Poppy Delevingne's wedding Credit: Rex

Wedding make-up tips – the dos and don’ts you need for your big day

You've got the dress sorted, now it's time to think about wedding beauty...

Looking for wedding make-up tips ahead of your own big day? Look no further, as we’ve put together 20 bridal make-up dos and dont’s, with a little help from the experts, to make sure you look flawless whatever your wedding budget.

And when you’re done here, wise up with our wedding planning guide and browse our wedding hairstyles inspiration to help with all other aspects of your big day.

Simply say ‘I do’ to the following bridal make-up rules and prepare to wow…


Have your trial 3-5 weeks before your wedding

‘Make sure you have your trial at least three weeks, but no more than 5 weeks, before your wedding. If you plan on using fake tan for the big day, have a test run before your make-up trial so that your artist can see what colour your skin becomes with the tan,’ says M·A·C Senior Artist, Rebecca Butterworth.

Wear a white t-shirt

‘… if you’re having your make-up test in a store, so that you can see how the make-up looks against a pale colour and take a picture of yourself in day light (with no flash) to see how it looks before you purchase anything,’ says celebrity make-up maestro Caroline Barnes.

Emphasise your eyes

‘Brighten any darkness under them with corrector and concealer,’ says Bobbi Brown.

Bring references to your trial

‘Start looking for images of make-up that you really like and bring them with you on the day. Try to identify what it is you like about the make-up in the image and take into account that if you have the skin colour of Dita Von Teese, then the make-up of Kim Kardashian won’t necessarily translate on to you,’ says Rebecca from M·A·C.

wedding make-up tips

Tom Buchanan/silverhub/REX/Shutterstock

Consider colour

‘Remember that bridal make-up needs to have enough colour to compensate for the whiteness of the dress. There’s a big difference between everyday clothes and a wedding dress, so there should be difference in your make-up, too. Start by making sure your skin looks even and smooth, and then add colour to your cheeks and lips to give them a glow,’ says Bobbi Brown.

Use individual false lashes

‘They’re a brilliant way to make your eyes stand out and look far more subtle than a full strip. Go for differing lengths to create a really natural fluttery look and nestle them in between your natural lashes rather than fixing them on top,’ says Rebecca.

Don’t skip the basics

‘Focus on the most important elements of your look, such as beautifully natural-looking skin, softly groomed brows and feathery lashes. If you get these basic factors right the rest of your make-up will fall into place,’ says Caroline Barnes.

Research application methods

‘They might differ slightly from your everyday make-up routine. For example, if you prefer to line with a shadow, make it last longer by applying it with a slightly damp eyeliner brush,’ says Bobbi.

wedding makeup tips

Go pro

‘The best wedding make-up should last as long as you do so I love M·A·C’s Prolongwear range which includes foundations, concealers, lip and eye products that provide superior wear that will see you through your wedding day and night,’ says Rebecca.

Highlight the brow bone

‘Finish your make-up off with a highlighter shade on the brow bone to make the eyes really pop. Go for a light matte shade, and pat onto the outer corner of the brow bone so subtly draw attention to this area of your face,’ says Bobbi.


Have your make-up test done anywhere with overhead fluorescent lighting

‘If you have a professional make-up artist coming to your home, arrange a time when it’s still daylight outside,’ says Caroline Barnes.

Let a make-up artist hijack your look

‘For a lot of people, their wedding is a time when they can really take pleasure in having someone else do their make-up, but I think there can be a temptation to just indulge in the experience and take on all sorts of suggestions from the make-up artist – someone who may not know you or how you like to look particularly well. I’d advise real caution here; you don’t want to surprise your intended at the altar by turning up looking like someone else. Whether you’re hiring a make-up artist or doing your own, I generally think that the best bridal make-up is simply the most exquisitely polished version of how the bride usually looks – after all, you want to look beautiful rather than your make-up,” says make-up artist and Lancôme UK Make-up Artist Ambassador, Alex Babsky.

wedding make-up tips

We’re already wondering how Meghan Markle will choose to do her wedding make-up…

Trowel it on

‘It’s a total myth that your make-up has to be plastered on for the photographs. Lots of wedding photography is done in natural light, and if you choose a heavy base the make-up will look obvious. In terms of flash, you just need to ensure that your T-zone is matte, which can be achieved with fine translucent powders and blotting powders, not layers of make-up,’ says Caroline.

Go for anything too trend-led

‘It’s worth bearing in mind that you’ll have to live with photos from your wedding for the rest of your life, so it’s best to avoid statement looks and opt for something more classic; that glittery eyeliner you saw on a Parisian catwalk might look super pretty and modern now, but chances are it’ll look tired and dated in twenty years’ time. This isn’t to say that you’ll have to make yourself up in a symphony of beiges though if you’re used to a more punchy make-up – vintage wedding dresses in particular can look breathtaking with a classic old Hollywood lipstick colour,’ says Alex Babsky.

Be scared of going a bit brighter

‘Neutral, brown, and pale lip colours can look washed out in photographs, so choose a lipstick that’s one or two shades brighter than what you would normally wear. If you usually wear a neutral hue, it should be worn as a base, with a pink or rose colour on top. If you typically wear dark lipstick, use that as the base, and apply a brighter pink on top to give the colour a lift. Pinks, roses and plums are all great, classic choices for brides,’ says Bobbi.

Just apply make-up to your face

‘Instead, extend down your neck and over your shoulders if necessary, this will ensure you face is not a different colour or even texture to your body. Everything should look uniform to create the most natural look possible. An easy way to blend uneven skin tones together is to use a light fake tan. Do this the day before your wedding not the night and beware of darkening your skin tone too much as the effect it actually the deaden the look of your complexion,’ says Caroline.

wedding make-up tips

Poppy Delevingne’s wedding

Forget to decide what kind of maintenance you’d prefer for the day

‘Are you happy to check you’re looking OK throughout the day, or do you want to just forget about your make-up once it’s on? Waterproof mascara is an obvious requisite, but it’s also worth considering cream eyeshadows that really set; you can be sure they’ll stay where you put them,’ says Alex.

Go too dark on the eyes

Define your eyes by applying colour in the crease, but avoid using a shade that’s too dense, as it can detract from the eyes themselves,’ says Bobbi.

Go too glossy or too matte

‘It’s best to avoid lipsticks at either end of the texture scale; too glossy and they’ll only last five minutes whilst too matte and they may leave your lips dry and cakey by the time it’s the moment to kiss your groom. A moisturising, satin-y finish lipstick is best for a wedding – this kind of formula will keep your lips looking their best and will wear off the most evenly and naturally; several thin layers, blotted between applications will give the most long-lasting finish,’ says Alex.


‘Allow at least 45 minutes to an hour for make-up application on the wedding day,’ says Bobbi.

Reading now