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18 Beauty Tips From Real Brides

Brides share their secrets with BuzzFeed Life.

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1. Stick with tradition, if that's what you want.

Mir Anwar miranwar.com / Via mybigfatpakistaniwedding.com

Safa of My Big Fat Pakistani Wedding chose to be classically bridal with her wedding-day mehndi (a temporary henna tattoo): "As a South Asian girl, you grow up wearing mehndi. For example, when a close friend or relative gets married, you also apply mehndi as part of the celebrations.

"However, wearing mehndi for your own wedding – wearing bridal mehndi – is unlike anything you would have worn before. Particularly, if you choose to go with a traditional design, like I did. I think there is nothing more classically bridal than the look of mehndi designs, so intricate and elaborate, adorning a woman's hands and feet. That's exactly what I wanted as bride. Also, stepping my mehndi-adorned foot into my wedding Louboutins on my big day felt pretty damn good!"

2. But you don't have to do the traditional bridal thing.

Courtesy of Naomi Attwood

Fashion journalist Naomi Attwood stuck to her normal style for her wedding:

"I had my hair done in a double victory roll-style quiff by a lovely hairdresser at The Painted Lady in Bethnal Green. Then they popped in a few small roses on wires from my florists, The Flower Appreciation Society. I also had a neon pink manicure at the salon. I did my own make-up, going for a very '80s turquoise smoky eye to match my Topshop earrings.

"There was no particular inspiration other than what suits me – a quiff and blue eyeshadow – and I was happy when I walked into the town hall on the morning of the wedding and the registrar said: ‘You do look like a bride, just offbeat.’"

3. Run your look past your partner too.

Temi Coker / Via temicoker.me

Wedding planner Kellee Laura Dawkins went for a simple yet charming wedding that proves you don't have to pull out all the stops for a perfect day:

"I always leave special occasion looks to the pros, like local make-up artist Glam by Cham. I knew I wanted a fresh face look – something timeless with just a hint of drama – and the white liner under the eye offered just enough! My husband doesn't love make-up but can tolerate it. However, he absolutely abhors lipstick so I opted for a thin application of a blush-coloured gloss."

4. Mix beauty traditions for a wedding that's "you".

James Morton-Haworth / Carole Evans Photography / Via caroleevans.co.uk

Neelum opted to blend both her and her husband Nick's traditions on the day with Western and Indian ceremonies.

"Traditionally, Indian brides have their hair up in elaborate styles and their make-up tends to be a little heavier with deep lipstick shades and eyeshadows. They often have further embellishments such as bridal bindis over their eyebrows. I opted to do it myself as I did not want the traditional updo of most Indian brides and I did not want my make-up to compete with my intricately detailed dress!

"My tip would be to have a go at doing your own hair and make-up. Not only will you save money, but you'll also avoid looking too heavily made up on your big day."

5. Feel free to call in any favours.

Kris Atomic / krisatomic.com / Via Andrew Kendall andrewkendall.com

Charlotte Curtis of Black Heart Creatives recommends calling in favours from wiling friends: "My friend was a hairdresser and she did my hair as a present, and my bridesmaids all wore the same dress but chose their own shoes and did their own hair and make-up because I wanted everyone to be themselves."

She also advises doing your research online before going into stores: "I searched Pinterest and beauty blogs for the kind of thing I wanted, which was a '50s sort of look without it being too ~vintage~ or rockabilly, but I was more interested in how to make sure my make-up wouldn't slide off and how to blend eyeshadow and things like that. I felt confident enough, after watching a lot of tutorials and having a lot of practice, to be able to achieve what I wanted. It was cheaper overall and we were on a budget; also, I am a bit of a control freak and I like the way I do my own make-up!

"I went to MAC because they are a brand I trust and had used before, and the tutorial I used worked with MAC pretty much exclusively. I wrote down everything from Pinterest and took the list and pictures to my MAC appointment. I took my mum, my maid of honour (my sister), and my nan with me and asked them to watch and take notes, and I just asked lots of questions. [The MAC salesperson] was really nice and helpful and taught me to always start with your liquid eyeliner in the middle of your lid and line your lip at the bottom in the middle first, then do a cross at the top of your lip. I got everything I needed for £80, which is much less than the two recommended make-up-artist appointments you have with a professional, plus I *still* have some of the things I bought over two years ago."

6. Consider how the weather will impact your hairstyle on the day.

Temi Coker / Via temicoker.me

Kellee wore her natural hair in a Janelle Monáe-inspired updo created by Loc Star Love.

"I started my loc journey five months ago," she says. "So far so good! My hair isn't fully loc'd yet so I typically opt for a protective style so I won't have to manipulate my hair much during the week. I love the versatility of locs and I am looking forward to trying more styles as they grow. We added extensions to the front of the updo for a faux pompadour."

Kellee also has some great tips for anyone with natural hair: "I'd suggest choosing a wedding-day hairstyle that is both protective and versatile. Most wedding days run long and natural hair tends to respond adversely to environmental changes – moisture being the biggest culprit. A protective style will help maintain your 'do' throughout the day and well into the night."

It's not just about your big day either: "If you are headed to the honeymoon after the wedding, it's great to consider the weather and activities you'll be enjoying when picking out a hairstyle. Consult with your stylist at least a month before the big day to try out some different styles. Be sure to take your veil or floral crown with you to pull the look together and get a better idea of what you'll look like walking down the aisle."

7. Pick one feature, and make it shine.

Erica Camille / Via ericacamilleproductions.com

Tiffany Andras-Myers and Beka both wanted white wedding looks, but chose ones that worked with their individual personalities.

"As far as our looks, Beka and I followed our own hearts but it was important to us that our looks blended well," Tiffany says. "From the beginning Beka wanted a shorter dress. She wanted something that felt beautiful and whimsical and I wanted a romantic, vintage, almost Great Gatsby-style dress."

She recommends picking one feature and going to town on that: "Beka and I both have friends who are professional hair and make-up artists and chose to have them do our wedding since they know us. We both wanted simple but elegant, not to look 'done up' but to feel gorgeous and for that to translate in our pictures. We both decided to make our hair more intricate than our make-up and to allow our make-up to feel more natural."

8. Fresh flowers make great hair accessories.

Erika Szostak/ Photo Madly / Via ps.photomadly.com

Sarah Hormozi's wedding mixed Western and Persian traditions: "Some people think wearing a white dress is only a Western tradition and people in other countries have been copying them, but this is not always true. In my country, Iran, despite local and regional variations, wearing a white outfit for your wedding has always been the tradition.

"For my wedding I tried to keep my style simple and natural but elegant at the same time, as I feel that describes me and my taste best. I always loved the idea of wearing fresh natural flowers on my hair, which my stylist paired with braids for a relaxed boho theme. I asked my make-up artist for a sophisticated make-up that was different from my everyday looks but still not too dramatic or over the top. I simply wanted to feel the most beautiful I've ever been whilst still being myself! Weddings for me are all about the people who come together to be with you and celebrate your love with you on that one day in your lifetime."

9. Schedule a make-up and hair trial for the day of your hen do.

Courtesy of Gail Doggett / Via onemilliongoldstars.com

Gail Doggett, who runs crafty blog One Million Stars, made her own dress, which meant she could spend on other areas.

"As I saved on the dress," she says, "I splurged on someone to come to the hotel to do my hair and make-up. I wanted a simple '50s style. It was perfect – not too different from what I'd choose normally, but perfectly applied and it stayed all day. Also it was a very calming hour, before all the excitement of the day ahead."

She tracked down the right person for the job thanks to a chance encounter a while back: "I met a beautician at a friend's hen do, where all of us guests had mini makeovers and learned vintage make-up tips, while the bride-to-be had a '50s makeover. A couple of years later I tracked the company down again and booked one of their girls to do my hair and make-up for my wedding."

Gail had a practice run before the wedding, which doubled as a fun hen-do activity: "I scheduled my make-up and hair trial for the morning of my hen do. I felt fab when I went out and it was also a good test of how the hairstyle and make-up would last for the actual day."

10. Look up other people's weddings to find the right team.

Courtesy of Sarah Bush

Sarah Bush says: "I found my make-up artist by reading Rock My Wedding obsessively until one day I saw a bride with gorgeous make-up. By reading the credits on a post, I saw the make-up artist – Kit Hall, Slapartists – was based in London and got in touch.

"I arranged a trial so I could talk through what I liked and rehearse a look. Kit was great – she's a fabulous pro who works a lot on TV and put me at my ease. Having the trial really reassured me and allowed me to make changes to what I thought I wanted. By the time we did the make-up on the day I was relaxed and happy with the end result."

Sarah notes that bespoke accessories might be cheaper than you think: "My hair was done by my regular hairdresser and my friend Anna Dominoes Millinery made my headdress. It was wonderful as I got to design a piece that allowed me to have my hair in the style I wanted. I think I got my inspiration from Swan Lake but I'm not really sure! My friend makes custom pieces for brides at really reasonable prices – I don't think people realise that having something bespoke is within most people's reach!"

11. Go for a few trials to find the perfect team.

photomadly.com / Erika Szostak

Olivia Galun wanted a retro-themed wedding and had a few trials to find the perfect look: "Salina from Lady Loves Beauty for make-up and Kitty-Boo for hair worked with me, choosing a fairly natural finish but with red lips. I cannot recommend doing trials in advance enough – it is money well spent. Before I found Kitty and Salina, I attended another trial at a make-up counter and I came out feeling like a clown!

"On Kitty and Salina's recommendation I started a Pinterest board based on the look I wanted to achieve. It was mostly filled with images of Bardot, who is my style idol."

12. Take photos during your make-up trial.

Isa Souri / Via photo-mariage-wedding.com

Hannah Oussedik got married in France this summer and wasn't looking for a full makeover.

"I wanted to go for something very natural. I think it’s important to look like ‘you’ on your big day – to enhance your best bits, and so that your groom doesn’t get a big shock when you walk down the aisle!

She also made sure to take photos of her make-up trial: "Upon reflection and looking at the photos of the trial, I changed it slightly to make it lighter on the eyes and more pink on the lips."

13. Stay true to your style for a stress-free day.

Phil Drinkwater / Via phildweddingphotography.co.uk

Digital copywriter Jen Allison had a definite idea of what she was after: "For my wedding hair and make-up, I knew right from the start what I wanted. I’ve never been into the traditional ‘bridal’ look – pink lipgloss and French manicures are so not me! Our wedding had a vintage feel and I wore a 1940s-style dress, so I wanted my hair and make-up to reflect that. I went for loose finger waves pinned back with a vintage-style clip, then a very ‘old Hollywood’ make-up look – flawless skin, cat flick eyes, and red lips. I even had a red manicure to match!"

She kept things relaxed by getting the professionals in: "I got a professional to do all the hair and make-up for me and my five bridesmaids on the day – we got married at 11.30am so I didn’t want any rushing or fighting over mirrors so early in the morning! The team arrived at 8am and we were done by 10 so it was a perfect, relaxing way to start the day. I’d definitely recommend using a pro for your wedding hair and make-up as it just makes things run so smoothly."

Her winning tip is to stay true to your own vibe: "For brides to be, I’d recommend staying true to your own personal style and not forcing yourself to be ‘bridal’ if it’s not your thing. On a similar note, I’d also say don’t force a look on your bridesmaids if they’re not keen – I really wanted everyone to be happy, so I gave them a loose idea of a look but let them adapt it to suit their own style. Finally, make sure you have a trial – even if it’s just one you do yourself – a few weeks before the big day so you can really see your look. Wear the make-up all day to get an idea of staying power and buy your chosen lipstick for touch-ups!"

14. Rely on your most organised friends on the day.

Kima Segun-Ojo / Via Instagram: @elekima

For Tolani Nosa Ehima, having a Nigerian ceremony that combined her family's Yoruban traditions with her husbands' Bini traditions – as well as a white wedding – meant many different wedding looks on the day, so organisation was key!

"Have a schedule and two designated coordinators who aren’t part of the bridal party for hair, make-up, and nails for you and your bridesmaids," she says. "Pick your most organised friends to help you ensure that everything runs smoothly. Mine helped me run last-minute errands and were the key contacts for any friends, stylists, caterers, or whoever sees fit to call you on that very busy day. I had two amazing friends who fulfilled these roles beautifully for me, and with seven bridesmaids, my mother, and I to get ready it was no mean feat. Thanks to them we all arrived at the church on time."

Tolani also enlisted professionals: "My make-up artist for the traditional wedding was Kemi Awoyemi, a very talented woman who does a lot of television work, and she was keen to ensure my make-up photographed well, using bright colours and bold contour techniques. Her experience working with make-up that needs to look good under lighting came in very handy. I love MAC make-up as it works well for my skin, and the Studio Fix range gives me very even coverage. The colour scheme for the wedding was blue and yellow, and Kemi worked these into my make-up and somehow added bolder accents of pink and orange without making me look like a rainbow."

15. Make sure there's someone to give you honest feedback.

Georgi Mabee / Via georgimabee.com

Kate Townshend had family and friends onside to make sure she looked her best.

"On the morning of the wedding, taking half an hour to sit quietly and do my own make up was actually really nice and allowed me to have a few moments of calm," she says. "But having a super-honest mum and bridesmaids was important too – I knew they wouldn't let me leave the house looking a mess!"

She also counsels to remember that hair needs to look good for the whole wedding: "Consider the 'all day' factor. I loved mine in the morning, but by the evening it wasn't so perfect, so it's important to either have a style that will stay in place all day, or one that works with wisps and a bit more of a tousled feel!"

16. Don't get too swept up in the occasion.

Laura McCluskey lmweddings.co.uk / Via perrietal.com

Writer Perri Lewis recommends keeping a level head when it comes to the big day:

"Remember to look like the very best version of you, not like someone else. If you don't usually wear your hair up, why go for an updo? If you're most comfortable with a messier look, don't go for sleek, straight hair. It's only make-up. If it goes wrong you can just wipe it off and start again. Or, if you accidentally put on two un-matching fake eyelashes, you can always snip them into shape with a pair of scissors."

She also adds a great hair tip: "Extensions are your new best friend if you've got fine hair. They make everything easier, whether you're having it down or up. Buy clip-ins from Extensionelle for a really reasonable price – my whole head of long hair was £45."

17. Let your look reflect your wedding theme.

Zoe Campbell/ zoecampbellphotography.com / Via rockmywedding.co.uk

Consultant Laura Street wanted her look to reflect the theme of her wedding: "For me, it was important for my appearance to reflect the rest of the wedding, which was outdoors, relaxed, and Spanish!"

A simple style and enlisting friends to help carried on the relaxed theme: "Our venue was surrounded by sunflower fields so we decided to work with what was already there and have those as our main flowers. I always love playing around with plaits so it made sense to work them in to the headpiece – they also added to the natural theme. I was very lucky as a wonderful friend did my hair for me and we did a practice run first.

"She also did my make-up as she knows I am weird about that. We did, however, seek advice from a professional make-up artist by making a bridal appointment at a Laura Mercier stand a month or so before. My friend watched carefully as the products were applied and asked plenty of questions to ensure she could recreate the look herself. If you've got someone that is happy to help you, it's a great way to save money on a make-up artist."

18. And don't sweat the small stuff.

Temi Coker / Via temicoker.me

Just relax, Chloe Virgil explains.

"My philosophy with my hair has always been to spend as little time as possible on my hair," she says. "I have had sisterlocks for almost three years and outside of retightening and washing my hair I spend an average of five minutes a day on my hair. I don't think hair is something that anyone should stress over, so for my wedding day I didn't think about my hair until the day before.

"Around 10pm that night, my friend and I decided to braid my locs and my friends helped me take the braids down 30 minutes before the wedding. Right before the wedding was about to start, my friend starting pinning up my hair and I wasn't worried about how it turned out because I was determined to wear the hairstyle with confidence."

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