I’m sitting here as I type, enjoying the delightfully foreign sensation of dramatically long lashes and a super-duper-moisturized face. You guys, I wish I had a Gatsby-caliber party to attend tonight, because I LOOK HOT.

What just happened? My wedding makeup trial session!

Being a runner/CrossFit freak, you wouldn’t think that I have a girly side but let me tell you, I can throw down at some Sephora with the best of the divas.  However, when you get past the basic Naked 2 palette and some fabulous Buxom lip gloss, I’m worthless. Contouring, blending, falsh lashes… yeah, they and I are not on speaking terms. So when it came time to try out my wedding face, I made the personal choice to not go it alone. I needed to call in some help.

Lucky gal that I am, I befriended Andrea of Andrea Carter Artistry last year and we’ve been talking about doing a trial sitting ever since.  To brag on my girl a little, Andrea has seriously impressive bridal and editorial makeup artistry credentials (think Style Me Pretty, Huffington Post, 100 Layer Cake, The Wedding Chicks) and was also featured on Pottery Barn’s blog for her DIY champagne bottles! Talk about some BAB badassery!

Today was the day where our busy schedules aligned and I couldn’t be happier with the results!! We spent a few hours doing all the magical pampering you’d expect, along with trying several different looks to make sure I absolutely got the look I wanted. As she lovingly fussed over my face, I managed to pick her brain a little bit. For you my friends, I wanted to share some words of wisdom from Andrea, along with some things I learned, too.

1. Have a vision. But make it realistic.

I almost ruined Andrea’s work, crying laughing about her description brides who ask for “a natural and smoky eye”. That, in and of itself, is like asking for a dry shower. It’s an oxymoron. A smoky eye will not, never has been and will never be natural looking. And hi, if you wake up looking artistically smudged to perfection, then I want to be you. Ladies. Natural or smoky. Pick one. Andrea really appreciated my communication so that she could see the whole vision – I showed her pictures of the venue, pictures of the dress, told her the vibe and let her see my accessories. I knew what I wanted (and didn’t want) for my face and was able to convey it to her. As she said, “you have to know how to speak the language” of the artist. And surprisingly enough, the language isn’t too difficult. Just remember, too… If it’s hard to verbalize, there are always gazillions of images online to choose from. Just remember that you should still look like YOU. But a wowza version of it.

2. Be vocal!

Not only do you need to know what you want, you need to be able to speak up if something isn’t quite right. I wasn’t too shy to ask about wonky eyebrow hairs or a wayward clump in my lashes. We tried two very different eye looks and she had zero issue with spending the time to adjust my look to make me happy. And when the lip color was just good, but didn’t have the “AH-HAAA YES!” I was after, we kept trying until we found it. By the time she left, I wanted to do nothing but sit and stare at myself in the mirror because, DAMN.  That is a really great feeling, both for her and for me. I’m so glad Andrea was patient, open to my feedback and kind enough to guide me through the process smoothly.

3. Budget for it.

I  would be a crappy Broke-Ass Bride if I didn’t mention the reality – makeup, the trials and sessions do cost. So I will say loudly, that it is a matter of personal preference as to whether you want to engage an outside resource. But with careful planning, you can easily budget for the expert help. In the Atlanta area, they range anywhere from $50 to $100 per trial session, with top artists around the $150 to $200 range for the day of. Me personally, it would be a hot mess disaster if I tried to do my own wedding day makeup no matter how many Pinterest boards/links I scoured. I’d probably be so nervous the morning of that I’d stick a false eyelash into my eyeball and wind up in tears, pissed off or both. Or completely sweat it all off on the dance floor. My belief is that some things are worth the investment for the quality of the work. And any makeup artist worth their salt will come with full ammunition to make you the most beautiful version of yourself possible, for the entire day. So if there is room in the budget, why not sit back and let a professional help you?

4. Words of wisdom

From Andrea herself – “You want your makeup artist to feel like one of two things: either your very good friend who puts you at ease OR a no-nonsense professional who you trust implicitly to do the job. But if you run into anyone who doesn’t listen to you, who refuses to try something differently at your request, or in any way makes you feel uncomfortable? Walk the other way, with a quickness.” Lucky for me, Andrea simply flew into the first category. The session was easy, fun and we reached a collective “hell yes!” on my look. BOOM. Then we made plans to have coffee soon, because she’s just that awesome.

From me – Be relaxed and be open to trying new things, even if they put you out of your comfort zone. Remember that bridal makeup does need to be a bit more amped than your everyday look to photograph well. Don’t worry too much if you have a little out of body experience when you see the final outcome. Because with your clear vision and with an experienced makeup artist in your arsenal, you’ll look stunning both in person and in photos.

Till next time,

  • 9/15

    Former BAB advice columnist / current wedding planner extraordinaire Liz Coopersmith, of Silver Charm Events, stopped by to give you guys a boost this week! Guys, there’s no reason to feel fear about or shame toward your wedding. Really, honestly and truly. It should be a very happy time in your life, because hey! You’re in love! And you’re getting married! And yes, there’s a lot of bullsh that can surround a wedding day, but don’t let that get you down. Liz explains why:

    steve and bridget

    From Bridget & Steve’s Intimate, Beautiful Palm Springs Wedding. Credit: EPLove

    I talk to a lot of brides every week, as you can imagine. I’ve watched a lot of you exhibit two very disturbing emotions when it comes to your weddings: Fear and Shame.

    It’s in the way it takes me at least a couple of tries to find out how much your budget is.

    Or, in the reverse, getting upset that you’re spending so much of your/your parents/whomever’s money on one day, when you could use it on a downpayment on a house, instead.

    Or, the sideways look you and your fiance give each other when I ask how you met.

    Or, when you tell me how much certain family members need to be kept away from each other, or, kept away from you. And then follow up, five minutes later, by saying it’s not that bad … but seriously, everyone has to be on opposite sides of the room.

    Or, how you keep giving in to what your parents or your friends want you to do, instead of standing up for what you want. Are you being a doormat?

    Or, not giving into what your parents/friends want you to do, and standing up for what you want. Are you turning into a Bridezilla??

    You can’t win, because you won’t let yourself win. You’re ashamed of where you are, so you won’t allow yourself to be happy with what you have, whatever that is right now.

    Researcher Brene Brown defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.” Shame is built out of the fear that you won’t be understood. And I’ve noticed that a big reason that people don’t feel worthy of acceptance and belonging is that they don’t really think that they can ever get what they want. Not really.

    I understand – there is a lot of pressure to make your wedding the best and most perfect and most beautiful day of your life. And (GASP!) there are not supposed to be any limits – financial, personal, logistical – on the best day of your life! That’s what makes it such a great day, right? Poor people don’t have beautiful and perfect days, only people with unlimited budgets do. You can’t have a beautiful and perfect day if your families are always at each other’s throats, only people with close, well-behaved relatives can. Do you deserve to live happily ever after if you met online and not through a Random Act of Fate? What will happen if you tell the truth? You want to impress your family and friends, and most of all, you want to impress yourself. It is a lot of pressure, and completely unrealistic.

    The cost of wedding fear is that it focuses on what you don’t have, and on hiding what’s not there. It’s a waste of time. Plus, it makes you feel like crap.

    So, what’s the cure?

    1. Be honest, with yourself and with anyone else you’re dealing with, wedding-wise. Just … be honest. The more you try to hide what you’re afraid of, the more control you give it. And, eventually, it’s going to have to come out. Are you worried about being judged and rejected by potential vendors … who don’t know you? It’s business, not personal. If they can’t work with you, for whatever reason, then you can’t work with them. If they are going to be mean or snooty about it, then you really don’t want to work with them, right? Which brings me to …

    2. Don’t go in looking for a fight; don’t walk into the room expecting resistance. What you look for, you will find. I’ve met with many brides who will, in one sentence, tell me they have a limited amount of money, and then tell me that’s not enough for them to have the wedding they want, and then ask me, “You can’t work with that, can you?” This is before I’ve even opened my mouth to reply. I get it – you’re rejecting yourself before I get a chance to do it, but don’t assume. Same thing with your family and friends. Tell them what you need and what you want, and then see what happens. Don’t be defensive, just have a conversation.

    3. Remember that you are not alone. Not even close to being alone. If you’re facing a wedding planning problem, there are tons of other couples facing the same thing. Find them online and and seek empathy and sympathy. And solutions, too.

    4. Some things will not change, but they can be worked around. If your parents couldn’t be in the same room with each other before you started planning your wedding, odds are then they won’t be able to on your wedding day. You’ve been managing your family for years, and you know how to deal with them — or not deal with them — so they don’t drive you insane. Keep doing that. The historic house you love is not going to drop their rental rate by a couple thousand dollars on a Saturday night. You are probably not going to win the lottery before then, either. Accept it. You might not have Ivanka Trump’s budget, but you’re not so broke that you can’t have a beautiful wedding day, and the love surrounding you will be free (Aww!). It is what it is. If you can’t afford Saturday night, what about Friday or Sunday? Less guests? What about a cocktail or dessert reception? Figure out what you feel comfortable with and go from there.

    5. Use what you have to get what you want and need. You think you don’t have anything, or not nearly enough? You’re so wrong. If you have access to the Internet, you can find a local bridal show and see what’s possible. If you’ve picked your venue, you can ask for photographer and florist recommendations. Don’t know how to do something? Google it. If anything, you have too many choices. Keep looking until you find the best option for you.

    6. Be grateful for what you do have. A fiance who loves you, and who you want to spend the rest of your life with, no matter how you met them, or what type of reputation either of you had during the Bush administration. Friends and family that are happy and eager to help, even if they won’t back off (they mean well, I swear). One day to celebrate that with all your favorite people in the world. Pollyannish? Sure. True? Totally.

    7. Don’t twist yourself into knots. Many a bride has overextended her budget, her patience, and her good will trying to overcompensate for a perceived lack of … whatever. Pull the brakes anytime you hear yourself saying, “I don’t want them to think … ” or “I know it’s still not going to work, but … ” Full stop. Turn around. Find an option that doesn’t make you hyperventilate. Ask for help if you need it. Take help when it’s offered.

    8. Finally, give yourself some credit. You’re sitting there thinking, “HowamIgoingtodothishowamIgoingtodo thisHOWAMIGOINGTODOTHIS?”Look around! You are doing it, the way everyone does it: One step at a time.

    See you at the end of the aisle,

    Liz Coopersmith

  • 9/15


    Thanks to the wonders of Pinterest, I often convince myself that I can create ANYTHING. Even though my brain and my severe lack of patience tell me otherwise. Even so, my wedding crafting to-do list reached about 10 items too many. To resolve this problem, I turned to my best …

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    Ten for the Weekend

    Ahhh, Friday afternoons. I’ve looked forward to seeing what’s on sale at the end of the week, a) so I can share ‘em with you and b) so I can drop some major hints for my upcoming birthday. And guys, this weekend? It’s some srsly great shit. From shoes to …

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    One of my favorite parts of the morning of the wedding is having a great get-together over food, bubbles and beauty with friends. When my girl T got married, I jumped at the chance to stick my grubby little paws in the details of the morning-of bridal brunch. Of course, …

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  • 9/12

    Ask Heather: Where Can I Find Bridesmaid Dresses?

    Image courtesy of Photo Pink

    Dear Heather,

    I have no idea where to start for my bridesmaids’ dress shopping. Help!


    Dear Apanda,

    I have a confession to make: I hate shopping for clothing. Therefore, I am probably not the best person to be answering this. Hopefully, though, some of …

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    Hey BABs! This week we’re helping a lovely lady get over “Tease” by Jenny Packham. She is one of my absolute FAVORITE designers. Not only does she make some of the most stunning wedding gowns you’ll ever see, she also designs amazing ready-to-wear clothing. You’ll see all of Hollywood royalty

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    Real Bride Tiffany First Comes Love, Then Marriage, Then ...

    There comes a time in a woman’s relationship when others begin to question her desire to reproduce. For some, this comes with the ring. For others, much before that. I don’t remember when my questioning began. All I know is that is pisses me right off.

    In my 20s I was in the …

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  • 9/10

    Winning Wednesday Get Your Big Day Set with Elegant Wedding Invites

    We know that invitations are one of the first elements of your wedding that convey the look and feel guests can expect on the big day. We also know that wedding invitations can be super pricey. And holy bananas, are there options! Foil, letterpress, embossed, pocket, flat, square, shapes, laser …

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