A few weeks back, after I contacted more than a half dozen hairdressers and makeup artists only to hear that they were booked for our big day, I had a bit of a panic attack. (OK, hyperbole.) But I did worry that I'd waited so long that I'd have to sacrifice quality to book someone at all. Luckily, that wasn't necessary. Having met Fringe and Foundation Studio at the Boutique Bridal Bazaar, where they'd applied my first-ever airbrush makeup, I made them one of the first salons I contacted. Upon discovering that they were available (!) and willing to travel to our hotel the morning of, I booked a hair and makeup trial.First, a bit of advice that I gathered before my visit:
1) Have an idea of what you want. I brought 11 printouts of hairstyles I liked so that Allison Bates, who opened Fringe and Foundation roughly three years ago, could glean what I liked. I also brought a printout of my dress so she could advise me knowing full well what I'll be wearing.
2) Just as importantly, be open to ideas you didn't think up, Allison advises. Too often, brides have a preconceived notion about what they must look like, and for one reason or another, it's not what they end up liking the best, she added.An example: I had been strict about it. I had to wear my hair in its natural curls because that's how I always wear my hair. That's ME. But... as the trial continued and Allison (after asking, I might add) started curling some of my hair with the iron, I realized I liked the softer look of the curling iron curl better.Here are the first two styles she tried, with my natural curl:
Then, Allison asked if she could curl ... my curly hair.
And I liked it ... more. I questioned, at first, whether I was straying too far from ME, something Allison said she's found in her 30-plus years of experience that both brides and grooms tend to end up disliking. Many brides come in wanting a look straight out of a magazine, only to realize that they don't like the look on themselves. Sometimes, it's too glamorous. Sometimes, the bride-to-be's hair is thin and the model's is thick and coarse, or vice versa. Sometimes, the lipstick is too red. (And -- this definitely got my attention -- Allison said it's grooms who most often don't like the over-the-top looks.)"You can have glamour and you can have a beautiful wedding style without looking like you're not you," Allison said. "He's marrying you because he already loves you, because he thinks you're beautiful."
Though, yes, the curls I've found that I like best aren't my own, I reminded myself that it's not every day that I wear airbrush makeup and a white dress either. It's a day for going a little elevated, right?3) Speaking of that white dress, one important piece of advice I followed is: Wear a shirt whose neckline and color is close to that of your gown. It enables you to see how the hairstyles you try will plug in with the rest of the look you're planning.4) Also, bring any veil, tiara or headband you plan to wear to the hair and makeup trial. Same reasons as No. 3: You'll want to see how everything ties together as best you can before the big day.5) Here's a list of 20 questions to ask a makeup artist that I found on a website. I asked the hairdressers I vetted many of the same questions because they apply to hair, too.Styling hair was supposed to be what put Allison through medical school. She wanted to be a doctor, started hairdressing as what was supposed to be a temporary paycheck, decided to get her license and the rest is history. "I kept thinking, 'Oh, I'll do it (medical school) next year,'" she said. But what she found was the career she hadn't planned on ended up being the one she really enjoyed and did well.
Allison is definitely a force of calm, an intangible quality I liked about her. She has a know-how air about her, and she whipped up looks on me that made it clear that she a) was skilled and quick and b) was listening. Many of the looks we tried incorporated details from my 11 printouts.Here's my favorite of the day, from three different angles, which leads me to tip No. 6.6) Have someone take pictures of each hairstyle you try from the front, both sides and behind. You will be photographed more on your wedding day than any other day, so it's important to know (and like) your angles. Special thanks to my fellow curly-haired friend, Emily, for being my photographer on this day.
The seventh tip I have to offer may not be for everyone. In fact, I almost didn't follow it. 7) Allison actually recommended showing the hairstyles to Steven, something I wasn't sure I wanted to do. He hasn't seen my dress, and we both like the element of surprise that still exists because he hasn't.But, I asked him and he said he wanted to see them. And, while he liked the updo, he expressed a hint of disappointment that I wasn't planning to wear some of my hair down like we'd discussed; he likes its length and an updo certainly won't put that on display. It was just a hint, but it was enough: In the coming weeks, Allison and I have plans to try a few half up, half down looks, including one like the inspiration I'd seen at a bridal show this past winter.Finally, I'll say this:8) Give some consideration to airbrush makeup. Kim, who did my makeup during this trial, says it stays on incredibly well, which is pretty important on a day when you'll be touching faces with family and friends more than you usually do. And, I can only speak for myself, but the airbrush makeup makes me feel like I look flawless. Here's a picture of me with my makeup complete (and updo undone).
You know Michelle feels pretty when she's taking *selfies* in her rearview. If they can make me feel this way on an ordinary Saturday, I knew I could entrust Fringe and Foundation Studio to make me feel radiant on our wedding day, too.
"You don't expect me to smile, do you?" Steven teased me as he agreed to stand still for a picture at the entrance of the one place I'm sure every football fan wants to be during playoff weekend: Northeast Ohio's largest bridal show. He flashed his best version of surly man. Then, victimized man. Tell me that face doesn't make you laugh.
Having exhibited at the Today's Bride I-X Center show last year, I knew it was going to be one crowded, creative place. And, I was right. Peacock feathers found their place on cakes AND table settings,
and there was crystal-encrusted everything, plus this very sparkly setup:
With so much already chosen for our rustic wedding, the Husband-To-Be and I attended the show to find inspiration for those things we have yet to nail down (flowers, chair solutions and invitations).
I've received quotes from florists, but those quotes aren't probably as accurate as they could be because I never know how to answer the question: What do you want? When I daydream about how that day this fall will unfold, it's not flowers I see: It's his face upon seeing me. It's our friends and family enjoying a good meal and letting loose inside a candlelit, energetic dance party.
We walked away with new ideas from our visit with Vince from Forest Woods. For one, we think this bouquet is gorgeous:
And when I asked Vince what is the most common mistake couples make in choosing flowers, he said having their hearts set on off-season flowers. Have second choices, he advised.
He also planted a seed: One budget-friendly way to keep things simple and pretty for the one Mason jar we plan to fill with flowers on each table is to use Baby's Breath, Vince suggested. Upon looking at the bunch he had on display (below), I started to believe that Baby's Breath might make for a pretty, little touch to tables decked with ivory tablecloths, dark brown burlap runners, tree trunk slabs and lace-wrapped jars. Can you see it?
Carolyn from The Finishing Touch had on display a dark brown, cotton chair cover that would fit a wedding as rustic as ours so much better than most of the satin chair covers we've seen that seem to ooze elegance. A certain Cleveland Browns fan I know started talking about the perfection of the colors at play here, which gave way to the perfect opportunity to ask: Could Carolyn do something more rustic for the sashes?Carolyn's response has me hopeful that we've found the solution to the seriously ugly chairs our venue provides (described and pictured here). She told us that while she doesn't currently have lace or burlap sashes to use with the covers, she'd be open to obtaining them since rustic weddings are all the rage right now.If that could happen, I think it's safe to say we'd be happy to take advantage of the 10% off discount we received ... today.
Other inspirations included one for my curls,
the idea of providing a timeline to guests,
and this hot chocolate wedding favor idea, which seems like it would be relatively inexpensive and straightforward to make, but also fits our wedding theme and offers a source of warmth for the brutal cold Northeast Ohio often delivers this time of the year.
Last but not least, I received some jewelry insight from Nichole of Frosting Accessories, who actually names some of her custom jewelry pieces after the brides for whom she designs them. How does a bride pick jewelry to complement a dress she can't wait to wear and searched hard to find? I asked her.
She first recommended keeping true to the type of jewelry you typically wear, to which I said: What if my ring is about the only jewelry I typically wear?
The gown, then, will be the starting point for inspiration, she replied.
I wrapped up our conversation, asking if she creates jewelry using a certain type of material, the identity of which I won't reveal because, well, the HTB does read this, and there's a very dress-related reason I asked.
Tomorrow, we taste-test cupcakes. Among the flavors we'll be biting into are an apple caramel, complete with apple compote filling, and chocolate pumpkin filled with pumpkin cream cheese. More on these and the barter I've arranged with this culinary-trained baker later.
A final note: If you haven't heard of the Boutique Bridal Bazaar, you should click here. It's a small, intimate show with vendors committed to keeping you creative. Mark your calendars: Jan. 20!Oh, and as for the boy who met the bridal world today, he concedes: "It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be."
They are adorable in most ways, but our cats' fascination with (and destruction of) our Christmas tree had to end. Whether it was Charlie (below) or Cora (the prime suspect) is immaterial, really. Our broken bulbs were adding up.
I am happy to announce that it's been two days since The Husband-To-Be hung our orange ornaments, and said destruction appears to have ended.
Cats: 1 (unless you're counting smashed ornaments). Humans: 1.
Now, these orange ornaments aren't just orange in color. They're actually oranges. Partially peeled, strung with a metal hook, oranges.
He hung the Clementines on the branches of our artificial tree, but as you can see, he hid them well.
Steven's colleague told him that cats don't like the smell of citrus, and I knew this to be true because we put lemon juice on our fingertips to teach my childhood cat, Tigger, not to bite our fingers. The Humane Society of the United States confirms cats usually avoid citrus and presents other training methods, too.Thankfully, the ornaments that fell prey prior to the orange assault were not the two we purchased over the past couple years as we build our Christmas tradition: one new ornament, every year. Here's the newest (purchased from a mall kiosk): And this one is last year's, engraved by Things Remembered. It simply features our names and the year. 'Tis the season to be jolly, but 'tis the season, too, for bridal shows. I'm attending the Today's Bride show at the I-X Center (huge event with a seemingly impossible number of vendors to meet and ideas to steal), and I'll be at the Boutique Bridal Bazaar as both a blushing bride and a vendor. Story of Your Life (the company I co-founded with my sister) will be exhibiting at the show, which is an atypical event for those couples seeking to avoid the crowds and to find vendors who do unique and stylish things. Come by and say hi! (Mention The Bartering Bride blog, and I'll give you a 25% off gift certificate for a Story of Your Life. Our certificates never expire.)Here's my advice to you if you'll be attending one or both of these shows (or any of these):*Bring labels printed with your name, your wedding date (if you have one), your phone number and email address. Vendors often offer giveaways, and it's a bear to have to write your information each and every time you want to enter one. Make labels, and it's as simple as peel, stick and enter the raffle. Other tips are here.*Bring your Mom, friends, bridesmaids and your soon-to-be husband. I don't know; it seems to me that this experience of planning our wedding is flying by, and I want to share as much of it as I can with him. Whether Steven actually will brave the January shows is TBD.Me (literally just now): Are you going to brave the bridal shows with me this January?"If it's all day Sunday during the game before the Super Bowl, please no," replied the Supreme King of Fantasy Football (yes, he won his league and has been clucking nonstop about it). "That'd be torture."He attended one show with me already, so I can't begrudge him too much. But maybe our satellite dish will go "defunct" on bridal show Sunday. ::evil cackles::Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone. Crazy to think it soon will be 2013, the year I get to wear that dress that hangs in my mom's closet and marry the man I adore. I hope it's a year of joy for all of you, too.