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Wedding Makeup – Where to Start!

When you are deciding on your makeup look for the big day, it can be hard to know how to describe what you want – or even to know what your options are. Here is a breakdown of some makeup options, so that you can express what you are envisioning when consulting with your makeup artist at your bridal trial.


Your makeup artist will want to know about your skin type so pay attention to your skin in the lead up to your trial. Do you get shiny throughout the day? Does your skin feel dry or tight before moisturiser? Does makeup cling to any patches? This will help him/her determine what primers and products should suit you best.

Do try to look after your skin leading up to the wedding, and the trial, to have your makeup looking its best. Drink plenty of water and exfoliate regularly.


Your makeup artist will be able to determine which products to use to suit your skin type, skin tone, and last all day. However to give them an idea of your preferences, think about:
How much coverage you like (to see none of your skin coming through, some, or a lot)
What kind of a finish you like (matte – no shine, demi-matte – slight sheen, dewy – has a shine)

Cheek/Face Products

Again you can trust your artist to complete the colour portion of your base, but if you have any specific likes or dislikes when it comes to bronzer, contour, blush, and highlight (like types of colours or textures) do let them know so that they can incorporate those preferences.


For many people, this is the main one. While I would tend to lean toward neutral colours for brides, the depth, the undertone, and the texture is always personal to you.

The Depth – how dark or bright you want your eyes. Do you want something very soft and awake looking, or a little bit of shading for some definition, or a more glam smokey eye?

The Undertone – what kind of neutral colours you want. For example, I often ask a bride if she will be wearing silver or gold jewellery. If she is wearing silver I will probably go with cool tones (browns that have no red, taupes, shimmer that leans silver etc), if she is wearing gold then probably warm tones (browns that have a touch of red or burgundy, peaches, shimmer that leans gold etc). You could also incorporate a touch of a soft colour to either pick up on your wedding theme or to pop your eye colour. For example, a mauve used as a transition shade (the shade that blends out the edges of the browns) will pop green eyes.

The Texture – whether you want shimmer or not. An all matte eye is very classic and timeless. If you do like the look of an all matte eye you can also consider adding a pop of shimmer just in the inner corner. A shimmer shade on the lid (I wouldn’t do shimmer in the crease) makes the eyeshadow more detailed as you are adding textures.


Liner really defines and enhances your eyes, and you have a few choices in how subtle or strong you make that.

The most natural option would be to have your top lash lined with a black or brown shadow. It
gives the darkness without the severity of a liquid or gel. (Tip: this is a popular option for mothers of the brides).

A liquid or a gel liner on the top lash line would be a popular option, to give a definite outline
to your eyes.

If you want to really amp up the smokiness you can add a dark liner to the lower waterline. This can really transform the look, but it can also make your eyes look smaller. If you want your eyes to look more open leave the waterline free or pop a cream coloured liner there. You could have a smokier lower lash line from the eyeshadow if you’re caught between both.

If you are still unsure at the trial, leave it off, finish the look, and you can always add it at the end to see both options.


My go-to recommendation for bridal lashes are individual clusters. They are more comfortable for a long day, they are more natural, and they won’t lift. I would go with a strip if you always wear strip lashes and you’re going for a stronger eye look. Just be aware that there is a chance they could lift, especially with a few tears which can break down the glue, or a lot of wind during outdoor photographs etc. That just means that either you or your maid of honour would have to be ok to stick it back down if need be.


Brows can make a big difference to the face, and they can be done in a number of ways to give different effects. Give your artist an idea of how natural or how structured you like them, as well as how light or dark you would normally go. They can make choices on which products to use but if you have a preference for using powder, gel, pencil etc. you can also let them know so they can consider this.



If you want your eyes to be the feature of the face, I would opt for a more natural colour. A “nude” doesn’t have to be totally blank – you can have a pink nude, a brown nude, a peach nude etc. Look at your favourite lipsticks and see what kind of shades and undertones you gravitate towards.

If your lips are the feature of the look e.g. with a red or a burgundy, I would opt for a matte liquid lipstick as these will be best for longevity and not transferring as much. Do keep in mind that the length of the day, the fact that you will be eating, drinking and talking all day, means you will want to keep an eye on your lipstick.


Extra tips for your trial

Remember, you want to feel like the best version of yourself – however glam or natural that is.

To be able to trial the same foundation that will be used on your wedding day, you should try to arrange a trial of the tan you will be wearing (if you will be wearing tan) for a day or two before your makeup trial. Tans can have various undertones as well as variations of depth so the specific tan can make a difference to the foundation used. This is also a good idea as the shade of your foundation will pull together the look in a different way – so you will have to use a little imagination if you are not wearing any tan at your trial, but will be at your wedding.

Bring along a white cardigan, or scarf to pop over your top when the look is done so that you can get an idea of what it will be like when you are in your white/ivory etc.

Again to help get the overall vision, if you are going to have an upstyle, wear your hair up; if you are going half up half down, pull up half your hair; etc.

Don’t be shy. If something just isn’t working for you or even if there is something small you would adjust, there is no problem at all. This is exactly what the trial is for. As you can see above, there are so many options and routes to take within a bridal look, so your artist will be counting on your feedback to make sure you arrive at your perfect bridal look. Our goal is to make sure you not only look amazing but also feel amazing.

Trust your artist. The above will give you some guidance as to what to think about and how to describe what you are looking for, but your makeup artist will also be able to offer their knowledge and will know the products in their kit best.

If you are still unsure about what kind of makeup look you want to go for, I have an easy 10 question quiz to help determine your overall makeup style! Click here to take the quiz.


Christine O’Connor Makeup Artist


Email: [email protected]

Phone: 0861691119

Social Media: @christineocmua

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Kelly Jane Hartmann

Kelly is a former wedding planner and a lover of anything pink. She believes that any bride can plan her own wedding, with a few tips and helpful tools.

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