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My Make-up Budget for One Day – $1400

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No, I'm not Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson, or Britney Spears. In fact I've never worn make-up except for that time when... well... no one wants to read about that.

A few weeks ago, Energi Gal (EG) started the following e-mail chain from work:

EG: Is $1400 too much to spend on hair and make-up for the bridal party?

LM: Did you add 86 more people to bridal party that you aren't telling me about?

EG: No, this just for me and 4 bridesmaids and the trial consultation.

LM: Ummm, yeah I'd say that's way too much for make-up. I think you could hire the Today show crew for cheaper. I'd hit those wedding websites.

EG: It is not the make up that is pricey, it is the nails. The make is $35.00 a piece for the bridemaids and $75.00 for me (bride markup).

LM: So the nails are around $1100?
EG: $75 a person

LM: I think I need to see how this all breaks down. It doesn't seem to add up near $1400. I fail to see how you are going to get $1400 of value out of it. We could get the really nice mattress. Something seems insane.

I should probably change my name from Lazy Man to Sarcastic Man.  I really can be that sarcastic.  Looking over our other wedding expenses, everything else is pretty fairly priced for what you get (in my opinion).  I'm really at a loss as to what the answer here is.  On one hand, I feel it should be the bridesmaid's expense - it's make-up for them.  On the other hand, they already have a lot of expenses.

The obvious plan is to find a way to cut these costs. Energi Gal has taken to those wedding forums and the consensus is that make-up, hair, nails, etc. just cost that.  There were no tips forthcoming.  We did find that by going to a college salon we can save money on the nails - especially because we left the word "wedding" out (it seems to trigger a 25% mark-up minimum).  I'm currently pushing the idea of Energi Gal finding someone that she can contract out for the day to do it.  Perhaps there's a chance I can barter some website skills in return.
Once again, I ask the readers for advice or ideas.  Any way to cut these costs further would be appreciated.  Perhaps I just need to be convinced of the value of one day of make-up.

Posted on January 23, 2007.

This post deals with: ... and focuses on:

Spending, Wedding

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11 Responses to “My Make-up Budget for One Day – $1400”

  1. Katie B. says:

    Here’s my two cents, which will hopefully save you, well, more than two cents:

    I was a very, very, very fussy bride. I wanted EVERYTHING to look perfect, however I also think you have to look at things for what they are worth and make adjustments accordingly. Personally I know my friends take nice care of their nails. They didn’t have to paint them, just have them clean and shapely was enough for me. Some did paint, all were tasteful though. No one is looking at the bridesmaids’ nails, trust me. Trust me. I paid for two hair stylists to come to the church and do all of our hair. I had my make up done by an on-site make up artist and had one of my bridesmaids who wears exquisite make up do the other bridesmaids’ make up. They all looked beautiful. All in all, their hair, my hair, and my make up included, this cost approximately $500 (not including my $200 eyelash extensions, but a bride’s gotta look perfect!). The pictures turned out beautifully and everyone looked stunning.

    Congratulations on your big day!

  2. Foobarista says:

    We got married at the county courthouse, and had a massive party about six months later. And I’m not unwilling to admit that we got married in a “shotgun” fashion at the very end of the year because we could use the tax break from filing our taxes MFJ; my wife had just come from China. The wedding and reception was ultimately “free” because we spent the tax savings to have the party :)

    And, seven happy years later, we’re still going strong, have tripled our net worth and are within sight of the first mill…

    Whatever you do, don’t blow out credit cards to pay for a wedding – starting out a new marriage with a cratered net worth (nails? Let ’em wear white gloves!) is a good way to shorten it…

  3. F2O says:

    My finace is having her makeup (and the bridesmaids) done by a woman that works with her hair dresser specificaly for weddings. I think it works out to about $35 – $40 per person. Hair is $50 per person. Nails are at a salon the day before and are the resonsibility of each person (read not required). But she was able to work out a rate of $30 per person as long as they book at an off peak time and all show up together, so they all agreed to go and make it a fun outting. They also have the option to do their toes if they want to pay the extra amount. Since we also have four in our wedding party, it’s going to work out to about $500 total.

  4. Lazy Man says:

    Thanks for the advice guys. It’s really helping. Anyone else encounter a $300 consultation fee? As we don’t know anyone good with make-up, I think if we could eliminate this fee, we’d be on our way. I’m not usually particular in women’s clothes, but would closed-toe shoes be that bad for a summer wedding? I’m guessing that we could save money on pedicures.

  5. Maria says:

    I think there’s definitely a way to save some cash here…

    1) I agree with Katie B. about the nails. Nobody will be looking at the bridesmaids’ nails. On my one bridesmaid stint, the polish on my manicure chipped badly right before the wedding and I never heard a word about it. ;-) I don’t know of any brides who paid for their bridesmaids’ manicures, though it indeed’s a nice gesture. Plus, most females who will be wearing fancy attire of any sort will most likely get their nails done on their own, anyway. (It must be somewhere in the Girl Handbook…)

    2) If y’all do want to pick up the tab for the manicures and pedicures, you can pick a nail salon that costs far less. I get my nails done in Boston in cheapie nail salons next to Armani clad female execs, so it’s not a declasse thing to do.

    3) Makeup – I’m pretty adept at the cosmetic thing and have done makeup for two bride friends of mine. You can get makeup done at Sephora or a MAC Cosmetics store and get a chart made, and so we did that and I followed the chart on the wedding day to do their makeup. Of course, you’d have to buy some products so you can do the makeup as it is on the chart, but then you own them and can wear them again.

    4) Consultation fee – at most salons, that amount (or part of it) may be applied to the price of the services. Thus, they don’t want you going there and hearing their creative genius and then going to a lower-end salon to receive the services. So, find out whether this is the case. If the $300 is not applied to the services at all, I’m sure there’d be another salon that would love your business!

  6. No longer a newlywed says:

    I got married 2 1/2 years ago in an expensive area (greater NYC area). Since I had a morning wedding, I had a hair stylist and makeup artist come to my house at 6am and do my hair and makeup as well as that of my two bridesmaids (my sisters) and my mom. I paid for everyone. We got our nails done the day before at a local nail salon (and I got my eyebrows threaded). Approximate total cost: $560.

    1. Nails: $140 ($35 x 4) for manicures and pedicures
    2. Eyebrows: $20 (just my mom and me)
    3. Hair: $225 ($40 for hair trial, $65 for my hairdo, and $40 for each of the others)
    4. Makeup: $175 ($25 for trial, $60 for me, and $30 for each of the others)

    I would have honestly just hired the professionals for myself, but the hair and makeup stylists had minimums to travel, which would have ended up the same price. No hair salon would open for me at 6am, so I figured it was better to spend the same amount and get everyone’s hair and makeup done than to spend that much just for me. I would not have asked my sisters and mom to pay for their own hair and makeup, though, ever. It was my wedding and my choice to include them. They did enough for me by being in the wedding, and I think their expenses should be minimized where possible.

  7. […] Gal and I looked into how I can turn the upcoming $1400 make-up day into something less. It looks like it’s down to about $1000, but I think that’s about […]

  8. MossySF says:

    When my wife and I got married in ’04, makeup was part of the $5K package from photography studio for studio photos, wedding day photos, wedding day video, bridesmaid dress rental, groom/groomsman tux rental and custom-made dress for bride.

  9. Lazy Man says:

    MossySF, I think we are doing well then. We are at $3600 with all above with exception of tux rentals and bridesmaid dresses. We didn’t get a custom-made dress for the bride, but it was 99.5% the same as her dream dress ($4000 ) for only $99.

  10. anon says:

    I would not have asked my sisters and mom to pay for their own hair and makeup, though, ever. It was my wedding and my choice to include them. They did enough for me by being in the wedding, and I think their expenses should be minimized where possible.

  11. petn says:

    Here’s my two cents, which will hopefully save you, well, more than two cents:

    I was a very, very, very fussy bride. I wanted EVERYTHING to look perfect, however I also think you have to look at things for what they are worth and make adjustments accordingly. Personally I know my friends take nice care of their nails. They didn’t have to paint them, just have them clean and shapely was enough for me. Some did paint, all were tasteful though. No one is looking at the bridesmaids’ nails, trust me. Trust me. I paid for two hair stylists to come to the church and do all of our hair. I had my make up done by an on-site make up artist and had one of my bridesmaids who wears exquisite make up do the other bridesmaids’ make up. They all looked beautiful. All in all, their hair, my hair, and my make up included, this cost approximately $500 (not including my $200 eyelash extensions, but a bride’s gotta look perfect!). The pictures turned out beautifully and everyone looked stunning.

    Congratulations on your big day!

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