Bride, lace wedding dress, bouquet | Wedding Planning Advice: Should you do your own bridal makeup?

Wedding planning is a tricky topic. Weddings in general to be honest. They are fraught with stress, emotion, and expectations. Whether you have been planning your wedding for years, or, like me, are a total anti-bride, the topic of how you will do your makeup on the day will be on the ever growing wedding to do list, waiting to be tackled.

I really had never thought about what I wanted to look like on my wedding day, which I think may actually be a little more stressful than having a specific vision of your look. I read endless blog posts offering advice from other brides, and wallowed in my own indecision. I asked my friends, my family…..people on the street. Yeah, I got weird 😉

I bowed down to pressure and had a makeup trial. I plumped for someone local to the wedding venue in Kent, and when I turned up, my snobby inner Londoner felt immediately twitchy……..what the hell was this bleach blonde bumpkin gonna do to me?! Yeah, I said it was snobby….sorry. I cam armed with a Pinterest board, with a pretty specific idea of what I didn’t want…..which I figured was the next best thing to what I did want. I didn’t want a smokey eye, and the eyeliner had to be liquid….due to the fact that my oily eyelids hate any other kind of eyeliner.  I came out of it looking like a drag queen. A drag queen with a smokey eye, and kohl eyeliner which was already smudged to fook, less than ten minutes after leaving. The fact that I didn’t go with said makeup artist won’t surprise you, but the fact that she was surprised potentially should….

After one more terrible makeup trial, and another £50 lighter, I’d had enough. I was doing my own makeup. With the added addition of my amazing friend Jess, the only person I would trust to help me.

I used the makeup I usually wear, and on the whole I felt okay. Luckily Jess did my mascara and didn’t let me go too subtle, as that was the only bit of makeup you can actually see in the pictures. You see, I have this theory: you can either look like yourself on the day, or you can look good for the pictures. I am positive you can’t do both.

I looked like myself on the day, sort of. I chose not to wear a bright lip, because I thought it would be too high maintenance….which I am kinda glad I did now, because that fantasy about someone helping you to touch up your makeup throughout the day? There ain’t no such thing. And obviously, unless your dress has pockets then you’re not gonna have any way of carrying your touch up essentials. Which is a reason to apply a lot more makeup than you normally would! I regret my decision, because looking at the wedding pictures is a little upsetting for me, which don’t get me wrong is incredibly self indulgent and wholly ridiculous, because the pictures are amazing — our amazing friend Ruth took them, which was one of the best things ever. I never worried about the camera, and never felt uncomfortable — which I don’t think I would have done had it been a photographer I didn’t know.

Anyway, I think everyone has a few little niggles after their wedding, and I don’t want to add to that noise. The noise that I let overwhelm me. Here is my best advice to you, along with a cheeky nosy through my bridal beauty bag. Enjoy!
Wedding Planning Advice: Should you do your own bridal makeup?
There Are NO Rules
Simply put: if you want to wear no makeup, do it. And if you want to wear a sequinned eye mask. Do it! Wear whatever makeup you want but know this — if you are the sort of person (like me!) who actually will care what they look like in the wedding pictures, then pile it on. Just pile it on wisely….
I don’t necessarily think you should pick a brand new look on your wedding day, but at the same time — don’t worry too much about ‘looking like yourself’ either. That annoying mantra will maybe hold you back a little bit. Because realistically, of course you are going to look like yourself unless you are Face Off-ing with John Travolta ffs.

All About That Base

A good base is your best weapon in the bridal beauty arsenal. Which sounds like an advert for something terrible…but honestly, it’s true. Use primer suited to your skin type, and pick the best foundation you can afford. If you have dry skin, you are kind of lucky in that your makeup will probably last a lot longer than most. If you are like me, and are a little oily/dehydrated — then layering is your friend.

After whacking on a dollop of This Works Camera Ready Primer, I used MAC Face & Body, which is a water based foundation underneath my favourite foundation ever — L’Oreal True Match. This is an amazing drug store number, so if you are on a budget then I definitely recommend it. If I’d had some cash, I would have gone with Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk instead. The reason I used two foundations, is because the MAC base is a water based foundation — which means that when the top 25 layers melt off, I would still have a secret weapon holding my face together.

Another thing to note, is that flash photography and SPF don’t mix. So if you are a die hard Esteé Lauder Doublewear fan (which contains SPF) then you may end up with a very white face in the pictures.


If you usually wear a bright lip, get the best, long lasting lipstick you can find and do that. Then find some way of keeping it on you (or your new spouse)……because giving anyone else that responsibility is foolhardy. They will get drunk 😉

Try some contouring, and definitely find a bronzer that suits your skin tone. You don’t need to look crazy tanned, but a bit of colour will help. And a nice blush, plus highlight will also help too. Just use a light hand on the highlighting front, and don’t do the bridge of your nose because it can look a little weird in photos. I just applied the lightest amount to my cheekbones (or rather, Jess did!). The products I used were a MAC bronzer (I would usually use Guerlain, but I only had the super shimmery one), and some pink Chanel blush.

I also did a cheeky kitten flick, and loaded my lashed with blackest black mascara. (Rimmel Scandaleyes Liquid Liner & Clinique High Impact Mascara)

Finally, the lipstick……ahhhhh I SO wanted a bright, bright lip. Neon pink, or red. But truthfully, I think it could have been a nightmare. I was drunk, my bridemaids were drunk and we were all having way too much fun to be worrying about bloody lipstick. So I had a gorgeous L’Oreal Liquid lipstick number ion the shade Timeless Rose…which sounds fucking terrible, but it’s not. Promise 😉

Finally, a word to the wise. Use decent brushes, buy the best base you can afford, but go budget on your colour if you are on a budget.

L x

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