It's your big day, and all eyes are on you. Of course, your gown is the star of the show, and even though the dress is sure to catch eyes, it still needs a supporting cast. That's where your wedding day makeup comes in. Your wedding day makeup is almost as important as your wedding dress, but does require a process of choosing the right style that shows off your personality effortlessly. The process can take months filled with planning, trials, and refining your dream look.
So how do you determine your wedding day makeup look? Ahead, makeup artists Erica Martell and Beck Wainner share their tips and tricks for narrowing down your makeup for your upcoming nuptials.
Meet the Expert
- Erica T. Martell is a makeup artist and bridal specialist that specializes in clean beauty.
- Beck Wainner is a Nashville-based makeup artist and hairstylist.
How to Choose Your Wedding Makeup Look
“I like to guide my brides to visualize and then describe the overall vibe and style they’re going for before determining the specifics of the look,” Martell says. A lot of cues can come from the moment they choose their dress. There’s a certainty that comes from choosing the dress. The dress encapsulates exactly how she wants to feel on her wedding day.”
Martell explains to close your eyes and visualize yourself standing in front of the mirror on the day you chose your dress. "Hone in on how you felt in it, and let that vibe lead the way," she shares. "Other things to consider: the colors of the florals you will carry and the season and environment you're getting married in.”
To also guide you to your best wedding makeup look, Martell also likes to ask brides to find visual references. She then steers them towards red carpet beauty look “that have a similar skin tone and hair and eye color—because those are live events looks. Pinterest and Instagram looks tend to be overly edited, filtered and ultimately unattainable,” she says.
Trials, Trials, Trials!
Wainner also knows that stress is involved when just starting to determine your wedding day look. “Picking the look for your special day is enough to make anyone go crazy! With all the information floating around, it’s hard to know who and what products to trust,” she says. And, to take the stress off of selecting your look, Wainner says that you can not have enough makeup trials before the big day. “With over ten years of experience in makeup, I’m here to tell you that you cannot have enough trials before the big day,” she says.
Don’t be afraid to interview makeup artists. Start with a list of ten that match what you’re looking for and set up appointments with each one of the artists. Be sure to take photos of how they execute the makeup. “Whether you’re considering a fresh, more natural look or really glamming it up, this will let you wear the look throughout the day to determine how it wears, lasts, etc.,” Wainner explains.
Wedding Makeup Styles
Much like considering different styles of wedding dresses, you do the same for deciding on a wedding day makeup look. “The style of makeup you choose for your wedding should be simple, however in reality, there are so many factors such as weather, how many times you’re changing, and how long you need the make-up to last that factor into picking one!” Wainner says.
Keep in mind, that no matter what makeup style you’re leaning towards, it should always reflect who you are. Martell tells Brides, “I tell all my brides that this is their wedding day, not a magazine editorial. Your look should be reflective of one you typically wear when going out. It shouldn’t stray too far from that.”
Here, are a few questions that Martell recommends asking yourself before making a choice:
- Do you prefer to look like you aren’t wearing any makeup?
- Do you like to look like you are wearing some makeup?
- Are you a red lipstick person?
- Do you prefer a smokey eye?
- Do you like to wear eyeliner?
- Do you prefer your complexion to look matte or more glowy and dewy?
- Do you like a classic, timeless look or do you like something that is more fashion-forward and trendy?
If you’ve asked yourself a few questions and decided that you love a dramatic look, high glam is the way to go for your special day. “With high glam being a popular choice I’d recommend this look for brides who don’t mind wearing a lash and having full coverage face makeup,” Wainner notes. This style is also for brides who love smokey eyes or a bold red lip.
Martell also recommends full glam and says that it’s one of “the most transformative looks, including full contour, highlight, cut creases, and big lashes.”
“No Makeup,” Makeup
“I always tend to recommend more natural or fresh makeup for summer brides because of the heat and humidity depending on the location of the ceremony,” Wainner says. Think about using tinted moisturizers, a minimal mascara, and a hint of blush to give you a fresh and natural flush on the cheeks. The minimal makeup will give you some coverage and color to your skin without looking done up.
Martell tells us that “natural glam is a description for a good amount of makeup but using neutral tones.” You can still go glam, without any bold shades. If you like toned down shades, give natural glam a try at one of your makeup trials.
Plus, natural glam is a great option for brides having a wedding in warmer temperatures. “I always tend to recommend more natural or fresh makeup for summer brides because of the heat and humidity depending on the location of the ceremony,” Wainner says.
Should Your Skin Determine Your Makeup Look?
Sometimes when brides are trying to determine their wedding day makeup look, skin concerns come into play. But, that should not stop you from trying a look that you want for your day. Martell tells us that “ideally you are working with a makeup artist who, upon booking, will make recommendations based on the bride's needs, so they have enough time leading up to the wedding to get their skin into its best shape possible.”
One of the top concerns brides worry about? Acne. That’s not something you should worry about. Instead, leave it to your makeup artists to execute your makeup without acne, changing the look of what you want. “I also personally love ‘pinpoint concealing’ as a technique that covers just the blemish without adding too much product to the rest of the face,” Martell says.