It’s Not a Trial – The Origin of the Beauty Preview


Lauren Before and After getting the 'M3 treatment'

Lauren Before and After getting the ‘M3 treatment’


In 2006, when my business partner and I started M3 Makeup (now also known as M3 Beauty), we were struggling with the try-out part of the hiring process with our brides. I just hated the term used by the rest of the industry: “Trial”. It was a hair trial or a makeup trial and the idea was for the bride to test the artist or stylist to see if they were good enough for her wedding.

Our brides were booking with us, but the trial sessions always seemed to feel off, like we’d started off on the wrong foot and had to prove something.

“This isn’t a trial, this is a rehearsal. It’s a preview of how beautiful you’ll be on your wedding day.”
Preview your wedding day


After some discussion, we had a eureka moment when one of us said, “This isn’t a trial, this is a rehearsal. We’re giving them a preview of how beautiful they’ll be on their wedding day.” And so the Beauty Preview was born.  Since then, we’ve seen dozens of other wedding beauty vendors locally and around the country pick up and start using the term as well. It just makes so much more sense.  It’s more about the relationship than the transaction.

Nikki smiling throughout the process before & after

Nikki smiling throughout the process before & after

Our brides have taken the time to find one of the best teams for their wedding, and are coming to our studio to see not a transformation, but a revealing of what they will look like on their wedding day.  They come to us knowing they’re going to look their best and the preview is an opportunity to get to know each other and for us to share a vision together.

Some brides know exactly what they want and everything works like clockwork. Some know what they want, but maybe their features or tones or hair type won’t fit that look, and we help shape their vision with advice and expertise that will ensure the best outcome.

Some brides think they know what they want, but when they get it, they realize it’s not what they wanted after all. Sometimes we even do multiple preview sessions and our brides love this opportunity to reveal a number of different looks to choose from.

And that’s an important point.  Not every preview will be perfect, sometimes there are multiple looks that are perfect and some looks might feel perfect in the studio, but not feel right later that day.  Our brides aren’t embarrassed to request another session or even another artist or stylist if they want to go a whole new direction.

Our goal as your beauty team is to make your preview a fun and relaxing experience. One way we do that is we do not offer previews more than 4 months in advance.

Here are a few reasons why doing a preview earlier than that is less desired:
  • You want to be sure you’re set on all other fashion elements.  Meaning your dress is picked out, colors are chosen, hairstyle and accessories are mostly taken care of, etc.
  • Bride’s minds are known to change a lot throughout the planning process.
  • To leave room for multiple previews if desired.
  • We want to make sure you have the same makeup artist and/or hairstylist for your preview session that you have for your wedding.  When doing the preview session so far in advance, it’s much harder to guarantee that.  (Due to life changes such as pregnancies, unforeseen moves, etc.)

We can also accommodate you if you’d like to schedule a preview before officially booking us or if you want to book us for your wedding date before scheduling a preview (so you know we’ll be there on the big day!).


When you’re ready to schedule your preview,

here are few things to know before you come out:

  • Location: Previews are done at our private studio in downtown Orlando. We are all about giving each of our clients a special experience, so we only take one client at a time.
  • Makeup Preview: We recommend you coming in with a clean, moisturized face. We will do a full makeup application working and collaborating with you on what you want for your wedding day needs. Appointment time: 1 hour
  • Hair Preview: You should come in with your hair completely dry and having not been flat ironed or curled. If you have naturally curly or hard-to-manage hair and have questions, you would want to talk with management ahead of time about your special needs. Any hair accessories, including your veil, should be brought in on this day.The biggest thing to remember about your hair preview is that it is not the finished product.  Do understand that the hair trial is mainly to give you an idea of how your hair will look on the day. There are different techniques the stylist(s) may use when doing it full out for the wedding day.
  • Pictures: We love pictures! Please bring any images of hair and/or makeup that you like to the preview. This gives us a good idea of the look you’re wanting to achieve.
  • Before leaving your preview: We want to make sure you are 100% satisfied, so please give us your direct and honest feedback. Most brides only need one preview. But if you aren’t 100% confident we got it right, let us know! You can’t hurt our feelings. We’re professionals that are committed to giving you the look you’ll be in love with. Don’t hesitate to book another preview if needed.
  • There are occasions where brides want to set up multiple previews in advance so that they can choose the look they like the best. No problem. We love trying different things!

Is your wedding day around the corner? Schedule a beauty preview with M3! Contact us Today

Don’t forget to enjoy the experience and have FUN!


Wedding Tips: How to Hire the Best Wedding Makeup Artist


There’s a lot of misinformation in magazines and on the internet on the subject of bridal beauty. As an industry expert that has managed dozens of superstar-level makeup and hair professionals for over a decade it amazes me every time I talk to a bride-to-be to find out she’s been getting all kinds of bad advice!

Before we list warning signs that you might be hiring the wrong professional I want to tell you who is not an expert. Getting advice and recommendations is great…but don’t take their word for it! Be sure to do your own research too and talk to a few artists before making this critical hiring decision!

Venues – Hotels, Resorts, Wedding Sites, etc. all have lists of “approved vendors” that they recommend. No matter what they tell you, take their advice with a grain of salt. Some get kickbacks from vendors and many simply recommend the vendors that took them to lunch or approached them first. Some venues find one person that does an okay job and then ignores anyone else that deserves to be on their recommendation list. As an example, Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings management aggressively ignores new and talented artists and their brides are railroaded into selecting their recommendations simply out of familiarity, which are not always the best artists in town. This isn’t true of everyone, some vendors take great care in selecting their preferred vendors and are always open to new talent but it’s always something to be on the lookout for…try and get multiple references for every vendor.

Wedding Planners – Some wedding planners know their stuff and only work with the best talent. But many take kickbacks from their vendors and sometimes that interferes with their decision making. Sometimes they’ll recommend an artist that pays over an artist that is a superior talent.

Salons – Most salons, even the best in the business and the ultra-high-end ones, don’t have true makeup artists on staff. At best they may have a cosmetologist or esthetician that took a week course in makeup…buyer beware! If they have a very nice permanent makeup station or are hiring a talented and experienced independent artist to come in for special events then that may be an exception…but that situation is rare.

Hair Stylists – If they are recommending themselves here’s a BIG SECRET! 99% of talented hair stylists are good at one thing – hair. Don’t let them convince you they can do makeup too! And, for that matter, don’t let your makeup artist do your hair unless she has exceptional experience and talent in styling. It’s rare to find someone who’s good at both…and when you do, it’s often far more difficult to schedule your wedding preparations if you have a few bridesmaids…one person doing hair and makeup is a timing nightmare or poor rush job waiting to happen. Bridal hair should take 30-90 minutes depending on complexity and makeup should take 60 minutes on the bride and 20-30 minutes per bridesmaid. Take a step back and make sure you hire an artist and a stylist separately…and avoid salons unless you want a lot of traveling and timing hassles. You should also feel confident your stylist and artist can take their time and perfect every little detail with your look.

So we talked about when to be wary of advice, but let’s also talk about when to listen.

  • When multiple sources mention the same name. Multiple sources giving good reviews is a good sign.
  • Photographers. These guys and gals can save you a lot you of money in retouching when they get a great makeup artist. If they recommend an artist, listen closely!
  • Past brides. Brides or friends that have had their makeup done and give a word of mouth referral should be treated like gold.

It’s really easy to have a nice website with a lot of stock images of pretty models and say you’re a pro makeup artist. But the reality is there are really only a few dozen exceptional wedding makeup artists in Orlando and Central Florida. Here’s how to avoid making a mistake when hiring for your wedding day.

And now for the big list of warning signs! You Might Be Hiring the Wrong Makeup Artist If…

  1. …they are a cosmetologist. A cosmetologist is a hair stylist with a small amount of makeup training.
  2. …they don’t have several hundred hours of makeup schooling or an extensive portfolio and referrals.
  3. …you have to supply ANY of your own makeup or supplies.
  4. …they have to buy product to match your skin tone. (A pro makeup artist will have a complete array of products to suit all skin tones.)
  5. …they don’t show up on time to the trial run. How reliable will they be on your wedding day?  Run the other way!
  6. …they don’t have a contract. Amateur “artists” are more likely to cancel or no-show last minute!
  7. …they don’t respond promptly and get back to you same day or next business day at the latest. Many amateurs do this as a hobby and not as a profession…responding late is a big warning sign!
  8. …they don’t have extensive makeup collection and organize it neatly when working.
  9. …they are an esthetician. An esthetician is a skin care expert with little training in makeup.
  10. …they are inexpensive or downright cheap. I can’t stress this enough….in an artistic profession, the “artists” that seem like a great deal are always a great deal for a reason….and those aren’t good reasons.
  11. …if they offer airbrush but then don’t at least do foundation, highlighting, contouring and blush.  Beginners and amateurs may only do airbrush foundation and everything else freehand.  This is a good sign that they do not know what they’re doing when it comes to airbrush and you’re not getting your money’s worth.
  12. …If you need to go to their house or they need to go to your house for a trial/preview. This typically means they do this as a hobby on the side or are just getting started.
  13. …they don’t create a detailed face chart on paper during your beauty preview as reference for your wedding day.  Great artists will take notes and come perfectly prepared on your wedding day even if it’s 3 months after the preview.
  14. …they work behind a retail makeup counter. Most of the wedding day horror stories we hear comes from brides doing this. Just because someone works at MAC, ULTA or Sephora doesn’t even remotely make them a great bridal makeup artist (even though most say they do weddings all the time). Even if you like your makeup at the mall, that does not make them a professional. Much more goes into providing perfect wedding day beauty than retail experience can provide.

Ultimately, you should take a few hours and do your own research and read lots of reviews online from previous brides. Call and speak directly to at least 2 or 3 artists in advance to get a good feel for who you get along with best. The best professional makeup artists and agencies should immediately inspire confidence and trust.

Be safe, hire a dedicated wedding artist or agency and rest easy knowing you’ll get the best possible beauty experience.

M3 Beauty Inducted into The Knot Best of Weddings Hall of Fame

The Knot Best of Weddings Hall of FameThank you brides! Your reviews of our wedding beauty services and team members have led to us winning the prestigious “Best of Weddings” award with the Knot.

And after winning that award four years in a row, we’ve been inducted into The Knot Best of Weddings Hall of Fame!

In addition, we’ve also been honored with the WeddingWire 2015 Couples’ Choice Award! We’d like to take this opportunity to thank our moms, dads, grandparents, teachers, clients, etc. In the famous words of Sally Field, “You like me. You really like me!” WeddingWire 2015 Couples' Choice Award

Our talented hair stylists, makeup artists and pro office team are proud to be one of the best wedding vendors in the country serving the loveliest brides in the world.

No thanks would be complete without giving thanks to all the wonderful venues, coordinators, photographers and other vendors that have come to trust our consistency and quality and continue to refer us year after year. We love you Central Florida!

Charmed Life, Meet Cancer (Pt II)

Subtitle: If you read this post, it can save lives.

My First Walk Around My House 6 Weeks After Diagnosis

My First Walk Around My House 6 Weeks After Diagnosis

It’s been more than a month, and saying “I have cancer” still sounds weird to me. Although, when I want my mom or Scott to get me stuff I’m not against jokingly playing the cancer card.

“Honey, can you get my blanket? … But I don’t wanna get up. … Please? *cute whiny voice* Come on, I have cancer.” Needless to say, I get my way and they are always there for me with a smile. We move on one beautiful moment at a time, even if I am a bit more of a princess now.

Cancer Is Crazy Weird

It’s weird to talk about it with friends and team members and clients. It’s weird for them, it’s weird for me. It’s uncomfortable. It’s awkward. But acknowledging that it is weird somehow makes it less weird, you know? Let’s just accept it’s weird then move on to having mostly normal moments and business together.

If you work for a company and you get cancer, I imagine there’s a lot of stress over benefits and/or whether you’ll keep your job and how you’ll maintain your income and keep up with bills insurance might not cover (if you are insured). Sure, they might need you, but they can train someone new and really that’s the least of your worries.

The Future of M3

Getting cancer when you own a business is a whole different animal. People rely on me and my purpose has been and will always be to serve both our clients and my team to the best of my ability. Cancer might slow me down, but I’m never giving up. I don’t have children yet, and like it or not, M3 is my legacy no matter what the future brings. I’ve always wanted it and needed it to be bigger than me. And I’m proud to say it definitely is.

It started with humble beginnings when I went to school for this for a while first in Radford, VA then in Orlando. From there I freelanced out of my living room and in retail a while to earn my chops and perfect my skills. I started doing work for large companies and celebrities and small films and then in April of 2010 I started the Agency you now know as M3 Makeup. My dreams started with building an agency of excellence and one day I see a future with multiple studios, a national education program, a custom makeup line and much more. I couldn’t be more in love with my career and it’s really because of everyone that is part of it including our amazing team and clients.

So don’t worry…we’re not going anywhere! We are proud to announce that the wonderful Melissa Collier, previously the office administrator for M3, has stepped up as Operations Manager and will be managing our sales and team alongside my other managing partner, Scott Mann during my downtime. Rest assured our team will continue to uphold the highest standards in our industry day after day.

A New (if scary) Adventure

This whole experience has opened my eyes greater than I could have ever imagined. Words do not come to me when I try and truly talk about how I have felt since everything that has happened. But what I can say is that I am a fighter and I’m ready for the challenge.

I started part 1 of this blog by saying how very blessed I feel in my life. Cancer hasn’t changed that. The amount of love and support that has been shown during this difficult time has left me speechless. My husband, family, teammates, close friends, and even those I don’t even know are lifting me up and helping give me the confidence to fight this with all I’ve got.

I can’t even begin to tell you how dramatic the impact has been on my life…how the life I knew has been replaced by something scarier and full of a million needles and long nights. But it’s also been replaced by a closer connection with everything I love. “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Oh how much I want everyone to realize how true this statement is. I’ve never really had serious trauma before and it was almost impossible for me to fully understand this until now. I’ve had equally good and bad cries. And I’m just now seeing how very beautiful life is in every small moment. So here I am saying don’t take any of this life stuff for granted, do this for me. Hug a little harder, laugh a little easier, smile more and kick ass every day because that’s what it’s all about.

My crazy friends lifting my spirits

I Get by with a Little Help from My Friends

Why This Blog Is So Important – Together Saving Lives

So now the scary part. The doctors have told me I need to have a bone marrow transplant. They go to the siblings first for this since that’s the best chance of a tissue match. We are hoping that my older brother will be the answer. However, if he is not, there is an online site where you can find out how to become a donor. Best part, even if you can’t help me, you could help to save another life. A lot of people have asked how they could help and the answer is very simple: register with and give someone like me another chance at life.

Be The Match Logo

Even if the thought of donating bone marrow is something you don’t feel comfortable with, simply sharing this can have a measurable impact, so please help by sharing this incredible organization with others!

Thanks for listening. Thanks for caring. Thanks for doing business with us and thanks for sharing some of this life with me. It means more to me than I can express.

This cancer stuff is obviously a pretty personal thing in some respects, and my business website isn’t the best medium to talk about my health woes and triumphs. But if you want to follow my adventures you can find my new personal blog at I promise to try and update it once every week or two.

Charmed Life, Meet Cancer (Pt I)

I feel like I’ve led a charmed life.  I’ve kind of stumbled my way through all the normal trials we all go through in our early years, but somehow I ended up at age 30 surrounded by great friends,  family, and a loving husband. I also founded an Orlando makeup artist and stylist agency in 2010 that I’m passionate about. M3 Makeup is changing the world with a group of amazingly talented team members. Even though I sometimes work 80+ hours a week and the pressure can be significant, it really has been a great and rewarding journey.

M3 Team appreciation Party 2014

January 19th, 2014 – The Night Before My Life Changed Forever

But, it’s also at age 30, only a few short weeks ago that everything changed.  On Monday, January 20th (one day after we held our annual party for the M3 team and I gave a silly speech about the important things in life), my husband took me into the ER for odd symptoms: random bruising, tiny little red spots on my legs, and a terrible pain deep in my thigh.  On Wednesday, January 22nd, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Cancer. At 30. It’s crazy to me that I’m even writing this.

Why am I writing this?  Because I feel it’s important for everyone to know what’s happened and is happening to me, but more importantly, to remind everyone how absolutely important it is to never take one moment of life for granted.  Whether it’s a car accident or cancer, this could be anyone.

Until the day I was diagnosed, I considered myself a little bit of a health nut and I’d never checked into a hospital in my adult life.  No one knows what causes this type of cancer.  It’s not genetic and the only risk factors anyone knows about aren’t things I’ve been around.  It’s almost like I got struck by lightning in broad daylight.

It’s a very uncommon form of cancer for adults, only about 2000 cases a year in the US.  Even more uncommon (about 500 cases a year), I was diagnosed with a rare chromosome anomaly called Philadelphia translocation that makes it more aggressive and harder to treat.

When I was diagnosed, the doctors told us it was likely I had no cancer in my body a few weeks previous and that if I’d waited a few weeks longer it would have certainly been fatal.  It’s that fast, it’s that aggressive and it’s terrifying to even think about.

That’s the bad news.  The good news is that treatment has advanced incredibly over just the last few years and a full recovery and cure is a good possibility, especially with a little help in the right circles.

Less than a week after my diagnosis I was undergoing some of the most advanced chemotherapy treatment in the world, getting dozens of sonograms, MRIs, X-Rays, CAT Scans, blood tests, transfusions and the list goes on. 2 weeks after chemo started I tearfully said goodbye to my hair.  My life is in the beauty industry and revolves around hair and makeup…the shock was traumatic to say the least, but a few of my friends joined me for moral support.

Shaved Heads for Michele's Cancer Support

Steve and Idenise rocking the new do

I didn’t leave the hospital for over 3 weeks and I was never alone. Honestly, without the incredible support I’ve had from my husband, my parents, his family, our friends, and our coworkers (who may as well be family) and the great doctors and nurses at Florida Hospital Orlando, I don’t know how I would have made it through those first dark weeks.

Michele Mann Leaving the Cancer Ward

Leaving the Cancer Ward

The other good news is that I’m in between treatments right now and am feeling better.  I have a great chance of recovery with a bone marrow transplant and some very advanced drugs, but it’s a long hard road ahead.  I will be in and out of hospitals for the next two years assuming everything goes well.  Oh yeah, my immune system is going to be wrecked so mainly the only place, aside from inside of a hospital, that I will be seeing is my house.  On rare occasion I might escape and you’ll see me wearing a mask, bald or with a wig sneaking around town. My carefree lifestyle of going out socially, restaurants, and public places in general is a thing of the past for now.  It is certainly going to be something to get used to.

On the M3 business side of things, with a lot of help from my business partner and husband, from our new manager (more on this later), and an incredible family of artists and stylists, I am confident M3 is not only going to be stronger than ever, but we’re all going to grow and succeed at all new levels together, making the world more awesome one face at a time.  You can also rest assured I’ll be keeping a close eye on things from the shadows with my Dr. Evil hairdo and hospital ninja mask.



Part II coming soon, wherein I’ll possibly talk about fancy and awesome things like:

  • How weird cancer is at this age (I guess any age) and how talking about how weird it is helps make it less weird
  • How this is going to make M3 stronger and this gives us even more purpose in what we’re doing
  • How epic small dramas seem at home and how small big dramas elsewhere seem. In other words, I’m really beginning to understand how important it is not to sweat the small stuff….everything seems a lot smaller after cancer.
  • How I did pro-bono makeup artist work a few years ago for women who’d survived breast cancer (along with my mother) and how much more proud I am now that I was involved on the project
  • What this means to starting a family (we had just started trying for kids weeks before this happened)
  • How it’s harder to justify my chemically-treated blond moments without hair
  • What losing my hair meant to me and how a few friends made a big difference
  • Finding out the mystery of if my brother is going to be a bone marrow transplant match (20% chance)
  • How my husband and business partner is my editor and because he’s some kind of overblown creative writing professional that he goes crazy on my posts too much sometimes (editors note: who me?)
  • The coolness of bone marrow transplants and how donors save lives
Michele's Hair: RIP 2014

In Memory of Michele’s Hair


Michele Mann During Chemo

Aerodynamic Michele