How Do I Choose My Bridal Makeup?

how do i choose my bridal makeup

Bridal makeup is one of the many decisions that a bride must make before her big day.  Natural, bold, vintage, classic, glamorous, boho, edgy – there are many different looks to choose from, but how do you prefer? 

Like most wedding-related decisions, there isn’t one correct answer. But, as a general rule, you’ll want to wear more makeup than you usually do. 

Sweat, tears, and hugs are all hard on your makeup, so you’ll want to make sure you start by wearing enough. 

This will also emphasise your features in photos and ensure that your bridal beauty will shine through even in bad lighting and during ugly cries. If you’re planning on wearing makeup for your weddings, it’s best to select your look beforehand. 

But where do you even begin your search? We tapped pros to determine how to choose the perfect wedding makeup look (plus the most significant mistakes they see when selecting your wedding day glam). 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the options available, we have good news. There are several factors you can take into consideration to narrow your search. 

The weather forecast and your wedding day outfit, for example, can influence what kind of makeup look you rock on the big day. Check out our ultimate list of Wedding Hair and Makeup Artists to make you into the princess you are.

As far as makeup goes, we’re almost positive you’d want to avoid as many blunders as possible (pictures last forever, right?), so we have something for you. Find out how to choose your wedding makeup look below.

How to Choose Your Wedding Makeup Look

You don’t have to spend hours scrolling through pictures online to find your wedding makeup look. 

Pros suggest drawing inspiration from the plans you’ve already made. Then, of course, you can rock whatever wedding makeup look you want. 

But if you’re having trouble making a decision, these tips might help.

Summarise Your Wedding Day in Three Words.

The first thing you should do is to describe your wedding in three words. 

If you’re going for tranquil-relaxed-beach vibes, you don’t want your makeup to be too formal.

Instead, you’d likely want breezy, natural-looking makeup to match the setting. The same goes if your three words are formal-classic-black tie—you want your makeup to reflect that. 

So, narrow down your vision to three words and visualise from there. It’ll help you hone in on your dream wedding makeup glance.

Choose Your Makeup According to a Style (Pin It)

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If choosing makeup for your big day overwhelms you, start by finding looks that you gravitate towards. 

Search Pinterest or Google for “bridal makeup” and pin or keep track of looks you like best. 

Once you’ve collected at least 30 images, examine the entire collection and see what connects them – dewy skin? Posy pink blush? Long and luscious lashes? 

Whatever it is, hone in on those commonalities, and you’ll eventually uncover your inspiration.

Generally speaking, there are three critical bridal beauty looks with countless variations:

The Look: Feminine & Natural

  • Dewy skin
  • Medium coverage
  • Nude or pink lips
  • Neat and brushed brows
  • Peach or pink blush
  • Highlighted cheekbones
  • Light eyeliner
  • Iridescent eyeshadow in natural, earthy tones
  • Natural-style false eyelashes

The Look: Vintage

  • Winged black liquid eyeliner
  • Medium coverage
  • Nude eyelids
  • Red lipstick
  • Light or no blush
  • Bold brows
  • Half or a complete set of false eyelashes

The Look: Glam

  • Smokey eyeshadow and liner
  • Heavy coverage
  • Complete set of false eyelashes
  • Bronzer
  • Contoured cheekbones
  • Bold brows
  • Lipstick of choice

Take Your Wedding Season Into Consideration

It may seem silly, but checking the weather forecast can help you decide on a wedding makeup look. 

If you’re in a hot climate, you will focus on lighter makeup and waterproof products. 

If you’re exchanging vows on a cold wintery day, you might want to use products that hydrate the skin to keep your day-of-glow going. 

Once you check the weather forecast for your wedding day, consult a professional makeup artist to get their expert opinion on what kind of products you should be using.

A bride should tailor their foundation selection to the elements she’ll be in for her wedding. 

If it’s winter, you will want a foundation that won’t look too dry or flat… if it’s summer, you don’t want anything that gets too shiny too fast. 

If your wedding takes place from daytime to nighttime, opt for something long-wearing.

We’d suggest prepping the skin with an anti-shine water-resistant primer for summer brides and using a fuller coverage foundation for fall or winter weddings. 

Choose a Lipstick or Balm You Feel Comfortable In

The lip is essential. We always tell the brides to spend some time at the makeup counter and try on all the possible shades, and ‘when you know, you know! You want something that will stay all day. 

Choose Your Makeup Based on Your Venue & Theme

If you already have your venue or theme, consider building your beauty look around it. 

Whether it’s a beach or a backyard, your venue can give you cues on what type of beauty you naturally gravitate towards. 

For example, a beach wedding would be the perfect location for a dewy highlighter, a touch of bronzer, and a soft, pink lip. 

A vintage style wedding would pair perfectly with a bold cat eye and vibrant red lipstick.

Choose Your Makeup Based on Your Dress

One of the most common ways to choose your bridal beauty is to base it around the overall style of your dress. 

If your dress features lace and flowing material, consider a soft, romantic look; a slinky, sexy dress calls for a smouldering smokey eye; and bold eyeshadow perfectly complements a non-traditional gown.

Your wedding day attire can influence your wedding makeup look. Draw inspiration from your outfit. 

That way, there’s a theme to the entire look. For example, a glamorous ball gown pairs well with a classic cat-eye and red lip, while a breezy jumpsuit might go better with a barely-there makeup look.

Pull Inspiration from Celebrities.

This is an easy way to narrow down makeup looks that would match not only your dress or venue but one that best suits your personality. 

The goal is for the to-be-wed to feel beautiful and comfortable in their skin, so it is most important to know what they think is attractive.

Round up some of your favourite red carpet moments and look for similarities. Are you attracted to their neutral smokey eyeshadow? Their stunning red lipstick? 

Once you figure out what you like about their looks, you can personalise it to suit you.

Drink Lots of Water Before the Big Day

This beauty tip is one to follow all year round, but it’s even more critical as your wedding day approaches. Hydrated skin will allow for the best application of makeup.

Have a Makeup Trial

Most freelance makeup artists will offer a bridal trial separate from the actual wedding day. The problem is so significant—both for the makeup artist and for you. 

Having the chance to try different looks means that on the day, you will feel confident and happy in the knowledge that the look you are wearing is right for you and is going to last.

Use Waterproof Products

Waterproof everything! And if you tear up, try to have a beauty blender on hand to blot. That will press the product into the skin instead of leaving streaks or wiping the product away.

Find Balance in Your Look

If you’re going for a smokey look, go light on skin makeup and opt for a natural colour on the lips. 

For bold lips, go light on the skin makeup as well. Use a matte lipstick, for it’s more long-lasting and requires less maintenance. 

Keep a Few Products On-Hand Throughout the Day

Translucent powder or blotting papers for shine is vital to keep on hand.

Blotting papers are a must, a pressed powder in a compact, so you have a mirror on hand and lipstick or lipgloss to touch up throughout the day.

Make Sure Your Foundation Is a Perfect Match

Your foundation should be as close to your skin tone as possible or the tone of your neck. You will be photographed nonstop that day, and the last thing you want is for your face and neck not to match.

Apply Moisturiser Before You Self-Tan

Your secret weapon when applying self-tanner is using moisturiser as a barrier. 

Apply before application on problem areas, so they don’t go any darker (always elbows, knees, hands, feet, and severe dry regions).

Never moisturise the whole body, as it will dilute your self-tan colour. Also, use a moisturiser to blend afterwards around the crease in the wrist, back of the heel, and around the hairline to make the tan look natural. 

Your tan is your paint, and your moisturiser is your water, so we are blending and fading for perfection.

Use a Teeth Whitening Product

A smile is something you’ll be wearing that day, and you’ll want your pearly whites white. 

Depending on the product, you’ll want to begin using teeth whitening at least a few months before the big day.

Ask Your Loved Ones for Their Opinions.

If you genuinely can’t decide on a wedding makeup look, lean on people you trust. 

Your close family and friends will always give it to you straight and will never steer you wrong. So gather your favourite looks and go through them with your loved ones. 

If you have more than one favourite, pick your favourite feature of each and modify the overall look to fit your personality.”

Go With Something Classic.

All the pros agree you can’t go wrong with a classic wedding makeup look (think: Dorothy Dandrige or Audrey Hepburn). 

Old-school Hollywood glam was simple and highlighted one facial feature. Meaning, the focus was either the eyes or the lips (never both), which resulted in an understated, timeless look. 

If you have no clue where to start, go back in time—these looks will never go out of style!

Be Intentional With Your Selections.

Pinterest and Instagram are excellent sources of inspiration. However, she has a tip on how to narrow down your choices in an endless sea of images. Vines of the Yarra Valley is your perfect wedding venue in Melbourne delivering fairytale weddings for the bride and groom.

We encourage [to-be-weds] to make sure they select makeup looks on women with similar skin tones and features. That way, you’ll have a better idea of how the glam will look on you.

Prioritise Your Preferences.

These are all suggestions if you’re feeling lost. Your wedding makeup look doesn’t have to match your outfit—these are simply tips to help with your search. 

If you want to rock neon eyeshadow, a dark purple lip or a sparkly glowing complexion, that’s precisely what you should do. 

Your opinion is the one that matters, so wear whatever makeup you make feel like you.

Wedding Makeup Mistakes to Avoid

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As you’re selecting your wedding makeup look, there are a few blunders you’ll want to avoid. Here are all of the biggest wedding makeup mistakes we’ve seen throughout the years.

Ignoring Your Gut

Picture this: You say you’ve always dreamed of rocking a classic red lip at your weddings, and your friend says she doesn’t like the way that looks.

Those kinds of offhand comments may cause you to question your preferences. But ignoring your gut is a huge mistake. 

The best thing you can do is to do what’s most comfortable for you. For example, if you’re not into makeup, it may not be wise to start with a full face, smokey-eye look with bold lips and lashes.

Trust your instincts and select a makeup look that makes you feel confident and beautiful. 

Skipping Your Wedding Makeup Trial

If you’re having your makeup professionally done, a makeup trial beforehand is mandatory. 

By having a makeup trial, you can specify exactly what you want to look like, and you can rule out any looks or concepts you’re not comfortable with.

A makeup run-through also allows you to test out the longevity of your wedding makeup look. 

You’ll be able to see if the mascara you’ve chosen is waterproof or if the foundation you used looks good in photographs. 

Plus, it’s an excellent opportunity to bond with your wedding makeup artist before the actual day.

Assuming Someone Else’s Wedding, Makeup Look Will Look the Same on You

Have you ever brought a picture of a celebrity’s haircut to the salon only to realise it looks different on you? 

The same goes for your wedding makeup look. It’s a mistake to believe a celebrity’s makeup will look the same on you as it does on them. 

For instance, a dramatic, smokey eye that a to-be-wed spotted on a celebrity’s night out is probably not going to look the same on a to-be-wed having a beach wedding. 

Everything from your bone structure to your skin type to your setting can change how the makeup looks.

But that’s where hiring a professional comes in handy. A makeup artist can always choose a look inspired by the celebrity look and tailor it to flatter your overall face.

Not Prioritizing Your Skin Care Routine

Great makeup starts with a great base, which is why it’s a mistake to overlook your skincare routine. 

Having an effective skincare routine that addresses your specific skincare needs and glows is essential for that radiant glow every [to-be-wed] deserves. 

Wedding prep is an excellent opportunity to get a routine together, and the earlier you start, the better because it will take your [wedding] glow to the next level.

Using Regular Makeup Products

A wedding is a long, emotional event—which means your products have a lot of work to do. 

It’s best to use long-lasting, waterproof makeup products, so touch-ups are kept to a minimum. 

Waterproof eyeshadow, eyeliner and mascara are essential for your wedding day, as they’ll stay put through any tears you might shed. Then, lock it all in with a long-lasting setting spray. 

Can I Do My Wedding Makeup?

You can do your wedding makeup. 

However, we strongly recommend booking a professional makeup artist for the occasion for several reasons. The first is that they’re absolute pros at what they do. 

Even if you’re a whiz with liquid eyeliner, these pros will be able to apply every single product for a flawless finish expertly. 

Additionally, they’ll bring high-performance products suited for your skin tone that will last throughout the ceremony, reception and after-party (if you’re having one). 

Plus, having a pro there means you don’t have to worry about rushing on your wedding day or making a mistake and having to start all over again.

What Makeup Should I Buy for My Wedding Day?

If you’re working with a wedding makeup artist, you likely won’t need to bring any makeup at all. 

Typically, they bring their kit of expert-approved makeup. However, if there’s a product you can’t live without, get it for your wedding day! 

If you want to bring a full lineup of your products, make sure you speak with your makeup artist about it beforehand. 

Two products we recommend keeping on hand are powder and your chosen lip product for any touch-ups. 

How to Choose My Wedding Makeup Look?

Given the endless options for your wedding makeup look, it can be overwhelming to choose one. To help, we put together a few ways you can narrow down your choices.

Eye Colour

We’re huge fans of choosing your wedding day makeup based on your eye colour. 

Specific colours of eyeshadow and eyeliner will intensify or complement the hue of your eyes, making them pop in pictures (and IRL). 

For example, purple and bronze will accentuate brown eyes while turquoise, silver and copper will intensify any blue-eyed beauties.

Hair Colour

You can also use your hair colour to help guide your wedding makeup look. For example, To-be-weds with dark hair can rock natural wedding makeup more quickly because their dark tresses naturally frame their faces. 

However, you can also play with the dark hue of your hair and go for a dramatic look with smokey eyes and a bold lip.

If you have blonde hair, complement it with warm tones (think: gold, copper and rose gold). 

Red-haired newlyweds will shine the brightest with neutral or pink tones in their wedding makeup. 

If you have coloured hair, we recommend consulting your makeup artist to get their expert opinion. 

And remember: These are just suggestions. Of course, it would help if you rocked whatever makeup look you want regardless of your hair colour.


Put the wedding planning you’ve done thus far to use. Your chosen venue can help steer the direction of your wedding makeup. 

For example, a waterfront site may call for more natural wedding makeup (think: no-makeup makeup looks). 

On the other hand, an elegant ballroom may lend itself better to a more glamorous cat-eye.

Personal Style

The most effective way to decide on your wedding makeup is to go based on your personal preferences. 

Do you typically rock a red lip when you go out? Then, consider wearing one on your wedding day. 

If you love colourful eye makeup, don’t be afraid to use it on your big day. 

On the flip side, if you don’t feel comfortable wearing a lot of makeup on your wedding day, there are plenty of no-makeup makeup, natural wedding looks you can rock. Looking for a Wedding Event Planner? Look no further, Vines of the Yarra Valley have you covered.

The most important thing is feeling comfortable and confident. 

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