Getting married is supposed to be the best time of your romantic life, but without proper prep it can be something of an organizational nightmare. Every bride deserves to look flawless on their wedding day, whether you're enlisting the pros or going the DIY route.
Getting married is supposed to be the best time of your romantic life, but without proper prep it can be something of an organizational nightmare. Every bride deserves to look flawless on their wedding day, whether you're enlisting the pros or going the DIY route. Weddings, however, aren't just about one day — it's more of a marathon, rather than just a race. So start planning early and don't be afraid to indulge a little when getting your beauty strategy in order — book a facial (or six) and definitely do your due diligence in finding a great waterproof mascara (trust us on that one). With this guide, your bridal beauty look, whichever you may choose, will gorgeously take you from vows to Veuve so you can say "I do" without having to worry about any unflattering candids throughout your nuptials. We can't guarantee that your wedding guests will behave or the catering won't run out of hors-d'oeuvres but at you'll look great while someone else handles it for once.
Start Your Wedding Makeup Early With Skin Prep
If you haven't been diligent about your skin-care routine, now's the time to begin. "Getting regular facials makes a big difference in your skin's texture and helps you have the best base for makeup," says makeup artist Tiffany Patton of White Rose Collective in New York City. Schedule monthly treatments (aim for at least three) that will illuminate and firm your complexion, says facialist Regine Berthelot of New York's Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa at the Plaza Hotel. To prevent any last-minute irritation, skip extractions the month before.
Schedule a Trial Run (or Two)
Kate Middleton (a literal princess) is rumored to have done her own wedding-day makeup — and she nailed it — but many brides prefer to bring in a pro. To find someone who understands your style, consult a few different makeup artists early on. "You want to see if you work well together," says makeup artist Landy Dean. Book at least six months ahead, then schedule an additional trial two months before the wedding. "You'll be more settled in the planning and will have a better feel for how you want to look," he says.
Make Your Bridal Makeup Last
Though it might feel otherwise, your wedding day is a marathon, not a sprint, and you'll want your makeup to hold up through every last photo, dance, toast, and selfie. That makes primer essential: Spread it on your face and eyelids (we love this one from Paula's Choice) and Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion after cleansing and moisturizing, then top with a foundation to create a smooth base.
"Apply everything in thin, even layers," says Patton. That goes for blush, highlighter, translucent powder, and lipstick, too. "Use a lip liner, put on your lipstick, blot, add more lipstick, blot, and add more lipstick," says Patton. "This process really seals the product to the lips and makes for a perfect stain."
Conceal Last-Minute Breakouts
So, your rehearsal dinner lasted until dawn. No big deal. Put foundation on first. Then, to mask undereye circles, dot a creamy formula on the inner corners of your eyes with a brush and work it outward. Use your fingertip to gently press (not rub) the formula onto skin where it seems darker. To camouflage a zit, tap a slightly tacky concealer right on top of it with a synthetic-bristle brush, says makeup artist Chrisanne Davis. "Don't sweep it back and forth," she says. "It will build up around the blemish."
A few concealers we love: CoverGirl Outlast All-Day Soft Touch Concealer, Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer, and Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Camouflage Concealer. To give it some staying power, top with translucent powder.
Aim For Looking Like Yourself
Whether you normally wear minimal makeup or whether you prefer more avant-garde looks — "Your wedding day is not a time to experiment," says Dean. "You want your photos to be timeless."
One look that never fails: radiant skin, rosy cheeks, flushed lips, and some definition on the eyes.
Using a gel eyeliner, work it into the base of your lashes, and then apply it to the upper waterline, says Davis. "It gives you intensity without looking overdone or needing a ton of eye shadow. Plus, the wide-eyed effect is really dreamy."
Get Glowy (Not Shiny) Skin
"Luminous skin looks ethereal," says Davis. "But you don't want a strobe-light effect across your face in photos." To control shine, dust translucent powder across the forehead, sides of the nose, and on the chin with a powder puff. Then apply a soft, shimmery highlighter (Davis loves Nars Copacabana Illuminator) to just the temples and tops of cheekbones. "To brighten eyes, you can also dab it on the inner corners and under the brow bone," she says. "It's so sheer, it looks natural."
Falsies Are Optional but Waterproof Mascara Is Not
If you're a big crier, think twice before tacking on false lashes. "Tears will lift the lash adhesive right off," says Davis. Curl your lashes and stick with a volumizing mascara instead, and whether you wear falsies or not, waterproof mascara is a must.
Keep Your Manicure Simple
Truly, your matrimonial manicure is up to you, but a reason why you may want to keep nails neutral: a bright, punchy polish will distract from your beautiful white gown. Plus, chips are much more noticeable on bright nails (something you do not want to be fussing over on the big day). Stick with softer shades and make sure they're sheer, not chalky. Those whose skin has pink undertones should choose a sheer pink polish, like Smith & Cult's nail polish in Ghost Edit. Women with olive undertones look good in warm beiges, like HIPPxRGB nail polish in S3. For dark skin tones, either one works — just steer clear of whitish colors, which can come off as gray.
Pack a Touch-Up Kit
Your wedding day will be all smiles, kisses, champagne toasts, and even a few happy tears — so basically a giant love fest through which even the most well-applied makeup is bound to fade. "Don't expect your initial makeup application to last eight hours," Dean says. Pack a touch-up kit with the essentials — blush, translucent powder, cotton swabs, and tissues — and stash it in a bridesmaid's clutch. And since you'll be on your groom's arm for most of the day, ask him to carry a gloss in his pocket. "A pretty lip gloss in a shade similar to the lipstick you were wearing at the beginning of the day makes touch-ups quicker and easier," Davis says.
Leave Enough Time for the Best Wedding Makeup
Save yourself from any last-minute rushing and tack on a few extra minutes to your prep time. "However long you think your makeup will take, add 30 minutes," says Dean says. "The fear is that you'll be sitting ready, but that rarely happens."