Your wedding day makeup is the centerpiece of your entire look, making it one of the more important decisions you have to make for your trip down the aisle. Whether you’re considering a natural enhancement or a full-on glam moment, it will forever be immortalized in pictures and in your memory, so if you’re puzzling over what style is right for you, don’t worry!
Take a cue from past eras of bridal beauty and popular makeup trends to shape your wedding makeup. You can go matchy-matchy with your dress vibe and pair a romantic vintage gown with an equally retro makeup look, or switch things up by pairing a simple column gown with a smoky eye and red lip. The magic is all in the mix, and tossing in elements of the past can actually modernize your beauty look.
If you want to avoid looking costume-y or too “done,” hone in on what attracted you to the vintage look in the first place. “Pick out the elements of the look you love the most, like the eye, and pair it with more modern applications on the rest of their features as opposed to recreating the look exactly,” says Anne Skubis, bridal makeup artist for HVH Faces. Skubis also recommends updating retro makeup looks with current colors and textures, like a gold-flecked bronze liner instead of black or a subtle highlight on your cheeks versus matte skin.
Throw it back to the glamorous ‘50s, the free and easy ‘70s, or the high-fashion ‘90s with vintage-inspired wedding makeup looks that will stand out in a crowd and bring a hint of historical romance to your big day. We’ve rounded up some of the best vintage wedding makeup looks to get you started.
1920s and 1930s Big Screen Beauty
A deep, dark burgundy lip channels the silent movie starlets and flappers of the ‘20s and the silver screen sirens of the ‘30s. It’s romantic and glamorous and looks stunning paired with an embellished, jeweled wedding gown.
1950s Pinup Perfect
A cat-eye flick of black liner, bright red-orange lip, and subtly contoured cheeks have a film-star quality. Marilyn would approve. A 1950s-esque makeup look feels truly timeless, as the cat-eye and red lip combo has become one of the most iconic pairings ever. It stands out in photos and gives you an effortlessly cool and glamorous aura. If you’re into the idea of rocking a red lip on your big day but aren’t sure which hue is for you, try a few shades on at home a few months before the big day and see which one you feel the most confident in or ask your makeup artist to try a red or two on at your trial.
1950s Elizabeth Taylor Realness
If a cat-eye is your signature look, dial it up a bit on your wedding day for a retro beauty moment worthy of Elizabeth Taylor, queen of weddings. We’re all about the bold strokes of this look, which is giving off major timeless, cinema starlet vibes. This look is perfect for the bride who loves classic movies and Old Hollywood glamour and would be equally beautiful with a vintage-inspired gown or something modern and unexpected.
1950s Lush Lips & Lashes
Nothing makes a statement like a red lip—especially when paired with bold, lush lashes. We love how this bride brought the glamour with her crimson lip and fluttery, flirty fringe for her traditional Chinese tea ceremony.
1960s Mod Moment
If you’re in the mood to go mod, channel your inner Twiggy with some fanciful wedding makeup; we’re loving the gold dot eyeliner look on this Brooklyn bride. A mod moment is perfect for a more casual ceremony or to add a bit of whimsical cheekiness to your bridal beauty. It’s unexpected and unforgettable, especially in festive, goes-with-everything gold.
1960s Retro Pearls
If gold isn’t your jam, try a bright and bold white shade instead! We’re all about this pearl-inspired lid look from wedding makeup artist Heather Van Houten, owner of HVH Makeup & Hair in Scottsdale, Arizona, and think it would be the ultimate standout for the vintage-loving, eclectic bride who isn’t afraid to take a risk. (These are actually pearls!) “Prepare yourself to fully commit to the look,” says Van Houten. “And be open to suggestions from [your makeup artist.]” Pair the lids with super glowy skin; Van Houten recommends CoverFX Custom Enhancer Drops.
1960s Glam Look
Major lashes and a neutral lip give off total “Priscilla Presley at her wedding to Elvis” vibes; it’s one of the most referenced iconic beauty looks of all time. Modernize it for today by skipping the cut crease eyeliner and opting instead for more defined lashes.
1970s Sunkissed Skin
The ‘70s were all about long, loose waves, glowing skin, and lush lashes — just like this wedding look from Jordana Abraham. It’s the perfect style for a boho-chic style wedding, but can easily go disco with a hint of shimmer too. A ‘70s vibe is perfect for the beachy, natural beauty-loving bride who doesn’t want to look too “done” on her big day.
1970s Bohemian Vibes
A fresh-faced look channels the bohemian spirit of the early ‘70s. Flawless skin, rosy cheeks, and minimal eye makeup keep the look grounded, natural, and earthy yet ethereal. This classic look can take you from the aisle to the dance floor and will never look dated or trendy in pictures.
1980s Pop of Pink
So some of the biggest beauty trends of the ‘80s should probably stay in the past, but one thing we love about the “me” decade is how fully it embraced bold color. We’re loving how this bride added a bright pop of pink to her lids for an eye-catching (pun intended) beauty moment that makes a major impact. Plus, is there any color as fun and flirty as hot pink?
1980s Bold and Beautiful
Embrace color in a big way with bright hues on both eyes and lips. Makeup artist Heather Trachsel proved that turquoise and hot pink are a perfect pairing for any decade and give off big ‘80s Barbie (but chic) energy. If you’re not afraid to think outside the bridal beauty box, go a little ‘80s and turn up the volume on your makeup for a vibrant look your guests will never forget.
1980s Blushing Bride
Be the literal embodiment of the blushing bride with an ‘80s inspired blush placement like this one by makeup artist Anne Skubis. When paired with a smoky eye, a glossy lip, and slicked-back hair, you’re ready to hit the dance floor or star in a music video of your own.
1990s Minimal Perfection
Channel the eternal bridal icon Carolyn Bessette Kennedy with a ‘90s-inspired makeup look, opting for a clean, fresh face with minimal makeup and a red statement lip. If this classic, simple, and stunning style is the direction you’d like to go for your wedding day, focus on perfected skin and keep your chosen shade of red lipstick nearby for touch-ups after kisses and champagne cheers.
1990s Smokey Eyes
A supermodel-esque smoky eye brings the glam to your makeup look; pretend you’re Cindy Crawford or Naomi Campbell strutting down the catwalk as you walk down the aisle. A smoky eye always makes an impact and has become a truly timeless option for any kind of bride. Go classic with a neutral lip to let the eye have its moment in the spotlight or take the plunge with a bright or deep lip color for extra impact.
1990s Sculpted Supermodel Look
A sculpted, contoured face feels very “supermodels at the Versace show,” and what better moment to rock that style than on your wedding day? As an added perk, contour photographs beautifully so you’ll look your most picture perfect.
1990s Monochromatic Magic
Another way to show your ‘90s love is by opting for a monochromatic, tone-on-tone makeup look like this one by Skubis, which features a palette of ‘90s-approved shades like raisin and pinky-brown. Despite the fact that only a few colors are used, the look is anything but boring. It’s polished, sophisticated, and so flattering.
2000s Holographic Magic
While the 2000s aren’t vintage quite yet, but you can still find inspiration from the futuristic trends of the new millennium. If you’re open to more color and texture, think Y2K vibes with a bit of holographic shimmer on your lids, lips, or both. Makeup artist Heather Trachsel used pastel pink for a modern, oh-so-cool twist on glimmering bridal eyes that blends romance with high shine, fashion-forward fun.