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One Bride, One Dress, Three Looks: The Transforming Power of Bridal Makeup

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Feeling beautiful is something we all want every day, but especially on our wedding day! While shots of rings, flowers, and décor surely capture precious details worth remembering, there’s no question that all eyes are on the bride(s), and they will continue to be as memories of the day are preserved in wedding photos for years, decades, and generations to come.

In an effort to help brides determine which hair and makeup style suits them best, I thought it would be fun to explore three different wedding hair and makeup “looks” most often requested by brides. I worked with a talented team of professionals to create three different looks on our model, Griffin Nelson. The catch? She would have to wear the same dress with all three looks. We also kept the lighting the same and photographed her in the same way to keep all of the other variables consistent. This allows you to focus on just the hair and makeup changes and really see the differences with each hair and makeup style.

For this shoot, we chose three specific looks: a natural/minimalist look; a classic/traditional look; and a dramatic/glamorous look.

Bridal Makeup Look 1 Natural Traditional Classic Bridal Makeup Look Bold Bridal Makeup Look

Look One: The Minimal and Glowing Bride

Lately, I’ve noticed most brides and clients come to me asking for a more natural-looking makeup application. Because the mental image of “natural” differs for all of us, and because makeup preferences are extremely subjective, I wanted to show my clients what comes to my mind when they say “natural.”

The “no makeup makeup” look — to me — captures what their spouse sees when they wake up next to their bride in the morning. Minimal. Natural. Delicate. Glowing.

This is probably one of my favorite looks to create because my clients feel like “themselves.” Don’t be deceived though. Griffin is wearing nearly as much makeup (perhaps a bit more) compared to the other two looks.

Look Two: Classic and Traditional

When I envision a classic bridal look, I envision eyes subtly lined with a little flick of a wing, soft, blushed cheeks, and a semi-rouged lip. This is my rendition of the classic, traditional bridal. The inspiration for this look comes from my late grandmother’s wedding day photo. This photo, taken nearly 60 years ago, is prominently displayed in our home and reminds me of the woman who taught me grace, class, and perseverance. Her makeup matched everything I remember loving most about her.

Because we wanted to maintain the consistency of the shoot for each look, we left the flower crown on, but the flower crown does not really fit this look in my opinion. The earrings do, however. The model’s earrings — coincidentally her grandmother’s — are the perfect “something old” accessory. The earrings would not necessarily fit with the first look, though.


Look Three: Glamorous and Bold

In my humble opinion, nobody does glamorous and bold makeup better than Persians. My own heritage is what comes to mind when a bride asks for this type of look. When I think of glamorous and bold, I picture a smoky eye with a pop of color; generally a royal color, and in the case of this shoot, teal.

Bold Bridal Makeup Look

Knowing that Griffin doesn’t wear a lot of makeup on a day-to-day basis, I was curious and perhaps a bit nervous to see how she’d receive this look. Her reaction to this look was amazing! She suddenly took on a diva persona (in a good way) and really commanded the rest of the shoot. Jeannine photographed her in another dress as well with this look, and the glamorous, bold Griffin really shined through.

This project was so fun and I hope it helps create a visual comparison that future brides can look at as they determine which makeup and hair look to go with on their wedding day!

However, even with these helpful photos of Griffin, many brides won’t be able to envision which style will most compliment their face shape and features. That’s why choosing a makeup artist with lots of experience (ahm, like me) and cultivating a relationship before the wedding day is so important! Schedule a trial makeup application or book your makeup artist for your bridal shower or bachelorette party so you get a chance to see your look (and make adjustments if necessary) before your big day.

If you have any questions about bridal makeup or my services, please feel free to reach out via my contact form.

Be beautiful!




Model & Shoot Stylist: Griffin Nelson
Photography: Jeannine Rae Photography
Hair: Amanda Brookins
Dress: Lenora by Wtoo from House of the Bride
Flower Crowns: Waiting on Wildflowers

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Beauty is about perception, not about make-up. I think the beginning of all beauty is knowing and liking oneself. You can't put on make-up, or dress yourself, or do you hair with any sort of fun or joy if you're doing it from a position of correction.

kevyn aucoin