For many women, their wedding day is the most anticipated and celebrated event of their lives.  For this reason, it is important to understand how wedding day makeup differs from a basic makeup application.


A good primer that prevents shine is key!

A bridal makeup artist needs to have an in-depth understanding of color theory and employ those rules during color selection and application.  Without this knowledge, an artist will not understand how color plays on the skin in specific lighting.  Knowledge of color theory is also needed to select the best shades of color and techniques that will compliment your personal sense of style, skin depth and tone and facial characteristics such as face shape and age related challenges.


Bridal makeup consultation

During the bridal makeup application your makeup artist needs to take notes and use them to help you look your best and most beautiful on your wedding day.  In addition to the exact date of your wedding, she will need to take into consideration the season in which it occurs, is it indoor or outdoor and time of day for both the ceremony and reception.  Consideration should also be given based on your chosen wedding theme (romantic, modern, glamorous, classic, bohemian, etc) and color scheme of your wedding party attire, theme and décor.  The way your makeup translates into film and photography varies based on all of these factors.

Time of day

Sunlight changes throughout the day which can influence the way certain colors look on your skin, especially for weddings that take place outdoors.  For example, weddings that occur between the hours of 12 noon and 4pm are considered afternoon weddings. During these hours, lighting from the sun tends to have a bluish cast which can be harsh on the skin and naturally cast shadows.  Makeup application for weddings during this period of the day should utilized techniques, colors and formulas that compensate for added depth from shadowing which can create a more aged appearance.  Color choices and product formulas should also be chosen to address the way afternoon sun is reflected off the skin, avoiding products with obvious shimmer that will stand out in person as well as in photographs.
bridal makeup concealer

Makeup for a morning wedding (ceremony prior to 12 noon) should be applied with the objective of creating a natural beauty look that reflects the simplicity of the morning hours.  Colors and techniques are chosen in order to promote a refreshed and well-rested bride that is a reflection of natural beauty.  Most often soft warm colors are used to accentuate facial features and not mask them.

Makeup for an evening wedding ceremony, one that occurs after 4pm, is typically a more formal event.  This being said, a more dramatic makeup application that includes false lashes and bolder colors is considered appropriate, if desired.  It is important to note that evening weddings typically take place with less natural light making it crucial to select and apply makeup in a manner that works well with flash photography.

For your convenience, I have created a timeline to assist you through the beauty portion of bridal preparations:


Skin is the most important aspect of your overall beauty look


Omorovicza Ultramoor Mud Mask new Spring 2016

6 months prior to wedding day:

  • If you aren’t already following a daily skin care regimen specifically designed to address your skin type and concerns, it’s time to start. Book an appointment with a trusted esthetician or dermatologist so they can help you come up with a daily routine that is just right for you, then follow it religiously.  Be sure to include an “at home” facial mask or other skin treatment that you can use on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. (details below)
  • Assess other grooming needs such as waxing any unwanted facial or body hair. Book regular services every 4-6 weeks to ensure that your skin is smooth and stubble free on your wedding day and honeymoon.
  • Create a Pinterest board or mood board with images of bridal hair and makeup that appeal to you. This will give you plenty of time to decide on your final look and provide images to your hairstylist and makeup artist to ensure you both are on the same page with you expectations and desires.
  • Assess your hair style, condition of the hair and hair color and discuss any desired changes you would like to make and discuss them with your hairstylist. Set up a game plan to ensure your hair is healthy and freshly colored with no visible “roots” showing on the wedding day.  Use images from you Pinterest/mood board to illustrate your chosen wedding day hair style.
  • Schedule hair and makeup services for your wedding day. Be sure to book “trial” appointments with the makeup artist and hairstylist.
  • Although it is not “required”, look for an outlet that fuels your mind, body and spirit such as yoga, meditation, journaling or bible study. Planning a wedding can be a stressful event so make time to care for yourself each day.  Making this a priority will pay dividends in your ability to handle unforeseen obstacles or stressors that may come into play during this exciting time in your life.

morning me time
2 months prior to wedding day

  • Do a “trial” run of both hair and makeup to ensure that you are happy with the look and the service provider. In many cases brides wait until the last minute to do a “trial” and find they are unhappy with either their hairstylist or makeup artist.  Give yourself plenty of time to seek out alternatives if needed and do a “trial” run with both no less than a month out from wedding date.  Be sure to show your makeup artist and hair stylist images of your desired look to ensure you understands your desires, needs and expectations.  Be sure to provide the following information to your potential makeup artist:
    • When is the wedding, specifically the date and time of day?
    • Where will
  • If manicure services are required for your wedding select a provider and book your first appointment. Schedule follow up appointments as needed to ensure nails look their best on the wedding day.

1 month prior to wedding day

  • Last facial or esthetician services: To ensure that your skin doesn’t have a reaction or issues from skin care products or services, do not make any changes to your skin care regimen in the final 4 weeks prior to your wedding day. If you are receiving regular facials, your last appointment should fall in this same window and from this point forward use your “at home” facial treatment weekly or as needed to maintain skin health and look your best on your big day.

2 weeks prior to wedding day

  • Get your last haircut and color service.

1 week prior to wedding day

  • Get your final wax services
  • If you have artificial nails, get your last service. If natural nails adjust as needed to ensure you have a beautiful manicure on your wedding day.

1 day prior to wedding day

  • Be sure to hydrate well and get plenty of sleep so that you look and feel your best on your wedding day.

Photo Credit:

Your Big Day!

  • Begin your day by doing something that relaxes you such as yoga, meditation, journaling bible study, etc. Prepare your mind so that you can truly be present and enjoy the events leading up to the wedding ceremony.
  • Be sure to take images of your desired look with you to your appointment. Although your makeup artist should have taken notes and created a bridal makeup file for you, it is best to have these visual reminders as well.
  • This is YOUR day, plan it, live it and enjoy it!


Feel free to use the downloadable Bridal Makeup Worksheet below.

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Kelly Kirby
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Kelly Kirby

Artist/Writer/Blogger at SpaDelic, LLC
Hi, my name is Kelly. I am an artist, writer & Jesus girl with a passion for helping others discover and embrace their identity, value and confidence in Christ.
Kelly Kirby
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