An Afternoon With Three Gowns, Three Makeup Looks

I first have to say that I am so, so happy to be blogging in this weather.  It just feels … right.  Autumn isn’t always a thing in California, and so this cloud cover today actually feels like a warm blanket, perfectly paired with my soy chai latte with one yummy pump of gingerbread. File that under “things white girls love”.

Now, on to the good stuff!

We’re coming up on December, and something we always seem to encounter during the holiday season is a slew of engagements.  Whether it’s on Christmas morning in front of the whole family or just the two of you on New Year’s Eve, December seems to bring with it the anticipation of wedding fever.  And we all tend to know that planning for one’s wedding basically begins the moment you write the date on the calendar (and for many I’ve known, it starts even earlier than that!).

Planning for weddings can be one of the most daunting tasks simply because there are so many details we feel obligated to cover.  Sharing sites like Pinterest create even more anxiety because of the comparison that ensues between friends and acquaintances, and the constant revelation of newer, more innovative ideas that we’ve never seen before.  That super creative photo op that your photographer didn’t think of!  The rare tropical flower from the heart of Congo that suddenly everyone has to have in their bouquets!  The ten billion invitation fonts!  The handmade EVERYTHING (and OF COURSE you have to DIY because this means your guests will look at your wedding details 2.5 seconds longer than non-DIY wedding details before they just want their food, like at every other wedding)!  I didn’t even have a Pinterest account when I was engaged and I have to confess, this reality probably saved me a lot of frustration (but not all of it, apparently)!

However, the convenience of sharing and planning sites are pretty undeniable, and I’ve had the privilege of being contacted by a newer wedding planning site called, the wedding planning binder that lives in the Cloud.  The site is pretty incredible for it’s one-stop quality for weddings- you can “save your favorite wedding ideas and inspiration to bundles to stay organized”, you can “shop over 200,000 big day must-haves from invitations to your wedding dress”, and you can “plan your wedding with [their] expert advice, trend reports, DIYs, and celebrity scoop”.  If you wanted to, you could honestly knock out all of your wedding planning just through this one site, especially with use of their amazing wedding planning page.  Oh, and also features an app and you can follow them on Instagram and Twitter!

So anyhow, I was contacted by with a fun challenge for a blog post- Choose three favorite wedding gowns from their huge selection and create a makeup look inspired by each gown.  Um, nooooo prob.  And I figured why leave the whole task to myself just to create three makeup looks only for me?  And so, I enlisted the help of two good friends to lend a hand, and here’s what we ended up with:

Valerie – Sophisticated and Trendy


Surprise!  The first one isn’t even a dress!  I absolutely love that Valerie chose a jumpsuit for her wedding look.  Valerie selected this halter crepe and lace jumpsuit from DB Studio.  It’s a piece that I could really picture her in, and I personally am all about jumpsuits these days.  For those who aren’t too attached to the idea of a dress and who are more interested in making a statement rather than sticking to tradition, this is for you.  I decided to keep the makeup modern and minimal for Val, focusing on bringing out the brown in her eyes with deep purple and some lining of the waterline with brown pencil.  I didn’t want too much beyond this though, because it is still a bridal look and anything too much makeup-wise would read more club than wedding.  Some nude gloss and loose waves keep in step with the playfulness of the jumpsuit.  And in my opinion, I wouldn’t go for any stuffy updos here.  Clearly this would be a look for a bride that wants to just have a good time!

Stephanie – Feminine and Romantic

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I love that this second look is the antithesis of the first.  Stephanie selected the Faye gown from Anthropologie’s BHLDN line, with beautiful raw-edge layers of tulle and a lace-paneled deep v-neck.  The frothy, lighter-than-air feel of the dress was a perfect match for Stephanie’s curled red hair, and the dress’s bohemian princess vibe had me thinking pink.  I focused on glowy cheeks and rosy lips, while enhancing Stephanie’s blue eyes with sparkly brown shadow, black tightliner, and loads of mascara.  Unlike the last look, I would suggest keeping the hair up in a romantic, loose updo for this gown to show off the gorgeous neckline and to keep the whole aesthetic from going too far in the Disney princess direction (and a little bit is fine, but be careful).  A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is to not go with the first instinct for either hair or makeup, one of the two.  If the dress screams formal or very structured, I like to counter it with casual hair, and vice versa.  This keeps things interesting and sort of takes a look to the next level.  But really, this is just me blabbing.  If you want to get married in jeans with purple hippie braids, you do you.

McKenna – Elegant and Fashion-Forward


Lastly, we have the look of my choice!  I selected what is listed as “Look 26” on brought to us by the late, great Oscar de la Renta.  This stunner features a corded chantilly lace sweetheart bodice with an off white silk faille cascading draped skirt.  With such an ornate and architectural silhouette, I wanted to keep the makeup very simple and yet still add some kind of punch.  I opted for an even, slightly bronzed complexion with deep, merlot lips by layering two shades.  I capped off the look with bold brows.  My eyelids are bare save for a bit of undereye concealer and a wash of champagne shadow. In contrast to what I’d normally choose for myself, I’d go with a very sleek and simple knot for a hairstyle to accompany this gown.  The dress has such a variety of shapes going on that I felt inclined to stick with clean, modern lines when it came to styling.  I often feel that with ornate garments, you should dial back your makeup- it puts the garment on full display and yet also creates a statement that says you are wearing this, not the other way around.

Wedding planning can be stressful, but the stress should never get in the way of the fun parts like choosing your makeup.  Contact me if you ever need a sounding board, and for any and every other bit of inspiration, get started on!  You’ll find all three of these looks, along with basically every other detail you could possibly imagine.  xo, MR

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