My last couple weeks before moving from California to Illinois were pretty hard. There were goodbye parties, a few last weeks at a job and with coworkers I enjoyed, overwhelming amounts of packing for one little apartment, and fun but truly bittersweet time spent with family and loved ones just before departing.
However, there were also weddings.
Being part of two weddings in the final weeks leading up to our departure was, to my heart, a sign and a reminder of promise. Weddings are a sign that this is just the beginning, that the best is yet to come, and that despite the work and the stress and the unknown in front of you, the kingdom and the power and the glory lie ahead of us. Weddings serve as a reminder of this for all of us who witness them, whether we are married or not, whether one ever does marry or not. To be reminded of these things as I prepared to leave California was no small gift.
I played a part in two weddings before I left for Illinois. In one, for my beautiful coworker Natalie that I miss dearly, I served as a witness. For the other, I served as a makeup artist to the gorgeous Kristin.
I had worked at a school with Kristin, who teaches second grade, for the past two years. We’d interacted with the same families, the same children, the same staff. I watched her handle the stresses and challenges of guiding seven and eight-year-olds through a year of rigorous learning with grace, responsibility, and a meticulous, tireless work ethic. All of this, coupled with planning a wedding and trying to find a place to live, is a job meant only for someone as conscientious as Kristin.
I also had the opportunity to hear Kristin share her amazing story journey with me as we went through a makeup trial together, and I have to say, this wedding had been a wonderfully long time coming (and I say that in the most joyous, worth-every-second-of-the-journey kind of way). As I worked on her makeup the morning of the wedding, Kristin began crying as she listened to one particular song; she needlessly apologized and whispered, “I … I’m just so grateful.” I am always so moved when I work with brides that have so clearly counted the cost and sacrifice of marriage before they have even entered into it. This was no mere culmination of a few months on Pinterest; this was no “milestone life event” to be checked off on that great Milestone Life Event Checklist that God is apparently carrying around on a clipboard, disdainfully waiting for us to “complete” (as if marriage makes one person better than their non-married counterpart).
No, Kristin seemed to know that the wedding ahead was much more than these things. This was Kristin seeing heaven joyously ripping into Earth’s atmosphere through her vows, knowing that this was only the beginning, and that the best is yet to come. Even in the darkness and utter shame and horror of the days this world has just recently experienced, the promise still stands- the best is yet to come, and we can push forward for truth and justice because of the victory that has already been won. And with that victory comes healing, restoration, and new life- and how wonderfully appropriate is that considering that Kristin and her husband are now expecting their first child!
Kristin’s thankfulness encouraged me to enjoy what I was doing in the moment. It can be very easy for a bride to make a makeup artist feel like a cog in the Big Fat Pinterest Wedding machine, with expectations of a Kiley Jenner-type transformation but without any meaning or consciousness of what is happening. Such was not the case here- I was here to serve, and Kristin’s gratefulness for the circumstances that had brought her to this moment gave me rest, and allowed me to just enjoy what I love.
Kristin had really clear ideas about what she wanted for her makeup, and I so appreciated that because it takes the guesswork out of the process. She knew she wanted to use pink makeup tones on her eyes, lips, and cheeks that she felt would work well with the retro feel of her tea-length bridal dress. We used an excellent foundation that Kristin favored- Estee Lauder’s DoubleWear Foundation- and I used Hourglass’s primer as a light base layer beneath it and NARS Creamy Radiance concealer beneath the eyes for concealing and some basic highlighting. For some light contouring, I used the bronzer and highlighter from Urban Decay’s Naked Flushed palette.
To bring out some of Kristin’s features, I used my favorite technique of applying a creamy, pearly eyeshadow to the very top of the cheekbones, the area between the eyebrows, the cupid’s bow, the very center of their chin, and just above the center of the eyebrows with NARS Duo Cream shadow in Thebes. Once the whole look was finished, I dusted Kristin’s whole face with Hourglass’s Ambient Lighting Powder in Mood Light, which creates such a flattering glow without looking too golden or bronze.
For Kristin’s eyes, I applied Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion and then Bobbi Brown’s eyeshadow in Rose Gold and MAC’s Shroom all over her lids. We used a shade or two from Urban Decay’s Naked 3 palette to add extra sparkle and dimension in the creases. Bobbi Brown’s LongWear Gel Liner in black was used as topliner, and I applied just accent lashes to the outer corners of her eyes. I used one of Kristin’s own mascaras because her eyes were sensitive to many products. We used a blush of her own that she loved; it was very similar to NARS’ blush in Orgasm. Kristin’s lip color was Bobbi Brown Lipstick in Sandwash Pink with clear gloss on top. All very pink, and all very glowy! She is just so beautiful to begin with; it certainly wasn’t a challenge to work with her!
I am finding that MAC, Urban Decay, Bobbi Brown, NARS, and Hourglass are my favorite heavy-hitting brands for bridal makeup. Sometimes you have just so much going on in your kit that you can’t determine what brands you really trust the most, but after scrolling through all my photos in my phone, it seems that these names make the most frequent appearances (along with Dior thanks to their shadow palettes). If you need any recommendations on products, don’t hesitate to ask!
Kristin, I took such pleasure in serving you on your wedding day and I thank you for being a source of encouragement to me (even when you may not have known it). You looked absolutely breathtaking, and I love this very photo for its tangible anticipation and excitement. To the promise of healing, restoration, and new life! xo, MR