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How to Do Your Wedding Makeup on a Budget – 10 Tips & Ideas


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In an effort to save money for my wedding, I asked my sister-in-law to apply my make-up. The only problem? I’m a low-maintenance girl, and didn’t own a lot of make-up. So I went to a cosmetics counter and ended up spending more than $200 on new make-up just for my wedding.

The lesson? Make-up application isn’t the only expense when it comes to looking gorgeous for your big day. Sometimes in saving money on the application, you can actually spend more on the make-up itself! Don’t make the same mistake I did. Here are 10 ways to save on both the make-up and the makeover for your wedding:

Ways to Save Money On Wedding Make-Up

1. Stock Up on Make-Up with Coupons

I absolutely love shopping at CVS Pharmacy and taking advantage of their ExtraCare Bucks. There is definitely an art form to using them properly and getting free stuff, and it takes some training and practice to get the best deals. But one thing I have noticed in shopping at CVS with discount grocery coupons is that it’s a great place to get make-up deeply discounted or free when extreme couponing. So if your wedding is a few months out, start checking the ads weekly to combine sales with coupons for free, or almost free, make-up. Then self apply your own make-up for your wedding, or have a friend help you out.

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2. Go to Cosmetology School

Just like with your wedding hair, consider going to a cosmetology school to get your make-up done for your big day. Make-up artists in training need to do a certain number of makeovers before becoming a full-fledged make-up artist, so you are actually doing them a favor as they try to reach their goal. And if you are already planning on getting your hair done on your wedding day at the school, you will have the advantage of not having to go to multiple places for your wedding beautification process.

3. Schedule an Appointment with a Cosmetics Counter

Most make-up counters at department stores will give you a free makeover, with the  expectation that you make at least a small purchase. Schedule an appointment on your big day, and you will look beautiful all for the price of a tube of lipstick (which you can then reapply after all the smooching).

4. Go to a Cosmetics Counter During a Gift Time

Department stores often offer free gifts when you make a purchase at one of their cosmetics counters. For example, Macy’s may give you a free make-up bag containing eye shadow and blush with the purchase of any cosmetic purchase at their Clinique Counter for a limited time. These deals are almost always running at their cosmetics counters, and only the gift varies. Make a habit of looking at department stores’ websites to see what gift deals are available, and buy your make-up when the gift is what you need to complete your wedding make-up collection.

5. Trade Wedding Services

Let’s say that you are great with hair or great with crafts, but you have no skills when it comes to applying make-up. You may be able to offer your skills in exchange for someone else who’s getting married on a different day. Check message boards in your area and see if you can strike a deal.

6. Have a Make-Up Party

When you throw a make-up party with Mary Kay or Avon, you receive free gifts based on the amount of sales during your party. This will allow you to get some of the pieces of make-up that you need for your wedding for free! Let your friends know your plan, and they’ll be more inclined to make a purchase.

7. Use What You Have

Wedding Makeup Ways Save Money

Like I said, I am not a regular make-up wearer, especially since I am a stay-at-home mom. But I do have some make-up which I wear occasionally, like eyeliner and blush. As long as nothing has expired, your own make-up drawer is probably sufficient for your wedding make-up needs.

8. Borrow What You Don’t Have

If you do want a new shade of lipstick or eye shadow, ask your mother, sister, or friend if you could borrow a few pieces of their make-up. Or have a make-up party that’s not affiliated with a brand, where all your friends bring over their make-up stashes, and you get to go through it all and choose the perfect palette for your big day.

9. Say that You’re a Bridesmaid

When my cousin called a salon to inquire about wedding make-up prices, the bridal application cost twice as much as a bridesmaid. In that instance, book your appointment as a bridesmaid – they never have to know! Also, many salons jack up their prices when they know it’s for a wedding, so try just saying that you want your make-up done without revealing that it’s for your wedding. You’re likely to get a much better deal.

10. Go Natural

If all else fails – or if you just don’t wear a lot of make-up normally – just go natural. This would work very well if your wedding venue is a natural setting, such as the beach or the outdoors.

Final Word

These ideas to save money on wedding make-up can be used on their own or in conjunction with each other as a way to gather all of the elements that you need to complete your wedding make-up look. Once you have everything you need, either practice to learn how to apply the make-up yourself or find someone who can help you out. If you do that, you will avoid the high costs of both the make-up and the application of the make-up by a professional.

Did you get made up for your big wedding day? Which of the options did you decide to go with?


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Casey Slide lives with her husband and baby in Atlanta, GA. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering and worked for a prominent hospital in Atlanta. With the birth of Casey’s son in February 2010, she decided to become a stay-at-home mom. Casey’s interests include reading, running, living green, and saving money.