Don’t Get Married Without These Wedding Day Makeup Tips (Courtesy of a Makeup Artist)

4eyesphotography.com, Makeup by Kim Do

I’ll never forget the last-minute call I got to do a bride’s makeup on the day of her wedding. As I prepped and primed the wife-to-be, she revealed to me that she and her groom had both lost their significant others on 9/11. And that’s not all: Ten minutes later, she whispered, “I have to let you in on a secret. The only people who know this are our lawyers, financial advisers and you: We already ran off and got married! We’re just doing this [wedding] for our families and everyone else.”

Cupid may have struck twice, but a clear complexion eluded her. For years, the bride was an avid sun worshipper, so her skin was scorched and dull. This, admittedly, gave me a panic attack. I had to figure out a way to fix it immediately. (Ladies, never underestimate the value of a makeup trial.) I ended up applying her foundation with a concealer brush (this is the equivalent of painting an 8 x 10 canvas with a 1 centimeter brush) and mixed foundation with Buxom Divine Goddess Luminizer to give her a luminous look — with full coverage. I was relieved. She was thrilled. Phew.

That’s right, your makeup artist will be your confidant (and Houdini) on top of making you look like your best and blushing version of yourself. That’s why choosing the right one is essential (or dare I say, arguably as important as your dress)!

So no matter how you plan to celebrate your nuptials — grand, intimate or otherwise — here are some wedding makeup tips I’ve gathered over the year. Listen up, brides!

First, Why It’s Important to Wear Makeup on Your Wedding Day

  1. Your wedding day will likely be the most photographed day of your life — not to mention you probably paid good money for your professional photographer and videographer. Plus, your guests will have cell phones and pap you at the ready from all angles. In our digital age, you know your face will end up all over Instagram ready to be “liked” by friends, acquaintances, old flames, high-school, college classmates and total strangers. Not that you really care what they think, but let them all feel pangs of FOMO as you look stunning on your special day!
  2. Swaths of white, ivory, cream and champagne fabric make everyone look washed out. (Please don’t take offense, but think about how drab you look in a white robe. Don’t fret: We all look drab in this garb.) Your wedding makeup should highlight features on your face that otherwise look erased.
  3. Your whole look, including your dress, veil, bouquet, shoes, hair and makeup, should have a balanced and harmonious effect. Think about it this way: Let’s think about the components of your favorite dinner: homemade chips + guacamole, fish tacos and margaritas. You’ve got sweet, savory, spicy, crunchy and mushy = perfection! You could skip out on one, but you won’t fully feel satisfied and will continue to have remorse when the pictures surface.

Wedding Makeup Planning for Neophytes

Book a trial with a makeup artist three to six months in advance of your wedding. Have makeup inspiration photos at the ready, whether they’re from Pinterest or pages from Elle you stole from the hair salon. If you’re collaborating with a new makeup artist, their version of natural, defined or dramatic may be way different than yours. It’s all relative.

When in doubt, reference a photo. Find pictures for each particular feature if you can’t find a single one that demonstrates every single aspect of your face. If you have old pictures of yourself rocking makeup looks you love, be sure to show them as a reference point. A pic with your general day-to-day makeup look is also helpful so they can get a sense of your comfort zone. Use this as an opportunity for creative collaboration and show them your dress, flowers, tablescapes, hair, veil and color scheme. Your makeup artist can give you suggestions on your makeup palette based on all the aforementioned.   

You may have to book multiple makeup trials to find the right person. In addition to being your makeup artist, this person is an unofficial therapist/liaison for the big day, as it’s likely they will be the only other person (apart from your spouse) who will be up in your grill for a whole hour. Make sure you like their energy to help offset any nervousness you may feel on the day.

Decide on airbrush foundation or regular. Some brides are adamant that airbrushed foundation is the way to go, as it can deliver a certain level of flawlessness that regular foundation cannot. I completely disagree, but if you’re curious, by all means try it. It’s better to get a beautiful makeup application than a lackluster airbrush foundation app for the sake of it. It’s ultimately a personal preference. And remember, airbrush makeup will likely cost you more.  

Photograph your makeup trial makeup within multiple lighting scenarios. You know what I mean. There are probably some areas of your house where your makeup looks flawless, while other mirrors show off all your pores. Same goes for wedding day.

Don’t be surprised by your fiancee’s feedback about your makeup trial — good and bad. If he or she loves it, great. If not, decide in advance if you care enough to adjust it.

Make a beauty emergency kit. Contents in this bag should include: double-sided tape, Altoids, bandages, protein bar and/or nuts, blotting papers, safety pins, deodorant, tampon (god forbid), Advil, powder and lipstick. Ask your makeup artist about your wedding day lipstick colors. Purchase the lip products yourself or have the artist purchase them for you.

The Special Day

Eat a meal before you sit down for hair and makeup because it’s go-time thereafter. You may feel a loss of appetite due to nerves, but make sure you have protein in your system. A hangry bride with a glass or two of champagne is a bad look.  

Glam may take just as long — if not longer — than you anticipated simply because of nerves and lots of little distractions like floral deliveries, slews of last minute incoming texts or your great Auntie wants to wish you well before the ceremony. Plan accordingly.

If possible, have your glam squad stick around for photos after the ceremony or a makeup change later in the day. Sometimes, after unexpected tears of joy, false eyelashes start to take on a life of their own. I’ve found that grooms, too, bask in getting a dusting of powder, concealer or anti-shine mattifier.

Give your beauty emergency kit to someone who will be in close proximity to you that day/night. They can stash it under a chair or table and tag along with you on runs to the ladies room. This person should have no qualms about telling you that you have lipstick or black pepper in your teeth at your wedding (or any day for that matter)!

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