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 realised 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 colour 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.
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, volumising lip colour 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!

Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page!

More from Makeup

R29 Original Series