One of the hardest lessons for a Broke-Ass Bride is that it is sometimes cheaper to hire someone to do something for you than it is to do it yourself. Broke-Ass living can give you control issues. You tabulate every cent you spend in a color-coded spreadsheet, you try to will yourself to be warmer so you don’t have to turn up the thermostat, you have to build the fortitude to resist the siren call of cute spring dresses (or shoes, or vintage books, or sports cars: whatever your consumerism poison). It’s bound to make you a little Type-A. I think that’s why we love DIY so much: it’s not just the savings, its not just the fun of crafting, it’s that we get exactly what we want.
This is why I am not hiring a makeup artist for my wedding. Because I’m a control freak about my face. I worry that if I let a stranger make me up I’ll look like Marge Simpson after Homer shot her with the makeup gun he invented:
But I know from experience that it is often cheaper to hire someone to do your wedding day makeup. When my sister got married in 2008, I offered to do her makeup for her so she could save some $$. Problem is, my sister doesn’t wear makeup. Ever. So we had to buy EVERYTHING. The cost of that first makeup shopping trip would have easily covered the price of a makeup artist. And of course we had to make a second trip when we found out that the lipstick shade wasn’t quite right and the allegedly-waterproof mascara wasn’t cry-proof. That would have covered the tip. At the time, I justified that spending because hiring a makeup artist lasts for one day, but these products would be good for at least several months. But my sister still doesn’t wear makeup. If I had to bet, she never used any of that stuff again after her wedding.
But what if you’ve already got a whole drawer full of makeup? Wouldn’t it be cheaper to DIY your wedding makeup in that case? Sure… but only if you can promise yourself you’re not going to let the wedding justify buying a lot of new products (especially products more expensive than what you normally buy).
Can you make that promise? I know I couldn’t. I have everything I need. But didn’t the wedding justify replacing my worn-out powder brush? Ye$. Shouldn’t I find a waterproof eyeliner that doesn’t flake off? Of cour$e I $hould. Wouldn’t this be a great time to finally try foundation primer? Ab$olutely!
$150 dollars at Ulta later, I’m at twice the price of the makeup artist quote I got from my hair salon. [In a lot of areas, the price of a makeup artist is considerably more, but I could have easily spent twice as much at Ulta. TRUST ME.] Unlike my sister, I will use these new products on more than one day. But I wouldn’t have missed them if I just used the money to hire a makeup artist for my wedding. I’m really not following my budget here. I’m following my heart.
Because now I know that I won’t have my eyebrow scar filled in with brow pencil by a well-meaning pro while I’m not paying attention. I won’t have to worry about my skin reacting to any strange products in the artist’s kit. I won’t have to worry about not looking like myself on my wedding day, because the same person who always does my makeup will be doing it.
So while I’ll repeat today’s lesson that Broke-Ass Wedding Planning is that DIY is not always cheapest, but add on: sometimes it’s worth it anyway. If you’re not into makeup and never will be, and you don’t have control issues about how your face looks, go ahead and hire a makeup artist. If you’re like me and obsess over your makeup too much to outsource it, just make sure you don’t think DIY makeup is “free,” and allot some money in your budget for new products. And if you are somewhere in between, take stock of what products you might buy, check the rates of local makeup artists, and let your budget be your guide.
Where do you fall on this spectrum? Are you hiring a makeup artist? Were you surprised how expensive doing your own makeup can end up being?