Lauren, one of my bridesmaids, is marrying her fiancé on May 16th and is in the middle of her final wedding-organizing blitz.
She has a striking gown that flatters her figure beautifully; her bouquet, which will be made by one of our close friends and the friend’s mother, will feature lush hydrangeas from their garden and Lauren’s favorite flower, calla lilies; the reception Lauren has planned is what she’s always envisioned: a dessert buffet.
Almost the only things she has left to check off her to-do list are finalizing her hair and makeup. She chatted with me about her wedding look the other day when she called.
“I think I want to do my makeup really natural. That will go best with the style of my dress. “But because, you know, ‘this is mybig day,'” she sighed, “someone told me I need to do my makeup more dramatic and glamorous so I’ll stand out from the bridesmaids.”
No, I insisted, she did not!
“You’ll be the only one in the white dress,” I laughed. “I don’t care what kind of makeup they wear — you’ll stand out.”
But I understand that wedding makeup can be a lot trickier to navigate than an everyday layer of foundation and blush.
In March, when I needed to buy some new pressed powder and mascara, I popped by the Estée Lauder counter at the nearby Macy’s. Instead of just making my purchase and heading home, I decided to get the makeup artist/sales lady’s opinion on wedding day face paint. Ever ready, Ana whipped out a little brochure.
“There are a few different looks you can achieve with makeup on any given day,” she told me, pointing to the models and their flawless close-ups on the brochure.
“There’s the ‘natural’ look, which uses the least makeup and looks the freshest. Then there’s the ‘romantic’ look. You can see that the model’s a lot more made-up,” she said, “but the look is very soft and feminine and dreamy. The ‘natural’ and ‘romantic’ looks are what most brides go for on their wedding day.
According to the pamphlet publishers at Estée Lauder, there are two other “looks” — “classic” and “dramatic.” (For illustrations and directions of how to get each of these looks for your wedding day, visit Beauty Blvd.) Ana told me that the “classic” and “dramatic” looks also work for brides given the right occasion, but that each bride should choose a makeup look that reflects the overall feel of the wedding
That’s what Lauren’s working on right now. Her church wedding will be quite traditional, with her groom in his Army blues. But at the same time, her wedding will be modern and relaxed: the bridesmaids are wearing navy knee-length dresses with ivory shoes; Lauren, meanwhile, has had her shoes dyed to match the bridesmaids’ dresses. The evening will be elegant and soft, with Lauren’s feminine dress and flowing hair. But it will also be chic and hip, with a late-night reception at trendy venue.
So, with so many variables, how to choose her wedding look?
For any bride, the most important factor is what type of makeup she will feelgood in for several hours. If she’s a girly-girl who loves shiny pink gloss, she shouldn’t suddenly switch to nude lipstick and expect to feel beautiful. If she’s not a fan of heavy liquid liner, her wedding day isn’t the time to shock her fiancé with runway-ready eyes.
That’s not to say brides can’t expiriment, but wedding-day makeup is one area where it’s a good idea for a girl to stay within her comfort zone. Play around with makeup in the months leading up to your wedding until you find the face you want preserved in your wedding photographs. Ask professionals for their advice, and if you’re nervous about shaky hands on the day of the wedding, hire a makeup artist to dress your face for you.
Just remember: like your wedding dress, you need to find the makeup combination that takes your breath away — and that, like your wedding dress, you’ll wish you could wear again and again. But since makeup doesn’t just get saved for special occasions, you won’t have to tuck it into the back of your closet. If you find the right look, it’ll become a wardrobe staple and a regular reminder of how beautiful you looked on your wedding day.