1. Introduction: What's your story?
Hello! I'm Dana Persia, founder of Beautiful Brides Philly. I'm a Philly native and at the age of 22, decided to enroll full time at Rutgers University in the early 90's to pursue a writing career. I graduated with bachelor’s degree in English, spending the next few years dabbling with a promising path in fiction but eventually — not enjoying the life of a "starving artist" — used my writing skills to build a corporate career that spanned 20 years.
After years writing corporate content, working as an editor and landing myself an account manager position in public relations, I decided to pursue my passion of skin and makeup and enrolled in Jean Madeline Aveda Institute. I spent a few years working as both a makeup artist and an esthetician part-time while still working full-time behind a desk. I launched my first company, DP Image Consulting, to appease my entrepreneurial spirit and to pacify my passion for helping individuals reach their fullest potential in both their personal and work lives.
In my "side hustle," I helped women — and men eventually — transform their personal image using makeup, grooming, wardrobe and styling as the main components. I also conducted "Dress for Success" workshops and seminars for small and large groups, including Deloitte Consulting, Penn State University and Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority. I ultimately founded the Women's Image Project, where I volunteered for three years conducting life-skills and image workshops for incarcerated women inside the Philadelphia Prison system. Unfortunately, the crash of 2008 caused individual financial hardships and corporate budgets to dwindle, so survival meant rebranding my small but mighty company into a recession-proof niche-- bridal hair and makeup. In 2010 I rebranded my company to Beautiful Brides Philly and never looked back.
Since then, Beautiful Brides Philly, has grown to 20 stylists serving 150-plus weddings annually and to date, has beautified over 2,000 brides, bridesmaids, moms and flower girls. A combination of business savvy, stylist talent, immaculate reputation, and client satisfaction is what I truly believe makes us one of the most referred hair and makeup companies in the Philadelphia area.
As a direct result of our reputation, Beautiful Brides Philly was chosen for David Tutera’s runway styling during his “Your Wedding Experience” held in Philadelphia in 2015. In 2016 we won the Procter & Gamble “Beauty Bar” contract serving players and their families at the Philadelphia-hosted NFL Draft. My personal client work includes working as a makeup artist for the former NBC 10! Show, working with celebrities like Gavin Rossdale and Bush, along with Heather Blaine Mitts, Olympic gold medalist and Leticia Moreinos Schwartz, Chef-Author-Journalist-TV Host of Netflix Best Leftovers Ever. Most recently, and as a pandemic "pivot," I launched my YouTube channel showcasing videos on makeup and skincare and all things bridal beauty.
2. What's your experience as a bridal hair & makeup artist? How many brides are in there in your portfolio?
I have personally been a makeup artist for over 20 years. My direct experience with brides started back in 2007 when I myself, with my little makeup kit, served a total of five bridal parties. Today we book over 150 weddings per year and have serviced over 2,000 party members in hair and makeup. My staff of freelance artists are talented in both hair and makeup and have a combined bridal experience of 50 years!
3. What are the different packages that you offer and which one is your most popular package?
We do not offer package pricing. All of our pricing is based on the number of ladies receiving services in addition to the bride. For example, if you are a bride with eight or more attendants (adult females) then the pricing is $85 hair and $85 makeup not including add-ons like lashes, airbrush, using clip-in extensions, and my "owner's" fee if I am requested as the makeup artist. For the bride plus seven to four attendants, the pricing is $95 hair, $95 makeup. Lastly, for the bride plus three or less, it's $105 per service. Bride-only fees are on a case-by-case basis.
We also have the normal Center City parking fee, travel, holiday and early start fees and are calculated on a per-client basis.
4. Do you have a team of assistants or will you be the only artist that day? What will happen if you're sick or have an emergency on the wedding day?
We don't use assistants. Each party member is assigned a number of lead artists that I feel from my experience would be needed for the number of services and timing of the day. I normally try to provide my freelance artists with a minimum of five services each. I never stretch an artist too far — say giving them 10 services — this never happens with us! As long as we have a minimum of four to five hours for their party, I assign the typical number of artists. If a client requests an additional artist for any reason, we do have an "additional artist" fee which most companies have. The lead artist(s) who does the bride's trial is the same lead artist who does the wedding, unless, of course, there is an emergency situation. In that case, I always have backup with whom I share the bride's trial photos and notes.
5. Do you charge a travel fee? For what distance? What does that cover?
We charge $1.00 per mile round trip outside the city limits of Philadelphia proper. This includes outer locations such as Conshohocken, Manayunk, NE Philly, North and West Philly. Our maximum distance is one hour of travel from the studio location located in South Philadelphia, although we do travel to South Jersey Shore locations. IF the client requests a date that is on a holiday weekend such as July 4th or Memorial Day, there is an additional surcharge of $50 per artist for weddings in Philadelphia proper and $75 for anything outside the city limits.
We are open to destination weddings, but that's a completely different fee rate and would include airfare, hotel, meals and expenses.
6. Can the bride book a wedding makeup trial appointment and will you also do a trial before the wedding?
The first trial run IS the trial. We conduct all hair and makeup trials at our studio located at 1613 East Passyunk Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19148. Each trial is charged per our trial fees. There really is no reason to have more than one trial UNLESS the first trial was conducted too far in advance (we normally recommend a max of one year and a minimum of three months). For example, some of our COVID-bride postponements did have to come back and have another trial.
7. What beauty products do you use and would you be open to the bride using her own make-up?
Our artist use top brands always such as MAC, Benefit, Too Faced, Chanel, Charlotte Tilbury, Tati, etc. along with pro brands like Ben Nye, Temptu, RCMA and Graftobian. Occasionally you'll find a favorite, well-tested "drugstore" brand alongside our luxury brands such as mascara, lashes and lip gloss.
If a client has a specific brand they like of course! Also, sometimes client has a specific allergy and we are happy to use what they bring and are comfortable using.
8. How can you make the bride's wedding makeup last and look good in photos?
Here is a link to a YouTube video I recently did that is a direct answer to this question!
9. How long will makeup take on the day and how long will you be staying for on the day?
Makeup application typically takes about 45 minutes per person. We stay until the last person is finished adding in about 15-20 minutes of last-minute touch ups at the end. The client can hire one or two artists for an additional fee to stay on for a full day of service which would allow them to get touch ups after first look, photos, ceremony, etc.
10. What is your cancellation and/or refund policy?
All trial fees, deposits and final payments are non-refundable, and all payments are due as agreed upon. If the wedding date changes or is cancelled, all deposits and final payments are non-refundable and will be applied when re-booked if business has the date and stylists available. The original stylist(s) who did trial run may not be available for new date. If myself, the owner, is the makeup artist who is available, owner fees will apply and be added to final balance. In the case of a re-booking there will be a $200 re-booking fee. For COVID-19 related postponements and cancellations, we have a COVID-19 Postponement Letter the has its own conditions.