Tying the Knot in a Meaningful and Memorable Way (Without Losing Our Savings or Sanity)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Guest Post: Bridal Makeup is Whatever You Want It To Be

By Virginia Sole-Smith of Beauty Schooled

Bridal makeup is one of the first lessons I learned at Beauty U. Our textbook, Milady's Standard Fundamentals for Estheticians, explains it this way, on pages 446 and 447:

When a client asks for makeup for a special occasion, that is the time for you to use your imagination. Special occasions often come with special conditions to consider, such as the lighting. For instance, many are evening events, when lighting is subdued. That means that more definition is required for the eyes, cheeks and lips. [...] If the special occasion is a wedding, however, where photography is an issue, matte colors are recommended, as shimmer may reflect light too much. [...] It is not recommended that you intensify every feature, as this will result in an overdone and garish look. [...] Makeup for [...] weddings essentially uses the same basic application techniques, but with additional special features. More product, color, and powder are generally used.
And my teacher, Miss Jenny, backed this up. She did a lot of bridal makeup, often waking up at 6 AM on a Saturday to trek out to a wedding venue and spend the day spackling the entire bridal party. She told us that we had a responsibility to make sure the bride would always look back on her wedding pictures without regret: "I once had a bride who wanted a very Goth look for her Halloween wedding," she told us. "You can't be afraid to convince your client when something is not appropriate. They have these pictures forever. Goth for a wedding? I was like, are you kidding me?"

I know, I know, simmer down now. I had the same reaction: Goth for a wedding? Why the f*ck not?

And then I thought back to my own wedding makeup and realized just how many Beauty U Wedding Makeup Rules I had unwittingly broken.

Rule #1: You have to hire a professional hair stylist and makeup artist.
But here's what they don't tell you: Most of us are really afraid to speak up when a stranger — a professional, no less! — is doing our hair and makeup. I don't quite know why this is, but I know I'm worried that the Goth-loving bride in Miss Jenny's story is now looking back on her pictures, wondering why she let that makeup artist talk her out of the white foundation and thick eyeliner she loves so much.

Plus, before I went to Beauty U, I never wore makeup. So I seriously considered not wearing any on my wedding day either. But I decided that I was worried about looking shiny in photos, or just somehow not feeling appropriately "done." (I don't even know quite what I mean by that, except the more I thought about going sans makeup, the more it felt like I might feel like I showed up without both my shoes or something.) But I was in a pickle, because being so clueless about makeup, I was pretty terrified by the idea of letting a professional makeup artist have her way with my face. Plus, the whole idea of having a stranger hanging out for that long on my wedding day just creeped me out. So I asked my friend Katherine, who is amazing at both hair and makeup (and actually now does do wedding makeup professionally, just FYI, but back then, she was just being nice) if she would do mine as her wedding present. That's her, working her hairspray magic on me, above. It seriously turned out to be one of the best presents ever. We had fun getting ready together with our other friends (even though her face is scrunched up there, because she was thinking hard about how to prevent my curls from going frizz-tastic in about 90 percent humidity) and I was so much more relaxed putting my hair and face in the hands of someone I know and love.

Rule #2: You have to wear a LOT of makeup on your wedding day.
Like the textbook says: More product, more color, more powder. I wanted none of these things. I'll admit, when I mentioned being worried about looking shiny in photos, Katherine did gently talk me into primer, concealer and foundation, three products I had never ever bothered with before. And they were useful for keeping that shiny thing at bay, especially because I did get married on one of the most humid days on record in June. But beyond those three products, we really did keep it simple. I didn't have that frosted look you usually get with pro makeup jobs. You could still see my skin and the natural color of my lips. If you want more, I say, bring it on, you will look amazing. But if you want less, I'm here to tell you that the sky will not fall down.

Rule #3: You have to fit in time to reapply your makeup so it stays perfect all night.
This was a big Miss Jenny rule: "Make sure your bride knows which bridesmaid is carrying her makeup bag, especially her lip gloss so she can retouch during the day. You don't want your makeup to be perfect for the first hour and then it all goes to hell after you leave."

So right up there, you can see how my makeup looked right after Katherine finished and I was getting ready to walk down the aisle. Good times.

Here's how I looked hours later, after I started dancing like a crazy person, got all red-faced, threw my hot, sweaty hair up into a messy ponytail, and completely forgot about reapplying anything, let alone whether I had enough "definition" to withstand the "subdued lighting."

Nothing and everything is perfect in this picture. And I can't wait to have it forever.

Virginia Sole-Smith is a freelance writer and author of the blog Beauty Schooled. She is also a recent beauty school graduate who hardly ever remembers to wear the right makeup in pictures and hates to brush her hair.

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avila said...

Thank you!
Folks look at me kind of funny sometimes when I mention that my bridesmaid is doing my makeup... They assume its a money thing and try to tell me how cheaply i could get it done.
Really, it's much more about feeling like myself - a pretty version with concealer, yes, but not someone else's version of pretty... I've had professional make up done 3 times before; twice I felt like a clown and the other time I did look sultry, attractive... and like someone else.
Your point about spending lots of time on your wedding day with a stranger vs lots of time with close friends is one I hadn't really considered, but it's now making me even more excited about my decision.

Anna said...

I broke the rules even more by doing my OWN MAKEUP (gasp!) and even resisted my soon to be sister in law's insistence that I put more on. And I look totally awesome in my pictures - partially because the one thing I searched for most passionately was a great photographer.

I wear makeup every day but I'm no pro. I went to Sephora and had them help me with products, then bought a bunch that I liked. I also watched a ton of youtube tutorials and ended up using this one almost exactly: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ymS5Rd2VKWM

I loved my makeup and I was so proud of doing it myself. I felt like me, I gained makeup skills, and I got to keep all the products. It's not something that every bride wants to worry about (I totally paid someone to do my hair for me), but it's another option if you don't happen to have any makeup talented friends.

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