How I (Finally) Found My Wedding Makeup

Full disclosure: I am at that point in the wedding-planning process — with just two weeks until the big day — where having to make any more decisions is making me want to crawl into a hole and cry. Planning any big event is stressful. Throw in the emotions and high intensity of a wedding, and, holy moly, can it devolve into a mess of anxieties. But, as we try to nail down the right song for our first dance (is Jason Derulo's "Wiggle" inappropriate?), I can finally breathe a little bit easier knowing that at least one thing will be on-point: my makeup.

Until a few weeks ago, I had no idea who would be doing my hair or makeup, and only a vague idea of what I wanted to look like. My everyday makeup routine rarely strays from my signature bold-black, winged, cat-eye and a bright-red or pink lip, and I sort of just figured I'd do the same for our wedding. While I could easily make decisions about flowers and stationery and our reception menu, something about deciding exactly how I should look felt so overwhelming that I procrastinated on making any sort of headway on my appearance outside of my dress. Pro tip: Don't do this. Plan ahead to avoid the stress altogether. 

My first and only "makeup test" happened as I was prepping for this shoot — and I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to test out a variety of looks. I've stressed the importance of looking and feeling my most comfortable and confident on my wedding day, but I've been so stuck in a beauty routine that I couldn't even wrap my head around what other options might look like. And, I did want that "wow" factor. Once I finally saw myself with makeup that was outside of what I thought was my comfort zone, I realized that I could actually still look like myself while trying something new. Another pro tip: If you can schedule a hair and makeup test for the same day as you go dress shopping, or for during your dress fitting, that's ideal; you'll get a much better sense of how everything works together and erase any anxieties that might come with the unknown. 

Here are the looks I tried before deciding on "The One."
Photographed by Alexandra R. Gavillet.
Look 1:
My first idea was that we'd do a more glammed-up version of my go-to winged liner and bold lip — that was, of course, until I asked my soon-to-be-hired makeup artist, Clarissa Luna, what her wedding beauty pet peeves were, and without hesitation she said: "Winged eyeliner and a bold lip." I let out a sad "Nooo!!" (candidly caught on Snapchat, since I obviously didn't expect to be devastated by her answer).

Clarissa's alternative to the seemingly overdone (and, dare I say, "basic") look is to do a subtle, smoky line on the upper eyelid that has the same eye-opening effect as a winged line, but with a much softer approach. A blurred-out line will help define your lashes, making your eyes pop, and adding a touch of illuminating shimmer to the lids will make you look super-awake (something I'm sure will be helpful, since I'm already having a hard time sleeping through the night). Softer, subtle eyes are also the perfect complement to those bold, statement-making lips I love so much. I loved, loved, LOVED the line she created — I felt so beautiful and like my natural self. As for the lips, this pink color is everything; it feels young, fresh, and the saturated pigment is a great stay-all-day option. My favorites are from the NARS Audacious collection, and Michiyo is the perfect hot pink. 
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Photographed by Alexandra R. Gavillet.
Look 2:
At my insistence, we tried a bold, winged liner. The antidote to the bold-lip/cat-eye duo, though? Going with a softer, glossy lip. This look was pretty, but ultimately felt a little forgettable to me; truthfully, after the shoot, I even had a hard time remembering what the second look was. On a day during which (let's be honest) all eyes will be on me and Ali, I wanted something with a little more POW. Still, pairing a neutral lip with the bold cat-eye gave me some inspiration for my everyday life, helping me shake up my entirely too consistent makeup game. It's pretty for every day — just not that day.
Photographed by Alexandra R. Gavillet.

Look 3:
This look was, by far, the farthest from my comfort zone — I even tried to have Clarissa stay away from anything resembling a "smoky eye." I've tried to make smoky eyes happen for myself many times, and I have years of experience to prove that I look shitty with a lot of eyeshadow. In the theme of saying "yes" to new experiences, though, I gave in. 

By the time we were done with the full look — deep, purple-bronze smoky lids and nude lips (clearly so not my usual fare) — I got emotional. I've always been a little self-conscious that my lips weren't full enough, and I've been so attached to (and slightly dependent on) a bright, volumizing lip color that I rarely even entertain the idea of a nude lipstick. It was still me under the makeup, but it was a completely new version of myself that I was pleasantly shocked to see. I was feeling mahself (please sing that line as you read it), and I was thrilled that I trusted Clarissa's direction. And, let's just say that you have to actively scroll to get through the dozens of selfies I took of the final look.

Did it feel "me" enough to be suitable for my wedding, though? I guess you'll have to wait and see!


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