Vendor Spotlight :: Joya Beauty :: Perfect Wedding Make Up Artist

Dear Blog
I have neglected you over the Winter. It's been a busy time with my family visiting from the UK, chilly engagement shoots, hot boudoir sessions, a flurry of 2012 wedding client meetings, all of my 2010 brides simultaneously reviewing outstanding album designs, revisions for said albums, save the date designs, trips to Maine with my husband, photography education events and workshops in Denver, Las Vegas and Mystic and much more.
I promise to make it up to you this Spring. And just wait until the Summer - you won't know what's hit you as I ply you with beautiful weddings at the Renaissance Hotel in Boston, the Aquarium, the Barn at Gibbet Hill, the Four Seasons, Turner Hill, the Rose Garden at Lynch Park, Renaissance Haverhill and so many others!
Love Leah xx

Anyhoo, it's time for another VENDOR SPOTLIGHT!!!! Yes, from the blog that brought you vendor spotlights on uplighting, videography, eyelash extensions, bridesmaid dress boutiques and others, we have a new interview with Joanne from Joya Beauty in Dover, NH. By the way, do let me know if there are other vendor categories you'd like me to talk about. I only feature people/companies I know and trust and have worked with; coming up is a wonderful Calligrapher and Florist....

I've been lucky enough to work with a number of fabulous make up artists over the last four years and it's time to introduce you to Joya Beauty. Joya is located in Dover, NH (although on any given weekend Joanne is usually found traveling to Boston or somewhere else in New England) and I headed up there last week:

And just for you, my wonderful readers, before I drove up to meet with Joanne I took a picture with....wait for make up on! I must confess although I love buying make up, give me an hour in Sephora and I'm a happy bunny I don't actually really wear a lot. I'm more of a quick slick of cherry chapstick and bit of powder kind of girl - can you tell how much I dislike being in front of the camera ;)

One of the main reasons I wanted to write this post was to share with you my own wedding make up story. We got married in Las Vegas and after searching the internet I found Barbra-Jo. With no time for a trial, I still vividly remember Barbra-Jo showing up at our hotel room on the afternoon of our wedding with what seemed like 6 giant suitcases of make up, a director's chair, lights but most of all I remember how she made me feel. I was terrified of looking overdone and Barbra-Jo was so understanding, kind, compassionate and absolutely hilarious! She made me, my Mom, my Mother-in-law and my friend Judy look AWESOME!!! It was a little weird to see the airbrushed/individual false eye-lash version of me but our wedding pictures looked amazing!!!

Fast forward a month to our post-wedding reception at the phenomenal Atkinson Country Club, I figured so much money had already been spent that I'd just do my own make up. I carefully applied foundation, concealer, eyeshadow, mascara, lipstain etc and I looked fine. But when I compare the photographs from both events with professional make up I look flawless and radiant, with my own make up, I look like I'm wearing make up....

I know it can feel like your wedding budget is spiraling out of control but believe me, having professional make up on your wedding day is worth every single penny as you'll look - but most importantly - you'll feel beautiful :)

And back to our vendor spotlight interview...I asked Joanne about the meaning of the name Joya and I loved her explanation that as a child growing up in an Italian family everyone would exclaim "Joya! Joya! Joya!" when guests came to visit. It officially means joy but also translates as "Welcome!" and when you arrive at Joya to a warm hug by Joanne you can't help but feel welcome:

I'm fond of the Q&A style of interview so here we go:

Leah: OK, Joanne. Let's say I'm a bride about to get married. I'm thinking of professional make up but I'm also thinking I could save money by doing it myself or maybe I have a friend who's really into make up...what would your advice be?
Joanne: [smiles] I hear that all the time. My advice would be yes! Of course you need professional make up!! For the following reasons:
1. It's your wedding day! You might be a little nervous, you're definitely excited and there's always so much going on. Having your make up done by a professional is an hour just for you to sit quietly, relax and feel special. Airbrush make up also feels like a cool breeze on your skin as it's applied so it's very calming.
2. You've probably invested a lot of money in your wedding, your wedding pictures will last forever and so you want to look amazing.
3. I'll often hear make-up horror stories - the well-meaning friend, the over-enthusiastic department store counter - when you hire a professional make up artist they'll be able to provide references and schedule a trial so you know exactly what to expect.
4. Having a professional make up artist will ensure a consistent look. If just one bridesmaid out of six does her own make up you could end up with having a group with beautiful natural peachy make up and one girl with a smoky-eye, blush and hot red lips and it can look a little different...

Leah: What should a bride do to prepare for her trial?
Joanne: I always recommend bringing pictures. Lots of pictures! Pictures where you love how you look. Pictures where you don't like how you look. Pictures from wedding magazines of make up that you like. You can then have a discussion with your make up artist about how you'd like to look on your wedding day. Remember, although you need to trust your make up artist, it's not about them, it's about YOU! So you can use your trial to perfect your look.

Leah: When a bride is looking for a make up artist what should she look for?
Joanne: Well, I've been doing this for 10 years and I think it's important that your make up artist loves what they do. I love make up. I truly love it! [Leah's note: at this point Joanne actually said "I looooooooooooove make up!" it was awesome!], I love everything about it - how you can touch people, make them feel beautiful, I adore the energy of the wedding day! I just came back from a workshop and many of the make up artists would say that they loved fashion or event make up and they were all kind of surprised when I said I loved bridal make up. I do make up for around 55 weddings each year and each bride is so different, each wedding is so unique and I only wish that New England wasn't so seasonal so I could do weddings every single weekend of the year!

It's important to find a licensed aesthetician/skin care therapist - make sure they have their license which means they've passed state boards, state tests, understand allergies etc etc. They should be able to show their board certification and provide references.

I've also had a few brides contact me after they've entered into a contract with a salon/spa for their make up only to find the make up artist they did their trial with has left by the time their wedding happens. My brides don't have to worry about that as I own my own business.

Leah: What are some of the mistakes that brides might make?
Joanne: Occasionally I'll have a bride visit armed with a picture of say Kim Kardashian with her smoky-eye make up but the bride is super pale with blue eyes and red hair. So I think you need to have realistic expectations. I love working with a bride on her vision but it needs to be workable!
- I like to work with brides to give them a timeless and elegant make up, if you have a lot of color or overly dark eye make up I find the pictures will date more quickly.
- It's important to pick a look that will last as it's going to be captured forever in your pictures!
- You're probably going to cry! So I work with waterproof make up that is used by aquatic ballet dancers but if you go for a heavy eyeliner then it might run!
- You can do a very subtle shimmer to make you look fresh in front of the camera but you want to avoid frost or glitter!
- If you're planning on a lot of black and white pictures then you need to consider that darker lip colors like deep reds can show up as black on camera
- It's critical to have a timeline. I like to ask brides when the photographer wants them dressed and ready to go as that gives me a deadline. I also don't have the bride go last for make up.
- And lastly consider the time of day. You might want a dramatic make up look with a deep red lip and smoky eye but if you're getting married at noon on the beach then this might not always be the most flattering!

Leah: Let's talk about airbrush make up vs. traditional liquid foundation...
Joanne: Oh, airbrushing! I adore airbrushing but it's so important that it's done right! I just taught a class on airbrushing technique and I was horrified to see some people waving the airbrush around all over the place - the foundation was going in hair, eyebrows - crazy! Airbrushing should be done with finesse! Airbrush make up will really refine your skin and if it's done well you'll still look natural with your skin showing through. The beauty of airbrush make up is that you can PERFECTLY match your skin. It's not like you have just 24 bottles of foundation in the department store and you have to pick the one that's closest, I can blend different colors and tones and literally match your skin. I match foundation color to a bride's neck which is usually the palest area of skin and then subtly add color with blush and/or bronzer. This avoids that terrible tell-tale line of demarcation on the jaw that screams "my make up is the wrong color!!!"

For Mothers of the Bride/Groom, airbrushing is awesome because it doesn't settle into any fine lines and helps with a flawless look. Powder can be the enemy as when you cry the tears can form little rivulets down your face!

Here's Joanne's airbrush in action. She used ten tiny drops of foundation to perfectly cover my whole face and I really felt like there was nothing on me:

Leah: What kind of products do you use? Do brides want to know if you use certain brands?
Joanne: Well, I use professional products that are often only made available to make up artists so they often won't recognize the names. I use a silicon based foundation in the airbrush because it'll repel water which is perfect for the New England wedding season - it can deal with hot, humid, rainy, misty environments and still look flawless. Sometimes a cheaper product just won't last as well. In the case of eyeshadow, cheaper products won't have as much pigment and can fade through the day. If you think about it, with airbrushing you're applying the make up almost in pixel sized dots so it works in harmony with the camera.

Leah: What else should brides know about the Joya experience?
Joanne: I just love what I do. So many of my brides become friends and lifelong clients. Just last week I had a bride from 2006 call me from NYC to ask if there was any way I could recreate the lipstick I made for her on her wedding day!

I also custom blend make up so I can create the perfect color rather than the best available match. [Leah's note - here I was absolutely wowed and understood the various bottles and jars of color on Joanne's shelves as Joanne made me a custom lip gloss] I use all natural plant ingredients, vitamin E, shea butter and a customized color pigment and subtle shimmer. Here are some of the magic colors:

And Joanne's magic in action, check out my custom lip color. I feel like I need to name it...maybe "in the pink!" or "way better than chapstick" or......suggestions welcome!

You probably want to see what I looked like after Joanne had airbrushed me...pretty flawless right?

And here's a step-by-step image that shows how Joanne blends color with the moisturizing lip balm base, adds in shimmer, heats and then pours into the lip gloss tube. Perfect!
Joanne at Joya's contact information:
Phone: 603.534.3412

Comments? Was this useful? Did you use a professional make up artist on your wedding day? Do your own make up? Are there other vendors you'd like me to interview? Plans for the weekend? Scared about the snow storm? :D


  1. Awesome! You looked fabulous before as your one of 'those' people who look great w/o makeup and the makeup she put on you was so natural that it enhanced your natural beauty! That would certainly be a stop I'd love to make to have her do my makeup and create my perfect color! :) I used professional makeup for my wedding and it was so worth it! And I love makeup too and wear it all the time, so for me it was very important to have it done perfectly!

  2. Joanne is awesome! She's taught me so much. I can't wait for her to do my make up in a few weeks.

  3. @Tracy - thank you! Joanne is AMAZING - you should totally book in for a lesson/custom make up blend session! She also does wonderful skincare/facials etc

    @Meg You are going to look BEAUTIFUL in June!!!

  4. I think I just might do that! Twist my arm... :)

  5. Hi Leah,

    Great interview! I agree completely that it is totally worth it for professional make-up (and hair for that matter!). I will also add that doing the trials is VITALLY important! I was a bit hesitant at first because the trials can be expensive at $75+ each. But I learned my lesson the hard way: I booked a make-up artist and hair stylist early and waited to do the trials until about a month before the wedding. When I did the trials, I was very disappointed and was scrambling to replace them fast (and finding everyone was already booked for my Sat wedding!). That was probably the only crisis I had in wedding planning and it was completely my mistake. I got lucky and my amazing wedding planner helped me find replacements at the last minute. It is so important to look and feel beautiful on your wedding day and I know the professional make-up makes a huge difference for the photos!

    My other piece of make-up advice: get false eyelashes! I have pretty long lashes already so I didn’t think I needed them, but wow did they add “oomph” in the photos! I *loved* them! I tried to apply them myself after the wedding and it is not so easy!

    OH, and I *LOVE* that lip color Joanne made for you! Beautiful! I might have to invest in a make-up lesson. I’ve always wanted to actually learn how to do makeup myself! I’m so bad at it!

    Neeta :)

  6. @Neeta - thank you! Your make up looked awesome on your wedding day - Rose did a great job. Yes - trials are super important and a good make up artist will work with you to make sure you love your trial look. I'm a big fan of the false eyelashes too! I had a couple of tiny individual ones at the corners of my eyes as I wasn't into the big strip and it made a big difference. I'm also a HUGE fan of eyelash extensions and more recently Latisse! You would adore Joanne! And I think she'd adore you too! You should take a trip up to NH before she gets crazy with wedding season!

  7. I love both the before and after photos of you, Leah. You have such wonderful, natural beauty! I wonder how Joanne works on little, old ladies - like the mothers and the grandmothers of the bride. I'll bet she can make even us look good!