Pro Wedding Makeup Tips Every Bride Should Know

As a soon-to-be bride, you may be too overwhelmed with floral arrangements, seating charts, and dress fittings to give much thought to your bridal makeup. Either you have hired someone to think about it for you, or you figured you’ll start testing out looks the week before, but this is not something to put off. Seriously, your makeup can make or break your wedding photos, so don’t dismiss the importance of bridal makeup -no matter how “low maintenance” you consider yourself.

Bridal makeup is just as important an aspect of your wedding planning as cake tasting and dress shopping, and you need to be thinking about it now. You’re spending thousands of dollars on the best photographers and videographers to capture every moment of your wedding so that you can hang framed pictures in your house for years to come. When you look at those pictures, you want to think about how much fun you had that day and the commitment you and your spouse made to each other, not about that bad eye makeup job or scary lipstick shade.

Whether you are doing your own makeup or hiring a professional to doll you up, it is important to know what you are looking for in a bridal look, how to achieve that look, and how to make sure that look lasts all night and looks amazing in photos. Here are our tips on how to prepare your makeup in advance to ensure you love your photos for years to come!

Building a Foundation


Laura Mercier Oil-Free Primer, Estee Lauder Double Wear Makeup, Bobbi Brown Bronzer

Flawless looking skin should be just as important to a bride as her dress, if not more important. Think about it, the photographer is going to be taking pictures of you all night long, from various distances and angles, and you’re going to want to look amazing in all those photos that will sit on your mantel for years to come.

Before you do anything to your face, make sure you are washing, moisturizing, and exfoliating it properly in the days leading up to your wedding so that your skin is smooth and fresh. On your big day, be sure to prepare your skin by applying a moisturizer, eye cream, and primer based on your skin type. After preparing your skin, apply your foundation with a brush or beauty blender to your face, ears, neck, and any other exposed skin from your hairline to your neckline. You want to make sure you don’t have different skin tones in your photos, so make sure you are applying evenly everywhere and that your foundation color is as close to your natural skin color as possible. If you want to look more bronze, you can always use bronzer, so don’t rely on your foundation to achieve a fake tan.

Once your foundation has been applied and has set, apply a light amount of natural looking highlighter or your cheekbones, above the brow arch, the bridge of your nose, and your cupid’s bow. Blend this in as much as possible to avoid looking sweaty or glittery. Then, apply a natural looking bronzer (that is ideally only 2-3 shades darker than your foundation) to the left and right side of your forehead, under your cheekbones, along and under your jaw bone, on either side of the bridge of your nose, and on your neck and chest.

Use this quick guide to apply your highlighter, bronzer, and blush.
Use this quick guide to apply your highlighter, bronzer, and blush.

Again, be sure to blend this out really well to achieve a natural bronze and avoid that muddy, caked on look. Apply blush to the apples of your cheeks and stick with a pale pink, pink/brown, or pale coral for a natural flush.


photo credit: Lulu's
photo credit: Lulu’s

Your eyes and eyebrows will be the focal point of your bridal makeup, but that doesn’t mean that your makeup needs to be super heavy here. The goal is to look natural, awake, and timeless, so your eyebrows should be shaped and/or filled in and combed. Also, avoid going too dark when filling in your brows. Blend out any pencil or pomade used, and have your brows professionally shaped a few days before the wedding, if necessary. You can always pluck any hairs that need to be removed last minute, and you don’t want any redness or irritation the morning of your wedding.

For your eye makeup, think soft. Stick with natural colors and a daytime contoured eye. If you are not that big on makeup, using a natural taupe eyeshadow, curling your lashes, and using a few coats of dark mascara should be enough to help you look more formal than usual.

If you are a frequent makeup user, be careful not to go overboard. Keep the eyes bright with a champagne colored eyeshadow on the lids, a taupe as your crease color, and a medium brown in the outer corners of the lid. You can apply light pinks and purples if you feel comfortable, but make sure to blend everything out so that there is no color blocking on the lids. Keep in mind that anything too dark can end up looking more like clubbing makeup and less like bridal makeup. Use a brown eyeliner instead of black for a more natural look, and make sure to use a volumizing and lengthening mascara or apply a set of natural looking false lashes for more pop and definition.

Lips that Last

Between kissing the groom and toasting your new union, there are plenty of opportunities for your lipstick to fade throughout the night. The last thing you want is to keep rushing to the bathroom to reapply for pictures, so your best friend is going to be a hydrating lip stain or natural colored lipgloss. The formula you use depends on what you are comfortable with, because your ultimate goal is to feel natural and hydrated. Lip stains can be drying, so be sure to find something that hydrates or apply a clear lip balm over it. Since lip glosses can feel sticky, make sure to blot any excess from your lips to prevent overly-shiny lips or discomfort. This is definitely a product that you will want to test out before your wedding, both to determine your formula preference and what color looks the most natural.

Stay away from colors that are too bold or trendy, as you will want your photos to be timeless. Red, pinks, and pink/browns are great options.


Use a lip stain with a moisturizing gloss to ensure long-lasting lips.
Use a lip stain with a moisturizing gloss to ensure long-lasting lips.



Make Your Makeup Last, But Avoid Flashback


The most important aspect of bridal makeup is making sure that your face is set and will last throughout hours of kissing, dancing, and flashing cameras. However, some products that help makeup last can also create a ghostly white flashback in photos that will make you look incredibly pale or unnaturally white. Here is how you can avoid flashback.

Always use a setting spray to keep your makeup fresh and in place.

Start off by priming your face with a setting spray, and then apply your foundation and other makeup as normal. Then, use a light dusting of yellow under eye setting powder for the eyes, to create a more natural, awake look. The rest of your face will need a translucent setting powder, followed by another spritz of setting spray to rehydrate and help the makeup set naturally. Test out any powder you plan on using a few weeks before the wedding, and make sure to test it out by taking a picture of your face with the flash on from various angles. You want to be absolutely sure that the powder is translucent enough and that is creates a natural finish on your face. The only thing worse than flashback is looking like your skin is cracked and dry.

This should be enough to keep your makeup set throughout the night, but it doesn’t mean you won’t sweat. If you notice your makeup getting oily or sweaty, use blotting sheets or a tissue to gently remove any excess oil without disturbing your makeup. Then, spritz some setting spray and let it dry on your face to help you look naturally hydrated and head back to the dance floor!

Do’s and Don’ts


  • Go for light, clean makeup.
  • Test and photograph different makeup looks in advance.
  • Opt for long-lasting, waterproof products.
  • Use natural-looking false lashes for beautifully, instantly defined eyes.
  • Properly prime and moisturize skin.
  • If you hire a makeup artist, make sure to consult with them ahead of time to make sure they understand the look you want. Bring photos of makeup examples you like.


  • Never go overboard or try a look that is too edgy. You want to look like yourself!
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to decide on your makeup.
  • Never wax your face or get harsh facial treatments close to your big day. Schedule treatments at least a week in advance.
  • Don’t stay up late the night before. Sleep is the best beauty aid, so make sure you avoid alcohol, drink plenty of water and get to bed early the night before.

Need bridal makeup ideas? Check out the gallery below!

Pro Wedding Makeup Tips Every Bride Should Know



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