Hi. I’m Wes Simpson, a UK and destination wedding photographer specialising in luxury weddings and emotional images. During my 10+ year as a Wedding Photographer, I have travelled worldwide working in a variety of climates with a host of brides and professional makeup artists, this has provided me with a unique perspective on wedding makeup tips.
I am proud to say that more than 400 couples in over 10 countries have trusted me with their wedding and engagement pictures. I’ve won multiple awards and seen my work featured in celebrity magazines such as Vogue and Hello!
This experience together with my Television background working with celebrities, models and actors have given me a fantastic insight into the world of fashion, weddings and makeup.
As a wedding photographer, I believe weddings are a collaboration. The couple and their wedding vendors are working together to not only achieve the couple’s dream of a perfect wedding day but to use their knowledge, insights and experience to not only meet their client’s expectations but to exceed them.
Planning the perfect wedding can be stressful and choosing the right vendors can be a daunting process, especially as you’ve not planned a wedding before. There are so many products and services to choose from (especially photographers and makeup artists) and you don’t want to make a mistake.
So to help you with your wedding planning here is a list of wedding makeup tips you don’t want to miss. These are based on observations from photographing more than 400 weddings together with practical tips from professional makeup artists.
WEDDING MAKEUP TIMINGS
The biggest wedding makeup tips, from a wedding photographers point of view, would be to do with timing. This is somewhat of a controversial topic, often with the makeup artists, hairstylists, photographers and other vendors all batteling for your time.
But as I stated before, weddings are a collaboration with everyone working together to achieve the perfect outcome. With this in mind, scheduling your hair and make-up for the right time is essential as this frequently runs over.
For weddings at noon, usually, the hair and make-up professionals come to your home or hotel room for about 7 am (obviously, this depends on how many people’s makeup they are doing etc, so best to check with them).
It’s really important that you go first or second, but not last as you may be in the situation that everyone is ready but you and you may lose out on photographs before the service. Especially if you are planning a ‘bridal reveal.’
BECAUSE YOU’RE WORTH IT
Just like in a Hollywood movie, you are the star of the show. As a photographer, I am there to photograph you, so with this in mind, I’m guessing you would want to feel confident in your appearance for the photographers’ arrival?
I’m not suggesting the bride should be fully ready for when the photographer arrives, but having base makeup on or being 2/3rds ready is very logical and value for money.
When I arrive I usually spend the first half-hour photographing the details, this includes things like the dress hanging up with the excitement of it about to be worn. During this time I am also photographing in a documentary style, naturally capturing the build-up of the day.
WEDDING MAKEUP NATURAL LIGHT
I usually ask for a room which is tidy and with natural light, I stress this when I speak to the couple at the planning meeting leading up to the wedding day. I’m setting myself up for success by ensuring I’m in a tidy room with good light.
However, the craziness of a busy room can also tell an interesting story, it all depends on what story you want to tell and how you would like your wedding day to be documented.
I can’t highlight enough the importance of getting your hair and make-up timings right. If planned correctly, you’ll have enough time to get fantastic bridal prep images and you will be more relaxed.
PORTRAITS AND BRIDAL REVEAL
I photograph the final stages of makeup ‘the hero shots’ and once you are ready, I suggest some simple bridal portraits.
I photograph the day 75% documentary, naturally capturing the story as it unfolds. But, as you’ve had your hair and makeup done, you’re wearing the perfect dress and hired a professional photographer you might as well take the opportunity to get some beautiful portraits!
By being ready in plenty of time you could plan a bridal reveal and have some portraits taken. If it rains or you cry during the ceremony you would already have some picture-perfect images in the bag…
Plus, I know most grooms love these pictures, and you will have a stunning social media profile picture and a lasting portrait of yourself as a Miss before becoming Mrs.
STRIKING A BALANCE
A lot of makeup artists will contradict my advice and insist on doing the brides makeup last! With their wedding makeup tips being “Get your makeup done last so it will last longer.”
As a simple man, I never understand this logic, I assume if they are using good products this wouldn’t be an issue… and what about the other 12 hours of the wedding day, if your makeup isn’t going to last an extra hour on the morning? But more importantly, the benefits stated above must outweigh this?
WEDDING MAKEUP FINAL CHECKS
I come to your wedding from a television background and I’ve also worked with some of the best wedding makeup artists in the industry. One thing I’ve noticed about the very best makeup artists is they don’t leave until the bride is fully ready, in her dress and after the ‘reveal’ if doing one.
Passionate makeup artists not only want to see the ‘final’ creation of their work but will often ask to check the images on my camera and provide final ‘touch-ups’ as required to complete the look.
A simple but effective idea for the wedding morning is for everyone to have matching PJs or dressing gowns as this looks a lot better in the getting ready photos.
Also, it’s a good idea not to wear socks on the morning of the wedding as this can create a ring on your legs and the same goes for a bra if wearing a backless dress.
THE SMELL OF HAPPINESS!
Personal bonus tip! OK, technically this isn’t a wedding makeup tip, however, if you smell good, you’ll feel good and if you feel good you’ll look good!
Invest in a new perfume, one that you haven’t used before. The reason being, instead of using your daily fragrance to which you are familiar with, using a new fragrance will help trigger memories and a connection to your wedding when you encounter the smell in the future.
Plus, for extra fun, you could choose your partners fragrance and send them as gifts to each other on the morning of the wedding day. This would not only provide a talking point as to whether you made the right selection but it might make for an extra photo opportunity.
WEDDING MAKEUP TIPS ASK THE EXPERTS
As I view weddings as a collaboration I put the question to my makeup artist friends on FaceBook asking a host of professional MUA’s what their favourite wedding makeup tips are, and here are the replies.
To begin with, we have wedding makeup tips from a professional makeup artist that I had the pleasure of working with on a Hello! magazine photoshoot. Alice Theobland from Wonderland hair and makeup is a highly sought after makeup artist in the television industry. Regularly painting the faces of celebrities on popular TV shows such as ITV’s Downton Abbey and BBC Strictly Come Dancing.
Alice says, I always try to make the makeup as waterproof as possible as it can be an emotional day for the bride. Professional makeup artists work with the latest and best products, all of which have been tried and tested for success.
Lancashire based makeup artist Jenny Clayton says – My wedding makeup tips would be to make sure your makeup still makes you feel like you. Always be true to yourself.
One of the best wedding makeup tips I have is a practical one. If you have to put your dress over your head, place a silk pillowcase on your head before putting the dress on; this makes the dress slide on easier without ruining your hair/makeup or getting it on the dress. Makeup By Emma Brown
Always have a tissue and a mini lip gloss/ lipstick tucked into the cup of your bra. To stop any tears running down your face and to always have a nice lip throughout the day for your pictures. Kate Christopher
As an MUA – know your bride’s skin!!!! I’ve seen so many times where a bride has oily skin and the MUA uses a water-based foundation – not good think of oil and water mixing, or dry skin and someone uses Matte which is going to cake the skin! So yes know your skin combinations/ if a mixing use two foundations in the correct areas. Emma Lampkin
PROFESSIONAL WEDDING MAKEUP ARTISTS
Sarah Jayne Gandy says – My top wedding makeup tips would be to have the lipstick shade we (the makeup artist) use to reapply throughout the day / also a beauty blender with the foundation dregs on, so to speak that we have used that morning to pat the skin if needed after kisses and tears throughout the day.
Also, stay true to yourself not what a typical bride is meant to have – and have the makeup shade/tone that you are used to so you still feel yourself. You always want to look back at pics and smile and not think why did I change my makeup so much.
Makeup artist and former teacher at West Lancs College Gill Johnson wedding makeup tip is to be yourself and have makeup and hair you will still love in 50 years at your golden wedding anniversary.
MUA Leha Lorraine says – Always have a trial beforehand, so you have full confidence in your makeup for the big day.
Stay hydrated on the run-up to your big day, drink plenty of water and your skin will glow, and you will also see a big difference to the appearance of fine lines and pores. Maria Murray
2020 WEDDING MAKEUP IDEAS
Sam Jane Marshall Ruby Slippers Makeup & Hair always recommend that brides stay away from current fashion trends and keep everything timeless and elegant. To much contour and oversized lashes will date and not photograph well.
Steph Elkins Always wear waterproof mascara and make sure your foundation doesn’t have a high SPF causing flashback on your photographs.
Natasha Skelton is one of my favourite makeup artists, not least because I photographed her wedding but in our early years we would collaborate endlessly on test shoots practising our crafts.
Natasha is an MUA with an incredible CV, not only has she owned a salon but she is a Loreal ID artist and has worked on TV shows such as This Morning. Her wedding makeup tips are:
Have a strict skin regime, monthly facials including face peels, cleanse tone and moisturise morning and night and drink plenty not water. You will achieve a more flawless makeup if the skin is well hydrated.
BONUS! WEDDING MAKEUP TIPS FOR MEN
1. Hydrate your skin by drinking plenty of water in the days leading up to the wedding.
2. Visit a steam or sauna a few times in the lead up to the big day.
3. Invest in a facial and include eyebrow trim and shaping, this can help to open up your eyes.
4. If having a Turkish shave or a hair cut with a skin fade think about red patches caused by skin irritation and schedule your visit to the barber’s chair accordingly.
5. Use a decent Matte based moisturiser and don’t be afraid to use additional products to treat dark circles under the eyes, blemishes and pimples.
I hope this Wedding Day Makeup Tips blog post by a professional wedding photographer helps to get you thinking – If you are booking me for your wedding photography I’ll have a good chat through all of this and more in your pre-wedding consultation.
If you’re planning a wedding and would like me to be your wedding photographer; visit my portfolio for examples of work, the blog for the latest weddings, and my approach to photographing your wedding.
Contact me today for a free wedding brochure, schedule a meeting or to reserve the date. Until then good luck with the rest of your wedding planning.