Putting Your Best Face Forward: Wedding Day Makeup Tips and Trends

Whether you want to look natural and soft or play with bold colors for a glamorous look, wedding makeup trends run the gamut from all dolled up to freshly scrubbed. To help you nail down your perfect look, we’ve offered an overview of some of the top trends in wedding makeup to help you keep your look current and offer the inspiration you may need to look your best on your big day. 

Old Hollywood Glamour

We’ve been seeing bright berry pouts all over the runways, so it’s natural that the look would spill over into the bridal world as well. A bold lip can be paired with a head of artfully tousled finger-waves to channel that smoldering, old-school Hollywood starlet look.

When going for a dark lip, you’ll want to keep your eyes subtle and refrain from going too heavy on the blush. This look is especially alluring if you’ve chosen a vintage wedding gown or a gown with a vintage aesthetic. 

Fresh-Faced Bridal Beauty

Another popular look on the runway is “all-natural” beauty. The goal of this look is to appear bright-eyed and fresh-faced instead of overly made up. Think; “just finished up a brisk walk around the rose garden or on the beach” instead of “just spent an hour in the makeup chair.” Skin should be smooth and well moisturized, with a nice, even base and a bit of blush on the cheeks. The eyes should be subtle with hints of pinks, taupe, or other natural shades. Finish the look with a plumping peach or pink lip tint.

This youthful, minimalistic look is a great go-to for brides with ornate headpieces or dresses—the balance will keep things from looking too over the top. English Supermodel Kate Moss rocked the au natural makeup trend during her summer 2011 nuptials, with soft eyes and a natural face. 

Bold, but Not Brash

Are you planning to wear a veil? If so, the bold look recently seen on the Badgley Mischka runway may be the perfect choice for you. The design house sent models down the catwalk with dark lips, lined eyes, and blushing cheeks. This classic combo can help you to stand out from under a veil and generally photographs beautifully.  

The Swinging ’60s

Have a fixation on the retro appeal of Mad Men fashion? Ask your makeup artist to play up the eyes with layers of mascara and maybe even some falsies to fill in any gaps or to pump up what you’ve got. Keep the lips nude and try a hint of blush. Finish the look by styling hair into a modern take on the beehive or a sleek chignon. The look is especially great when worn with a tea-length dress for an afternoon wedding.  

The Royal Treatment

Who wouldn’t want to convey the graceful elegance that Kate Middleton displayed in the wedding of the decade? Knowing that she achieved the look with her own hand—with a bit of tutoring from makeup expert Arabella Preston—makes it even more attractive! To capture that royal glow, choose a subtly smoked eye. According to InStyle Magazine, the Duchess used black to line her eyes, while the lids were dusted with a gray shadow. To balance it out, Middleton kept things low-key on the rest of her face with a glossy pink on the lips and a hint of rose on the cheeks for that gorgeous blushing bride appearance. 

Glitz and Glamour

Kim Kardashian’s “fairytale wedding” may not have ended in a happily ever after, but that doesn’t mean the reality star didn’t wow as she came down the aisle! Her stylists created a “princess meets classic Hollywood starlet” look that you can easily mimic even without a team of professionals.

Ensure that you’re starting with well-moisturized skin as a base. Use concealer under the eyes or anywhere you have redness to get that evenly toned, fresh face that’s so important on the big day. Kardashian’s eyes were brought center stage with gold eyeshadows and a double coat of black mascara. Nude lips and sweeps of golden bronzer acted as the perfect finishing touches.   

Thinking Outside the (Traditional) Makeup Box

As with all aspects of a modern wedding, a popular trend in wedding makeup is to allow yourself the flexibility to do what makes you feel comfortable and reflects your tastes, while not necessarily feeling constrained by what you’re “supposed” to do. Want to incorporate your wedding’s color scheme into your bridal look? No problem! Use a few accents in your cosmetics: a pop of purple or dark green eyeliner or a red lip to match your palette can tie the entire look together in a fresh and modern way!

If you want to work some of your cultural heritage into your look without donning traditional garb, research makeup trends of the region, such as a bindi and henna additions in Indian weddings, or pale skin and pink lips for a Japanese wedding. These can make great additions to the other elements of your makeup. 

With these tips and ideas in mind, you can achieve the perfect makeup look, no matter what style you choose to rock for the main event.