How to Adapt Your Makeup for Your Wedding Day

Go from your everyday look to your big-day look with these tips

By Trisha Berendt

Bridal makeup
Photo by iStockphoto.comBookmark and Share

Although some brides choose to have a makeup artist create their wedding-day look, this isn't a must. Instead, brides can save money by adapting their own makeup routine to fit the occasion. Unlike a regular day, your wedding day is full of stressors and other elements that can affect your makeup. The right strategy will account for sweating, crying and photography. Choosing the right beauty products can prevent wedding-day makeup disasters.

  • What You Need to Know
  • Use primer under your foundation, which locks in your makeup for long periods of time with the aid of waxes, polymers and silicone.
  • Avoid inappropriately dark makeup and go with light colors to complement your white gown.

Step 1:

Wear a thin layer of foundation over your entire face. Regular foundations may be too heavy and look bad in wedding photographs. If you're a young bride with clear skin, try a tinted moisturizer. Choose a foundation as close to your natural skin color as possible so it blends well.

Step 2:

Dust a light layer of loose powder over your face. Try a translucent powder or one with a slight iridescence. Powder will set your foundation and keep it from melting in the heat of the day. It will also make your face look bright and awake, which looks better in photographs.

Step 3:

Use lightly colored eye shadows on your eyelids. Regular, everyday makeup is often too dark for a wedding. Since your outfit will consist of a bright white wedding gown, your eye makeup should be delicate. Try for colors that match your bridal floral arrangements. Peaches and pinks are a safe choice. If you plan to use a darker color along the eye crease, choose a light tan or brown that is only a few shades darker than the rest of your makeup. Avoid glitter or overly iridescent shadow, as these can reflect in wedding photographs.

Step 4:

Line the top lid of your eye. Use mascara on the top lashes as well. Liner and mascara on the bottom lid can run if you cry during the ceremony, so avoid makeup there. Choose waterproof mascara, just in case.

Step 5:

Line your lips with the same color as your lipstick. Lip liner will help prevent smudging and will let your lip color last throughout the wedding day. Choose a lipstick color that is understated and delicate. Pinks and corals are appropriate for wedding-day lips. Avoid using lip gloss, as this can stick to the veil.

Step 6:

Dust a light amount of blush along the tops of your cheekbones. Use a sheer blush in pink or peach tones. This will make your face look warm and happy, which will look good in wedding photos.

  • Tips & Warnings
  • Keep translucent powder with you throughout your wedding day. Sweating and crying can make your foundation run, and powder is a quick fix.
  • Test out your makeup look before your wedding day. Show your friends, and take pictures while wearing white to see how it will look on the big day.
  • Most concealers have light-reflecting particles that show up bright white in photographs. Use concealer sparingly.

About the Author

Trisha Berendt is a freelance writer and professional wedding photographer.

Related Guides

Winter Wedding Hair Ideas

A winter wedding allows you to get glam and creative with your bridal hairstyle. Updos are certainly appropriate for a formal wedding, but soft curls and waves create a winter wonderland look when paired with rhinestone or feather hair accessories.... Read More

Planning Reminder:

Bride having makeup applied

Select makeup stylist

We aren't all masters of makeup brushes. If you prefer your wedding day beauty to be in the hands of an expert, start looking now. Ask friends, check DexKnows vendor listings and then discuss the look you want with stylists before making a hiring decision.

View your wedding checklist!


Wedding Glossary


Makeup made from finely ground minerals that doesn't contain chemicals, dyes or preservatives. Often favored by women with makeup sensitivity.

View the Full Weddings Glossary
Log in

Don't have an account? Sign Up

Log In with your Facebook account.
We’ll never post without your permission.
If you previously linked your account to a Google, Yahoo!, Twitter, Aol, or Windows Live login and don't have a password, you'll need to create a new password to access your account. Click here to receive an email with your temporary password and then login using your email address and temporary password.

Log in to your DexKnows account:

Forgot Password?
Sign Up

Already have an account? Log In

Log In with your Facebook account.
We’ll never post without your permission.

Create a DexKnows account:

At least 6 characters
By clicking Sign Up, you agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. You'll receive the DexKnows Tips email newsletter as well as email updates about your account.
Forgot Password

Please enter your email address so that we can send you an email with a link to change your password..

Change Password

Please enter your email address so that we can send you an email with a link to change your password.


Please enter your new password

Email Address:

At least 6 characters
Link Accounts


Do you currently have an account with Dexknows?

Should we link this account to the one you just created?

Please provide this additional information to register
Will be displayed next to your reviews.
Yes, I want to find out about great deals, local recommendations and more!
I agree to terms of use and privacy policy

Please share the issue you encountered with our search

I am a(n):


Please check at least one issue checkbox.