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In many Western cultures, a white dress is traditionally the Bridal colour. White symbolises purity and is a natural colour for Western weddings. In Asia red is the traditional colour for bridal wear. This is true of Far East Asia, Pacific Asia, and South East Asia.

Once the outfit is decided upon, the next question is makeup. South Asian bridal makeup is traditionally a fully matched affair. Red is such a universal colour and there is a red shade to suit everyone. Gold is the jewellery tone of choice for South Asian weddings and so it’s often used as a complementary shade against the red backdrop.

Many brides these days feel that red on red is too matchy matchy and they don’t feel comfortable being in head to toe scarlet (and full face). Smokey eyes are the go-to look for these ladies.

Two camps. Two looks. Which one should you choose?

I’ve put together a selection of both red/ gold and smokey eye wedding looks to highlight the beauty of both looks and to inspire you too.

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Makeup by myself & my cousin
This was my own wedding makeup from 2008. I went for traditional but used gold as the main base shade and used red and black as accent shades.

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Makeup by Rasheda Manzoor, Bristol
This was my younger sister on her Wedding Day in 2011. Traditional bridal red. The eyes are shaded in 2 different red tones, with a peachy/ bronze highlight on inner corners, and black smoke at the outer crease.

Moving away from the traditional red/ gold, here is a more modern Asian bridal look.

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Makeup by Jawaad Ashraf & assistant
This was my younger sister on her Walima Day. For those not of the Asian persuasion, the Walima is the post-wedding party hosted by the Groom’s family a few days after the main Wedding reception.


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The look here is very modern, smokey eye with a lot of face contouring and highlighting. The finish is dewy and the look is designed to catch the light of all the camera flash bulbs. Very glam, with a red carpet feel.

For Asian Bridal makeup, both styles work well, the question for brides-to-be is which one will work for you on your wedding and registry days? Will you go for the same style on both occasions? Maybe you’ll switch it up and choose traditional red/ gold for one event and modern smokey eye for the other. My advice is to trial both looks when you go for makeup trials. Even if you think you like one look more than the other, you may be surprised and prefer the look less favoured. Keep an open mind and really try new or different looks at wedding makeup trials.

I’ll be posting some of my own variations on red/ gold and smokey eye in the coming weeks and months. Don’t forget to subscribe to Eyespybeauty so you don’t miss it!

Good luck and have fun trying different variations of both looks!

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