Brush and mascara in hand, Joanna Petit-Frère brings the best of beauty to your big day.

Photo by Sasha Israel

Even before earning a photography degree from MassArt, Joanna Petit-Frere was well on her way to becoming a fixture in the Boston makeup scene. She started freelancing in college and two years later decided to open Visage 1 Studios in 2003, with the goal of cultivating a place where everyone can be beautiful. Although she gave up studio space during the pandemic, her work is still going strong. “I’m sort of the finishing touch,” says Petit-Frère, who specializes in makeup for all ethnicities. “Most of the time when the brides are in my chair, they’re nervous and I have to go with them. I take this very seriously, to make sure they are relaxed, calm and feeling beautiful.

What looks are trending for brides right now?

Lots of brides ask for champagne type eye shadow, like a natural foundation with blush, eye shadow and usually liner on top – champagne usually goes with all skin tones. Brides are now doing very full, feathery brows; the liners are more stained, as opposed to this solid line; and very natural types of palettes are popular, dewy or matte, depending on the person’s skin type. I consider myself a soft-glam makeup artist because I like to bring out people’s natural features, so they always look the same. That’s what I try to encourage a bride to do, because clean makeup is timeless.

How can a bride make sure she loves her look?

[During the trial], I tell them, “If you don’t like it, it doesn’t hurt me.” It’s hard for me to go back once we’ve built a certain stage, so don’t be afraid to say what you like or dislike. It’s your day! You want to enjoy this moment, so don’t let others make your decisions. I do this thing now where I give [brides] the mirror and literally talk through the whole look so that we agree on every step. Afterwards, I take a photo, and I send [it to the bride] and say, “This is what you look like after the trial. Let me know if you want any changes.

When during the prep day should brides wear makeup?

I make the bride penultimate or penultimate, depending [on] the time the photographer arrives. All salespeople are pressed for time, so I like to tell them my schedule because I know how it’s going to fit. When the photographer arrives, you have to be done. When they take pictures of you, for example, putting on your lipstick, you want your face, your hair, everything in focus, and then the pictures are just of you doing little touch-ups. You need to line it up with the photographer, videographer, and coordinator. I will contact the photographer. What time do they work? What’s the concept?—because I want to make sure it flows. I want to be part of realizing the vision.

What advice do you have for a bride who doesn’t usually wear makeup?

Often, it’s the first time a bride has had her makeup done by a professional. Usually when a bride contacts me, I tell her to send me a picture of how she would like to wear her makeup. I assess the photo, seeing the look she wants me to achieve. During the trial, I accompany them in the process. I feel their energy, I feel their personality with the makeup. Sometimes people don’t understand, so I have to educate them a bit about makeup when they’re in my chair. I’m like, “Yeah, I’m doing this technique because….. I’m doing this technique because…. I have a teaching spirit. I
like people to feel empowered by their beauty.

What advice do you have for brides who think they can just follow their usual beauty routine for their wedding?

It’s not everyday makeup. It should last a long time, shoot well and withstand the weather all day long. I tell them, “Your face should match your clothes. It looks overdone, until you put everything else in.


A makeup trial can be almost as daunting as the wedding itself. Check out Joanna Petit-Frere’s pointers for the ultimate “Me day.”

Reserve in advance

Make an appointment as soon as you know the wedding date. Makeup artists can book a year, sometimes two, in advance.

It is the right time

Schedule the try-on in conjunction with another wedding-related event, such as an engagement photo shoot, dress fitting, or hair try-on. This way you have a chance to see the entire look before you walk down the aisle.

find your likeness

When sending inspiration photos to the makeup artist before the try-on, make sure the person in the photo has similar skin tone and features to yours. Some makeups are different depending on the characteristics.

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