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Budget Wedding Looks: Tips for Looking Great on Your Special Day!

budget wedding looks

All eyes will be on you, the gorgeous bride, come the Big Day. So it goes without saying that you want to look your absolutely most beautiful! The key elements there—along with your bridal gown and bouquet, of course—would be your wedding hairstyle and makeup. Both of these, though, could cost quite a pretty penny if you don’t explore cost-saving strategies like these (*this post contains affiliate links):

Do your research early

Don’t wait till the last minute! A frequent cause of unforeseen add-ons to your wedding budget is when you are forced to agree to whatever happens to be available or doable as the wedding date nears—often at a price you hadn’t budgeted for.

bridal mags

Six months to a year before your nuptials, start searching through books and bridal magazines (via Amazon), including sites and wedding blogs for a look that truly grabs you. You may find yourself changing your mind several times, so it’s a good idea to have this much lead time! Then, once you’ve found the look, ask around for a reputable hair stylist and makeup artist who can advise you on how to achieve it. Recommendations from other happy brides are a good place to start. Set an appointment for an initial salon session to get the stylists’ inputs and suggestions, then book them this early for your wedding day. (Note: If your budget won’t allow for a pro stylist, see section below on help from Mom and Sis!)

Prime your skin and hair

skincare for brides

L’Occitane Luxurious Divine Star Gift Set via Amazon

As they say, great makeup begins with great skin and products (see example above)  that will help you achieve it. So in the whirlwind of pre-wedding must-do’s, try your best to work in 8 hours of sleep per day, lots of water, regular exercise, and a diet free of fatty, oily, and sugary foods. These practices are all good for you anyway…and they don’t cost a thing. (Of course, if you can throw in a monthly cleansing facial, that would be ideal!). That way, your makeup artist will have a clear, glowing palette of skin to work with as you dress for the wedding.

haircare for brides

Coconut Oil Hair Care 4 Piece Set via Amazon

The same goes for your hair. Months ahead, start a hair care regimen (see example above) that will get your tresses into tiptop condition for the style you have in mind. Aside from investing in a quality conditioner, you may want to go in for a trim or two during the lead-up period so that your healthiest hair will be on show for all those wedding photos!

Save with a simple yet stylish look

The truth of the matter is, your wedding hairstyle and makeup need not be elaborate or expensive to be truly stunning. In the end, it is the glowing, natural beauty and happiness of a bride in love (and comfortable in her wedding day look) that makes all the difference! And again, many of the key elements to achieving this “love my look” feeling are actually cost-free:

Play up your best featuresYou were born with them anyway, so make the most of them! Is it the size, shape, or color of your eyes? Is it your peachy complexion? Is it your sweet, smiling lips? Accentuate these with the right makeup products and tricks. Part of the package of your stylist, then, should be a trial makeup session where you can experiment with what will truly make you the loveliest possible version of yourself. (This holds true even if it’ll be a family member or friend doing your make-up. A trial run is key!) Remember, you of course want those features to show up beautifully in the photos—but you do still need to look like you!

Consider your face shapeWhen planning how to do your hair, remember that a regular, oval-shaped face would look lovely in any style, while a rounder or square-jawed facial shape would need a style that slims and softens. Consult your stylist or the numerous online sites on wedding hairstyles to see what will most flatter your facial structure. The bottom line, though, will be what you feel most comfortable with or what best expresses your personality. Then, the choice of a wavy, natural look, a sleek bun, a low chignon, or a half up-do will follow—at no extra cost!

virtual makeover

Note: There are even sites that offer virtual wedding makeovers using a photo of yourself that you upload and then makeover with different hairstyles on screen.

AccessorizeAnother nifty trick for making your look special—without bloating your budget—is to accessorize “wisely.” This would include having your mother’s or grandmother’s veil or necklace to use as your “something old,” as well as borrowing decorative hair accents to suit your hairstyle and bridal dress. These could be an antique hair comb, a small tiara, a vintage birdcage veil, or headpiece.

Simpler options for hair accessories could be fresh or fabric flowers, feathers, or a barrette of pearls or crystals. The fresh flowers could already be part of your florist’s package, while the other items can be found quite inexpensively at ladies fashion stores and even online etsy shops.


For brides who eyeglasses, be sure to check out makeup and styling tips for your wedding day!

Have Mom, Sis, or your BFF help – Of course, on a really tight budget, there is always the option of doing your own hair and makeup or having a family member or friend provide this service. That’s a huge savings right there! But do keep in mind that they’ll be getting ready for the wedding themselves, so plan ahead to avoid unneeded tensions in the final hours before the ceremony.

Use generic products – Do-it-yourself hair and makeup also means that you have a choice of what products to use. Even if it’s for your wedding, don’t feel you need to go the designer label route. Take advantage of in-store makeup trials and free samples to help you try out cosmetic and hair-styling products that are of good quality and affordable as well. Ask around among friends and family members, too, about products they’re happy with. Then, purchase these and use them for your at-home hair and make-up trial—and on the Big Day itself. No one will know, except you and your pocketbook!


Consider the season You can tailor you wedding makeup and hair based on the season of your wedding such as fall or winter.  

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