Renee + Fabien

I “met” Renee the same way I meet most of my brides–via email. But unlike most of my brides, who have found me thanks to personal referrals from a past clients, friends or photographers, Renee was the first of a new wave of brides–the ones who found me on Instagram. I find it hard to describe how thrilling it was to get her email, and realize that all those hours of typing with my thumbs might actually have been for good reason! I think I floated on a happy cloud for a few days after our first exchange. #winning

While Renee lives in Brooklyn, she and her fiance were planning a Chicago wedding at one of my favorite city venues, Room 1520. We set a date for her trial, and when I met her (finally, in person!) she was just as warm and as lovely as her emails had suggested. As we chatted about the details of her wedding, she revealed a truly all-star line-up of vendors, headed by Nicole at Urban Allure and I started to get really excited for her and Fabien’s big day. I can’t wait any longer so get excited, because photographer Lidia Codrean captured every single part of Renee and Fabien’s vision exquisitely.

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As we talked about her vision for her bridal look, Renee shared with me that she normally wears a deep red lip as part of her signature look, but that she was hesitant to do so, because of the colors she had chosen for her bridesmaids. Look at these beautiful pink and blush tones–with those bouquets by LaRue Floral!

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I agreed, and we decided that maybe it would be better to still do a statement lip, but veer more towards a deep pink. We knew no matter what, we wanted her lips to be the focal point, so I kept the rest of her bridal makeup very classic, old-Hollywood. To me this means, soft matte skin, defined eyes with crisp liner and just enough lashes to bring out her eyes and balance her whole look without over-powering.

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I left our bridal preview with detailed notes on what I had used,  and also pictures of the look we created. On wedding day, I might make skincare adjustments based on how my client’s skin is behaving, and of course I match their foundation and color to whatever shade they are that day, regardless of what we did at the preview…after all, if a bride gets a tan, or loses sun-kissed color, I want to match their wedding day skin, not whatever they looked like on trial day! I also always encourage my brides to wear their makeup for the rest of the day, taking note of how everything holds up, and letting me know if they have any feedback for me. It’s really a collaborative process and I love that while I bring my expertise and professional products to the preview, it’s also really important that my brides share with me what they want for their bridal beauty look, and are honest with me about how they feel I interpret their vision!

A few days after our trial, Renee emailed me and said that while she loved the look we created, she just didn’t feel like herself without her signature red lipstick. I am so glad she was honest about what made her feel beautiful, because my friends, you cannot believe how stunning she was…

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Are you ready?

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It’s almost TOO good!

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Perfection.

Renee’s lovely friends were some of the sweetest bridesmaids I’ve ever worked with, and our morning at the Chicago Athletic Hotel was dreamy. We had a view over Millennium Park of sailboats on Lake Michigan, and once everyone was ready, they  headed out for pictures at the Art Institute. Oh, Chicago!

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Stunning. I mean, STUNNING.

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Beautiful romantic hair by Annie of Epoch Salon!

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Beautiful bridal makeup will look good in black & white AND in color photographs!

I also make sure my brides makeup looks good from all angles…those LASHES!

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I mean, these pictures. So good!

I also have to include photos of some of my favorite people on wedding day–the moms! I encourage my brides to include mothers in the hair and makeup on wedding day, even (and especially) if they don’t normally wear makeup. They also probably don’t wear a sequined dress, and it’s all about finding balance and looking special, but not overdone. In many cases, I do a trial with the mom as well, so she gets excited for the big day, and not nervous that I will make her look unrecognizable, I did a trial with Renee’s mom, and it was great to get to know her a bit before we met on wedding day. I just love moms!

Room 1520 has beautiful light and amazing rooftop views. Just look at these!

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Now, I know you are already having a hard time handling all this beauty, but I have to tell you, Renee and Fabien’s celebration didn’t end here. They flew to France and said their vows again in a beautiful cathedral for Renee + Fabien Part Deux. SWOON.

Renee, thank you for scrolling through the hashtags and thousands of pictures on Instagram and finding me! It was a joy to be a part of your wedding day, and bear witness to your and Fabien’s incredible love, and the joy your family felt at coming together to share in your happiness. Every detail of your day demonstrated what a special couple you are. I wish you years of happiness and adventure, together! And thank you for being honest with me about what would make you feel like the most beautiful version of you, because that red lip… I mean, come on! You are a knockout!

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Renee + Fabien Vendor Love:

Planning and Coordination: Urban Allure

Photography: Lidia Codrean

Videography: Ruben Codrean

Florals: LaRue Floral (formerly Casey of Pen and Petals)

Calligraphy:  Jen of Pen and Petals

Hair: Annie Framstad, Epoch Salon

Venues: Room 1520 and Chicago Athletic Association Hotel

Entertainment: Toast and Jam DJs

Catering: D’Absolute Catering

Sweets: Sweet Mandy B’s

Photobooth: Fotio Co

And in a case of serendipitous timing, you can read Renee’s take on everything by reading her review of my services here. Thank you Renee! You were a highlight of my 2017 and I will treasure these beautiful pictures of you looking so radiant and happy.

Bridal Look: Understated Elegance

It’s kinda funny, as a bridal makeup artist, I am invited into people’s homes and welcomed to touch their faces, usually mere moments after we meet for the first time! It’s exciting but also daunting, because we’re each trying to get a feel for one another. I need the bride to be honest about what she wants to look like on her wedding day, and I am hoping I interpret that correctly! Sometimes I also have to help frame someone’s expectations, and explain what will and won’t work for them. Often at a bridal trial I can suggest that someone start using eye cream, or begin seeing a professional esthetician for brow grooming. These seem like little things, but when you are going to spend a day being photographed they make a big difference.

In Giles’ case, her bridal trial was scheduled for the night of her bachelorette party, which turned out to be really fun, as she included her bridesmaids in the action, and everyone got to get dolled up together. It also gave Giles a chance to wear her makeup all night, and see what she loved AND what she wanted to change for her wedding day look. I really value this chance to get feedback from my brides, because I want them to feel phenomenal when they walk down the aisle. I can do what I think is a flawless makeup application, but if the final look doesn’t match the bridal vision they’ve been dreaming about, they won’t feel truly confident and stunning.

After her trial, Giles emailed me and requested we tone down her blush, because she tends to flush naturally. And, although she found the strip lashes I applied to be comfortable (which is crucial!) she wanted a more subtle look. I was able to take these requests and adjust my application so that she felt like the best version of herself on her wedding day. That’s always my goal: to make my brides not only feel beautiful, but like the most beautiful version of their authentic self. Then they can really shine!

Here’s Giles on her wedding day!

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For those of you who like product details, I used Smashbox Photo Finish Primer in Light, MAC PRO Longwear Concealer and Kett Airbrush Foundation, applied with my Kett Jet.

 

I applied just a touch of a light MAC Cream blush prior to airbrushing her foundation, so  just a very soft coral would appear as a gentle flush. I contoured her using Benefit Hoola, applied with a very light hand.  I used MAC Mineralize Skin Finish in Medium Plus to give her a bit more dimension on her cheeks without veering in pink or red territory.

I primed her eyelids with TooFaced Shadow Insurance in Lemon Drop, and used various MAC shadows on her eyes, Eye liner is Bobbi Brown gel liner in Black, and I used Cover Girl Lashblast mascara in Very Black, then applied Monda Studio Lashes #213 using Duo Glue.

Giles’ lips are lined in MAC Subculture, and topped with Creme Cup. Here are some of her posed and candid pics from the rest of her day! Look at those lashes!

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GilesJoe_598These two clearly have a blast with each other!

And these two bridesmaids, so fun! I loved coming up with fun eye looks to play off their purple dresses!

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Still looking good well into the night, that’s what I like to see!

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