Jessica + Brandon

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I started something new this year. Instead of just responding to emailed bridal inquiries, I tried to schedule quick phone calls with all potential brides. I like the personal aspect of a phone call in a world in which we spend so. much. time behind screens. I had toyed with the idea of a quick get-to-know-you chat, and when I had lunch last January with one of my favorite fellow artists, Joanna Bastermajian, she mentioned that was one of the first things she does with potential brides. I have learned that Joanna is a thoughtful and all-around wise woman, and I respect her business acumen as well as her artistic talent, so I decided to go for it. When I think about that day back in January, there are a number of things that were discussed and mulled over that actually really set the tone for this year (but that’s a separate blog post).

This is all to say, that when I got an email from a potential bride named Jessica, I asked if we could have a quick chat. She agreed, and 2 minutes into our call I had decided she sounded kick-ass and I was hoping she’d decide to move forward with booking. AND it turns out that she had gotten my name from Joanna! (It’s a small world, friends. I love my band of makeup artists that work together and spread the love–more on them in another blog post, too!)

But back to Jessica. As we talked, she shared with me more about the day she and her fiance had been dreaming up. A small, intimate party on the rooftop of one of their favorite restaurant’s in Chicago’s West Loop, Little Goat. Their closest friends, lots of beer and great music. And the bride would be prepping that morning in the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel because–get this—she was on the architectural team that oversaw it’s re-design. And all of this awesomeness photographed by Jennifer Shaffer.

Did I say K-I-C-K-A-S-S?!?

You can imagine my delight when Jessica decided to book me for hair and makeup for her wedding day!

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I met Jessica, along with her mom and sister, on the day of her trial. At that point, she was planning to wear a short, deep-blush-colored dress that she had found and loved, and that was NOT a wedding dress. It fit perfectly with her non-traditional approach. We did her hair and makeup preview, and left undecided in terms of a lip shade, because she really wanted to pinpoint one that would look perfect with the color of her dress. BUT THEN….

She just happened to pop into BHLDN…and well, you can guess what happened! She found an amazing dress with a CAPELET and so on wedding day, we just had to go with a gorgeous warm red lip to play up her beautiful coloring. I mean, seriously!

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Jessica’s directions to me were to make her look “like myself, elevated”. Perfect! With skin like that, and such a lovely contrast with dark brows and hair, my task was easy. I love to give my brides glowing skin (meaning strategic coverage that isn’t caky–with just the right amount of highlight!) and a balanced eye and lip look.

Jessica had also emailed me just before her trial that she’d chopped off her hair, and asked me if that was a problem. I assured her, as I do all my brides, that the most important thing is that YOU like the way YOU LOOK. I will work with you to make you look your best, but you are the judge of what makes you feel beautiful and look amazing! We went with sleek bouncy curls that played up her hair’s natural shine and her jeweled pins added the perfect touch and contrast in her dark hair.

I also got to do hair and makeup for her mom, sister, and soon-to-be Mother-in-law. What a fun, relaxing morning we had! When Jessica sent me her pictures from that day, I had to ask for some of the detail shots, because she and Brandon really incorporated their personalities into every aspect.

Donuts on the Paperless Post invite! (Jessica’s dad handed out pink donuts instead of cigars when his daughters were born—are you kidding me?!) Heart eyes…

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Custom (and I mean Jessica designed this bag!) welcome packages for all the guests…they love Bloody Mary’s and Brandon works for Miller–is this so Chicago or WHAT?

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Then, her friend gave her this and we all died. DIED.

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She made it with the help of Unearthed Paper Co. via Etsy. I want one!

Have I digressed from talking about hair and makeup? Can you blame me? Back on topic…

Because of Jessica’s role in the re-design of the hotel, she and Brandon were able to take some photos inside some of the sexy spaces of the Chicago Athletic Association, a privilege usually reserved for those tying the knot on-location. These lucky two got to have their fun photo shoot and then go party at Little Goat!

I’m gonna say it again, K-I-C-K-A-S-S!

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What a great group. Look at those proud parents!

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I absolutely love that Jessica invited Brandon’s mom to hang out that morning and have her hair and makeup done. As the mom of two boys she had never done anything like it, and told me when she sat in my chair, she’d never had her makeup done! New favorite!

I LOVE SISTERS.

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And her sister wound up wearing the dress Jessica had planned to wear. PERFECT with a rose lip and romantic hair ( I wish you could see the back of this updo! You can on my Instagram 😉

Also, I LOVE MOMS.

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I seriously have the best chats with the mothers on wedding day. Job perk, for sure! Mom’s just needed a bit of volume and softness for an elegant finish. I LOVE doing makeup on moms because it lets me focus on brows, which many moms share with me have faded. Mothers of the brides—I got you!

I loved working with Jessica and her family to come up with hair and makeup looks that highlighted their best features. And of course, one of my favorite things about this job is getting photos back to see how everything came together!

Jessica sent me this shot because the art matched her lipstick, and it is AMAZING.

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And it even looks awesome in black and white. I love when I get photos like this so I can demonstrate what to me is a crucial aspect of good wedding makeup. Wedding makeup MUST look good in color AND in black and white! No debate!

Jessica, you were a glowing bride on your wedding day, and a joy to work with in the months leading up to your wedding. Thank you for choosing me to be a part of such a special day. #leofiorellafest was truly a celebration of the love you and Brandon share! I wish you all the best for the future, and many more joyous times full of good friends, great music, delicious food and beer! Cheers!

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Photography: Jennifer Shaffer

Getting Ready Venue: Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Ceremony and Reception: Little Goat

Invitations: Paperless Post

Gown: BHLDN

Hair and Makeup: Tricia Clarke Makeup

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