What to Look For: Beauty Vendors | Featuring Lip Service Makeup Owner Jennifer Trotter
Today we are launching a new series for brides called "What to Look For" that's all about helping Dallas brides and Fort Worth brides find the most amazing wedding vendors for your day! For this series, I wanted couples to be able to hear from some of the best wedding vendors in the DFW area. This is not a "how to save money" series. This is a "how to understand value" series. My hope is that you walk away with 2 things:
A better understanding of what to look for when assembling your vendor team, and why each vendor category is important to your wedding day.
The ability to steward your wedding budget in a way that reflects the aspects of your wedding day you value most.
This week, we are launching out with one of the very best in her field: Jennifer Trotter, owner of Lip Service Makeup. Not only is her team an industry leader, Jennifer serves on the board of the Professional Wedding Guild of Fort Worth, and is dedicated to educating and raising the bar for the wedding industry as a whole. She's absolutely brilliant, and she's a total HOOT to have a conversation with! Being a guy – and a bald guy at that – I admittedly don't know much about makeup OR hair, so I'm thrilled to let Jennifer give y'all the inside scoop on how to select your Hair and Makeup artist, and see several images from a variety of photographers featuring Jennifer's amazing work!
Here's what she had to say:
I’ve been a pro artist before hiring pro bridal beauty teams was even a “thing” …seriously! I got my start doing commercial work, but the joy of hair and makeup didn’t really kick into full gear until I started doing weddings. The wedding industry is so unique…we get to share in a couple’s most special day EVER, make women look and feel incredible, problem-solve and ensure a smooth and enjoyable day, and work with other vendors as a team. In 2021, Lip Service Makeup will celebrate 25 years in business, and I still love packing up my gear and heading out to work with bridal parties each Saturday with my team!
Professional bridal beauty should be an essential part of your wedding, for a variety of reasons, including one of the biggest…photography and videography insurance. There is no other occasion when you’ll be captured on camera from every angle all day long, so looking amazing is a must. You might be a “lip balm and mascara only” type of person in your daily life but getting married in a fancy white gown requires a pro’s touch. An experienced pro artist can bring out your features, cover redness, blemishes and sun damage and give you a gorgeous, timeless look that photographs beautifully. We use special products and techniques to ensure flawless and long-lasting makeup and hair that looks perfect from the first kiss to the limo ride home. If there is one time in your life to spring for pro hair and makeup, this is it!
PRO TIP: don’t just look on the artist/team’s Instagram and what they’ve chosen to post, click the button to the right and see what they’ve been tagged in as well!
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of information out in the wedding-verse that details how to shop for a bridal beauty pro, and often what you CAN find is hopelessly outdated. The best place to start is with direct referrals. Get names from your venue, photographer, planner, dress shop and florist…. all should have a few names of teams they trust to deliver great service. Next, scope out Instagram! Anyone can fake a slick website, but Instagram is updated often and tends to reveal a lot more. Look for hair and makeup in styles you like, diversity (hair types, skin tones, ages), real weddings (not just styled shoots or test shoots) and look for regular posts that show the team you’re considering is active and working regularly. Red flags include nothing but selfies, too many personal posts, inappropriate posts, lack of recent work, and no real clients. Pro tip: don’t just look on the artist/team’s Instagram and what they’ve chosen to post, click the button to the right and see what they’ve been tagged in as well! Any reputable, full-time pro team should have a lot of tags from well-known vendors. If they haven’t been tagged in any weddings or shoots, they may have no experience, or they may not do a lot of bridal work. You want someone who focuses on weddings and works with brides often, and someone you connect and feel comfortable with.
Pricing is a tricky issue and sticker shock can happen, but like anything else, you get what you pay for. Bridal hair and makeup are a luxury service, and a well-run, full-time bridal beauty business is just that…. a business. Here at Lip Service, my pricing covers insurance, a full marketing budget, admin costs, continuing education costs, studio costs, all the time spent dealing with contracts, phone calls, emails, assigning staff, answering questions and everything else that goes into booking bridal beauty, and of course a high contractor rate I pay to my team so that we can offer some of the best artists/stylists in DFW. And that’s before I even consider the tens of thousands I spend each year stocking makeup, hair products, tools, disposables, lashes, etc. In order to offer superior service and quality products, I must charge an appropriate rate, same with my competitors. Going rates in DFW are currently between $80-$150 per service for trial run hair or makeup, $100-$200 per service for the bride’s hair or makeup, and $75-$125 per service for attendant’s hair and makeup…you’ll find rates on the lower end for newer artists or more rural, small town areas, the higher rates in Dallas and Fort Worth. Rates lower than these are major red flags that can indicate a very inexperienced artist who doesn’t value their work and doesn’t run a legit business. Expect additional fees for travel, early morning hours prior to 7am, and for additional artists if you have a larger group or need a compressed timeframe. You need a signed contract to protect the artist and you and expect to pay a retainer to reserve your date and time, in our case it’s 50% to book and 50% due 30 days out, similar to your other wedding vendors.
You need a beauty team who not only knows exactly what to do, but has DONE it, successfully…. many, many times.
Yes, you could do your own makeup and hair, or your friend’s cousin’s sister who used to work at Sephora could do it. But managing the logistics, pressure, creativity and emotional strength required to pull off bridal beauty successfully takes experience….do you really want to take the chance that someone who’s watched a bunch of YouTube videos will be able to handle it? Odds are high that they’ll bail on you, or you’ll spend your pre-wedding hours crying while you scrub off makeup you hate and take down an old school plastered down hairdo. If you needed heart surgery, you wouldn’t want the brand-new surgeon just out of medical school to do YOUR open-heart surgery, would you? Of course not! You’d want the best…someone reputable with many, many successful surgeries under their belts. And no, they won’t be the cheapest, the best never is. The cheapest artist in town is cheap for a reason…. they’re extremely inexperienced, don’t take their business seriously, or don’t value their work. None of those things bode well for a good experience for you on wedding day. Your wedding day is a magical, brief moment in time you can’t get back or do over, there’s only one chance to get it right. You need a beauty team who not only knows exactly what to do, but has DONE it, successfully…. many, many times. Someone who knows how long it takes to do each face or head of hair, how many assistants to bring for different sized groups, how to manage your “slightly extra” cousin who thinks she’s a Kardashian, and who can beautify your 78 year old grandma just as easily as your 24 year old friends. All while creating stunning, long-lasting looks for you and your girls, and providing a fun and relaxing environment to set the tone for the rest of your day. Reputable pros have contracts, take retainers to accept a booking, have minimums, charge appropriate rates, have worked with trusted vendors you know, won’t cancel on you, WILL show up and finish on time.
If you needed heart surgery, you wouldn’t want the brand-new surgeon just out of medical school to do YOUR open-heart surgery, would you?
We take our responsibility as part of your vendor team very seriously, and besides making you and your girls gorgeous, it’s also important to us to create a fun and relaxing environment to kick off the day. There’s nothing better than getting to connect with our brides on such a happy time in their lives!
About the Author:
Jennifer Trotter is the owner and principal artist behind the award-winning bridal beauty team Lip Service Makeup. Jennifer and her team of makeup artists and stylists specialize in creating flawless hair and makeup for all skin tones, hair types and personalities and can handle groups of any size. Based in Grapevine, Lip Service Makeup has been honored with multiple “best of” awards by groups like the Knot, Wedding Wire Couple’s Choice Awards, AACWP Vendi Awards, and PWG Most Worthy Awards, and she’s also a featured speaker at Wedding MBA in Las Vegas.
How to Follow Jennifer/Lip Service Makeup: