The 5 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing Your Wedding Makeup Look

Picture this, you’ve found an idyllic place to get married and booked the perfect photographer to tell your story. You’ve arranged for gorgeous, romantic flowers to be placed everywhere on your wedding day and you’ve got your eye on the most beautiful dress you’ve ever been allowed to touch. All you need now is the right wedding makeup look to tie it all together. It’s the icing on the cake! Choosing your wedding makeup should be fun and easy BUT there are some big (but easily avoided) mistakes I see brides making all the time. Here are the 5 mistakes you need to avoid:

Outdoors, a bride with a dark lip makeup look laughs and holds her flower bouquet in front of her grooms face.

Researching the wrong wedding makeup looks or skipping it all together

Before you can ask a makeup artist to create a wedding makeup look for you, you need to know what the end goal is first. Arming yourself with the right reference images is the first step to getting your makeup right but it’s so easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of images to choose from on Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Find a time when you won’t be interrupted, to sit down with a cuppa and have a proper look through different socials. It’s important to make time for this properly and not just in between work meetings or when you’re trying to make dinner. Search for looks that relate to you specifically. If you’re very pale, there’s no point in looking at pictures of bronzed skin brides, and vice versa. Also be realistic about how much makeup you want to wear. If you know you’ll want to be glammed up to the nines, then natural makeup looks aren’t going to help you. When you have found images that you like, ask yourself very specifically, what is it about this that I like? Is it the eyeshadow/lip/blush colour, the texture of the skin, the shape of the eyeliner. Pinterest has a great feature that allows you to add notes on to images you save on your own board. The pictures you choose to reference absolutely don’t have to look the same, they can be wildly different. If you can tell your makeup artist exactly what you like about each look, then they’ll be able to pull those ideas together.

Having Pinterest Expectations

Ok, so I know I just said look on social media and google for inspiration images, but it’s important to take all of them with a pinch of salt. There are a couple of ways these images can be misleading. The first is that the amount of makeup someone is wearing looks a lot less on camera than it does in real life. If you think you’re looking at a natural makeup image, in person, that makeup is probably quite heavy. The most obvious way to spot this is in how even and flawless the skin tone is. If the person in the pictures looks like their skin is porcelain smooth, then they’re definitely wearing a heavier foundation than you’d think. The other way these images are misleading is in how heavily edited they are. Bridal hair and makeup artists frequently see the same pictures being shown at trials and in consultations and it’s always the heavily edited, unrealistic ones. It’s such a shame, because most people who aren’t in this industry wouldn’t be able to spot them. If the skin has no texture, then it’s been edited that way. If the lip colour is so dense that it looks like velvet, then it’s been edited that way. That’s only two examples but the extent that some of these pictures have been doctored is unreal. Literally. This is another reason I ask brides to be specific about what they like about an image, because usually recreating a whole look from a heavily edited image only leads to disappointment. Try to be realistic about how you expect the finished makeup to look.

Choosing the wrong wedding makeup artist

So I have a whoooooole other blog with my tips on finding the right artist for the wedding makeup look you want. The main part is finding someone who’s style matches your style (or the bridal party’s style). If you, your mum and your bridesmaids love being in full glam then there’s absolutely no point in booking a bridal artist who does natural makeup. Similarly, if you and your team all love a barely there makeup then don’t book someone with before and after pictures of a bride that look like two different people. It can get a little more complicated if the bride is on one end of the spectrum and everyone else is at the other. If you personally like heavier makeup but everyone else wants a natural look, then try to find someone who specialises in natural makeup but can demonstrate that they can deliver a more made up look as well. All good makeup artists will be well versed in a broad range of styles and will have images that show this, even if they don’t post them on their website/social media. Don’t be afraid to ask for examples and have trials.

A close up of a blond bride with vintage inspired natural makeup, having her hair styled in hollywood waves.

Sacrificing personal style to be “bridal”

I had a lovely bride last year who came in for her trial with all the right stuff. We’d had a great consultation, she had pictures of herself on nights out, images she liked and notes of specific products she frequently used. I gave her a wedding makeup look that I thought she’d love but when I finished and asked for feedback, she seemed underwhelmed. When I asked her a few questions about what she felt was lacking she said “I like it but I’m not sure I look like me. I usually wear a little bit of glitter eyeliner if I’m going out but I suppose that’s not very bridal.” Bingo! (and also phew!) Yes glitter eyeliner can be bridal! I added it, it took two seconds and her whole face lit up. I feel like I’m constantly saying this to people, there’s no such thing as “not bridal”. If you’re a bride and you’ve got a makeup thing on your face, then it’s bridal. If you choose not to include something in your look that is a huge part of your personal style, then you’ll feel like you don’t look like yourself for the whole day. It will probably make you uncomfortable all through your wedding day, you won’t like your pictures and you will most likely regret it. If you always have a red lip, wear it! If you like a really dark eyeshadow, do it! Also, if there’s something in your makeup that you’re so fussy about, you’d feel more comfortable doing it yourself, you have to tell your makeup artist. This is more common than you think and your artist won’t be offended, I promise. We’re there to support you, not to tell you how to look. 

Being pressured in to booking

This is a big one and, I feel, the hardest one to push back on when it happens. The easier side of this one is if a makeup artist is pushing you to book them, don’t be afraid to say no thanks. Most artists can’t keep dates without a deposit but they shouldn’t be pushing you for a decision. The harder side of this is when it’s coming from a close friend or relative. Maybe it’s your maid of honour who loved their wedding makeup artist and is pushing you to book the same person. Or your aunt’s friend has a daughter who’s just started doing weddings and you feel obliged to book them. This can be awkward so here’s a little phrase you could use if you find yourself in this situation: Thank you for this recommendation, it’s really helpful. I’m not sure exactly what I want my wedding makeup look to be yet, so I’m going to take some time to look into it and think about it properly. I’ll have a look at the person you’ve suggested once I’ve had a think and decide if they’re right for me. 

The artist who provides your wedding makeup will be, quite literally, in your face on one of the most challenging days of your life. Wedding mornings are wonderful, joyous times but they can also be stressful and nerve wracking. It’s so important to get the artist who’s got the right vibe and personality for you, as well as being able to give you the right wedding makeup look. 

If you think I might be the artist with the right vibe for your wedding day, get in touch through my enquiry form

Learn more about my signature airbrush makeup or how to choose the right facial for your pre wedding skincare

Ailsa x

A therapist leans back laughing whilst holding a cup of coffee