Getting Hitched Series: Finding the Right Makeup Artist on Your Wedding Day

When we were planning our wedding, I noticed that a big percentage of upcoming brides do not give much thought on who their makeup artist and hair stylist will be on their wedding day. As long as they find a person who can do nice makeup on others, that's good enough to hire them on your big day. On top of that, the major concern is the budget for hair and makeup.

To all upcoming brides, I hope this post will make you consider why you should hire a professional wedding makeup artist and why you deserve to spend for it on one of your most memorable days in life.

makeup by Gery Penaso
One of my last photos before I left The Peninsula Manila to go to the church.

What made it difficult for me to find for a wedding makeup artist is the fact that I love makeup. I studied makeup artistry and I know a lot of tricks when it comes to applying makeup. But I didn't want to do my own makeup on my wedding day. I wanted to be well rested without worrying if my brows are even or whatnot.

I knew from the very start that I didn't want a no-makeup makeup look on my wedding day. Debunk the myth, it's 2015. I'm not telling you to go for a wild look, okay. But if you know that a smokey look suits you more, then go for it. 20 years from now, you'd still find yourself pretty when you look back at your wedding photos because you know you rock that look. But if you prefer a no-makeup makeup look, that's fine.

Wedding makeup costs way more than just the normal hair and makeup fee (even if you go for a natural look) because your makeup artist must make sure that you will look your best at every angle possible. Your shade of your face must look natural in all kinds of light - yellow, white, LED.. you get the idea.  If there's one day that you have to look perfect, it's your wedding day! Agree? Agree!

A friend of mine was supposed to do my hair and makeup for the wedding day. She's a professional makeup artist and I love how she blends eyeshadows. Until now, she's still one of those people that I look up to when it comes to eye makeup. But she migrated to UAE so I had to look for another one.

I inquired with Albert Kurniawan but his rate at that time was out of budget so I had to forget it.

I found another makeup artist because we knew each other. We did a makeup trial when she joined one of the weddings expos and it was okay. I liked it and I actually booked her for the big day. But then, something went wrong.

Makeup trial at a wedding expo.
I requested for a smokey look.

A few hours later, I took a photo of myself while in the car. I turned on the flash to see how it would fare with flash photography. Que horror! To my dismay, my face looked like this on flash photography! Hello, white cast! This was a deal breaker. The lipstick she used was the one that can be found at Divisoria. I don't know ha but you don't do that to wedding clients. Even if it's a really nice shade. A drugstore brand could be forgivable for the rate I'm paying. But a hardcore China-made lipstick? Come on. As I've said, I know makeup.

I have fair skin but my face was even more fair, it didn't look nice.

I gave myself some time to think if I should push through with the makeup artist that I booked or looked for a new one. I know it sounds vain but I really did want to look extra good on my wedding day. But of course, budget was also one of my concerns, too. I thought XX amount was enough for my wedding makeup but if my budget will cost me a white cast, then I had to look for a new one and/or increased the budget. I gave myself 6 months to decide. On the 6 month, I could already afford Albert Kurniawan so I inquired again. But boohoo, he wasn't available on my wedding day.

But as the gods would have it, someone referred me to Gery Penaso. I checked his Instagram account (@gerypenaso) and I was impressed with his work. On top of that, he's a MAC Affiliate so he only uses MAC products on clients. And I love MAC. He also went to a legit makeup school - the makeup school here in Manila that I wanted to go to! I sent him an email and he sent his rates. I found out that he used to do makeup for magazines (so I'm assured that my makeup will look perfect regardless of what flash people have on their camera) before he focused on wedding makeup.

We did a makeup trial when I attended a wedding and this was how I looked..

makeup by Gery Penaso
Eyes that speak? Check!
Poreless face? Check!
I was in front of an LED light. No white cast!

makeup by Gery Penaso
makeup on natural light

makeup by Gery Penaso
After 12 hours. I didn't want to take off my makeup!

makeup by Gery Penaso
Gery in action.

True story: I attended the wedding with that look and I was just one of the guests. The bride complimented my overall look and said I looked prettier than her!

A day after the makeup trial, I told him he's the one! I paid the reservation fee a week later. I knew I found the right makeup artist for me! He was also the one who did my makeup for my prenup. And here's a candid photo on my wedding day.

makeup by Gery Penaso
at The Peninsula Manila lobby

Another great thing about Gery is that his hair stylists are also the good ones. By that, I mean his hairstylists are known in their craft. On my wedding day, Felicity Son was the one who did my hair for the ceremony. It was supposed to be Renz Pangilinan but there was a mix up with the schedule. Then for my second look, Aries Manal was the one who did my hair. Those three hairstylists are staple celebrity hair stylists.

makeup by Gery Penaso
With Gery and Aries. Gery used MAC Heroine on my lips.

makeup by Gery Penaso
with Gery and Aries. Gery used MAC Heroine on my lips.

I have yet to show on this blog my wedding photos although I'm quite on the fence if I would be sharing those photos. But I was one beyond satisfied bride with my makeup artist and hair stylists. I got the look that I wanted and I didn't have to worry about having a white cast. My makeup artist used all MAC products on me which is another factor I highly considered. Yes, you get what you pay for. I spent a good amount on money on my wedding makeup and the outcome was stellar. Makeup artists charge a lot because they went to makeup school and most likely bought a lot of makeup they use on clients. If you already have a makeup artist in mind, I suggest you take a look at the makeup she/he uses on clients. I don't mean to be harsh or discriminating but I don't like it when you pay a huge amount of money and the makeup artist uses only drugstore makeup on you. Imagine paying 50 grand for that. That's too much and abusive of skills. What, 45k on skills and 5k for the makeup? No way. I know there are a lot of great drugstore makeup products but using expensive makeup on clients that actually work gives an oomph to clients, too.

I don't want to impose a budget for your wedding because to each her own. But I do hope you highly consider the following:

1. Makeup artist that went to makeup school. By definition of 'went to makeup school' means they spent at least one month studying a makeup course. Crash courses never count. Just the fact that they spent money to learn how to apply makeup like a pro means that they are dead serious to be in this business.

2. Makeup to be used. From my point of view, the fee is not a joke. Your face deserves at least 2 or 3 high-end makeup products. I just don't think it's fair when you pay a makeup artist too much only to use cheap makeup on your face. I heard an excuse several times from a 'self-taught makeup artist' that she uses local brand of makeup on brides/clients because 'makeup gig' is her only source of income to be able to purchase makeup. She had another reason but I won't post it here for anonymity. I found out that she charges Php15,000 on her brides. Self taught makeup artist means no formal learning of applying makeup/didn't go to makeup school. Makeup was okay. Not wow. Just okay. Please tell me if the fee is worth it. This goes hand in hand with #1.

3. Do a makeup trial. Makeup artists have different tricks when applying makeup. People have different faces. It's one thing to request that you want a certain celebrity's makeup look. It's another thing to expect to look like that celebrity. You can only find out what will suit you best if you go book that makeup trial. I'm saying this as if I'm assuming that you don't wear makeup like I do or you don't love makeup like I do. The trial is an additional cost but it will be your life saver and also beneficial to your makeup artist. Imagine if I didn't do a makeup trial with the first makeup artist that I booked? I probably have thrown my wedding photos because I had a white cast. As for the makeup artist, she'll/he'll have time to study your face and how to make you look better. They can also make suggestions on what to do with your hair.

4. Ask your suppliers for feedback. It would help a lot if your makeup artist has previously worked with your photographer and videographer. It was Gery's first time to work with my photographer but they meshed well during pre-nup and on my wedding day. However, I have heard lots of praises about Gery from wedding suppliers. Come to think of it, wedding suppliers wouldn't recommend a co-supplier if they're not good at their craft.

5. Trim down your choices to 3. This was an advice given to me by a friend. It's good to scout for several makeup artists. But you gotta trim them down eventually. Compare their portfolio and experience then decide from there.

6. Ask your mother for feedback. Mothers know best. Your mother is your best critique. I'm sure she'd tell you if your makeup trial looked good or bad.

7. Budget. I don't want to talk that much about budget because we might have different point of view when it comes to wedding budget. But this is something you have to discuss thoroughly with your soon-to-be husband. Or you can just talk your way out to convincing him that you want to look extra good for him on your wedding day haha!

I think that's it! If you do decide to get Gery because of this post, please let me know. It's nice to be of help! You can follow Gery on Instagram (@gerypenaso) or send him an e-mail for rate inquiry at Please tell him that you found out about him thru me. He really asks that question anyway. Plus, that's another way of thanking him for making me look and feel beautiful on my wedding day!

Good luck and may you look your best on your wedding day!

Follow me! No? Yes? Yey!


  1. I just started following Gery on IG! Haha. We are stll saving money for our church wedding and hopefully, in two years time, we'll be done =) Ghad, you are so pretty Miss Gem. Kakainggit ang flawless skin!
    Anyway, I love your tip #6. Indeed, moms know best!

  2. you are so pretty on your wedding day Ms.Gem and your gown is a WOW! kainggit much hehe

  3. The first makeup artist did the black-circle eye thing :p Super great choice on THE makeup artist. You look like the holy-goddess-child of a K-pop Star and Kim Kardashian in the Manila Penn lobby pic

  4. I hope you consider getting Gery :)

  5. I'm so thankful to Gery. He really did a great job :)

  6. Agree ako lahat! Kakatakot yung china lippie ha =p
    Ganda mo talaga Gemma! Love the gown ):

  7. Oh my God!! Haha. Ganda mo sa wedding day mo, the makeup, the hair, the gown are all perfect!! Pretty bride:)

  8. Thanks haha! Yan talaga ang pinaka-GGSS moment ko :)

  9. Hehe. True napakapretty mo naman talaga kasi!:)

  10. Taray ng eyes! Nangungusap ang mga mata! Pero i'm sure you are even more beautiful in person than on your photos. I had a nice makeup on my wedding day but i wished the make up lasted longer. I noticed that oil was starting to buid up on my t-zone before the reception ended. But it's okay, i just retouched and i couldn't complain because i am on a tight budget and couldn't afford a high caliber makeup artist. My sister in law however had a horrible make up. The smokey eyes was so dark, it's scary. The smokey looked "nasunog". Mahirap talaga kapag walang trial.

  11. Di nsman. Nung wedding day lang talga :)

  12. Marian April PangJuly 1, 2015 at 7:01 AM

    Love your gown! I didn't know that it's okay to ask some make up trial before having reservation. Sobrang helpful! Hindi pa naman ako ikakasal. Haha. Di ko naisip na mas importante yung hair and make up. I've been searching about different wedding gowns pero magagaling HMUA hindi pa.

    You look good din naman sa first one, kasi your pretty. Pero yung pangalawa may glow talaga, kakaiba as in. Sobrang naenhance beauty mo. At saka you know the quality nung product na nilalagay sa face mo. You really deserved the best on your wedding day depends sa budget. The first one, usually nakikita ko na yung way sa mga MUA services. :)

  13. Aysen Achurra AsueroJuly 2, 2015 at 2:09 PM

    Such a beautiful bride! <3

  14. You looked beautiful in every frame! Even in the picture where your face appeared even more fair. Thanks for the tips!

  15. I'm still young to think about weddings and all that but I just can't help reading this blog post! You were just too beautiful on the pictures especially the first one! I wish I would look like that when I get married too lol I would definitely keep these tips in mind when the time comes! :)

  16. I hope you'll also consider my makeup artist, Gery :)


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