Until 2014, I’d never been in a wedding.
As the saying goes, Always a personal attendant, never a bridesmaid.
In fact, the first wedding I stood up in was my own. How weird is that?! I loved it.
Even weirder, in the six months after my wedding, I’ve been a bridesmaid twice. Most recently at my brother’s wedding in California.
Shari (the stunning bride and my new sister-in-law!) and the rest of us ladies got gussied up at the St Regis hotel. As you can see from the pictures, it’s a total dump.
Since my hair is three inches long, I opted out of getting it professionally done. So when the makeup artist asked if I wanted to upgrade my makeup from the standard stuff to airbrush, I was like,
She said it would last longer than regular makeup, be sweat/tears proof and look flawless in photos. That all sounded great to me. Plus, I’d never tried airbrushed makeup before and celebs are all into that stuff, right?
I did have just a twinge of anxiety.
I didn’t want to look ridiculous in person. I mean, a mega makeup look isn’t may jam. But whatever, I’ll give it a try!
The makeup lady did my eyes first, then began the loooong process of airbrushing my foundation. She told me to stay still and expressionless so the spray wouldn’t congregate in my smile/forehead lines. Then, she started spraying. It went a little something like this:
The airbrushing felt like it took 10 full minutes, but I’m sure it was quicker than that. When she was done, I opened my eyes and immediately saw Shari’s wide-eyed, panicked face.
Now, please keep in mind, I did not have a mirror handy. So this made me panic, too. I reminded myself that I’d chosen this airbrush thing and it was too late to turn back.
Next, false eyelashes were added and lipstick applied. Makeup lady then handed me a mirror.
The look was aggressive, to say the least. But hey, it’d wear off a bit in the 90 minutes between now and the wedding, right? And once I’m in my dress and jewelry, it would look great…. right?
I hoped so.
As I sipped champagne in my yoga clothes/red carpet makeup, I got a call from my husband. He was delivering a gift for Shari from my brother and asked if I could meet him the hotel lobby. I said sure.
And then I panicked some more.
Josh doesn’t really like when I wear a lot of makeup, so I knew he probably wouldn’t dig this look. However, when I approached him in the lobby, I was pleasantly surprised.
“You look so beautiful!”
Aw, thanks, honey! I smiled and went in for a hug. He then gave me a quizzical look.
“…from a distance.”
Ah, crap! I didn’t even take offense because I totally, 100 percent agreed! Between laughs, I assured him that by the time the wedding rolled around, all this would be toned down… which I knew was probably a lie.
The wedding was beautiful. Sunny, 70 degrees, and lots of tears from everyone. As promised, my makeup stayed put! And yes, it looked nice in photos:
The airbrushed makeup delivered on all promises. But (and as I write this, I am saying it in my best Carrie Bradshaw voice), I couldn’t help but wonder:
Should we really be making ourselves look strange in real-life just to look appear ‘flawless’ in the photos?
If this was my wedding, I’d say yeah, probably. But I was just a bridesmaid. The sister of the groom. I wish I’d felt that I looked more like myself that day, regardless of how the photos turn out.
I loved getting my makeup done. Fake eyelashes? The best! But next time, I’ll keep it more natural.
Because real life should always be better than the pictures.
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PS On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, here’s what I learned when I skipped on makeup for a full week. Beauty maven Elizabeth Dehn shares how she turned her passion project into a budding empire. And remember that time I waxed my armpits? It was pretty hilarious.