Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 108: Mirrorless Wedding Makeup - Trials and Tribulations.

The "after" shot is what I HOPED I looked like after my makeover...
(FYI, this makeup "application" was done by me, using
According to The Knot's Bridal Beauty: Countdown to Gorgeous list, it's high time that I start worrying about my wedding makeup.  At the "3-4 Months Before" mark I'm commanded to do the following:
Make consultation appointments with potential makeup artists.  Be sure to take pictures, then analyze them.  Do your features stand out?  Do you look like you're wearing a mask?
Decide on a makeup artist and book him/her for your wedding date.  Set up a day-of-wedding schedule.
The B.B.C.T.G. list, of course, assumes that I (and all brides) have the bucks to pay for a professional makeup artist on the big day.  I find this assumption really obnoxious.  That said, up until a few weeks ago, I also assumed that I'd hire a pro to take care of my makeup.

But now things have changed.  I'm going to do my own wedding day makeup.  Without mirrors, but with a little help from my friends.  How did this happen?  Have I lost my mind???

Alternative wedding day look:
Lighter eye makeup, dramatic red lips!
In a nutshell, I tried the makeup artist thing (check, check), but ... it didn't go as amazingly as planned.  Then I looked at my wedding budget, and that also wasn't going quite as amazingly as planned.  Here's the story:

It was the morning of the "couples shower" that my sister was hosting for Michael and me.  My parents were in town for the event, and my mom and I had plans to get our makeup done at a local salon.  This was to be my makeup trial, and I felt pretty psyched!  I enjoy my girly pampering things, and it doesn't get much girlier than a professional makeup application. Plus, my mom would be paying (or so I'd hoped).

The experience itself was luxurious, and the makeup artist (who's own makeup looked awesome, I thought) was incredibly sweet and personable.  After 55 minutes of dabbing various brushes into various pots and compacts and then my face, I felt optimistic about the results, and imagined how amazing I probably looked (at least more amazing than normal, no?).   The makeup artist stepped back to look at her work, smiled with a satisfied sigh, and said "Oooh, you look soooo great!" My mom nodded in approval (though not vigorously, as I later recalled).

I happily scampered off for a blow-dry at the hair-doing side of the salon, and my mom sat down to have her own makeup done.  But an hour later, I picked up on a few clues suggesting that... perhaps my made-up face didn't look quite as fabulous as I'd hoped:

Clue 1: My mom's makeup didn't look much different from her usual self-application.  Except the foundation was kind of settling into her pores (and out of her non-pores) in a weird way.  Wait, were those crows feet? And she looked a little pallid.  Was she even wearing mascara??!  Hrmmm...  

Clue 2: Then... when it was time to pay, my mom hesitated, and then asked "Sooo... how do we want to do this??"  And we ended up paying for our own services.  Note: my mom has a fairly predictable habit of buying stuff for my sister and me whenever we're looking particularly cute.  When it comes to clothes shopping, haircuts, and now makeup applications: if we're lookin' good she often treats, but we always have to pay for any uncute (in her opinion) clothes/hair/makeup by ourselves. Hrmmm... again.

I got nervous on the way to the party and asked my mom if I should be worried.  She said I looked "fine," but admitted that she didn't think it was worth $50 (for the trial), much less $150 (for the big day).  This would have been really depressing news, had she not mentioned that my very own self-applied (sans-mirror!) makeup looked BETTER!  (Recall: I've developed a carefully crafted routine for applying my makeup sans-mirrors.)

"BETTER?" I asked?  (Incredulous, yet still hinting for compliments)

"Yeah," she confirmed, "I think you would just need more eye makeup than usual for it to feel more formal. But somebody else could do that, right?"  Hrmmm.... indeed!

A quick calculation confirmed that NOT hiring a makeup artist would save over $600 (plus tips!).  The math was in favor, but I wavered for a moment; would my bridesmaids find it tacky if we didn't offer them a professional makeup makeover??  And then I remembered something important:

I don't need the Bridal Beauty: Countdown to Gorgeous list (or anyone else, for that matter!) to tell me how to get married.  

Oh, and my bridesmaids are all competent and sane women who won't give a fig about missing out on unaffordable (and crappy) makeover.  Finally, if my mom thinks my cosmetic application skills suffice, well.... that would be good enough for me!  (Good enough is good enough, right?)  And that, my friends, is how I decided to do my wedding day makeup myself (with a little help from my friends).

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  1. Love the blog, and the project. And you are very correct, you don't need TheKnot and their ridiculous demands to tell you how to get married! My mom bought me their planner (out of love) when I got engaged, and it just felt so judgmental (the planner, not the mom), because I accomplished everything I needed to, with time to spare, in 5 months, and TheKnot said it could not possibly be done in less than a year. Nice to have as a guideline, but totally not necessary to do (and spend) everything they say. Keep it up!!!

  2. Thanks Amy! I am amazed by the detailed and expensive expectations that the wedding industry tries to sell us... but even more amazed by how creative people can be when they think about what they REALLY want, and find ways to get there. I also totally agree with you on the fact that it's completely possible to plan an amazing wedding in fewer than 6 months. I swear I could have done it in 3, though it would have been pretty intense! (I would have loved that, actually, but my family wanted a bit more time.) I wouldn't be surprised if longer engagements lead to more expensive weddings... the more time we have to obsess over perfection and add details, the bigger the budget? I can only speak from my own experience, but I do wonder... :)

  3. When did it become de rigueur for pros to enter the picture anyway? Was this always the case, or was it a response to seeing so many pictures of celebrity weddings, or...? In any case I think the biggest bonus of having a pro is that they'd know how to apply it/what tools to use to make it last through pictures and dancing and tears and whatnot with minimal touchups, but you can totally learn that on your own with a little research. So DIY it, I say!

  4. It is such a relief to read this. I am to be a mother of a bride in September and had been pondering a professional makeup job. I think you have just saved me several hundred dollars.

  5. Autumn - No kidding! I really do wonder when this all stuff started... I'm hoping to learn more in the last chapters of One Perfect Day: The Selling of the American Wedding. Honestly, I'm not convinced that professional makeup looks THAT much better than self-applied (at least in my price-range! Celebrity makeup artists might be a different story....) Thanks for the DIY support!

  6. Terri you've just warmed my heart, though I hope your daughter isn't going to be peeved at me if she has her heart set on professional makeup... That said, I talked to a few of my (7!) bridesmaids in the past few days, and was told that they always end up "fixing" (or at least fiddling with) professionally-applied makeup anyway. I think we all have a sense of how we'd like to look, and it's hard to make that vision realized by another person anyways.

    That said... I might invest in having "eyelash extensions" applied. I love the look of big lashes, but absolutely cannot apply fakes by myself. They last several weeks, so I'll get some bang for my buck, particularly since I found a nice groupon discount in Los Angeles!

  7. Why are you wearing make-up at all?

  8. Honestly I would just look up some bridal makeup tutorials on youtube. If you have any kind of experience with makeup you can find and recreate some really great looks... pixiwoo, makeupgeek are two really good sites.

  9. Whatever you do, lose the red lipstick of the 2nd photo. Brides should be a bit demure, don't you think? And you'll be kissing so many people and wouldn't want red lipstick smeared all over your and their face now would you? (Michael might prefer not having red lips in the post wedding kiss photos, too!)
    Perhaps a berry stain with a tube of gloss that you can reapply frequently to keep the shine. Play up your eyes, but keep the lips simple.

  10. I think that doing your own makeup is a great way to do things. It also makes sure that you are not looking to different to normal for your Michael, after all he wants to marry you, not a stranger.

    Also, if you like the red lippy don’t leave someone else put you off. It’s about what you like. And a stereotype of a bride's make = demure is just that…. a stereotype. I think its mad how we have clung to that stereotype but it’s ok to live with someone etc. Makeup should please you, and make you feel happy. Maybe that means demure makeup, but maybe not. It’s about what you want.

    I really admire you doing this. It’s made a big impression on me. You have become one of my body issue (dealing with) heroines.

  11. Kudos to deciding to do your own makeup! Kate Middleton did her own make up too and I think that if you have the skill you should go for it. I was a bridesmaid in my best friends wedding last summer and we all had our make up done at the salon where she got her wedding hair done. Not good! The make up "artist" was anything but. The only good part was the false eye lashes, other than that I could have/ should have done it myself. Nowadays whenever I have an important event/interview/wedding to go to I rely on the Bobbi Brown counter at Nordstrom. They are pros and don't charge an arm and a leg.

  12. Lovely blog. Get here ideas about Wedding make up to look pretty at wedding day.

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  14. I hope it will help me to make this hairstyle for my daughter. I already have experience in working with hairstyles. I went to my good friend, that he had taught me to do hair for my daughter, but my hands were not ready for it. It is a pity that I can not so often to meet with him, what would he do hairstyles for my daughter. Thank you for sharing. Good luck.

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