the time you want to be trying on 15 different lipstick shades. It takes too long and isn’t conducive to a relaxed and joyful morning.

Your makeup artist will be able to work much quicker if they already know what products to use and how to apply them (all the things they would have figured out during your makeup trial). 

How long before the wedding should you get your makeup trial?

Anywhere between 3 - 6 months from your wedding date is a good guide. This allows enough time for you to make any adjustments to your skincare routine, and is usually when you have other wedding details sorted which might influence your final makeup look, such as colour theme, flowers and bridesmaid dresses.  

Can I do my pre-wedding makeup trial on the same day as my Hen's or engagement party?

The goal at the end of your makeup trial is for you to be looking and feeling like your best self, so it makes sense to line it up with a special event (say, a Hen’s or engagement party). 

If possible, your makeup artist will happily do your makeup trial on your requested date but please don’t be put off if they come back to you with limited dates or seem inflexible. Remember that if your event is on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday your artist is likely already booked doing another wedding.

How much does a wedding makeup trial cost?

While some artists include the cost of a makeup trial as part of their package, most will charge it as a separate, additional fee. The main reason for this is because artists don’t want brides-to-be to feel obligated to book unless they are 100% happy with the final result. It also gives people the option not to have a makeup trial. 

Like all wedding vendors, the price varies based on a number of factors but expect to pay anywhere between $120 - $250.

Expectations vs. Reality

Beauty is BIG business (we’re talking upwards of $8 billion in Australia) and at no other time are people more conscious of how they look than on their wedding day. There’s a lot of pressure on makeup artists to “get it right” and our goal is always to listen to and translate our clients wishes as best we can. 

Your makeup artist will likely ask for some reference images to get a sense of the type of makeup looks you like, but please keep in mind that a lot of the images you see now are highly filtered and can lead to false hopes. It’s important to keep this in mind so that you have realistic expectations going into your makeup trial. 

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