Wedding Planning

Leather & Lace Artistry Owner Bre Welch Offers Tips on Scoring Your Dream Look

Makeup artist Bre Welch is every blushing bride’s BFF.


Photo by Sasha Israel

Bre Welch always planned to become a professional ballerina. But after training for nearly two decades, injuries forced her to abandon that dream. Luckily, though, she’d fallen in love with more than just dancing during her years performing: “I’ve been doing stage makeup since I was [about] 11,” Welch says. “[When I retired] I said, ‘Why don’t I see if I can jump into makeup and hair, and do that as a living?’” Years later, while working on everything from commercial shoots to runway shows, Welch homed in on weddings and in 2010 started her Boston-based company Leather & Lace Artistry. Under that moniker, she and a team of seven pros tame tresses and do makeup for brides across the city and country. “You can throw anything at us, and we can make it happen,” Welch says.

What should brides keep in mind when searching for makeup inspo?

People fail to remember that when they see stuff on Pinterest and Instagram, it’s probably been retouched and filtered like crazy. A good makeup artist will, of course, do makeup that looks great without a filter. So if you can spot stuff that isn’t retouched, that’s going to give you a more realistic idea of what [your makeup] will look like.

Another problem is that people say, “I want something super natural,” but then they show you a picture [of someone who has] smoked-out liner and a ton of lashes. If you end up doing that exact look, they’re like, “Oh my gosh, it’s too much!” [So I ask] how clients normally wear their makeup, and what they think the picture they’re showing me looks like. When we pick stuff apart enough, I get to what they’re really seeing in their head.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I like to find my inspiration in those little tiny details that most people don’t see. For weddings, it’s the jewelry, the texture of the dress, or the color of the flowers. It’s not like if you have bright pink flowers I’m going to put bright pink on you, but it gives me [something] to work from.

What’s your favorite false-lash option?

Lash extensions are gorgeous, but they’re expensive and a pain to keep up. I’m a huge advocate of individual false lashes, not the full-strip ones. With a strip lash, you’re at risk of malfunctions: The corners could come off, they poke, and they’re really heavy. The individual lashes come in different sizes, lengths, and thicknesses, and I can place them where it will work best for your eye. They’re also a billion times more comfortable.

What’s one makeup product you can’t live without?

I have found the holy grail foundation and I will never use anything else. It’s a completely organic serum foundation by Gressa, and it’s flawless on the skin. I can get sheer or full coverage, and it lasts. I was on a photo shoot for FootJoy in Florida with models on a hot golf course for three 12-hour days, and it did not budge. I would die if Gressa discontinued it.

Are there any techniques that you think are overrated?

[Airbrush is] too much. It sits on top of the skin, so therefore, it doesn’t look like skin—it creates more of a veil or a mask. Typically, my brides like to look done-up but still natural, and airbrush can give too much of a mannequin look. I do still use it when requested. If people have a skin condition, need tattoo coverage, or have been airbrushed before and love it, then hell yeah, I’m going to do that for them. I love doing it, too; it’s just that I think it’s a little overdone.

What was your own wedding-day makeup like?

I am all about pinup, vintage style. So I had a very classic look and hairstyle, down to the red lip and cat eye. I also truly had the best in the industry there to help me, because they’re great friends. So I did some of my hair and makeup myself, but then I had them there to finesse it. I couldn’t not do anything!

What’s your favorite part about working in the wedding industry?

I am a huge romantic. I literally have “hopeless romantic” tattooed on my arm. I love hearing every detail of how [clients] were proposed to and how the couple met—it just never gets old. Every bride and every wedding day is so exciting.

leatherandlaceartistry.com.


Tips

You’ve scored a venue and your dream dress—now it’s time to hire your makeup artist. Here are Bre Welch’s top tips for finding the one.

START EARLY

Don’t wait: Once you have your wedding date, start researching makeup artists right away because we book up pretty quickly.

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

You want someone who doesn’t just have close-up headshots taken for their Instagram feed—you need to see that they have worked on actual weddings. Really check out their work and start making phone calls and sending emails.

MAKE SURE YOU “CLICK”

It’s important for you to feel comfortable with us because we spend a lot of time with you during crucial moments of your wedding day.

ASK ABOUT PRODUCTS…

I use as many clean beauty products as possible, so if you’re someone who is also conscious of that, ask what people are using.

…AND HOW THEY’RE USED

Never work with an artist that puts products right from the tube [onto your face]. They should use disposable mascara wands, and lip products should be put on a clean pallet and applied with a brush.

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