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How to look hot (but not bothered) at your summer wedding

thanks to David's Bridal for this gorgeous image


So you’ve booked the flight, suffered the waxing sessions and only practised-packed your dress a dozen times. Now it’s time to double check your make-up to make sure you hit the beach as summer’s most beautiful bride!

As far as your beachy-bridal look goes, think simple, fresh and natural – as if the word ‘sweat’ has never entered into your vocabulary. Sadly, summer heat can scupper any hopes for matte and intact make-up but really, is shiny skin and smudgy make-up such a bad thing? I’m not talking foundation dripping off your chin and a right ole black kohl-induced panda-monium (particularly after a tearful interlude) but some natural skin shimmer and softly smudged eyes can look very understated sexy. Add a floaty white frock, long flowing hair and bare feet… well… if I was getting married abroad, this is totally the look I’d be channeling. Just sayin…

During my time as a magazine beauty bod I did more shoots in sunny climates than I’ve sunk watermelon mojitos (did someone say Cocks Menu?) And where make-up was concerned, the numero uno trick I learned is ‘less is more.’ The less you pile on, the less can slip off. So to ooze Big Day low maintenance summer sexiness:

1 Skip moisturiser and use an oil-free primer instead to smooth over any pores. A long-time Dermalogica fan, I can vouch for their SkinPerfect Primer, SPF301 , £38.80. I love it because it laps up shine, makes applying base a breeze and is spiked with SPF so I don’t need to add a potential slap-spoiling layer of sunscreen too.

2 Cakey bases won’t do your skin – or the photographs – any favours. During our recent sunny spell, I’ve been happily trialling Glo & Ray’s Colour Correction Luminous Base Foundation, £15. Described as being able to create a radiant complexion and available in three shades, it’s a dream to smooth on with fingers or a brush and gives just-right coverage. My skin is definitely giving off the easy-breezy summer vibe I’m after.

3 Now bronzer…. Golden skin is very tempting but actually I prefer a soft peach or dusky pink blusher instead. I think that bronzer can be tricky to get right. You might choose the wrong shade and look dirty (*shudders) or get one loaded with so much sparkle, your face will risk out-dazzling that diamond sparkling away on your ring finger. Before I go anywhere near an airport lounge I always treat myself to a subtle face-to-feet pro faux glow. I couldn’t bear to look the obvious ‘newbie’ on the beach. With my skin just the right shade of ‘oh, I’ve been here for days. Allow me to show you the sights,’ sun kissed, I can simply tint my cheeks with a pop of colour. I love, love, love Bobbi Brown’s creamy Pot Rouge For Lips & Cheeks in Powder Pink, £19.50. It’s finger-friendly and easy to build up until you get a look you love.

4 Hot summer days and powder eyeshadows don’t mix. Try it and you’ll end up in front of your mirror app more than your groom, checking and re-checking for creasing catastrophes. Go for creamier textures in lighter shades of smoulder like milk chocolate highlighted with a touch of gold. Gorgeous. I’ve built up quite a collection of Givenchy’s Ombre Couture creamy eye colours, £19. They’re as gorgeous to look at as they are to use. A line of dark kohl along your upper lash line left to melt a bit in the heat will just enhance your beach babe-dom but think about ditching it under your lower lashes, just in case when an overhead sun causes shadows to appear under your eyes.

5 Waterproof mascara is a non-negotiable (it pays to prepare for happy tears or even a celebratory chuck in the pool! Camera phones – like best men – show no mercy.) I’d always always go for black for added oomph. Even if you’re sporting eyelash extensions, still flick on at least one layer of mazzy. A friend recently gave me Diego Dalla Palma’s Semi-Permanent Technical Mascara, £17. If it can withstand 20 minutes of breast stroke (ok, so my head stays up for most of the time but my face still gets wet and my lashes look fabulously spiky but totally intact) it can last your wedding day.

6 For a stay-put pout, use a lip pencil to fill in your lip. Forego gloss and stick with a non-budgeable stain of lipstick instead. Personally I like a pout with clout – and anyway, it’s heaps easier to touch-up than black smokey eyes. Bright red or full-on fuchsia get my vote. If ever there was a time in a girl’s life she deserved a drop of Tom Ford, this is it. Tom Ford Lip Colour Shine, £38. Eat your heart out!


So, there you have it. How to look the most beautiful (yet fresh and natural) version of you. Just don’t leave your hotel room without a few essentials. Blotting papers to mop up shine (from your parting and back of neck as well as your face!), some cotton buds just in case of a melting make-up emergency and your lipstick for pre-picture top-ups. Now go forth and shine…. (not in skin terms of course….!)

Sarah x


Thanks to David’s Bridal for this beachy beautiful image

ps. Got any fave summer make-up essentials? Or other ‘bride on heat’ (ahem) beauty tips? Do share them below…


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  • Make sure you use matte everything! Or even better go semi permanent! Add micro bladed brows and tinted eyelashes too! It’s about being high maintenance to then be low maintenance when it matters most

    5 years ago : Tia
  • Thanks Sarah – great tips. I’m never without a blotter – the MAC ones are big enough for my hooter!

    6 years ago : Marilyn Christ
  • I’ve just happily stumbled upon your site. It’s great. Really pretty to look at plus tonnes of good advice. Cathy Goodwin xx

    6 years ago : Cathy goodwin
  • I’m guilty of applying most of those products that make you look shinier, I now know what to do next time thanks x

    6 years ago : Abby McHale
  • Totally unrelated, but how nice do the bride’s natural nails look? X

    6 years ago : Paula Constantin
    • sometimes a buff up is all a girl needs x

      6 years ago : Sarah Green
  • Thanks so much for this. I’m doing my make-up myself (on a beach – wish me luck) and was starting to flap about foundation. Will def try Glo & Ray

    6 years ago : keira