How to Plan Your Bridal Makeup

How we will look on our wedding is one of the great sources of the excitement—and anxiety—many of us experience when anticipating the big day. Whether it’s sticking to a bridal beauty timeline or perfecting show-stopping YouTube inspired looks, prepping for bridal beauty is a processed to be enjoyed.

Although anxiety about how you’ll look on your wedding is only normal, remember, you don’t have to look like anyone but yourself! After all, your fiancé fell in love with you. But thoughtfully planning your bridal makeup may also help relieve some of that nervousness. We’re here to help with a few tips to calm the nerves and advice on how to look your very best on your wedding day!

Consider your personal style.

Source: Ruffled

Your personal style should dictate the way you choose your bridal makeup. Wedding beauty is about being the best version of yourself (according to you!). This means that if you don’t typically gravitate toward traditional bridal looks (demure rosy lips, innocent pops of blush), don’t force yourself to go in that direction. If your go-to look is a striking cat eye, start with that and design your makeup around it. If you absolutely cannot stand false lashes, don’t feel pressure to wear them.

At the same time, remember that you will be looking at your wedding photos for decades to come, so you may want to eschew anything too trendy. (In other words, save the rainbow highlighter for your bachelorette party.)

Consider your wedding dress, hair, and theme. 

Source: Style Me Pretty

Now consider the other elements of the wedding itself, including your dress and hair, as well as the wedding theme and venue. Aim for aesthetic coherence. For example, if your dress is delicate and vintage-inspired, soft, feminine makeup may complement it best. If your dress is sophisticated and minimalist—and you plan to rock a sleek ’do—perhaps a classic red lip is your best bet. Does your wedding have a rustic vibe? Capture that spirit with richly-hued eyeshadows and an earthy pink lip.

Get inspired! 

Source: The Best Wedding Idea 

Now for the truly fun part! Browse magazines (both bridal and non-bridal), Pinterest, and wedding sites like Weddinggawker, Brides, and The Knot for beauty inspiration. Save any image that makes your heart skip a beat. Mix and match ideas to suit your bridal makeup vision.

Decide who will do your makeup.

Source: Want That Wedding

  • Hiring a professional makeup artist is a great choice if you’re uncomfortable doing your own makeup or simply want one less thing to worry about the day of. If you go this route, seek a makeup pro who has experience working with brides. A makeup artist’s portfolio will give you a sense of his or her style and whether or not it would be a good fit for you. A professional may also have expertise in camouflaging acne, scars, or other skin concerns. The main risk of working with a makeup professional is that they won’t accurately capture your style, which is why it’s so important to be specific about what you want (and don’t want) when it comes to bridal makeup. Doing a makeup trial with the makeup artist beforehand is another way to ensure you get the look you want (see below).
  • Doing your makeup yourself can be a great joy! Speaking from personal experience, I loved curating my bridal makeup, testing it, and watching hours of YouTube videos to master the perfect application. On the day of my wedding, I was nervous about doing my own makeup (a professional would have been a great relief) but the experience was truly special—my makeup looked like “me.” Applying makeup yourself is a good option if you feel competent in the beauty department and are particular about how you want it to look. It’s also a budget-friendly option.
  • Another option is to hire a makeup artist for a consultation. He or she can give you advice about products and techniques you can incorporate in your bridal makeup plan. Just be sure there is some way to compensate them for their services.
  • Or, you can ask a trusted, makeup-savvy friend to do your wedding makeup. A friend is likely to have a good sense of your personal style and will want to help you look your very best.

Consider your budget.

Source: Bridal Musings

The average bride in the United States spends $183 on her wedding makeup and hair, but the cost of bridal beauty varies quite a bit and may depend on your location, whether or not the artists will be travelling to your venue, whether or not the artists stick around for touch-ups during photos, and the details of your look (for example, false eyelashes may be extra). Some brides spend upwards of $500 on makeup application alone if a big-name professional is involved. If you’re interested in booking a professional, ask friends who have been married in the area for advice, and call various salons for price estimates before making a decision. Be sure that a consultation and travel (if applicable) are included in the estimate.

Although doing your makeup yourself is an opportunity to save money, keep in mind that those trips to Sephora can add up! When possible, request samples of a product before investing in the full-size. If you try makeup on in a store, wear it around for the entire day before committing to a purchase. These strategies will help save you from buying multiple tubes of foundation/mascara/lipstick until you find the right one.

When it comes to your budget, you may have to weigh getting your hair done versus getting your makeup done.  This decision depends on how comfortable you are doing your own hair and makeup (or if you have a trusted friend who can do one of these for you free of charge). If you feel good about doing your makeup yourself, you may decide to skip hiring a makeup artist and spend the majority of your beauty budget on a high-end hair stylist.

Don’t forget to plan for your bridesmaids.

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings

Discuss makeup and hair options with your bridesmaids. If you’d like them to be responsible for their own makeup and hair, be sure to let them know ahead of time, so they come prepared. While some bridesmaids may have a go-to formal makeup look that they feel comfortable doing themselves, others may ask for what you have in mind. Send them a few photos or videos of fairly easy looks that would complement their dresses.

If hiring both professional hair stylists and makeup artists is an option, ask each bridesmaid if she’d like to have either or both. Some may be comfortable doing their own makeup but would really appreciate a hair stylist–or vice versa. Alternatively, for a simpler plan, you may decide to arrange for everyone to have her hair done and leave makeup up to the individual.

Before finalizing plans with professionals, make sure the individual or the team will be able to accommodate your entire party in a timely, organized fashion. (This is especially critical for large bridal parties.) Work with the professional team to create a schedule for the day-of, noting when each bridesmaid will get her hair or makeup done and by who, and share the schedule with your bridal party. Don’t forget to include yourself in the schedule!

Schedule a trial ahead of time.

Source: Boston Magazine

Whether you’re doing your makeup yourself, having a trusted friend do it, or working with a professional, make sure to schedule a trial run, ideally the same day you have a trial run of your hair, so you can get a sense of how everything looks together.

Ask a friend to take photos of your makeup from different angles and in natural lighting. This will help you tweak and perfect your look. And if you are working with a professional, don’t be afraid to give constructive criticism! She wants you to feel your very best too and should be willing to make changes (should you want them).

If your bridal party is getting their makeup or hair done by a professional, consider booking a trial for them as well. Ideally, a trial for everyone would occur at the same time, so you would be able to assess whether or not the makeup look suits the group as a whole (plus, that would be great bonding time!). A trial for everyone at the same time may not be possible, however, so try to be flexible in accommodating everyone’s schedules. The important thing is for each bridesmaid to feel comfortable and happy with her makeup and hair.

Remember you will be photographed (and photographed and photographed)! 

Source: Mine Forever

This is especially important to remember if you’re doing your makeup yourself, and you’re not used to applying makeup for photos (which is a lot of us). Here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • Both natural light and flash photography have a tendency to wash out makeup, meaning that your carefully applied eyeliner may all but disappear in photos. It often helps to define your eyebrows and eyes more than you would normally. (This is why trial photos can be so helpful!)
  • Foundations with a sunscreen component can look chalky when photographed. If you’re going to be out in the sun during your wedding, apply a lightweight SPF infused moisturizer under regular foundation.
  • Shimmer goes a long way in photos, especially under the sun and under a flashbulb, so apply highlighter strategically (if using).
  • Because you will be photographed throughout the ceremony and reception, choose makeup that will stand the test of time (and the test of tears). Long-wear, water-resistant/waterproof formulas are your friends—just be sure to give them a test run before the big day. You can also help extend the life of your makeup by applying primer, using a setting spray, and doing a quick touch-up between ceremony and reception.

Did we miss anything? Do you have any advice for brides planning their wedding makeup?