The Ultimate Bridal Makeup Guide



Aside from choosing The Dress, one of the biggest decisions a bride will make is how she will wear her makeup and hair.  Though bridal beauty is traditionally natural and soft, modern bridal makeup can be anything from barely perceptible right through to full glam with false lashes and red lipstick. There are no rules. The latest cosmetics advances mean that makeup looks more natural and skin-like than ever, and long-wearing formulas allow makeup to last the distance on your day.


Choose your vibe


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Soft and girly

Natural, glowing skin with a light to medium coverage.

Pink or peach tones on the cheeks.

Soft eye makeup with white shimmer on the inner corners.

Individual wispy false lashes. 

Pinky-nude lip colour.

Suits: Lace dresses, tulle skirts, fair skin tones, curly hairstyles.



Edgy and glamourous

Medium to heavy coverage.

Smokey eye with black and grey at the lash line and crease (can be light or bold).

Half or full set of false lashes.

Light contouring of the cheeks, highlighted skin.

Nude lip OR a deep berry or red tone for extra drama.

Suits: Structured dresses, strapless gowns, smooth up-dos, medium to dark skin tones.



Vintage inspired

Medium to full coverage foundation.

Winged black eyeliner, half set false lashes.

Nude eyelids.

Contoured cheeks.

Statement lip: pink / red / orange. This look can also be worn with a classic nude lip.

Suits: 50's style dresses, pale to medium skin tones, black hair, platinum blonde hair, copper hair, vintage lovers.



Boho Luxe

Natural coverage.

Glowing, bronzed skin that looks lit from within.

Strong highlight, peach blush.

Bronzed eyes with individual lashes.

Lips are one shade darker than the natural lip colour with a hint of gloss.

Suits: Floral headpieces, bohemian style dresses, beach weddings, all skin tones, wavy hair, plaited hairstyles.

Flattering tones

Bridal makeup is traditionally natural looking, with most brides favouring nude, brown and bronze tones. These colours are great for lightly sculpting and contouring the face and defining the eyes. Contouring has been a key trend of late and translates well into bridal makeup when done subtly. Make sure your makeup artist doesn't overdo the contour. A hint of bronze is a great option to give a light sun-kissed look for summer brides.


Smoky greys and blacks incorporated into eye makeup define the eyes and add drama. A very soft smoky eye created properly can elevate bridal makeup to the next level, and will look fantastic in photos. Use of these smoky tones with nudes and soft browns gives them a more natural, wearable effect.

The degree of darkness used on the eyes is totally up to the individual - some women may feel more comfortable than others with dramatic eye makeup. Staying true to your tastes and preferences will help you feel your best on your special day. Be sure to discuss this in depth with your chosen artist.

Peaches and pinks are perfect to warm up the complexion and create a soft, feminine look. Deeper pinks and berry tones can look gorgeous on the lips for a slightly bolder look. Natural lilacs and purple tones will enhance green eyes.



Amp up your natural beauty

Many women wear little to no makeup from day to day. A wedding day, however, is special. Don't be afraid to wear a slightly heavier coverage, a brighter blush and some false eyelashes.

Modern foundations are designed to feel weightless on the skin, and a skilled makeup artist can apply your makeup so it looks airbrushed and natural - even if it's a heavy coverage. A pop of colour on the cheeks and lips is essential for wedding photography. Colour on the face tends to fade gradually throughout the day, so ideally your makeup artist will apply a little extra initially.



Individual false lashes are perfect for brides who want an ultra-natural look. These lashes slot into the natural lash line, and can be built up for a more dramatic effect. Lashes are a must for all brides. 


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Pinterest has thousands of images for beauty and bridal inspiration. If you have no idea where to start, it is the perfect place to begin your bridal beauty journey. 

Creating a makeup and hair specific board will quickly give you an idea of what you're drawn to, and is a useful tool when you have your consultation with your makeup artist.



Choosing a makeup artist

Unless you're confident doing your own makeup, using a professional makeup artist for your wedding is the norm.  The right person will put you at ease and make getting ready a wonderful experience.

Word of mouth is a great way to find a makeup artist recommendation, so ask friends in your area who they recommend, and don't be afraid to ask your artist for testimonials. Also consider the following:

How experienced is your chosen makeup artist? Opt for someone with at least a few years bridal experience under their belt. 

Does your makeup artist make you feel at ease? Choosing someone with a relaxed, calm manner can make the whole experience that much more special. 

Is your makeup artist qualified? Can they provide testimonials and / or examples of previous work?

What products do they use? Make sure your artist uses professional grade products that are geared towards longevity.





It's not unusual for brides to go for a completely different makeup look than their initial choice. Your makeup needs to suit your dress neckline, hairstyle, face shape and skin tone. Be open-minded, and allow your makeup artist to guide you. 

A good makeup artist will request to meet with you for a trial makeup run. Generally this happens anywhere from 1 - 12 months prior to the wedding day. A trial allows you to discuss your needs and do a practice run of the makeup look you are after - think of your trial as a time to have fun and play around with various tones and looks.  

You can also experiment at home with your own makeup, and try different colours and formulas at makeup counters.


Wedding Day Touch Up Kit

Once your makeup artist has worked his or her magic, it's up to you and your bridal party to maintain your makeup throughout the day and night. Put together a touch-up kit so that you can freshen up when needed. Be prepared, and ask one of your bridesmaids to hold on to these items for you. 

  • Clear Eyes - great to clear minor redness after tears.
  • Tissues and cotton buds - dab tissues under the eyes to avoid tears running down the face.
  • Concealer - to touch up around the nose and eyes if required.
  • Pressed powder or blotting papers - to mattify the skin and reduce shine. Essential for photos.
  • Lipstick and / or gloss - for touch ups after drinking, eating and kissing.
  • Bobby pins - for any stray pieces of hair that fall out.
  • Blister plasters - have on hand for any irritation from new shoes.
  • Mini hairspray and comb - To smooth down frizz and reset hair after outdoor photos.
  • Panadol - great to have on hand in case anyone gets a headache.


Are you planning a wedding in or around Auckland? Need an experienced, caring makeup artist?

Stephanie has ten years' of wedding makeup experience, and would love to discuss your makeup requirements with you. For more information, fill out the form below.

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