The venue is booked, flowers chosen, photographer selected and you’ve found ‘the one’ wedding dress. As the final wedding preparations draw closer there’s not long to wait until you say those two important words, ‘I Do.’ Two important little words that can mean the start of something beautiful, you’re in love, you cannot be prised apart, you want to be together forever… Yup, there’s no denying it, for a bride some of the most important I Do’s and I Don’ts of a wedding are related to the contents of her (or her makeup artist’s) cosmetics bag. It’s a relationship that you’ve dreamed of, one that guarantees longevity, has no imperfections and maintains a radiant appeal. 


Whether you choose to go it alone or employ the services of a professional artist for your big day, get it right and you’ll be making a commitment for life to your beauty regime.

So without further ado I call upon these persons here present to gather around this blog as we bring together in holy makeup artistry our Top 10 I Do’s & I Don’ts for the perfect bridal makeup.

( I ) DO

1) Practise your make-up beforehand, and not just a trial, actually wear the full make-up from morning to night to see how it wears. It’s important to carry out a trial run, irrespective of whether you’ve decided to go DIY or book a make-up artist. It’s best to do this within 4-6 weeks of the wedding, once all the little details are confirmed, as you’ll be able to co-ordinate your look with everything else.

2) Wear white (or the colour of your wedding outfit) for your trial run. This will allow you to gauge how your make-up will look on your wedding day as certain colours can reflect on your face and change the way your make-up looks. 

3) Take photos at the trial. Your wedding photos will last forever so make sure you’re pleased with your makeup on camera, as well as in the mirror. Avoid foundations with SPF as these tend to cause the dreaded ‘flashback’ and no one wants to look like Casper on their wedding day. Unless it’s a Halloween themed wedding. Or you’re re-enacting the Bella & Edward love story. 

4) Wear make-up that’s made to last. Primer, waterproof mascara and waterproof eyeliner are essential items for any bride’s makeup bag as, unless you’re channelling your inner Chandler Bing, there’s a good chance you’re going to cry. (For anyone who hasn’t seen Friends, firstly, how have you managed to avoid 20 years of non-stop repeats?! Secondly, it was a running joke that the character Chandler couldn’t cry, even in the most emotional scenarios).

5) Bear in mind your everyday style. If you use minimal makeup in your day-to-day life you probably don’t want to go for the Dita Von Teese look on your big day. The key to wedding makeup is looking like yourself, but better, not looking like an entirely different person altogether. If you prefer a slightly quirkier look why not try incorporating a pop of colour with a flick of liquid eyeliner or a bright lipstick. Alternatively, try using eyeliner in your chosen wedding colour under your eye. Your make-up can always be your ‘something blue’! 

Vintage bridal makeup by Branch Out Makeup. Image by Twig's Branch Photography.

Vintage bridal makeup by Branch Out Makeup. Image by Twig's Branch Photography.

6) Get inspired and create a mood board. Now, you don’t have to run off and grab scissors and glue and re-enact your favourite ‘here’s one we made earlier’ Blue Peter scene (unless that’s your bag, if so, then have at it by all means), but do scour Pinterest, magazines and blogs for makeup inspiration.

7) Focus on the key elements of a woman’s face – groomed eyebrows, glowing skin, fluttery lashes and soft lips. If you get these basics right the rest of your look will fall into place.

8) Opt for individual lashes for a more natural look.

9) Prepare! It is critical that you look after your skin in the run up to the Big Day. Stressed and dehydrated skin does not make for a good makeup base so drink plenty of water, get your beauty sleep, apply moisturiser twice daily and change your pillowcases regularly. This will make sure that you look fresh, fabulous and flawless for your wedding day (and night 😉).

10) Carry touch-up items with you, such as lipstick, a little powder and mascara. A make-up sponge is always a useful addition as a safety measure if you’re likely to blur halfway through the speeches. Bring a pocket mirror with you so you can gracefully dab your face back to perfection wherever you are.

( I ) DON’T

1) Allow your make-up artist to give you a look that you are uncomfortable with. When having your make-up done it’s tempting to just sit back and let the artist make the decisions, but would you take this approach with your wedding dress? Not likely. Your make-up artist may not know your personality, or what you like to look like on a regular basis, and the last thing you want is to turn up at the altar for your partner to think another bride has gate-crashed the wedding!

2) Use anything on your wedding day that you have never used before. Whilst the chances are small, there is always a risk of reacting to a product and your wedding day is not the day to be sporting the just-lost-a-battle-with-a-bunch-of-angry-bees look.

3) Don’t forget the décolleté! Do not only apply makeup to your face, remember to blend below your jawline and onto your neck so your face doesn’t look drastically different to the rest of your body.

4) Have a facial or pluck/wax your eyebrows on the wedding day itself (or even the day before). The best time to do the pre-wedding facial/brow fix is about 4/5 days prior as this will allow any irritation plenty of time to settle down.

5) Be trend-led. The thing with trends is that they fade. Bleached eyebrows may be hot on the Milan catwalk but, looking back on your wedding photos, you want to remember all the little moments of the day, rather than how to identify the decade by the style of your brows. Timeless doesn’t have to mean boring, think Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Marilyn Monroe. These are all women who will continue to look flawless in photos in 10, 20, 30 years time.

Natural bridal makeup by Branch Out Makeup. Image by Twig's Branch Photography.

Natural bridal makeup by Branch Out Makeup. Image by Twig's Branch Photography.

6) Clash with the type of wedding you are having. Keep in mind your look and theme. If you’re having a beach wedding, black eyeliner and red lips is probably not the look for you. Similarly, if your wedding is black tie then boho chic is probably not your best bet.

7) Go over-board on highlighter. You want to achieve a look that has light dancing off your cheekbones, rather than you looking like a 70s disco ball. Whatever you do keep the highlighter well away from you forehead and upper lip. Shine on these areas will make you look oily and sweaty, NOT glowing.

8) Try falsies for the first time on your wedding day. They may irritate your eyes so be sure to try them out prior to the Big Day.

9) Skip primer. It really does make such a difference, think of it like this, your primer is a freshly baked scone, your foundation is the jam and your powder or setting spray is the big dollop of cream on top (cue the age old argument of jam/cream or cream/jam). On their own each element is just meh but together, well, that’s where the magic happens.

10) Forget to set. Loose powder, pressed powder, setting spray – whatever works for you. If you’re make up is set then so are you!

Say I Do to our Top 10 Products for a Picture Perfect Bridal Look


1) Get Naked! No, not like that, save that for the wedding night ;) We’re talking eyeshadow palettes - specifically Urban Decay’s Naked collections, all of which offer a selection of neutral matte and shimmer shades perfect for creating a variety of subtle bridal looks.

2) For some added sparkle try Bellapierre shimmer stacks - using a slightly damp brush press some of the pigment onto your centre lid to really open up the eyes.

3) Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk liner & lipstick - a cult celeb favourite, this perfect shade of pink flatters all skin tones and gives just the right flush of colour. Your lips but better.


4) Photo Finish by Smashbox is one of the original, and best, primers on the market that suits the majority of skin types. It comes in a handy travel size so you can pop it in your hand luggage for the honeymoon too.

5) Foundation - look for something long-lasting with a semi-matte finish and remember NO SPF!  Illamasqua Skin Base is a great option as it comes in every shade and undertone imaginable. It’s buildable, photographs well and really does last. For a budget version opt for L’O’real True Match which is available in 23 shades and matches 98% of UK skintones.

6) For a subtle highlight on your wedding day we love MAC’s Soft & Gentle which gives a beautiful, ethereal glow.

7) Add a touch of illuminating concealer under the brow bone and eyes for a youthful, rested look. The holy grail of illuminating products has to be YSL’s radiant Touche Eclat but L'Oreal La Touche Magique is a perfectly respectable drugstore dupe.

8) When it comes to waterproof mascara our favourite has to be Too Faced Better Than Sex - the perfectly shaped hourglass brush coats every lash for luscious, long, curled lashes. And it won’t budge even if you do blub during the toasts.


9) Nars Orgasm blush is a universally flattering pinky/coral shade with a beautiful, subtle gold shimmer. It's the perfect bridal blush but it does carry a hefty price tag (worth it if you can afford it). For a high street dupe try the Sleek Rose Gold blush which is almost identical for a fraction of the price. 

10) Setting spray - for the ultimate hold go for Urban Decay All Nighter or, for a budget option, try Mark MagiX Prep & Set Spray from Avon.