*Disclaimer – if you are my fiance, this post contains wedding related info that is not for your eyes or ears – leave now!*
Let’s talk wedding make up. Probably one of the (many) things that has the potential to send us bride-to-be’s into meltdown mode.
I’ve spoken about the idea of striving for perfection within a wedding on the blog already, but the more I progress with wedding planning, the more I realise how much pressure there is (and particularly on the brides) for things to be just so. We are bombarded with images of beautiful brides in beautiful dresses looking utterly flawless across wedding magazines, blogs and social media and having spoken to other brides and bride-to-be’s, I know that I’m not alone when I say that this wedding malarkey has made me scrutinize every part of myself countless times over, made me place unrealistic markers on myself for how I want to look on the day and resulted in me being altogether unkind to myself on a daily basis.
It would appear as if there are very few real people at weddings these days, or at least real brides. Brides with skin that shows the signs of a year of stress laid upon them, bags under their eyes from lack of sleep and a slightly wider waistline due to the copious amounts of Prosecco that has been consumed ever since their engagement. The fact that I see none of this on the brides I view through blogs and Pinterest on a daily basis worries me, as these are all things I fear I’ll be hard pushed to avoid on my own wedding day.
For so many of us, when planning our weddings, the focus very quickly shifts from sheer joy at the idea of saying I do to the man you love, to extreme fretting over how we will look while we do so. I don’t know about you but the idea of walking down that aisle consumed with emotion and having 100 people and a keen photographer with all eyes on me, fills me with dread. My forthcoming wedding day has started to feel a little like a beauty pageant or a dog show – a day where I’ll be shown off to the crowd, in my finery and ‘looking my best’ – I wonder if I’ll take home the prize rosette should I get it right on the day?
With our bridal ‘look’ becoming all that anyone seems to care about, and as a result all we think about, decisions such as which dress to wear, which colour lipstick and how to style our hair become THE most important decisions we feel as if we’ll ever make, and the decision of who on earth we will ever trust enough to make all of these things happen, an incredibly difficult one.
I’ll admit, trusting strangers to do things on my behalf isn’t something I’m very good at. The term ‘control freak’ has been thrown out many times during this process but I like to think I’m simply a creative, someone who has a vision and doesn’t feel confident enough to fully portray that vision to other people. This of course has meant that I’ve ended up giving myself a lot more work than is really necessary in the run up to a wedding, vowing for the most part to ‘handle that myself’. From the off though I knew that when it comes to all things bridal beauty this definitely isn’t an area I want to accept responsibility for. I might be a DIY mad workhorse but I’m not stupid… When that Saturday comes I want to wake up knowing that all my hard work is behind me and sit and relax while others run around me. (Not to mention the fact that I’m pretty terrible at doing my own hair and make up) Of course had I not had capable friends throw their services my way as soon as we got engaged I have no doubt that the decision of which stranger to trust in these departments would have been as long and arduous a one as finding a dress designer or choosing a venue.
So I guess you could say that I’m pretty damn lucky to have a friend who also happens to be a professional make up artist, and I’m eternally grateful to her for kindly offering to do my wedding make up pretty much as soon as I got engaged. For me it’s pretty much the perfect situation, as I know I’m in the hands of a professional but I’m also in the hands of a friend. Someone I trust, someone I can have a laugh with, and someone I know I can be honest with if something doesn’t feel right on the day. It’s taken one potentially stressful decision away from me from the offset and meant that I’ve never had to worry about researching make up stylists, or visiting counters, or worrying about feeling like ‘me’. In truth I’m not sure how I’ll ever be able to thank her enough.
Anyway up until this month, wedding planning has very much been about ticking off those big tasks and working out logistics (something that although necessary can often feel like a whole lot of work for no reward) and apart from a serious case of pinning and inspiration collecting, it’s taken until this last few weeks for me to actually get to the fun part. The part when you feel like your hard work is finally paying off and the part where you can start bringing all of those inspirations and Pinterest boards into a reality. And the same can be said for the beauty – finally I’ve had a make up and hair trial (seperately) and can begin to envision how everything is going to look on the day, which is all very exciting (if extremely nerve-wracking).
As an ambassador for the brand, my make up artist friend Rosie (check her out on Instagram to see more of her work, she’s a beaut) took me to the London based beauty label Cosmetics A La Carte to have an official make up trial and play around with a few different looks. Cosmetics A La Carte London are one of the only truly bespoke beauty brands in the UK and as such have plenty of experience in catering towards brides and weddings. What they do best is to tailor a look and products to suit you individually. For example their foundations are completely unique for every customer, mixed up individually to suit your skin tone and blended from a number of different shades. After Rosie had layered up a few different shades and tones as my base layer make up, the team were able to create a unique mix of those just for me as an every day foundation – pretty cool huh?
This same technique can also be applied to lipsticks, eyeshadows and blushers so that you can create your own custom blended colour. If you’re someone who dreams of finding that exact shade of lipstick that’s been haunting you, or if you want to match something perfectly to a dress or pair of shoes, this is how you can do it. This appealed to my inner perfectionist no end, and is probably why, I can imagine, they are such a popular brand with brides. But of course as you can see in the pics above, their range of colours isn’t exactly small anyway so you’ll no doubt find something you’re looking for.
Set in the heart of Knightsbridge, Cosmetics A La Carte’s London boutique is small yet super chic. It’s nestled just off Motcomb Street and just around the corner from Knightsbridge station so there’s definitely a sense of luxury in the air as you arrive, but it’s off the beaten track enough that you don’t feel like you’re on show to hoards of tourists. Chandeliers line the ceiling and large mirrors decorate the walls so as soon as I walked in I knew I was in for a treat!
Rosie and the A La Carte team greeted me and after a lot of oohing and ahhing over their pretty displays and endless beauty products on show (they also do skincare, perfume and brushes as well as make up) I settled down to let Rosie work her magic. Having been excited about the meet up all week, it was only as I sat down and started talking about the day and the look I’d imagined that I began to feel a little nervous – putting yourself and all of your Pinterest dreams into someone’s hands can feel a little nerve-wracking and I’m definitely not used to having someone do my make up (I’m more of slap it on and go kind of gal) so I literally had no idea what it was going to turn out like – but I needn’t have worried as Rosie and the team put me right at ease and the whole experience felt like a true pampering sesh.
I should probably say that at this stage that these pics don’t reveal my final wedding look (that would be giving the game away right?), but I guess you can see to an extent the feel I’m going for. Trusting Rosie, I pretty much let her do what she thought was best, my only criteria being that I wanted to look as natural as possible, with my skin looking its best, and I wanted a touch of a ‘Winter wedding’ feel seeing as we’re hoping for a nice cold crisp Novembers day outdoors in the Scottish countryside.
Rosie started by layering up two different shades of the A La Carte foundations, using a lighter tone as a highlighter and concealer which made up my base. We opted for a slightly dewy tone as I know come Winter my skin can often get quite dry and then this was built upon with a soft blusher and a dreamy apricot cream blush which was applied across the cheekbones and temples to give a touch of shimmer. This was probably my favourite product of the day, I often use cream blushers but this combined that with the power of a highlighter (a little like my High Beam) created a warm shimmery effect which I loved. Seeing myself at this stage was a little scary as I have to admit that I’ve never had as much make up as this on before, (I never do more than one coat of foundation and a touch of concealer) and there was part of me that worried it was too much. But I was assured that it would all come together when the full look was created and of course on the day, it needs to be a little more than you’d normally wear in order to last all day and look prominent in the photos, something which I guess only comes from consulting with professionals.
My eyes were kept subtle and earthy, with a soft grey eyeshadow and a brown gel eyeliner (something totally new to me as I always use black) which worked wonders at bringing out the blue in my eyes, followed by a slick of mascara. Then came my favourite stage of the day, choosing lip colours. We tried out quite a bold berry lip for that Winter look as a bit of an experiment (the shade was called plum wine – isn’t that perfect?) and was actually just a lip liner that was used all over and blended with a touch of lipstick. I didn’t even want to try any others I was so hooked on it. I’ve always loved a bold lip colour and although on the day I might go for something a touch warmer, I loved the almost gothic medieval vibes of this shade.
The team kindly gave me some of the products we’d used to take away with me and I’ve been using them since to trial them in ‘my normal environment’ i.e. when I don’t have a professional putting them on for me and they’re surprisingly easy to apply and get the same professional results from. The foundation gives me a great all over coverage without being heavy, although can at times feel a little too dewy for me (I sometimes get oily around my T-zone) so that’s something I need to work out with Rosie and see if we can add a bit of mattifying in those areas but other than that they’ve been great.
For any fellow bride-to-be’s currently looking into make up for their big day I’d definitely recommend visiting Cosmetics A La Carte, even if just for some advice. They regularly do make up trials at their boutique so that you can try out a look and even if you want to do your own make up on your big day they’ll do a ‘teaching’ trial where they go through the steps with you so you know exactly what works best. They’re products are also all very wedding friendly and the fact that they can be tailored to your own personal skin tone means you know they’ll suit you as best they can.
Like Rosie, there are also loads of make up artists who use Comsetics A La Carte products around the UK so they can give you advice on that too should you be looking for someone to help make you look your best on your wedding day.
So what do you think? Any brides who have been through the wedding process already, I’d love any make up advice you have for the big day? Anything that needs to be topped up, or specific things to avoid?
Once again a huge thank you to my lovely Rosie for being such a star, and thanks to A La Carte for being so wonderfully accommodating during the trial and helping a stressed out bride-to-be feel pretty special. Having a trial really put my mind at ease and reminded me that how I look on my wedding day isn’t the most important factor (although definitely one of – let’s be serious), something its easy to forget as the planning progresses. Personally now I just can’t wait to get that dress on, have Rosie adorn me in Plum wine and get that down that aisle to see my guy, that’s what it’s all about.