Updated: Jul 17, 2019
When we think of weddings, we think of a fun-filled day of love, family, friends, beauty and happy tears. But weddings are a lot of work, and can be a lot of stress on the bride(s). Here are 10 pro tips for helping your makeup look and feel the best on your big day:
1. START GETTING FACIALS NOW. Whether you're 6 months or 6 weeks from your wedding day, skin care is your best long-game prep for looking your best. Get a recommendation for a great aesthetician who can help establish your skin type and work with you to achieve your goals toward your best skin. Follow their product and regime recommendations as well; a great facial won't go the distance if you follow it up with skincare products at home that aren't right for your skin. Your last pre-wedding facial should be 2-4 weeks before your wedding (sometimes your skin needs to recuperate from a facial treatment, so don't get a facial too close to the wedding date).
2. DRINK LOTS OF WATER. Yes, I know you've heard this before. Water is one of the two best things you can do for your skin (the other is sleep; we will get to that next). A good general rule is to take your weight in pounds and divide it in half. That's the number of ounces you can challenge yourself to drink each day. Being properly-hydrated does a myriad of awesome things for your skin, including helping it create a good oil balance (being dehydrated can cause your skin to dry out or overproduce oil, depending on your skin type), assisting your lymphatic system to eliminate toxins, and decreasing the likelihood of hormone- and stress-related breakouts. Makeup looks better and lasts longer on skin that is hydrated from the inside with water.
3. GET PLENTY OF QUALITY SLEEP. As I mentioned before, water and sleep are better than any topical skincare money can buy. In addition to goaling toward 8 hours of sleep each night, make sure that your sleep is of good quality. Whenever possible, refrain from alcohol, marijuana or sleep aids before bedtime. Ritualize and prepare for sleep as a deliberate act of self-care by creating a restful sleeping space without distractions like clutter, your cell phone or a TV. Letting yourself get real rest, especially when your days are filled with work AND wedding planning, lowers stress and hits a reset button for your mind and body.
4. MANAGE SOCIAL STRESS. Many brides feel pressure from various sources (their family and friends being the big ones) to make everyone around them happy. Remember that it is your wedding day. Other people will have their opinions but you have the ultimate say. What does this have to do with makeup? Well, makeup can help you feel beautiful and bring out your inner beauty, but if you're unhappy or overwhelmed with what others are thinking and feeling, that is something that is almost impossible to hide (and you shouldn't have to). Its okay during the wedding planning process AND on the wedding day, to say no to people and to tell people that their negativity is not welcome in your space.
5. EAT FOODS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD. We use food in a variety of ways and for a variety of reasons. Everybody and every body is different. Brides often get conflicting information about what they "should" or "shouldn't" eat leading up to their wedding day. Most of it is pure bullshit. Listening to what your body wants and what will make you feel good is your best guide. If you know that a cupcake will help you relax after a day of meeting with wedding vendors, let yourself have it without apologies. If you've been running around eating food on the fly, sitting down and taking it slow with a meal filled with fresh foods that give you energy might be a good idea too. Whatever you do, be mindful that food and your relationship with it affects your mood and how you'll see yourself on your big day. Being preoccupied with rules about what you can and cannot eat can rob you of your joy and cause you to miss out on important moments. Feeling satisfied, refreshed and cared for will help you better manage all the other details of the big day.
6. ASK FOR HELP. Your friends and family want your wedding day to be great too. Bridal parties aren't just your "squad" or an excuse for your best friends to stand next to you in expensive dresses. Asking someone to be part of your wedding party is asking them to help you take on all the tasks involved in getting married. You shouldn't have to do that alone, and you shouldn't have to be approached every time someone has a question. As a makeup artist, I can see and feel the stress in a bride when she's approached for the 5th time about how the caterers don't know what door to come in or Steve can't find his necktie. Tell your mom, your sister and your BFF if you tend to get anxious or irritable during major events and ask them beforehand to take care of stuff behind the scenes instead of people bombarding you with questions. Let the people who love you, take care of you (for those who tend to be a little TOO helpful, see #8)!
7. CONSIDER A PRIVATE MOMENT. My makeup contract contains a rider that says when I'm doing the bride's makeup, nobody else is allowed in the room besides a photographer, and there's a good reason for this. Besides what I just mentioned in #6, noise and people moving around can aggravate a bride's stress level. Brides usually have their makeup done last and its the last chance they have to sit down and relax before they walk down the aisle. Here's a secret: its not ACTUALLY required for a bride to be by herself in these moments, and if you'd rather have your crew around you during the process, that's totally okay! The reason this rider exists in my contract is so that you can tell me you'd like to be alone. I can tell everyone you need privacy "because it's in my contract." That way, you can get the peace and quiet you need without hurting anyone's feelings.
8. PLAN TO MANAGE MICROMANAGERS. Is someone close to you a well-meaning micromanager that tends to bring more stress than help? These people (often moms, mothers-in-law, grandmas, best friends or older sisters) want everything to be perfect for us and picture it a certain way. Yes, it's a big day for you, but it's also a big day for them, and they feel responsible if anything goes wrong. Some people also manage their own feelings of anxiety by trying to control things or people that are around them. This isn't deliberate or malicious but can have a negative affect on your mood if they push your buttons. Assigning them with one important job helps to narrow their focus and gives them a sense of confidence and purpose on a day when a lot is going on. If you feel like someone you love might fit this description, asking them to make sure everything is set up or to help send vendors and guests where they need to go (and to report to your Maid of Honor with any problems instead of you), helps them to put their energy in a useful place and allows you to better relax and enjoy getting ready.
9. GET A MAKEUP TRIAL. Like many makeup artists, I require bridal makeup trials as part of my makeup services. This ensures that things look exactly how you want them to on the day of your wedding and there are no surprises. Can you make minor changes the day of if the mood strikes? Of course! But just like you get your dress fitted prior to the big day to make sure it fits just how you want it to, makeup (and hair) should be "tried on" before your wedding. Seeing what the makeup will look like, how it wears throughout the day, what it looks like in various kinds of lighting, and if your skin is sensitive to anything, gives you a good scope of where adjustments can be made so that you can wear it without worry when it matters most.
10. KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE. Every wedding service provider has their (very valid) reasons for stressing the importance of what they do on the day of your wedding. Of course I think makeup is important, because I am a visual person and I want how you look in your wedding photos to be looked upon fondly by you for decades to come. The manager of your venue, the dressmaker, the baker, the officiant... they all feel this way about their role too, and we are all trying to work in our lane to make what we do, something memorable and positive for you. It's a dream to get doted upon and catered to all day long, but in the moment it can feel like everyone is focusing way too much on you. Remember the two most important people, are YOU, and the person you are about to marry. Everything else is just details that are meant to enhance this day you've set aside to honor your love. In the times where it feels like you're drowning in invitations, pressure to look "perfect" (whatever the hell that means), contracts and deadlines, remembering the reason behind it all can help you re-center.