What makeup should you be wearing on your wedding day?
This is probably one of the most difficult choices for a future bride, right after selecting that dreamed wedding dress. I remember how much time I spent myself three years ago researching the whole Internet on wedding makeup suggestions and creating countless mood boards. I also watched a ton of YouTube tutorials on perfect wedding make up as for some time I actually wanted to do it myself. I will tell you in a moment why I decided to hire a professional instead of saving £££ and me being more than capable of applying a pretty good makeup myself.
So let’s start talking makeup!
Should I hire a professional?
Hiring a wedding makeup artist is expensive and quite a lot of brides apply their own wedding makeup to save money. I naturally wanted to do the same as I’ve been a makeup lover for many years and learned a lot from watching like thousands of video tutorials on YouTube plus my mate who is make up pro and YouTube influencer at the same time. The main three reasons I decided to hire an MUA were:
- I knew I would be pretty stressed about the whole thing, even despite having a very small and intimate ceremony, and I didn’t want to risk wasting my time by re-doing my eyeliner or having to cleanup some mascara marks etc I did not trust myself to stay calm and composed enough to do my own makeup and be ready on time
- I got married in Mexico which had a different climate and weather to UK (only a tiny bit of course) and I didn’t have makeup products best for this particular weather to look good and last for hours. I also didn’t think buying a lot of new products and trying them on before or on my wedding day would not be good idea and would be also very expensive.
- the guys who did my hair and makeup have been working with many other brides as well as models and singers for some photoshoots and videos so I trusted their knowledge and skills to make me look decent on my wedding photos.
My personal advice is to hire a good MUA. They will have a makeup kit worths thousands of pounds and will be able to choose the right products for you. This will definitely take a lot of your mind on the big day as you can just sit, relax, sip some Prosecco while you are being pampered and made look your absolute best.
Not sure how to find a good trusted makeup artist? Speak to other wedding suppliers as they work or have worked with each other in the past and will be able to recommend you good professional. Bridal salon, hairdresser, hotel, wedding planner or photographer will be a good start. I know I’m a bit biased 🙂 but a photographer may be the best person as they know what looks good in camera and they are also the ones who edit your photos and correct any makeup flaws if needed. Trusted friend or family member who got married recently will be able to recommend good MUA if they were happy with the results and also liked MUA’s personality.
The perfect wedding makeup
If there was only such a thing! As I mentioned I read so many articles and watched countless videos not so long ago to help me decide what to slap on my own face 🙂 I have to say most of the recommendation was to wear as little and natural as possible.
The typical English rose look was the one most often recommended. And this probably would be absolutely fine for a lot of brides but… this was never an option for me. Those of you who never wear any makeup or apply very little, would probably feel most comfortable in this kind of look. I would just only advice apply individual false lashes to give you this lovely romantic look and enhance your eyes just a tiny bit without looking overdone or fake.
If you want to experiment with the classic English rose look, checkout Lisa Eldrige’s video here.
Soft glam is probably one of my favourites as it’s chic and classy and can be adjusted easily to make it as soft or as intense as you’d want it. It’s such a versatile look for some many occasions. Think Kardashian-style red carpet makeup, but with neutral colours on the lids and lips, rather than dark, smouldering eye shadows and ‘look at me!’ lipsticks. Soft glam is going for the full-blown ‘mask of makeup’ effect (the ‘glam’ part), and then pulling back at the very last second (the ‘soft’ part).
Smokey eye is my personal favourite for any occasion but it may be too much for many brides. I’m just a smokey-eye-till-I-die girl so to me wearing smokey eye on my own wedding day just felt the only right thing to do, especially that it’s something I wear even on a normal day if I feel like it so it was very me. Smokey eye is another classic and can be also glammed up a bit if you are a makeup lover and want to have something chic but striking and really accentuate your eyes. It does look great on photos and really brings attention to the eyes.
Statement lips are another great look and it’s not reserved only for those blessed with big full lips. If it’s your thing and you love wearing a pop of colour on your lips, I say go for it girl! I would not pair it with bold eye look though as it will be definitely too much. A soft neutral eyeshadow or maybe a classic think liner with some individual lashes will look fantastic. The important thing is to make sure you line your lips as even as possible and have your lipstick with you (or your bridesmaid or mum) to touch up during the day and look great on photos. Any uneven lines will be visible on images, especially if you use bold colour, so it is really important to allow extra time for applying your lip pencil and lipstick.
Some wedding makeup rules
- Eyes are the window of your soul and photographer will be focusing on your eyes as well so whatever makeup you go for, make sure your eye is defined at least a little bit either by eyeshadow, liner or mascara/ false lashes individual false lashes are better than the strip lashes. They look more natural on the photographs whilst giving that fluttering look and you don’t need to constantly check if any of the ends needs gluing again (especially that inner end)
- No heavy foundation or powders, only as much as you can get away with. Best to apply thin layer and only use pin point concealing for spots or discolouration where needed. Any harsh skin textures are visible on professional photographs especially those taken in natural light.
- Use no or little SPF in your foundation and powder to avoid ghostly white look when a camera flash is used. Mineral SPF is designed to bounce off the light and that’s what causes face to look very pale with flash.
- Have someone to carry your makeup essentials for touch ups during the day like lipstick, powder or concealer use waterproof mascara.
- Try to stay away from cakey lipstick that are durable but over the time just dry out your lips and look gross. That’s especially important for any statement lips look.
- Bronzer, blusher or contour should be applied with caution and blended very well as any harsh lines will be very visible in the camera so blend, been, blend! too much highlighter, especially a powder highlighter, will look just like a white blob in your photos so I’d be careful with these. Only use these with very finely milled particles glow looks actually better than a typical highlight. If possible use some cream highlighter or something with a soft shimmer.
- Stay away from trends and go for timeless classic look which will look great for years down the line. Go for colours that will either match or tie in with the general theme of your wedding (colour wheel may be handy)
Go for the makeup that feels like you
Above all make sure that whatever makeup you are wearing, it is something that is just ‘you’ and you feel comfortable wearing it. If you are a makeup lover and normally wear a lot of it on a daily basis, don’t go for a no makeup look just because other people expect you to or you feel like this is what you should do.
You may want to practice at home various looks, even if you are not a pro at applying makeup, just to see how you look and feel with various kinds of makeup. Who knows, maybe you will be brave enough to wear something you have never had before and surprise everyone showing them different version of yourself. Once you’ve experimented at home, pick your makeup artist and do a trial. Make sure you wear a white top so you see how the whole thing looks with just white colour. And you may want to arrange your engagement session for the same day since you are all glammed up!
I wish you all the best in your makeup research. I know how difficult it can be but I’m sure you will find your own perfect makeup for your big day!
Hope you are having a wonderful day xx
Renata is a contemporary Worcestershire wedding photographer, specialising in wedding day documentary and couple portraits.