How to look like the most stunning version of YOU on your wedding day

Proposal Bride and Groom at Solstice Steps


Wedding makeup but natural look? How to look like the most stunning version of YOU on your wedding day.

I’m sharing another ‘chatting with the experts’ series one the blog here and this is one I’m just so excited about. Because photographers are one of the first wedding vendors to connect with couples, we generally can help you navigate and connect you with your whole vendor team. Today I’m chatting with Merideth the owner of Makeup By Merideth, and if you know anything about me you know that I am a lost cause when it comes to makeup and I depend on experts to show me how to navigate this subject well! Because of this, even though I’m not a bride, I’m so excited about this conversation. 🙂  I speak with so many brides and hear over and over again, “I want to find a makeup artist that can help me feel like the most stunning version of myself, is that even possible?” I know if I was getting married, that’s exactly how I would feel too… This is a long one, but worth the read!

So Merideth, first off thank you so much for talking with me about all of this, I’m so grateful for your knowledge in this area. I want to start with this, what is the biggest fear you find you hear from brides when it comes to their wedding day makeup look? 

Absolutely, I’m excited to help brides learn more about a sometimes confusing subject! One of the biggest concerns I hear brides talk about is that they’re afraid of wearing too much makeup and that they won’t look like themselves on their wedding day. 

I hear that a lot as well, is there a solution for that? 

Yes! When you feel like you’re wearing layers of heavy makeup, not only can it make you feel like you’re masking your natural beauty, but cakey makeup also creases and wears off much faster throughout the day (i.e. the exact opposite of what you’re going for on the most photographed day of your life). My signature style revolves around soft, natural tones & making sure your skin still looks like skin. The old “less is more” adage really applies here. I provide HD Airbrush makeup for my brides, which gives a naturally flawless finish, feels feather-light, and photographs beautifully.

I know personally, makeup is a grand mystery to me. You’re lucky if you see me with mascara on at an event, it’s just never been a part of my daily routine. However, for special occasions, I LOVE having my makeup done and I’m 100% confident I’m not the person to do that. What do you say to a person like me, who has no clue when I’m trying to figure out what my “wedding look” should be? 

This is pretty common! About half of my clients have a specific vision, and the other half is unsure and seeking professional advice. Since every bride has their own unique comfort level with makeup, I highly recommend scheduling a trial/consultation appointment with your artist so they can curate a look that complements your features. For me, during a bridal consultation, before I ever pick up a brush, I’m asking my brides a series of questions to fully understand the type of look that aligns with her vision and encompasses exactly how she wants to look and feel.

If you’re feeling totally unsure about what makeup look best suits you, that’s ok! A seasoned makeup artist will guide you through recommendations that are customized around your skin tone, eye color, and bone structure. All of this ensures you land on a look you are fully comfortable with and that you still feel your most beautiful self.

What about the opposite? I occasionally hear this on my side as well, so I’m curious if your answer is the same as mine… What about the bride who is SO comfortable doing her own look and so good at it that she wonders either what the point is of having a professional do her makeup or whether they’ll even be able to do as good of a job as she can? 

If you’re a bride with a specific vision in mind, that’s great too! Contracting a professional makeup artist is incredibly important on your wedding day for so many reasons, but especially because professionally-done makeup has powerful longevity and is camera-friendly. Your everyday makeup is probably beautiful, but the tools and techniques that a seasoned artist has in her arsenal will ensure your makeup is locked into place ALL night and photographs like a dream.

It comes down to this: Do you want to be the bride who’s hanging out with her girls on her wedding morning, listening to music, and relaxing while her makeup is being applied for her? Or do you want to be the bride who’s hunched over the hotel bathroom mirror with weird lighting, panicking that her winged liner isn’t even? (Please…do not do that to yourself, haha.) All joking aside…after nearly a decade in this industry, this isn’t at all far from reality. Being pampered and knowing that your makeup is done perfectly, on time, and without you having to lift a finger is always the best case scenario!

I couldn’t agree more. Just as far as the pampering side. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had to talk my beautiful brides out of “finishing up” some wedding projects the day before or day of their wedding day. Your wedding day should be nothing but enjoying the moments and people around you! Not stressing over anything! Speaking of professionals, would you help me understand the difference between an amateur makeup artist and a luxury makeup artist? 

Experience, attention to detail, and professionalism are the major differences between a professional and a novice. Beyond that though, I would say there are two major red flags that will reveal an amateur from a luxury makeup artist.

#1: Amateurs put their ideas before your own. Some artists tend to project their ideal look onto you, instead of listening to and executing the look you actually want. If you communicate that you don’t feel comfortable with a certain aspect of your look, and your artist’s response is anything but “I hear you – let’s adjust it so you feel comfortable” that is not a good sign. I strongly urge brides to consider professionals who can walk with you in a kind, collaborative way to make sure your vision really comes to life. 

#2: Amateurs don’t consider lighting. Obviously, it’s not a great idea to do makeup in a poorly-lit room, but it goes a little further than that. Let’s say you’re getting ready on your wedding morning, and the room you’re in only has one main window. A novice makeup artist might set up her station right next to the window for optimal lighting. That doesn’t seem all that bad…until the photographer arrives, ready to take advantage of the little natural light that’s available in the room. A seasoned makeup artist knows to never rely on natural light alone, so she brings her own professional lighting and sets up her makeup station in an out-of-the-way corner of the room, leaving the window light open for your photographer to take beautifully-lit images of you and your pretty details. 

Can we say it louder for the ones in the back? Oh, my goodness! Ha, sorry I got distracted by people taking up our window light… 😉 Ok so practically, if brides are interviewing for the perfect makeup artist, what are some things they should look for to be able to tell the difference and make sure they find a perfect artist for their day? 

My biggest piece of advice is to make sure you’re hiring someone whose style you LOVE. If your ideal bridal look is a minimalist “barely there” look, but you’re reaching out to artists whose portfolios feature dramatic smokey eyes with glitter, their work probably won’t align with your vision, and it won’t end up being what you hoped for. It’s possible to appreciate someone’s art, while also realizing they’re perhaps not the perfect vendor fit for you. Reaching out to an artist whose work you already love, that falls within a style you can see yourself wearing, will give you the best opportunity to find an artist who can achieve your dream look!

Tell me about the actual wedding morning. Can you give brides any tips for planning their wedding morning in a way that is going to work well for them, and you as well as a makeup artist? 

For brides, I recommend taking your values and your personality type into account when you’re envisioning what you want that morning to look like. Your wedding day will notoriously fly by. It’s a busy day, with one event happening after another. The absolute best gift you can give to yourself that day is time. Every event that day will revolve around your ceremony time. If you haven’t scheduled your ceremony time yet, ask for your photographer’s recommendation on an ideal ceremony time that works best for the type of wedding day you’d like to experience. 

I definitely agree with that. One of the things I tell my couples is that this is most likely your first time planning a wedding, but for vendors like you and I, that have been in the industry for a very long time, we’ve seen hundreds. If you share with me what your vision is for how you want your wedding day to “feel”, then I can help you craft a timeline that will reflect what you need to help that feeling come to life. 

What about preparing for the wedding day. Is there anything they should be doing for their skin or face before the big day? 

I have so many tips on this topic! My top three are:

  1. Drink water. I know this tip is a little exhausted, but it will always be my #1 answer because there is no moisturizer in the world that can compete with hydrating your body from the inside out.
  2. Exfoliate your face and body 1-2 times a week (and don’t forget your lips)! Follow exfoliation with your normal skincare regimen, taking extra care to moisturize well. 
  3. Consider going to your local spa for a professional facial (about 2 weeks before). My favorite facial treatment is the hydrafacial (because there are no painful extractions). During a hydrafacial, your skin is cleansed and gently “vacuumed” with a special tool that uses water and suction to remove blackheads, dirt, and built-up makeup from your pores, while also gently exfoliating. Oh my goodness, it makes such a difference in the way makeup lays on the skin. Get ready for the softest baby skin of your life! 

That sounds amazing! What about food? I’ve always heard that food affects your skin, is that something you should worry about right before your wedding? Again, remember vegan donuts are my love language and I’m stretching here but still…. 😉 

Haha, well some dermatologists have conflicting views on whether or not greasy foods/sweets affect your skin, so you might be in the clear! 😉 However, dairy consumption is often associated with an increased risk of acne. If you notice that you tend to break out after consuming certain foods, my advice would be to avoid those things at least 2 weeks before your wedding if possible and again…drink a LOT of water. Also, invest in your skincare! It truly makes a difference. 

Brides need their makeup to last hours and hours. Most of the time, through dancing, hugs, and kisses all day long. I’ve seen it work well, and not so well. Can you explain that mystery to me? 

It’s ALL in the artist’s technique. Bridal makeup is event makeup, which is vastly different than your “everyday” makeup. If you’re applying “everyday” makeup for an event, it may look beautiful for the first few hours, but it will break up before the night’s over. An experienced artist knows how to properly layer products for lasting longevity, has the tools to provide a lasting finish, and uses makeup products that will harmonize well with your skin type.

Lastly, you’re getting married! Of course, I know this because you’re one of my brides and I’m so beyond excited for your wedding coming up I can hardly wait! So I’m curious as a wedding vendor, who is now planning your own wedding… is there anything that has made you pause and have a different perspective on what our brides are going through on their wedding planning journey? 

Yay! Planning my own wedding has given me so much insight into what my brides are thinking and feeling. It’s so exciting, but it can also be a lot trying to balance family dynamics, outside opinions, and balancing planning with work and life. I really empathize now more than ever with my brides, because while it’s so much fun knowing you’re doing all of this to eventually marry the love of your life, being a bride is a role that carries a certain responsibility that you don’t necessarily realize until you’re experiencing it. 

I have a newfound respect for brides, and being in that role myself now has entirely reshaped the way I do business to make sure my bride’s experience is easier and more seamless than ever. And…now when I tell my brides to remember what’s most important and take some time out of every week to step away from wedding planning, I can now fully understand how much value that holds.

That’s so insightful, Merideth, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your time and knowledge with myself and my brides. You can read more about Merideth over on her website and follow along to *perhaps* get a few wedding planning glimpses of her own over on her Instagram. Here are a few more images from her sweet (and totally surprise) wedding proposal. 


Surprise Wedding Proposal Lakewood Park Photo Couple Proposal Lakewood Park Photo


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