Maria Chang, the genius behind Professional Makeup Artistry (PMA), is nothing short of unbelievable. She is so skilled at accomplishing stunning bridal transformations that she could easily have her own reality TV show, and this is exactly how you’ll feel if you book PMA–it is an experience like no other! If you have any room to splurge on your wedding day–and frankly, even if you don’t–I can’t recommend Maria’s work highly enough. Maria’s skill will make all the difference in the world, particularly as you reminisce over your wedding pictures for years to come.
Why professional hair and makeup?
First, I would like to say a few words about my decision to choose Professional Makeup Artistry. I was referred to PMA by our extremely talented videographer, Alexa Lee, who knows Maria personally and has nothing but the highest of praise for her. Although we have a bunch of “extras” planned for the wedding (letterpress, specialty lighting, etc.), it had never occurred to me to hire a makeup artist: I’ve been styling myself for as long as I can remember, and it seemed like an unnecessary expense.
But then I got to thinking. First, Maria’s expertise is doubly valuable, because she does both hair and makeup beautifully: from down-dos to complicated up-dos, she specializes in classic bridal styles that look timeless on camera but can be very difficult to achieve on one’s own. As long as I was planning to get my hair done, I reasoned, why not makeup, too?
It is worth reiterating here that PMA’s styles are specifically bridal. Maria achieves a level of sophistication that is perfect for creating a special wedding-day allure. For example, you would never mistake one of her beautiful bridal creations for a prom hairstyle, which can often be the case with other, less gifted stylists.
Second, Maria does hair and makeup for the camera, and her experience far predates her entry into the bridal industry. I started to consider how much we had invested in photography and videography, and realized that–no matter how well I could do my own makeup–it only made sense to hire somebody trained in doing hair and makeup for the camera, and who was also skilled, at the same time, in making the bride look beautiful in person.
After all, at no other time of my life will I be so heavily photographed. And I quickly came to see, as I tracked down reviews online, that hiring PMA means leaving nothing to chance: on the wedding day, Maria devotes herself tirelessly to the bride and bridal party, helping to make sure that all of the photos turn out fabulously. In addition to her flawless portfolio, what better endorsement could there be? I was sold!
Why PMA in particular?
Although my wedding is still a few months away, I recently visited Maria for my trial consultation. Maria lives in a beautiful home where the stunning and immaculate furnishings clearly reflect her bridal aesthetic: everything is very elegant, opulent in an understated way, and thoroughly pleasing to the senses.
Visiting Maria is like heading off to a luxury resort, combined with an afternoon of pampering at the spa. Although my appointment was scheduled for 10-1, a somewhat awkward time slot, I was by no means expecting the delicacies that awaited me. Yet Maria had prepared an array of goodies, from finger sandwiches and cheese and crackers to a delicious pot of jasmine tea. Set against the backdrop of her light and airy studio and its hip soundtrack, I had so much fun I could have stayed all afternoon!
As if this weren’t soothing enough, Maria herself exudes confidence in her work and an extremely personal, friendly reassurance. Aside from one horrible “Glamour Shots” experience when I was much younger, I’ve never had my hair and makeup professionally done, and I was a bit apprehensive about trusting something so personal to someone I had only just met. But as soon as Maria introduced herself, I felt at ease–I knew I would be in good hands with PMA!
The appointment began with a brief consultation. I showed Maria all of the key details of my wedding, from the venue to the flowers, and we spent some time talking about hair and makeup styles and how they would work with my dress. One of Maria’s strengths is that she tells it like it is: I had originally wanted a darker smoky eye, but she insisted that the look I desired was really too harsh for a wedding, but that she would be happy to work with softer, more bridal tones instead. Not being the expert, this was exactly what I needed to hear. The great thing about PMA is that Maria stands by her work and reputation: she will only do what’s best for *you,* even when you’re not entirely sure what’s best for yourself.
After the consultation, Maria rolled my hair in preparation for the up-do and then began with my makeup. As she switched from one to the other, she was always careful to check up on me: Did I need more tea? Would I like something to eat? Was it too cold in the studio? She was truly the perfect hostess and conversation partner–I hardly noticed the time slipping by, and it was 2 o’clock–an hour past the scheduled time slot–before I knew it. But Maria was happy to take as much time as we needed to achieve the final look. I never felt rushed, and even though Maria does bridal hair and makeup all the time, I could tell that she was enjoying herself, too.
When my makeup was finished, Maria moved on to the up-do we had discussed, and–once everything was pinned perfectly in place–she took dozens of pictures from all different angles. This is an invaluable part of the PMA experience: it provides the first glimpse of how you’ll really look both on your wedding day and in the pictures that will live on forever, as it documents the look from every vantage point. This is perfect for tweaking the design here and there, imagining how you’ll appear to your guests as you walk down the aisle, and even seeing all of the possible angles that the photographer and videographer might capture. By that very evening I was able to print out the files Maria had emailed me, much to the delight of my family–and of my fiancé, who couldn’t be more pleased with Maria’s work!
This is Maria Chang’s genius: I can easily and with admiration say that Maria, with her keen eye and impeccable expertise, helped me to look like my best possible self. Importantly, I was still recognizable, but she had worked her magic to enhance my best features, and to create a more formal version of myself in a palette and style that were still thoroughly natural. I was so pleased that I was sure to inquire about the eyeshadow colors Maria used, as well as the brand of false lashes–I look forward to recreating her amazing artistry (as best I can, at least!) on my own. Indeed, I would absolutely use PMA for other occasions in the future, and will recommend Maria to all of my family and friends.
My parents and sisters (aka bridesmaids) were so delighted when they saw the results that their fears about hiring a stylist melted away instantly: my parents had been convinced that it was an unnecessary investment, while my sisters–accustomed to doing their own hair and makeup–seemed certain that they would be more than happy on their own. Not so anymore: My parents are thrilled with the results (my Mom is even considering getting her own hair and makeup done!), and my sisters can’t wait to see their transformations this June.
Given the expense of weddings nowadays, I can easily understand why some brides might be reluctant to hire additional professionals, especially when their services may seem unnecessary at first. However, investing in hair and makeup design will enhance every other aspect of your wedding, from your own self-confidence as you walk down the aisle and your groom’s awed reaction to your wedding-day look, to the video and photographs you will have for years to come–the only long-term reminders of your exciting day. It is not an understatement to say that Maria’s classic sense of style will help to ensure that your pictures look fresh and sophisticated for generations.
I would also like to stress that Maria’s services come at a bargain. I have been engaged since February 2007, and at no other point in the planning process have I felt so at ease. Of course, after an excellent hair and makeup trial, I have been able to rest complete confidence in Maria. But the beauty of PMA is that Maria and her assistant(s) stay throughout the photo sessions in order to touch up hair and makeup and to lend a hand, all while helping to make sure that your day runs as smoothly as possible. Maria, in addition to having a classic sense of style and an eye for beauty, is also extremely organized and reliable–nothing will go wrong on her watch! Having PMA on scene will be well worth the peace of mind.
I can’t wait to update this review after our wedding–I am definitely looking forward to working with Maria again, and can easily see why so many people refer to her as their favorite vendor. She is friendly and personable, amazingly skilled, and a complete miracle worker! Hiring PMA may very well be one of the best wedding decisions you make.