Your wedding is one of those rare—possibly even once-in-a-lifetime—days when all eyes are on you. And yes, that kind of puts some pressure on your look, both for the event itself and the photos forever after. That may feel overwhelming, but you totally got this — just read our zero-drama guide to finding your signature bridal beauty look! (Shameless plug, we know.)
First, you want to take a requisite moment of chill...then you should start googling your favorite celebrity red-carpet moments, says Kelli Bartlett, artistic director of makeup at Glamsquad, the network of in-home, on-demand beauty pros. Such real-life looks, she says, “are executed beautifully—they’re natural but intensified with a little bit of drama.” Just scrolling through Pinterest studio-shot pics, meanwhile, can be misleading when they’re heavily photoshopped, Bartlett says.
Bring all your bridal beauty inspo images when you book your hair and makeup trials (ideally a few months before your wedding). Also be sure to include pictures of your dress and venue: “You want to represent the whole shebang,” says hairstylist Teddi Cranford, founder and creative director for White Rose Collective, a New York–based agency of hair and makeup stylists. Then you and your artists can play around with hairdos and makeup looks that feel special-occasion-worthy but are still in your comfort zone.
Perhaps most important, you want to make sure you actually like spending time with your glam pros. As Bartlett says, “The getting-ready vibe with your stylists should empower you to enjoy the day.”
If you’re indecisive about committing to a particular getup, remember you just want to look like Yourself 2.0. Bartlett suggests thinking back to a time you felt beautiful and self-assured—and leaning into that. “If you have a signature move like a red lip, work it,” she says. “Trying something new on your wedding day might feel inauthentic.”
More to the point, you don’t want to confuse your fiancé at the altar with too much, um, experimenting. Stick to the classics—amplified eyes, natural contouring, and neutral tones—to highlight your features without obscuring your identity.
And if you want to wear your hair in an easy, no-fuss way, go for it: “You don’t have to do something formal just because you’re a bride,” Cranford says. “These days, there are no rules except staying true to yourself.”
Focus on Your Best Feature
Play up your lips, brows, or eyes— and go minimal with the rest of your makeup. Here, Tiffany Patton with NYC’s White Rose Collective gives her best recos.
Key product: A long-wear lipstick like Covergirl’s.
Unexpected product: M.A.C. Prep + Prime. “It helps the lipstick stay put and acts as a matte lip balm so that lips won’t dry out,” Patton says.
Key product: Pencil with a brush on the end (like the one Nars makes). “I use strokes for a fuller look,” she says.
Unexpected product: Laura Mercier translucent powder. “I put it through the brows before and sometimes even after filling them in.”
Key product: Bobbi Brown eye shadow sticks. “They blend beautifully and pack a lot of pigment,” she says.
Unexpected product: A neutral, light-brown shadow. “Less is more! Layering too much can look dusty.” Plus, Lumify drops whiten your eyes’ sclera for added contrast.
Should You Drop Some Dough or DIY?
Find the approach that suits your budget, style, and skills.
Hire a pro
You’re paying for experience and expertise here, and that’s totally worth it for many brides. To find the right person, ask your go-to stylist, planner, and friends for suggestions. Be sure to take photos during trials to ensure that the look translates on camera.
Recruit a friend
This is a budget-friendly option...as long as it doesn’t tax your friendship. Pick a friend whose style you admire—and who won’t take criticism personally. Be sure to communicate your likes and dislikes during trials (which, btw, you should definitely have!).
Watch a video
If you know your way around a vanity, YouTube videos can help you perfect your braids, brow shape, contouring, and more. Test your look for an engagement party or another event that’s being photographed, then gauge how to tweak it.