Make Up Melt Down

I belong to a few hundred wedding related Facebook groups. I see a lot of rants about wedding let downs from the perspective of the couples and the vendors. This one came through my feed and grabbed my attention because its real. Not pretty or fluffy, not charming just a real look at a day in the life of a make up artist as she tries to make a living and make her client happy. Before you read about the frustrations of this make up artist, realize this was pulled off of Facebook (with her permission) and I left it as it was written as a post. My hope is that you will get past the initial urge to judge this person as she vents, instead read the entire post and think about what can be done to improve contracts, communication and a general understanding of the value of each wedding industry business owner. Very often when a contract is discussed and signed, much of the understanding is verbal. Sure, there are policies in a contract that the business feels are clear but this is not always clear to the client. During the consultation some things are discussed or agreed upon that are verbal and not written. Many conversations are had on the phone where items are agreed to and not necessarily written up or in a contract. Wedding business owners use each issue like this to improve their contracts and tighten up their business policies. It is a process that develops over time. Wedding business owners must understand that most engaged couples have never planned a wedding before, they have never been in this situation before and if they do not have a clear understanding of how your business works, there will be issue. Clear communication of your policies, expectations, fees, times, etc.. must be conveyed properly. There is an art to developing a solid contract and consultation that makes the contract clearly understood. I would love to hear from wedding businesses on the changes you have made after having a negative wedding experience or realizing that you actually lost money by providing your servicest. Please share the changes you made so that your business could grow, thrive and provide excellent services while making it worthwhile to your business.

Couples, if you do not see a value in a service then please pass on that service. If you must have the service then research pricing from various vendors, look at the different quotes each provide based on your specific needs and what they are offering in each quote. If you find a vendor who you want more than others based on talent then you have to consider the investment and how realistic that investment is to your budget. If the budget is the most important factor and you must go with the lowest quote then you can’t expect the vendor providing the lowest quote to offer the same ability and service as the vendor with the highest quote. The best businesses charge a fee that will enable them to provide the services you expect, cover their costs, time and value. For example, if you want to hire transportation to the airport and you look at quotes for a limo, public bus, or taxi you expect to see different pricing. You can’t pay a bus fee and get a limo. Wedding planning happiness starts with setting a realistic budget and realistic expectations. Most common reason a budget gets busted? Inviting too many guests. Reduce the guest count and increase the budget you have to spend on the items that are most important to you.

Facebook Post:

“Today has been the best day ever. I am glad we’re safe and alive and I have the funds to take care of BS that is thrown at me but here’s what I’ve dealt w in the last 18 hours. (I never complain on here but I’m about dead right now and want to so there’s that).

Arrived early to the clients house yesterday at 1145 am because I am a stickler about that. Ended up completing 7 ppls hair and makeup instead of 4 that were originally contracted w my awesome partner in crime yesterday HOWEVER because the client didn’t respect our original deadline and plenty of notice to decide on how many ppl wanted to get ready and timelines, my partner in crime missed her own kid’s bday party which made me feel like absolute shit.

After an 8.5 hour day w no bathroom breaks or food/drink breaks, i finally get to sitting down and eating and figuring out my sleeping situation because my moms house (20 min from the clients home) is literally a stomach virus right now so sleeping plan A was absolutely not an option. Because I have such a glamorous job wayyyy at the bottom of every wedding vendor list – the client refused to pay for a hotel room for me even though I was working so late the night before and was expected to arrive at 4 am hours later (thousands of bucks for photographers, flowers, etc etc and I usually end up in a losing fight over $50 travel fees or a place to crash when there’s no time between parts of a larger job ๐Ÿ™„). Sooooo I handled my life and got a hotel room for a whole 5 hours. There goes tons of money right out the window.

Didn’t get to bed til 1130 pm or so and then get text at 130 am from the client frantically begging me to begin at 5 am instead of 4 am like originally planned. I go into panic mode and never made it back to sleep. It’s part of my job so I grumble but get my butt to work by 445 am like the professional I am and no one answers calls, doors or anything until almost 520. More panic ensues because I have 3 ppl w 4+ feet of hair each to get into updos and do full glam makeup by 830 am. Then I find out one of the three people doesn’t want hair and makeup anymore – but the client says they shouldn’t have to pay for it anyway because the service wasn’t rendered. I don’t fight w clients so I said “ok that’s fine” even though I prepped and paid for all my supplies, pet sitter, got *Tina taken care of and got a hotel room the night before based on this original contract.

I do my work, and then get stuck there over an hour later than planned, doing full wardrobe duty for everyone including the groom- (which they never wanted to pay extra for in the first place when we discussed the scope of the job and pricing) because no one else at the home had the supplies or ability to do it … and they still didn’t want to pay for it in the end.

I clearly need a manager because ppl don’t give two effs about my need to make a living but oh wait– no one wants to pay me soooo how does one afford anything like a manager or even fancier makeup (which every one of these clients demands) to run a business? ๐Ÿ™„ I should rename my gig to Charity by *Jan at this point. I am respectful and quickly pack my stuff and leave.

It takes 3 hours in awful traffic to travel 72 miles to get home from this weekends job. I wonder what these pesky travel charges are for .. hmmm.

Then finally comes the icing on the cake:
I come home and find that my pet sitter locked my door even though I specifically told her not to so there goes almost $200 in locksmith fees plus what I paid the sitter to take care of my dog…. this weekends job pretty much paid for some pics in my portfolio and that’s it.

All of this happened while my husband is awa and couldn’t be here to hold down the fort while I try to have a shot at making a living just like everyone else. He’s gotta do what he’s gotta do and so do I but what the hellllll

I am hating my life right now but will get over this shortly. Thanks for reading my pity party. Next time you hassle a vendor for an event over a few bucks- think about this post lol. Thank you *Laura for watching my baby for me – otherwise I would’ve had to lose the rest of my money on a sitter this weekend. F*** my life.”

*Names were changed so we could share this post and keep those involved anonymous. Sharing this post may help some understand how costly it can be to manage a business that operates on weekends when child care, travel, etc.. can be extremely hard to coordinate and costs are higher. Our best industry professionals are struggling to manage their business and remain competitive. This is challenging for even the most experienced professionals.

Please inbox me and share your wedding experience. My hope is that by sharing these issues we can create constructive conversation that leads to more professional wedding industry solutions. Send me a note at

Didi Russell Wedding Expert

Didi Russell Wedding Expert