I wanted to do a post all about wedding day or “special event” makeup because there are so many tips involved in making it last for 10+ hours and getting it to look good in photos. Even though I classify myself as a makeup junkie, I still believed it would be nice to hire someone to do my makeup for the day of my wedding so that it was one less thing to worry about. After some careful research I ended up hiring a MUA to come over and do the trial run the day of my bridal shower. Needless to say this professional makeup artist did not “wow” me. I felt that the job was adequate and she used a lot of techniques I am already familiar with, even doing some things I was not happy about. It was at that point that I decided I would be doing my own makeup the day of the wedding because I wanted to full control over how my face turned out. If you are like minded I would encourage you to still pay for a bridal make up trial or two. Through this artist’s trial on my face I learned a lot of what I did and did not want to recreate for my wedding day face.
It is important to assess your face and first figure out what you want to really focus on or highlight. My advice is to not be too drastic in everything, meaning if you want very glam dark smokey eyes, don’t pack on the blush/contour as your face will start to look weighed down. I wanted to create a natural look with a subtle smokey eye, and focus mainly on “glowing/fresh faced” with touches of coral to my cheeks, a subtle highlight, and an even base foundation that did not make me look ashy or lifeless in photos. With my goals in mind I set to work, practicing a few different times before the actual big day so that I would know exactly what to expect and how it would come out in pictures. I’ve listed and broken down some of what I believe to be the most useful tips in achieving a special event look that will last all night long!
In the picture below I am actually doing my Maid of Honor’s (my sister) makeup which is nothing out of the norm. It’s funny because the day of my wedding I did about 3 or 4 of my bridesmaid’s makeup and it was getting so late in the morning that my mom was starting to get stressed and told me to worry about myself and go do my own makeup but it was actually keeping me calm and less anxious to work on all the girl’s faces haha.FOUNDATION:
This is key for any makeup look to actually stay put. Do your research as you do not want to use a foundation with SPF in the formula as it will cause a white cast flashback in your photos, and you run the chance of looking ghostly in all your pictures. Look for a foundation with a medium coverage as it is build-able if you need to disguise some areas of the face more than others, but will not look cakey as opposed to a full coverage foundation. I love love love Estée Lauder Double Wear foundation and it was my obvious choice for the wedding day. Its formula is insane and does not budge on the face! Also make sure you are testing your foundation outside and seeing that it matches flawlessly with your neck and rest of the body skin tone. I got a spray tan the day before my wedding and had already tested my shade with my tanned body so I knew I would not look like I was wearing a mask in my wedding photos with my head being a different shade from my neck/body. With this particular foundation it is pretty matte so I did not need to use extra setting powder on any oily areas but if you struggle with extremely oily skin it would not be a bad idea to dab some powder on your t-zone/especially oily areas. Also be sure to use a setting spray on your big day all over the face so that your makeup can be locked in place and won’t budge
I don’t always condone contouring as I feel it can sometimes look silly to be walking around in public with harsh brown lines on the sides of your cheeks in broad daylight. But for special occasions this is definitely something working in your benefit. Contouring is great at shaping the face, and especially if not done overboard, will lift your cheekbones and sculpt your face. If you have a more rounded “baby” face as myself, contouring is your saving grace. It looks great in pictures as the idea is to just create a gentle cool toned “shadow” right below the apples of your cheeks. If you have an already sculpted face, skip the contouring and opt for a gentle sweep of bronzer on the cheeks to warm up your face. Just don’t go too harsh as it can start to appear muddy. A versatile palette to own is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Contour Kit. It’s one of those palettes that I kind of didn’t want to buy at first cause I didn’t know if it was overhyped, but I’m so glad I did. There are cool and warm shades included in the kit so if you need to create a nice taupe shadow in the hollows of your cheekbones or just a quick warm bronze of the face, you can!
Blush is a wonderful thing! It has the ability to give life to your cheeks and the shades to choose from are endless. Rosy pinks, mauves, and beiges look lovely on pale skin and I love a pop of coral or berry on medium to dark skin tones. A great blush that works for sooooo many different skin tones is the Milani Baked Blush in the shade Luminoso. It is has a very long wearing formula and lays great on the cheeks. For highlighting, make sure you don’t apply too much as you will come off oily and reflective in all of the pictures. Highlighting is great at bringing certain features to the light and should be applied in a “C” formation from the top end of your brown bone to the top of your cheek bone. If your lips need a little “plumping” apply a small dab on the cupids bow of your lips to give the illusion of fuller lips. A great highlighter that I recommend is the The Balm Mary-lou Manizer. It is so finely milled that you won’t find chunks of glitter on your cheek bones unlike some drugstore highlighters.
Eyebrows are kind of a difficult thing. They can easily be way too overdrawn or start looking harsh, boxy and over-filled. The way to avoid this is start with a gentle eyebrow pencil and lightly feather tiny strokes following the natural shape of your brows. It is always best to just follow the natural shape of your brows and not try to create a whole different look for them. If they are not naturally raised, drawing harsh angles will only make them look cartoonish. Try little tweaks such as gently extending your brow at the ends or beginnings, or thickening up a section that is uneven. Don’t push too hard as the last thing you want in all your photos is to have a permanent “angry” face caused from harsh eyebrow lines. These steps will drastically help in achieving a natural brow shape that is still sculpted and filled in without stealing the show from your eyelids. My holy grail brow tool is the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz. It’s almost impossible to mess your brows up when using this product!!
Eyeshadow and liners are a great way to play illusions with your eye shape! I have almond shaped eyes that aren’t very big and so for my wedding day makeup I chose to do a soft smoked out wing with liner and shadows. This helped extend the eye a little bit making them appear bigger. Because I have brown hair and brown eyes, using a black liner for the wing would only makes my eyes appear heavy and deepen the chestnut in my irides so instead I chose a chocolate brown shade to smoke out as to not take away from the eyes. I knew I wanted to wear false lashes on my special day and experimented with a few different styles before landing on these Ardell Demi Wispies. It is totally a personal preference, but I wanted falsies that would be just enough to give a pop in the pictures but still be subtle. For lashes that pack a bigger punch I would suggest these Red Cherry Falsies or these Ardell Glamour Wispies.
One of the things I wish that I had done differently on my wedding day was wear 1-2 shades darker lipstick than what I chose. I believe I used MAC’s Creme Cup but looking back a much better choice would have been MAC’s Amorous, something with more pigment. I underestimated how much flash and exposure is done to the photos and I would have liked my lips to be a little more defined. Also, after our ceremony my makeup touch-up bag was misplaced and so I was out of luck on retouching anything on my face the entire rest of the night. Luckily everything pretty much stayed in place and I was so preoccupied with celebrating our day that the last thing on my mind was wondering if I needed a little bit more blush.
Wrapping up this extremely long post (sorry!), I am so happy I decided to do my own makeup the day of my wedding and as you can see from our departing picture, it withheld the 10+ hour day!! Reminiscing on all of these photos makes me miss the day so much. Half way tempted to pour myself a glass of wine and rewatch my wedding video 20 times (kidding…..sorta?). Hope you ladies found this post helpful!!