9 Tips for Great Bridal Makeup From a Makeup Artist

Here are a makeup artist's best tips for amazing bridal makeup. Charlottesville makeup artists, Anne Kibler of Charlottesville Makeup Artist LLC, is here to save the day.

By Monica Mercuri

The First Look ✨

Getting married? Terrible at makeup? If you happen to be one of those brides who has little to no makeup experience, you might be getting rather nervous about how your wedding day beauty routine is going to go down. Bridal makeup is important for making sure you look like the natural, beautiful woman you are in your wedding photographs (rather than a washed-out apparition or a shiny disco ball), so it’s wise for you to think ahead about your bridal makeup at least a little bit. But before you actually begin sweating, hold up: one of our favorite Charlottesville makeup artists, Anne Kibler of Charlottesville Makeup Artist LLC, is here to save the day.


Trust us, Anne and her team at Charlottesville Makeup Artist LLC know their stuff and, even better, she’s shared with us 9 tips for how to achieve incredible bridal makeup below. Anne is as fun-loving as she is professional, there’s no one we’d rather entrust our mascara wands to—so grab your brow pencils, because you’re gonna want to take some notes.

1. Skin Care Counts

Great makeup starts with a good canvas. No doubt, makeup artists can work miracles…but we are not plastic surgeons! Regardless of how much we “work our magic,” makeup can only take you so far. There comes a point of diminishing returns, and often less is more. So what’s the secret? The best way to have great makeup is to take excellent care of your skin. Any quality makeup (and I recommend only using quality products for your wedding) will look better on a canvas (ie. your face) that’s healthy, hydrated, and well cared for. Most beautiful makeup has great skin that is well taken care of underneath.

Photo Credit || Ward Photography

2. Don’t Skip the Primer

Have you ever tried a DIY house painting job? How important is primer? Using a primer means needing to use less paint to get the job done. While painting your house is obviously different from applying makeup to your face, I use this analogy because it’s one that most people understand. I mean, most people have heard of paint primer—the white stuff you apply before you actually paint. The funny thing is, most people will take more time to prep a wall than they will their own face! Most people have never even heard of makeup primer. Believe me, it exists. And for your wedding, its non-negotiable.

Here’s another reason: don’t you want your makeup to last on your wedding day? A good quality primer will help make that happen. Not only will it help smooth out any roughness on your face, it will also make your makeup “adhere” better to your skin, blend more smoothly, and last hours longer. It will also look better. As an artist, I like to think of a face as a blank canvas, and it’s my job to create a masterpiece. Well just like a painting, the artistry of that masterpiece is easier to create when the canvas has been primed.


3. Concealer is a Good Idea

Unless you are among the lucky 5% of the population that gets all the sleep they need and never has any under-eye circles, you will probably benefit from a little bit of concealer. Avoid trying to “cover up” the darkness with a concealer that’s caked on five shades lighter. Again, less is more. You don’t want to look like you have white circles under your eyes. The idea is to “correct” the darkness under your eyes with a slightly lighter color than your skin tone. I would advise against the reverse raccoon look!

Photo Credit || Aaron Watson Photography

4. Choose a Good Bronzer—Wisely

If you’re one of those bronze-obsessed brides, then skip this section. The last thing you want on your wedding day is to look like you just got a bad spray tan. For the rest of you, a little bronzer (again, not a crazy bronze face!) will help you look less washed-out in photos. The camera can sometimes give the impression that you are a shade lighter than you actually are. A good bronzer applied correctly, in strategic areas, can give your face more “depth” in photos.

Also, if your makeup artist is experienced with contouring, that’s worth checking into. But I do caution to make sure you trust your makeup artist with this step. Get a trial, and experiment with it then. Contouring is an advanced technique and only looks good when a makeup artist actually knows what he or she’s doing. Done by an amateur, your face will look muddy or dirty. Done well (by a professional, with experience), your bone structure will look fabulous in your photos.


5. Pay Attention to Your Lashes

If you’re what I like to call a “lash virgin,” you’re not alone. Most women have never tried or haven’t even heard of false eyelashes before. Well, if there’s a time to “turn it up a notch,” your Big Day is the day. Like bronzer and contouring this can backfire on you, so be sure that your makeup artist is a true, experienced professional.

Fake lashes can be your best friend…or your worst nightmare. Applied poorly, or if the lashes are cheap, they will poke you all night long, irritate your eye, and you will probably end up rubbing off all of your eye makeup. Applied correctly, you will look stunning in your photos. I kid you not, you will probably be more photogenic then you’ve ever been in your entire life! Provided they are done right, nothing can do what lashes can do; your eyes will look better then they have ever looked. You may even forget that you’re wearing them, and if you cry, the mascara won’t run… it’s like a dream come true! The camera tends to “wash out” the eyes, so be sure to do something: while I consider fake lashes a “nice to have,” wearing a good-quality, waterproof mascara is an absolute must.


6. Don’t Ignore Your Lips

Believe it or not, this goes for your groom, too! Unless you are going for that corpse look, I would strongly recommend taking care of your lips. You don’t have to go too crazy. Even if you’re not a lipstick or lip gloss kind of girl, at the very least bring Chapstick. Dry, chapped lips that are cracked will show up on camera, and they look very unattractive—not to mention they will totally wash you out. I do a lot of makeup for local TV here in Charlottesville, and even the men wear lip balm. If men can wear lip balm, you can at least wear Chapstick for your wedding.

Photo Credit || 1216 Studio LLC

7. Your Brows Are Just As Important As Your Eyes

Most people tend to ignore their brows. Maybe it’s because people just don’t know any better, are too lazy, or because plucking or waxing is uncomfortable. Whatever your excuse is, just do something. When it comes to your brows, even a little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing. You don’t have to be an expert. Pluck a little bit in the obvious areas like in between and just under your brows.

If your brows are disorderly, maybe trim them a little. For beginners I recommend a little bit at a time. You’re not trying to look like a completely different person, you just don’t want your brows to look crazy unruly or lack definition. How important are window curtains to dressing up a window? Well, if your eyes are the windows to the soul, your brows are the curtains. Even just a little bit of grooming can make a big difference in your photos.

Photo Credit || A Muse Photography

8. “Testing It Out” on Camera Is Always a Good Idea

Even if you use quality products, not all makeup is meant for photos. Whichever products you decide to use, test them out on camera. Some products will give your face a “white shadow” in photos, so be sure to experiment before the wedding rather than at the wedding.

Photo Credit || Ibay Photography

9. Let It Go

The day of the wedding, your makeup routine should already be planned out. If you are doing it yourself, you should be a master at creating this look (since you have already experimented and practiced over and over again in the mirror). If you are hiring a pro, you should have already had a makeup trial. What’s done is done; stressing out will only cause you anxiety, and your face will tell that story in the photos. Just have fun, and enjoy the ride.

A big thanks to Anne and Charlottesville Makeup Artist LLC for these helpful tips. Brb, off to buy some fake lashes pronto…

Up next for you

bride test wedding makeup

6 Effective Ways to Test Your Wedding Makeup

How To

Make sure your wedding makeup stands up to your celebration. Here is exactly how to test your wedding makeup and what to look for as you do.

bride wedding dress shopping

13 Tips for Choosing Your Dream Wedding Dress


Find the wedding dress of your dreams with our round-up of the 8 best tips for wedding dress shopping—from who to bring to how to budget.

wedding hair and makeup cost

A Guide to Wedding Hair & Makeup Costs


How much does a professional wedding hair & makeup artist cost? Find out with our ultimate guide to wedding hair and makeup costs.

bride in wedding dress with long veil

A Step-By-Step Guide to DIY Wedding Makeup + 10 Tips

Wedding Makeup

To make sure that your wedding makeup is flawless and you’re looking your best on the big day, check out our tips for DIY wedding makeup below.

Simplify Your Wedding Planning at Zola

Find even more wedding ideas, inspo, tips, and tricks

We’ve got wedding planning advice on everything from save the dates to wedding cakes.