Recently a bride on The Knot Las Vegas forum was considering the option of applying her own make up for her wedding. It’s something I did, although not really by choice!

When my hairdresser was a no-show the morning of my wedding, it pushed my schedule into disarray. I had to cancel breakfast and my appointment at the MAC Pro store at Caesars Palace Forum Shops, and had just thirty minutes to apply my own make up. It’s not something I would wish on any bride, and I was very glad I had done a few things to prepare. Although not because I suspected this might happen.

In retrospect, it really worked out for me, although I was excited at the prospect of being pampered and vamped up for the wedding.  My face stayed in place in the heat of Vegas (through an outdoor wedding AND an outdoor shoot after), and because I did it myself, I looked like…well, me. Not to say MAC couldn’t do a great job, but I was worried they might go a bit heavier than I do, and make it look like a little unnatural. I wanted my face to pop in photos, but not THAT much!

Here are some things I did ahead of the week of the wedding to help put my best face forward. I think these should factor into anyone’s timeline and plan to get married.

1- Studied Youtube Tutorials (cost – FREE!)

Because I am not made of money, I only made an appointment for the day of my wedding to have my make up done. I know some brides will have their makeup done for engagement shoots, rehearsal dinners, the wedding day and for a day after shoot, but that wasn’t going to happen. Because I’m quite poor at applying makeup, I educated myself for free by watching basic makeup tutorials on YouTube so I could look great the entire week, and everyday.

These tutorials provided the skills I needed in:

  • long wearing makeup
  • best application tips for photography
  • looking glam but natural

I recommend watching these videos if you want to start somewhere.

Kandee Johnson: Perfect Wedding Day makeup or Perfect Wedding Day Makeup (love this girl!)
Makeup Geek: Easy Makeup for the Modern Bride

There are tons of men and women giving makeup tutorials online, so look for the person who best teaches to your knowledge base, speed of learning and style of makeup you want to go for! There are ones for virtually every skin tone and ethnicity, natural or heavy look, airbrushed and mineral makeup. Look around!

2- Prepped my skin (cost – $0.50 – $80)

I was so distraught over the state of my skin before my wedding I actually looked into seeing a dermatologist, and I started to get monthly facials. A huge expense! I really wanted another option, so I started to shop around and was reading many forums about acne. Such a thing exists! I considered ProActiv and Clarsonic, but decided on Paula’s Choice.

I have loved Paula Begoun since I saw her on Oprah many years ago, and have followed her advice when it comes to cosmetics suggestions, so I was very happy when she came out with her own products. 10 months out from my wedding I was trying to find a way to get rid of blackheads, and came across her line of BHA products. Initially I got some samples – they come in small packets that cost $1-2. They worked well, so I invested, and got some AHA, BHA and moisturizer that completely transformed my skin. It made it more even toned and smoother, and lessened my breakouts which I was still getting in my 30s. Yikes!

For the cost of a facial, I had a few months worth of products. I actually gave up my monthly facials about six weeks in.

Got a new box o’ Paula this week!

This isn’t really an ad for her products, but they did work for me, and they did work for my husband who is now a devotee. I highly recommend checking out her line a year or so from your wedding day if you struggle with fine lines, blackheads, acne or uneven skin. The trial size sample packs make it easy to try at a low cost, starting at $0.50! It has the possibility to work wonders and really make you glow. Not just on your wedding day, but everyday.

3- Product knowledge (cost – FREE to $75)

I am a knowledge junkie, so I surfed around online for suggestions of good products, and booked a trial/tutorial at MAC. They cost a little bit of money, but they will help you pick good colors, give you a face chart and you get an in-store credit to buy product, which I spent on the perfect foundation for me, something I’d never bought. I also asked for tonnes of samples at Sephora and bought and returned a lot of products to find the combination hat worked for me.

As you see in the next section, I was not afraid to try all sorts of products and price ranges.

4- Products upgrades (cost – $25 – $100)

1: Ardell 120 demi black lashes $4 2: MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation $36.50 3: Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Lotion $18.95 4: Paula’s Choice 10% AHA Skin Revealing Body Lotion $22.95 5. Chanel Blush Brush $48 6. Korres Mango Butter Lipstick SPF 10 $18 7. Make Up Forever HD Microfinish Powder $32 8. Make Up Forever Full Cover Concealer $32 9. Smashbox Photo Finish Primer $36

I invested in a few things for my wedding week makeup. I’m a drugstore brand girl who loves to browse at Sephora. I just can’t bring myself to buy all my brushes at that expense! But, I did buy a few things I think are important if you want to do your own makeup:

  • A good blush brush!
  • Excellent foundation that really matches your skin tone the week of the wedding, depending on if you are tanning (faux or not)
  • Waterproof, bombproof concealer
  • Primer for your skin and eyelids
  • Bought a sheer powder for touch ups
  • Learned how to work false eyelashes!

Here’s a tip; Sephora carried mini sizes of many of these products, so if you just want them for a few day’s use, they’re perfect, and a fraction of the cost. I think I got a mini size of the primer for 100 points, so for free, and a mini pot of the face powder for $8. Paula’s Choice, as I mentioned, sells trial packets of her products for about $0.50 and you can sometimes get free shipping.

5- Waxed my brows!

I had a really great esthetician a few years ago who helped me manage my brows before the wedding. I think the arch and taming of the hair really helped me look clean and polished, and I recommend you start this about three wax cycles out from your wedding, just so there aren’t any surprises in terms of breakouts or ingrowns or such. So, approximately 4 months before the wedding, and then get your final wax five to seven days out.
Good luck finding the beauty routine that works best for you, and do not be afraid to do your own make up on the day! Do you have any suggestions for DIY Wedding Day Makeup? Leave a comment!