1.  A photo is everything.

Start with pictures, not words. “It’s always better with a photo,” says Simone Otis, a Toronto-based celebrity makeup artist. “They [especially] make a difference if you show a look that you like on someone you resemble—at least in colouring.” The photos should have a similar aesthetic, adds Otis. Don’t bring in a photo that feels very Calvin Klein and another that’s more Versace—that’s just confusing. And remember: If you want to look like Kim K in your photos, you’ll have to be heavily made up IRL, and this can be jarring if you’re not used to wearing a lot of makeup.

2. Don’t skip the test.

A trial makeup run before the big day is crucial. “Have some patience, and don’t be afraid to be direct,” says Otis. If something isn’t working the way you envisioned it, there’s still time to tweak— unlike during the pressure cooker of the actual big day. Trying on your dress once you’ve got the makeup on can calibrate the look overall. Also key: Snap like the paparazzi (using a flash) to make sure the makeup looks good from every angle and in varying light.