Formal Makeup Looks for Nighttime Nuptials

Nighttime nuptials are all about elegance and formality, so match your makeup to the occasion.
Nighttime nuptials are all about elegance and formality, so match your makeup to the occasion.
Multi-bits/Getty Images

Not to be punny about it, but the difference between nighttime and daytime weddings is, well, night and day. While morning and afternoon ceremonies lend themselves to pretty but lower-key looks, nighttime nuptials are all about elegance, and your makeup should match the theme of the evening.

In many cases, this means bold, statement-making looks. While the dramatic red lips and smoky eyes of an old Hollywood starlet might look out of place at a sunny noon ceremony, they become ravishing and elegant at dusk and into the night. A good rule of thumb? Treat times of day like seasons. The darker, more dramatic styles of autumn and winter are the ones that will translate well to an evening wedding. When there's less sunlight, a little more makeup is permissible.

Makeup styles are important, but clean, relaxed and beautiful skin is what truly makes great makeup pop. One failsafe for glowing skin: Get your beauty sleep. Create a sleep schedule (aim for eight hours a night) and stick to it; for an added boost, nix the caffeine and exercise on a regular basis. Another wedding day skin tip: If you can avoid it, don't wear sunscreen under your makeup. It can make your skin look dull or ashy in photos.

Exfoliation is another secret to glowing skin. At home, try to exfoliate daily with a gentle facial scrub. If you're looking for something a little more drastic, a chemical peel (a type of facial that dissolves dead skin cells) or microdermabrasion (a procedure in which a machine buffs skin to rejuvenate it) can help get rid of old skin cells and replace them with brighter, newer cells. However, these more intense exfoliation procedures can leave skin dry and irritated for a few weeks afterward. For the best wedding day skin, schedule appointments for at least two weeks in advance of the big day.

With the preparation completed, let's talk technique. While nighttime invites dramatic looks, keep the focus on one feature -- usually either lips or eyes -- to avoid appearing overdone. For evening eyes, steer clear of pastels and consider a deep violet, an almost universally flattering shade, to highlight your lids. For a bolder look, try incorporating metallic or even jewel tones. Regardless of the palette you choose, harness the lash-enhancing powers of eyeliner and mascara to make your eyes truly pop.

Lovers of lipstick, rejoice: The evening is your time. If you choose lips as your focal point, consider your skin tone when choosing a color: The wrong shade can make teeth look discolored. Here's a quick guide:

  • Dark skin: brick red
  • Olive skin: warmer or orange-toned red
  • Medium skin: true red
  • Very fair skin: cooler or blue-toned red

For more great wedding makeup tips, march over to the links below.

Related Articles

More Great Links


  • Corbett, Holly C. "Beauty Tips: 4 Pre Wedding Beauty Treatments to Avoid." Shape Magazine. (Sept. 22, 2012)
  • Gluck, Didi. "Red and Nude Lipsticks for Fall." Real Simple Magazine. (Sept. 21, 2012)
  • The Knot. "Bridal Beauty: Bridal Beauty Insider Tips." (Sept. 21, 2012)
  • The Knot. "Refresh Your Spirit: Getting Your Beauty Sleep." (Sept. 22, 2012)
  • Linter, Sandy. "Evening Eyes in 4 Easy Steps." O Magazine. (Sept. 21, 2012)
  • Real Simple Magazine. "5 Updated Evening Makeup Looks." (Sept. 21, 2012)