Big Day Beautiful


Everyone knows that planning a wedding takes a lot of work. From scheduling the venue, food and florist to planning the ceremony and sending out those invites, the list never ends. But there’s another big task that needs to be added to the calendar: a bridal hair and makeup session.

For some, the thought of scheduling one more thing is enough to cause stress acne or eye bags. They should take a deep breath and listen to LaTonya Turnage,  a bridal beauty expert and the owner of Elite Secrets Bridal in Baltimore who knows all the tricks and tips for a beautiful wedding look.

The goal, according to Turnage, is for the bride to be relaxed, excited and ready to get glam on the morning of her wedding — not worried about whether her beauty appointments will run smoothly. The key to making this happen? The right planning and, of course, the right team, she says, adding that a trial run should be nine months before the big day. Here are her other tips.

Start with a vision

“We start with a vision board on Pinterest for our bride by putting together some images that she loves for hair and makeup,” Turnage says. “Then we ask her to send pictures of how her hair looks natural and how she wears her makeup daily, so we can have a starting point.”

Add inspiration

Credit: Elite Secrets Bridal

Brides should not limit themselves. While everyone wants gorgeous tresses and makeup on her big day, brides need to refer to some go-to inspiration photos of their own to make it happen, Turnage says, adding that brides should always bring in multiple photos of different looks. Does she want gold-frosted eyes, a subtle sparkle or a bold lip? Make sure to bring examples, Turnage says.

Plan a trial run
Don’t skip this step, Turnage says: It’s an important one.

“We always do this. Typically, our brides come in and they’ll have only a certain look in mind,” she says. “When they look at a picture, they think, ‘Oh, I love this,’ but they’re not visualizing how it’s really going to look on them.”

That’s why her stylists will always test different hairstyles. Popular hair choices include updos, braids,
extensions and waves.

As for makeup? That needs a trial run, too, Turnage says.

“We can try really dramatic makeup like smoky eyes or a more subtle glam. Most of the time, there are one to two looks, one softer and then maybe one a little bit more defined, so they can get an idea of what they want on the actual day. We really like to get to know the bride and try to give her recommendations while also making sure that it matches her vision.”

Don’t skip the skincare

Credit: Elite Secrets Bridal

For all the minimalists out there, a big step in preparing for those nuptials is investing in a good skincare routine.

“Brides always tell me that they want that glow, they want to look radiant. Well, it’s all about the skincare,” Turnage says. “I always bring my airbrush machine in my kit, because it gives you a very flawless look, and I always keep a good primer and a good lip conditioner. But I will also give my brides an eye cream, a face serum and some sort of lip scrub to use seven to 10 days before the wedding.”

The serum will keep brides moisturized, the eye cream will combat wrinkles and dark circles, and the lip treatment will help brides wear their favorite matte lipstick all day with no smudges or dead skin on the lips, she says. It’s also important to advise your makeup artist about any unique skin treatments you are using, like a certain mask or chemical peels.

“We want to make sure that they’re not doing it too close to the wedding day just in case they have an allergic reaction to something,” she says.

It’s all in the order
Now, on to the question most people ask: Does the bride go first or last in wedding-day glam?

“Our recommendation is the bride never goes last,” Turnage says, adding that she usually schedules the bride to go second to last. “We want the majority of the bridal party to be done first. That way, they can help the bride when she’s getting dressed. We also ask when the photographer is scheduled because we want to make sure the bride is halfway done and the photographer isn’t held up.”

Get ready to party

Credit: Elite Secrets Bridal

To keep this newly created glam intact, it’s crucial to have the right arsenal of products. In this case, brides need a to-go kit.

“We provide a touch-up kit, which is their own personalized lip color, so that they can touch up their lips throughout the ceremony,” Turnage says. “We also give a compact and a little pack of blot tissues. These are all good items to pack away. You should also include a mini-setting spray and keep it chilled because most setting sprays have caffeine, which wakes up the skin and will add a nice touch up to your makeup.”

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