Your wedding day is the one day of your life where looking over-the-top glamorous is practically a requirement. Who doesn't want to go all out on their big day? Glam wedding makeup must-haves include sharp contouring, false lashes, and all the sparkle and shine—the more the better. The look can elevate a more traditional, minimalist wedding dress or complement a glitzy gown covered in rhinestones and intricate beading. It's timeless, too; the makeup can be vintage-inspired, modern and extravagant, or smokey and sophisticated in style.
"One of the most popular glam looks for brides is the old-Hollywood look, which will never go out of style because it complements every woman’s face," says professional makeup artist Danielle Rochon who describes it as a smokey eye, nude lip, luxe faux lash, and sculpted skin. "Colored eyeliner, blush, and dewy fresh skin are back along with bold pink lipstick and '90s lip liner paired with a nude lip."
Meet the Expert
- Danielle Rochon is a Chicago-based professional makeup artist with over 10 years of experience in the industry.
If you’re not sure if glam wedding makeup is right for you, we definitely suggest trying full glamour for your hair and makeup trial, knowing you can always tone it down on the day of the wedding. Take inspiration from your favorite celebrity red carpet looks or makeup artists on Instagram, or work with a makeup artist to highlight your best features and create the glam wedding makeup look of your dreams.
From full, fat lashes to sparkly eyeshadow and reflective highlighter, read on to see 26 glam wedding makeup ideas to add to your inspo folder.
A Dose of Hollywood Drama
A soft smokey eye is the center of this look. Everything else is built around the eyes, including a diffused contour and natural, pinky lips. For a dramatic and exciting touch to your wedding-day makeup, add a strip lash to make your eyes really pop.
Applied with a light hand, eyeliner can enhance your natural eye shape and color. You can avoid eyeliner looking too harsh or heavy by smoking it out with a pencil brush, especially on the lower lash line, like the bride did here. Don’t forget to load up on the mascara to complete the soft, smokey look.
A Kiss of Coral
Who said you have to stick to neutrals for your bridal makeup? Don’t be afraid to rock a pop of color on the lips, as this bride did for her Florence nuptials. The punchy coral shade makes her lips stand out while exquisitely amplifying the colors of the regal headpiece.
Skin is in, and there's nothing more luxurious than flaunting a perfect natural complexion. "In order to create the best-looking makeup, our skin needs to be in great shape," says Rochon. "Cleansing, toning, and moisturizing are the basic steps we can all take. Exfoliating your skin once a week will remove any dead skin sitting on the surface, and drinking water is an absolute must! If we start off with a smooth, well-hydrated canvas, everything we apply on top will go on seamlessly."
Sometimes the skin isn't necessarily dry but dehydrated from a lack of water or from drinking too much soda, coffee, or liquor.
"A glamorous look doesn’t always need to incorporate every makeup trend you see for a particular season," says Rochon. "It’s okay to select a feature to focus on and tailor the makeup around that feature." This bride opted to highlight her eyes with a soft, diffused cut-crease that's all sorts of romantic. The rest of the face was kept natural, fresh, and subtle for the alfresco Austin wedding.
For a modern-glam look, go with a golden metallic eyeshadow to make brown eyes really stand out. Keep the rest of the look monochromatic with a bronze goddess glow all over the cheeks and a glossy lip. The result is a Hollywood-glamour masterpiece that doesn’t look too distracting or overwhelming.
Natural Baby Blues
The contrast between light eyes and the depth of dramatic eyeshadow makes this bride's baby blues really pop. Rich, chocolaty browns are the most complementary for blue eyes, and this look is all about it. Lush lashes add flirty definition. "If you don’t normally wear lashes, try wearing lashes to your bridal events so you can get used to the way they look and feel—especially if you’re going to wear a bolder lash look," suggests Rochon.
Channel your inner glowing goddess with this luminous bridal look. Every element, from the eyes to the cheeks to the lips, has a glossy finish. Wet-look eyeshadow pairs beautifully with glistening cheeks and a shiny natural lip color.
Glam bridal makeup is not synonymous with glitter. It is entirely possible to wear a jaw-dropping makeup look without looking like a disco ball. Take it from this bride, who went with a deep chocolate brown eyeshadow and soft, smoked-out eyeliner, creating a sweet and sultry effect on the eyes. Thick lashes, expertly blended contour, and a matte neutral lip color complete the eye-catching look.
A luminous highlighter brings life to any makeup composition. Even in the dusky lowlight, you can see this bride’s glamorous glowing complexion—enhanced by well-defined brows and a deep merlot lip—from miles away. For a long-lasting glow, layer a cream highlighter underneath a powder highlighter for maximum radiance and shine.
Soft and Simple Smoke
A traditional smokey eye doesn’t have to be too complicated. Blend a variety of deep shadows across the eyes, placing the darkest color in the outer corner, and smudge a black Kohl liner in the upper lash line. A hint of natural flush on the cheeks softens the look, befitting any blushing bride.
Oh hello, all-over bridal glow! Use your favorite sun-kissed tones on the eyes, lips, and face with a bronzer that leans more red than orange for a natural sun-kissed look. "Sometimes warming the skin up with bronzer and highlighting with a not overly shimmery highlighter gives the right amount of glow to elevate a look," says Rouchon.
Glam wedding makeup doesn’t have to be dark and smokey. This raspberry-colored eyeshadow pops against the bride’s skin tone adding brightness to her glittering blue eyes. "Think about what you want people to focus on when they see you and work your entire look around that feature," says Rochon.
Killer Kohl Cat-Eye
A soft kohl liner and a lot of blending are the key to achieving this smoked-out liner look. Place a darker eyeshadow in the outer corner of your eyes and a lighter color in the inner corner for a naturally lifted, elongated effect. Add a flick of liquid liner on the outside edge to finish the look.
Lots of Lash
A set of fluttering lashes is a must for any glam bride. "A lash will definitely elevate any makeup look," notes Rochon. "If I select a lash that is too natural, sometimes I’ll apply another natural lash on top—or apply individual lashes in the center or at the end of the eye—depending on the eye shape we are trying to achieve."
Avoid wearing false lashes that completely obscure your eyeshadow look. Opt for a wispy pair of falsies with some space between the lashes to show off your eyeshadow.
When in doubt, bronze makeup tones are forever en mode. The '90s supermodel look will never go out of style, and transitions perfectly from a day ceremony to an evening reception. Take inspiration from your favorite models and Hollywood actresses from that time period, and don’t be afraid to pile on the natural bronzer.
Define your features with a sharp, chiseled contour. A cool-toned contour mimics a natural shadow, adding soft depth and dimension to your features. For a flawless face, don’t forget to contour the nose, temples, and jawline.
Indulge in some allover rose gold. The soft, romantic hues look stunning on every bride and are less harsh than a traditional black or brown smokey eye. Accentuate the muted tones with a bit of highlighter and blush to match. And don't forget the rosy pout!
Gradient shadow delivers all the drama of a smoked-out eye without sacrificing that captivatingly big, wide-eyed look. Keep the deepest hues to the outermost corner of the eye. The lightest colors go on the innermost eye, blowing them out for a doe-eyed appearance. Middle tones softly blend the contrasts together for a seamlessly diffused look. We love how this bride matched the cool-toned eye makeup with fresh pink blush and lips for her rustic-chic Las Vegas nuptials.
Glamour is all about putting your best face forward, so customize wedding-day makeup to work with your natural beauty, not against it. "I like to follow color theory when it comes to makeup, so I always look at the undertone of the bride first: Is she warm, cool, or neutral?" says Rouchon. "Depending on the tones you see, use makeup colors that enhance the bride’s skin tone and features." The soft brown smokey eye here balances out a more neutral lip color and barely there contour for a subtle look that's still stunning.
Red lips are a Hollywood classic for a reason. The saturation looks good on everyone and even makes your teeth look whiter, which is ideal for wedding photos. This bride went with a deep, vibrant red and kept the rest of her makeup fairly natural for the wintry Brooklyn elopement. The result is this old-Hollywood-meets-modern bridal look that feels both fresh and timeless.
This dreamy bridal look is glam yet effortless. Sharp brows, wispy false lashes, soft contour, and a kiss of gloss on the lips are all it takes to create this delicate vibe. Finish with a natural luminous highlight for that lit-from-within glow.
"Your brows can make or break your look," says Rouchon. "It’s okay to grow your brows out leading up to your wedding and then having them professionally shaped by a brow expert. The right brow expert will change your life." We love how this beautiful bride's darker brows stand out against her platinum locks to add definition to her smoldering look.
Rochon lists the following as the basic tenets of glam wedding makeup: "A luxurious lash, skin that looks airbrushed, a cat-eye, a smokey bottom lash line, contouring, and a glossy lip." By that definition, bride Jeanine is the epitome of a glamorous bride, proving that neutrals can make a major impact at her black-tie NYC wedding. We're especially loving that oh so '90s, defined nude lip.
Liner plays a big part in most glam makeup looks, so why not give it a starring role by adding a little shimmer into the mix? This bride's sharp cat-eye is absolute artistry, but the thin metallic liner tracing the top elevates it to a whole new level. The subtle touch gives a cheeky nod to the glittery embellishments of her gown for the Atlanta wedding.
"Don’t be afraid to wear color on your eyes or lips," urges Rochon. "A gorgeous shade of plum or navy eyeshadow can be life-changing." Judging by this bride's mesmerizing metallic blue eye, we'd have to agree. This duochrome tone is so rich and deep you could practically swim in it—a fitting match for the bride's fashion-forward destination wedding Antigua.
How long does glamorous wedding makeup take?
For the bride, professional makeup application can take anywhere between 60 and 90 minutes. This varies depending on the level of complexity required, so we suggest using your trials for reference as well as speaking with the professionals you've hired.
Do I need a makeup trial before my wedding?
Yes! We recommend scheduling a makeup trial anytime you're outsourcing your wedding makeup to a professional but especially for glam looks. Glamorous makeup looks tend to be more elevated and dramatic, so you won't want to skip out on the makeup trial.