Empowering Every Woman to be Beautiful

Wedding Style

Yesterday I was with a friend discussing everything and nothing really, while sipping tea in the breeze on her porch. Somehow our meandering topics landed on a woman my friend knows who recently married.

Like all brides, this young woman wanted her face and hair to look great for her special day. As someone who's style is "nature girl", she knew she'd need help. A few weeks before her wedding, I'm told she went to a salon to do a trial for her hair style, but passed on the offer to have a makeup trial (WHAT???)

So, the day of her wedding arrived. Her hair came out precisely as the bride had requested, which makes sense considering the stylist knew exactly what the bride wanted. They'd already met to discuss it.

When it came time for the makeup, the unsuspecting bride was handed over to an artist who who knew exactly what he wanted to create. Because there were a few skin issues to address (blemishes and such) our (inexperienced) makeup artist decided the foundation needed to be extra thick - all over.

Next, he envisioned a black smoky eye and several shades of eye shadow that would compliment the colors of the wedding. A pair of fake lashes and a deeply lined lip (can someone say music video circa 1995) filled in with a much lighter lipstick finished the look.

The young bride, remember, barely wears makeup. Can you imagine her response at seeing her wedding day face? Yeah. She went home, in tears, and asked her bridesmaids to help her wash it off.

From what I understand, it took four girls to scrub the last of it off. As sad as this story is, it's incredibly common. Sometimes I get calls from brides, two hours before their wedding, tears streaming - "I got your number from ______________ and she said you could fix my makeup!"

These scenarios can be fixed long before the tearful phone call.

For some reason, in certain parts of the country, hair styling is the holy grail of grooming and makeup is the oft forgotten ugly stepchild. This, obviously, is not the case in major cities like New York and Miami. In NYC, brides booked me before they did the wedding venue! Looking good is a much sought after art form in NYC. *sigh* I miss that.

Anyway, back to this post.

In case no one has said this before, I will. Makeup application is as important (in some cases more so) as the wedding day hair style. I've known brides who had a certain fashion flare with a very modern twist who didn't go for that up swept, lacquered hair look. They threw in few cool hair clips with some messy tendrils hanging down and called it a day. They looked amazing.

But they still hired someone to do their makeup because they wanted their faces to look knockout gorgeous in their photos. But, and this is a big BUT, they always did a trial first.

I don't care if you're hiring Bobbi Brown, pay for a trial before the big day. Here's why: A makeup artist could do the most amazing pro job on your face and you could still hate it. It may be her/his vision for you and not yours.

I think whoever does Christina Aguilera's makeup is sheer genius, but I wouldn't want to get married with that style of makeup. It's just not me.

If it's important to you to look like yourself, but better, here are some tools to help you find the right makeup artist.

1) If you attended a wedding and loved how the bride looked, ask her who she used. Not just the name of the salon but the name of the makeup artist. Call the salon and make sure that person still works there and then book your trial. Make sure to book at least a month before your wedding to insure nothing gives you an allergic reaction close to your wedding date.

2) For your trial, bring magazine pages of models in makeup that you like. This doesn't mean you are asking the artist to copy that look onto your face, but it gives her/him an idea of what you like.

3) Bring a picture of your gown. This shows the artist the style of the dress and the wedding - traditional, modern, etc. Makeup style should compliment the overall style of the wedding.

4) Let the artist know how you will be doing your hair (and if you'll be adding highlights, lowlights, etc). I always take this into consideration because the shape of the face visually "changes" according to how the hair is worn (and the colors in the hair). An updo may reveal an overly prominent forehead or accentuate amazing cheekbones. This all comes into play when I'm decided what to emphasize and what to downplay on a face.

5) Do your face the way you normally do it for your trial. This gives the artist an idea of your comfort level with makeup. He can simply have you wash your face in the salon for the trial. If you're willing to go much heavier with your makeup than usual, say that. Otherwise make it clear that you don't want your family and friends to think you just came from a stint as a clown.

6) Let your artist know if you plan to tan for your wedding day. If so, you may want to tan for your trial. Not all artists are experienced enough to shift the makeup hues correctly for a darker skin tone (but keep the look you originally wanted). Colors that look great on ivory skin do not work on bronzed skin. Another note: Please do not fake tan until you are orange. This is a hard skin tone to compliment, no matter how good of an artist one is.

7) Do not ask the artist to explain what she's doing and teach you to do it. A trial is not a makeup lesson (that costs more than a trial). Sit back and let her do her craft. If after you've tried to convey what you want and she's not catching your vision, thank her and look for someone else.

8) Book your makeup appointment AFTER your hair appointment. Hair spray leaves a shiny residue on foundation if the hair stylist isn't careful with application. The only exception to this is if your hair style is going to be down around your face. Then go for hair last so each strand is in place just the way you want it.

Some general pointers:

Any artist who tells you makeup has to be much heavier for pictures/video, doesn't know her craft. That's just not true anymore. Unless you're shooting your wedding with throw away cameras, you should be fine with normal, natural looking makeup.

Digital photography tends to make reds more intense. Remember this when using bronzer, red lipsticks and purple/blue colors around the eyes.

If you're trying to cover breakouts and blemishes, get a heavily pigmented pot concealer that matches your skin perfectly and a nylon brush. Brush over the spots until you can't see them. Apply a sheer foundation on the rest of the face.

Are you getting married soon and you'd like makeup tips? I'd be happy to answer any questions.

The picture above is shot with a model and it appeared in Wedding Belle Magazine. I did the makeup and wardrobe styling.