Weddings: Why they can be hurtful and beautiful all at the same time.

I’ve had weddings on my mind lately.  I frequently reflect on my own for one reason or another, but sometimes it’s someone else’s nuptials that trigger something in you, and you just can’t help but pour over your own pictures, watch your wedding video again, and let your heart sort of go back to that time when you were preparing for all of it.  Preparing for all of those two seconds the wedding and reception seem to last.  It’s over before you know it, and you suddenly wish you’d relaxed a little more over this or that, paid more attention to this detail or that, or been more present and in the moment at whatever time.  And you then get the bittersweet joy of seeing what feels like hundreds of others’ weddings documented on your own social media feeds, and then the nightmare of comparison ensues.  Or you see someone else’s, whether in person or on Instagram or wherever, and you suddenly miss your own.  You feel like your time is done; it’s now everyone else’s turn and yours will soon be forgotten …

It’s hard.  Wedding culture in modern America is hard.  I’m saying this two-and-a-half years after having mine.  I’m still struggling with it in my own ways.  I don’t know what I would’ve done or how I would’ve behaved if I’d had a Pinterest account at the time of my engagement.  I didn’t have an Instagram account, either.  No wedding hashtag.  I can only count that as God literally looking out for my weak soul on what turned out to be a beautiful whirlwind of a day.  But even so, after it’s all been finished and over with for years, it is still hard letting other brides have their turn.  It’s sometimes hard even letting grooms have their turn, if you know them, simply because the attention is so completely not on you.  Our cultural surroundings don’t exactly help us with wedding recovery and the cultivating of a selfless attitude, though.  We are fed such delusional visions of grandeur surrounding our own nuptials, whether it’s through social media or the wedding industry or the strange idea that this is “the happiest time of your life” and you have to express yourself and be THAT wedding that NO ONE will forget and that this day is ALL ABOUT YOU, that when it’s all over, you feel as if you’ve had a rug pulled out from under you.  Or your wedding dress snatched right off you.  You’re done; it’s time to move on.  Of course, these struggles of mine don’t even begin to speak to the real meaning of a marriage covenant.  If I actually had a consistent amount of perspective on what was actually happening at my wedding and what really mattered that day, mason jars and artsy-craftsy creativity and cute boutonnieres and color palettes would suddenly cease to impress me.  For good.  But nevertheless, I manage to dig myself into a sad hole of Eeyore from time to time, and, in the words of my husband … well, these are things.

I think my point is that I mustn’t be too hard on myself.  Grace is necessary, all the time.  However, doing bridal makeup over the past couple years has been an extremely helpful exercise in letting other brides “have their turn”.  When I offer my services, it can’t be about me, at all.  I mean, the groom literally could not care less who applied the blush on his bride’s face.  In fact, he may not even realize that she’s wearing blush and he couldn’t be bothered with such trivial things on a day like this, anyhow.  So in summary, doing wedding makeup tends to mean (though not guarantee) that my heart and talents will be focused outward, instead of focused inward on myself.  Now, again, this is no surefire exercise in self-help.  Believe me- I can stare a bride straight in the eye and have only thoughts for me and my own vanity.  Real talk.  But the point is to do things that put a selfless heart attitude into practice.  Sometimes, if you keep eating the broccoli even though you initially hated it, you begin to love and appreciate and gravitate toward it naturally because of its known goodness for you.  And your taste actually begins to change.  Though I will say that I hate to use broccoli as an example because it’s now trendy to like it.  Anyways.

On to the stuff that really interests you:  I had the privilege of doing makeup for two brides under considerably relaxed circumstances this year (or at least, they were relaxed circumstances to me, as I know that’s rarely the case from the bride’s point of view).  One bride had been enjoying the planning and preparing for an adorable Star Wars-themed wedding, though calling it “themed” doesn’t really do it justice.  The entire bridal party was dressed in high-quality costume, there were basically what you’d call set pieces in the backyard surrounding guests, and each detail was given careful attention and thought so that it might reflect the cinematic theme.  I have to say that I was pretty impressed!  Cheryl was walked down the aisle by none other than Darth Vader, and even the guests were dressed up!

Below, I’m preparing a beautiful Princess Leia for her handsome Han Solo.  Cheryl didn’t have much of a preference when it came to makeup at all, so I decided to just have some fun with metallics and playing up her cheeks with bronzer.  Lovely!

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My other bride, Ashley, became engaged to my good friend Sean during an incredibly busy time in her life.  I remember when she told me what her typical week looked like as far as schedules went, and I was floored.  Something like a commute from San Diego to USC a couple times a week, right Ashley?!  Her commitment to her education and to Sean during this time was so amazing to me.  I so appreciated the trust Ashley had in me when it came to her wedding makeup; a little bit of playing around managed to land us on a a very natural look that brought out her natural features and gave her a soft, highlighted glow.  I still love how the inner corners of her eyes sparkle!

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In the end, the wedding itself is just one fleeting moment in the life of a marriage.  But I think that all the beauty of how a bride looks on her wedding day is sort of an image that speaks to the deepest nature of a marriage covenant: new, beautiful, set apart, and full of promise.  When I use my talents for this greater purpose, I find that I don’t need to worry about one bride having her “turn”, and that it never had anything to do with “turns” in the first place.  My walk down the aisle was not some sort of one-time strut down a catwalk by a now-forgotten model.  No, it really wasn’t about me at all.  And before I continue, I’ll simply choose to refer you here for a little further insight into the meaning of marriage.  And with that …

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… I’ll give you one last look at my “concentrating super hard with the eyeshadowz” face, and bid you good night and good marriage.  xo, MR