Bridal Beauty... What I've Learned

Hi everyone! I had a fantastic weekend- filled with traveling, friends, and lots of makeup! My friends Katie and Ryan got married at the beautiful Greenbrier in West Virginia. Katie grew up in a nearby town, and the whole area is charming & filled with tremendous mountains. I got to know both Katie and Ryan at WSIL (the TV station where I work)- Katie is a meteorologist and Ryan is a news reporter. My first time meeting Katie was actually during a hair/makeup freak-out she was having right after she started at the station & had gotten a new haircut! They are a perfect fit, and I was honored to be asked to do the makeup for the wedding! I did Katie's hair and makeup, along with makeup for 5 bridesmaids, and Katie & Ryan's mothers. Tyler spent all that time golfing :)

While I have done bridal makeup before (including my own), I have never done this many people at once- so it was definitely a new experience for me! It was really kind of an adrenaline rush... knowing that this would be one of the most photographed events of Katie's life, and of course I wanted to make sure the bridesmaids and mothers were looking and feeling their best as well! :) I wish I would've taken more pictures, but honestly, there wasn't any downtime & I was more concerned with getting my brushes clean & getting everything prepped for the next person. Like I said, it was a tight schedule!

I did snap this photo of one of the bridesmaids, Sally. And I can't take credit for making her skin look perfect- it was naturally that way! :) But this shows the overall makeup theme that I used for all of the girls. The goal was flawless, photo-ready skin with a peach-toned blush... eyes were kept neutral- I used champagne, taupe, and brown colors in the Balm's Nude 'tude palette that I've been raving about. I did a shiny, peachy-pink lip on pretty much all of the girls- tarte Lip Surgence in Sweet was a great base. I had everything from dark brunette girls to light blondes... yet MAC's Cork eyeshadow proved to be a great brow touch-up product across the board. I was truly happy with the way all of the girls turned out- and the fact that they were already beautiful and beyond nice to me was definitely a bonus! They were all childhood friends of Katie's so I was really honored to have a hand in this.

Katie was the last person on my agenda, and fortunately I have done her makeup quite a few times before! :) It was interesting, because right before doing Katie's makeup, I did her mother's makeup and they have the very same facial features, and the same personalities, for that matter. It doesn't show much in this last-minute pre-wedding pic that I took, but I did a subtle brownish/taupe outer V with the eyeshadow, and used MAC blush in Fleur Power for a bit of pink on the cheeks. I did a rosy pink lip that really brought her whole face to life, and major shoutout to Mally's Evercolor Automatic Waterproof eyeliner & Cover Girl Lash Blast Waterproof mascara! Katie shed some tears, but her eye look seemed totally untouched at the reception!! I was thrilled :) For her hair, I teased it up big time, then smoothed it and pinned half of it up. The veil was on a comb that I poked down over the bobbi pins. This was the part I was most concerned about... but it was almost too easy! With the help of a lot of Tresemme Tres Two hairspray- it lasted all night!

Like I mentioned, I've never done makeup for this many people over the course of one afternoon, so I thought it might be helpful to me and others to sort of review how it all went...

What Worked...
  • Having set times for each bridesmaid to come meet me (there was a half hour for each) allowed for them to schedule their afternoon and take care of eating, napping, hair, etc... as opposed to just having everyone sitting there waiting on me the whole time.

  • Having a well-organized train case full of products that were carefully chosen. I knew basically what skintones I was working with, and planned the overall "look" so I didn't overwhelm myself with a zillion shades of this or that.

  • Packing plenty of disposable items that I'd be reaching for often and sitting them out so they were readily available- sponges, q-tips, pointed q-tips, mascara wands, Kleenex.

  • Having a trashcan nearby. Seems like a no-brainer, but it kept me from tossing a used tissue or q-tip onto my work-space, potentially making me look cluttered, unsanitary, and unprofessional.

  • Having brush cleaner & alcohol in spray bottles... allowed me to quickly sanitize brushes, lash curlers, and makeup products.

  • Doing my homework with the girls between "sessions"- asking the next one about her skintype, and what amount of makeup she's accustomed to wearing... sort of getting a feel for her comfort zone.

  • Allowing a lot of extra time for the bride (my last person)... Setting aside 1.5 hours for her was the reason everything stayed on schedule & the girls made it to their pictures on time... since I slowly got behind schedule as I did the whole group. (The two mothers weren't initially factored into the plan).

  • Doing my own makeup & hair in advance so only touch-ups were needed for myself. The wedding got underway about a half hour after I got done with Katie, so I pretty much had to throw on my dress & go!

What I'd do differently...

  • Allow for more time per person. While 30 minutes was pretty much fine for the makeup application- I could've used an extra 5 minutes in between to allow more time for brush cleaning, sanitizing, and re-organizing stuff.

  • Have an assistant (at least when doing lots of people's makeup). I probably could keep the times the same if I just had another set of hands helping with the brush cleaning, etc. I also would've liked for pictures or video to be taken during the process, and an assistant could've helped with that.
  • Bring a stool... everyone sat in a typical chair which put a strain on my back as I leaned over each one. Getting the girls more on eye-level with me would've been nice.

  • Handed out my business cards with my websites on there... I had them with me but totally forgot to give them to the girls!

Well, that pretty much sums it up! Thanks for taking the time to read this! I have so much respect for the makeup artists out there who do tons of makeup like this on a regular basis. There are so many little details to think about, but it is truly fulfilling when a beautiful face is smiling back at you, excited about the way they look and feel! :)


  1. That sounds like it was such a good time and learning experience. Im sure I would have been completely overwhelmed. Great job!!

  2. Wow, Emily--You did a fantastic job. Thank you so much for sharing this experience with us. Hugs,~Moonchime❤

  3. The pictures looked beautiful, great job! I'm getting married in Oct and am wondering what liquid foundation you would recommend. I currently use Maybelline Superstay, do you think that would photograph well? Also, would you recommend using an all night setting spray? Thanks so much!

  4. Hi Emily!
    I did my first big wedding this past weekend, too! 6 full faces, going in thinking I was going to do 2 1/2!
    I would have prepared a lot more had I known how many I'd end up doing! A couple great things to have are makeup remover wipes (for quick cleaning your brushes) and hand sanitizer wipes for an eyelash curler. I wish I had thought about those that day. I had the makeup wipes, just didn't think to use them. Thankfully powder products aren't too bad with bacteria.
    You are totally right with the stool! I used a hair chair for the first 2 girls and then a stool for the 2nd two, but then we moved locations and just had a folding chair at the church hall. My back is still killing me!

  5. Thanks for this post!! I have done a few makeup gigs but most was my close friend and family. But this similar situation happen to me once, when I have to do both makeup and hair for 4 persons, and I can totally understand the important factors that you have mentioned. I am just starting out, plus it is more of my once in a while side job, therefore I do not have the money to invest in good quality product yet. However,all of these tips can help me for my next gig. I will try to be more professional. If you can, can you please do an in depth video regarding this topic. I would like to see more! Thanks

  6. I am a wedding makeup artist! I really love that you did the overview at the end. I have some of the same things that worked and things I would do differently. It has really helped with the learning process to do that. Since I am usually just going trying to get everyone's makeup done. I have forgotten to hand out my cards. I put them in a nice card holder next to my station and put the lips sticks next to it so just as I finish with their lips I remember to hand them a card and tell them to check me out.

  7. Thank you so much for posting this! I'm doing the bridal party of my soon to be sis in-law next week Sat and I'm nervous! I've done just the bride before but having more than one person to do is a bit scary Im soooo glad she only has two sisters LOL

    thanks for the tips!!

  8. So nice to see you doing makeup outside of your journalism/tv job! I love being a makeup artist but bridal work is the hardest thing hehe

  9. What a great way to show off your skills!

  10. You handled yourself pretty well with all those faces! Ive only done one wedding, and it was a gothic wedding! But I have been on a few multiple model photoshoots and its always great to be completely prepared! I love your tips at the end! Love this post!

    come see
    See ya there!

  11. This sounds like a lot of fun! I wish we had you or a person like you at my friend's wedding as a make-up artist. Ours did everybody's makeup on a rush and I was the last one (I was a bridesmaid) and she was doing my makeup as the ceremony was starting... It was a nightmare basically:), but I tried not to freak out so the bride is not worried or anything. But you are right - the timing is very important in events like this.

  12. TEETH BLEACH IS A MUST!!! especially the week before any major photos :D

    Im a fan of All white, but it can leave your mouth a little sensitive. Crest strips are great when you are on the go, especially to keep in your car. i saw them on sale at for 10% off with a promo code "toothache"

    ... I still think the bleach gel is best. but its your preference

  13. Such fantasic tips,I bet it was fun :-)

  14. The makeup you did looks so lovely! Very feminine & not at all over the top!

    Thank you for sharing all your tips with us <3

    xx Louise

  15. Dear Emily!
    Please!Please!Please! I need some insight for doing own makeup at wedding. I am planning to so my own and really would appreciate some advices!
    Thanks in advance!

  16. Emily,
    I just had my second visit to the Greenbrier Hotel & Casino in February! Such a beautiful place and full of history.
    The bride looks absolutely stunning! I'm sure she was thrilled with her makeup and hair!

  17. Great job Emily! I absolutely love your YouTube channel and your blog, and I wanted to take a minute to let you know how much I really appreciate all that you do. I have learned so much from your reviews and tutorials, and I really like that you are so down-to-earth, approachable, and friendly, while also being professional, thoughtful, and intelligent in your analysis of various products. Thanks!!!

  18. Great job Emily! Sounds like an awesome experience :) good tips too!

  19. You are amazing.. I don't know how you manage doing all you do! I've learned so much watching you and thanks for the do's and don'ts on this post!

  20. Looks like you did a great job. Hope you had time for your own makeup aswell.

  21. Hi Emily!
    I am Brazilian, I was visiting some beauty blogs and found yours, loved it! I'm also watching and putting on my list of their favorite videos, you've won a fan!! Whenever I can I'll be visiting you here and if you like, like to one day make a post about you and be able to disseminate in my country with someone as talented makeups and videos as dynamic.
    Joined on my list of Google Friend Connect.


  22. I'll be your assistant next time! My only fee would be you teaching me stuff!@!!

  23. Can you share what palettes you used. or how you worked with different foundation/coverage preferences ?

  24. Wow she looked beautiful :) You are so talented! I would love to see a video on you makeup "kit" so to speak, or how you prepare when you do other peoples makeup! xx

  25. Wow, great work. Sounds like you were super organized. I would be so stressed to do makeup for such a huge event in one's life. But I guess with your skills, you dont have that problem :)


  26. The bride looks so lovely:)

  27. Emily, could you please do a tutorial of the (full-face) makeup you did on the bride?

  28. The Greenbrier is famous for weddings. :)I think it just snowed there this week.

  29. My wife had her wedding makeup in perth. Just like you, she was so beautiful on our wedding day.

  30. Thanks for sharing such a nice information. I and my childhood friend after sharing a good bond, have finally decided to get married and searching for good malibu wedding venues. My brother is helping us out in shortlisting venues. Really excited at it!

  31. great information.
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  33. Great job Emily! I absolutely love your YouTube channel and your blog, and I wanted to take a minute to let you know how much I really appreciate all that you do. I have learned so much from your reviews and tutorials. Check Bridal Jewellery Here

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