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I did my own makeup on my wedding day. Here’s how it went

My Indian wedding was bright and bold in many ways — but when it came to my makeup, I wanted to keep it simple. 
Sachin Soni
I felt natural and like myself on my wedding day, and I know doing my own makeup helped. Courtesy Sachin Soni

Let me start by saying I had a small wedding with about 160 guests (and I say small because weddings in India, where I live, often have upwards of 1,000 guests) in our garden at home. And just like every bride, I wanted to look amazing. But I also wanted to look like myself. And that meant that I wanted to do my own makeup.

A few weeks before the wedding, when I was busy making trips for my wedding dress fittings (brides usually wear a red dress called “lehenga” in India), I took a break to meet with some friends. We all sat down and went over everything that needed to be done. When I told them I would do my own makeup, they looked at me with horror. They all suggested that I hire a makeup artist. “It’s your big day! You must get a makeup artist,” many of them said, highlighting the gravity of the situation.

I told them that I had decided to do my makeup, and this information appeared to be difficult to digest. They all thought I was crazy. “Who even does their own makeup on their wedding day?” a friend said, trying to snap me out of my delusional state.

It didn’t work.

Doing your own makeup on your big day might sound daunting to some, and maybe I was expected to simply enjoy my day, sit in a chair with a glass of wine and let someone else do the work. But I happen to be a Virgo and a control freak, especially when it comes to my own body and look.

The idea of someone else applying makeup to my face was scary.

Don’t get me wrong. I have seen makeup artists work and many are brilliant, but I’ve also seen some results that are, to put it nicely, questionable. (Remember that scene in “Girls” where Marnie is getting married and her makeup artist terribly misinterprets her preferred “Laurel Canyon classic” aesthetic as “Selena Gomez meets Jesus”?)

The sheer number of products usually involved in professional makeup application made me nervous: the layers and layers of foundation, concealers, color correctors, eye shadows, mascara, setting spray and more. So many things on one little face? Nope. I was clear on my decision — no one would touch my face except for me. I’ll be honest that cost was a factor here, too — some makeup artists in India charge upwards of $1,000 for wedding day looks. That’s a lot of money!

Sachin Soni
I saved myself lots of cash by doing my own makeup.Courtesy Sachin Soni

In general, I am not big on makeup or trying a million different products, although I would occasionally scroll makeup videos on social media. When I worked full-time and was required to go to an office, I would only apply three makeup staples: moisturizer, foundation and mascara. Sometimes I would even throw in some blush.

When the pandemic began and I started working from home permanently, my relationship with makeup completely changed. I didn’t need any of it. I became very comfortable in my skin and preferred to go out makeup-free, even to parties. At most, I filled in my eyebrows and applied mascara.

But when the wedding was a couple of weeks away, I started watching videos again to find the best makeup for my skin and complexion. I was back down the rabbit hole.

Even though I wasn’t wearing much makeup at the time, I still felt confident in my (basic and limited) makeup skills. My first step was investing in some quality products: I bought a Huda Beauty eyeshadow palette, a MARS color corrector, Too Faced foundation and face primer, a L’Oreal mascara, a Faces Canada face palette, and a MAC Cosmetics lipstick.

I wanted a minimal look. My wedding dress wasn’t a traditional Indian lehenga but a blouse, palazzo and long scarf (called “dupatta” in India). The entire outfit was bright red with beautiful embroidery done by local artisans. It wasn’t a conventional wedding dress, but I had a vision, and with the help of a local designer, I brought it to life.

Because my wedding dress was already bright and eye-catching, and I had to wear some traditional jewelry, I didn’t want to draw too much attention to my face by applying heavy makeup. The idea was simple: keep it minimal.

Sachin Soni
It took me only half an hour to get ready.Courtesy Sachin Soni

I took about half an hour to get ready, including putting on my dress, applying my makeup and curling my hair while sipping a glass of wine. The end result was absolutely divine — I was so relieved I’d pulled it off. 

In the end, I just had to trust the process and believe in myself. (Okay, and spend hours and hours watching makeup tutorials to learn the right techniques.) When I saw my wedding photos, I was delighted to see that I looked like myself and not some porcelain-doll version of me. I looked natural and in my element. That was all I wanted.

If you’re considering doing your own makeup for your wedding, I have some tips. First, does the thought of doing your own makeup on your special day intrigue you, or does it sound stressful? If it sounds stressful, hire someone.

If you decide to do it yourself, do your research. Scroll through Pinterest and Instagram, watch YouTube and pick the look you want to achieve. Just remember to be realistic about your makeup skills. 

Go through your makeup bag and see what you have and what you need to buy. I recommend buying only premium-quality products because, in my experience, they’re worth the price. (And, it’s your wedding!) 

And, of course: practice! There could be a few hits and misses, and it might take multiple experiments to learn what you need to do to get the right look.

Most importantly, take your time and enjoy! On your big day, don’t rush through the process. I know wedding days can be overwhelming, but it’s important for you to remember that it’s your day, and you should enjoy it.

Remember, if you’re happy, smiling and stress-free, it will show in all your photos. The wedding day glow is real, not just because of highlighter, although I totally recommend it.