Photo: Bèla Adler & Salvador Fresneda
What do real brides have to say about the wedding planning experience? Well, it's not all happy tears at the bridal boutique and indulgent cake tastings. Guest blogger Jennifer Castoro shares the pros and cons of "the first look," the perks of letting your bridesmaids take over, and more.
When I started planning my wedding in the spring of this year, I may not have had a clear idea of the details—location, time of year, really anything other than the man (a crucial element!). But I did have a pretty clear image in my mind of the way I'd look as I walked down the aisle. I pictured my long, formerly-thick-but-now-kinda-not, wavy-frizzy hair perfectly thick and glossy, in loose, romantic curls, and my makeup soft and pretty. Basically like a cross between Jessica Simpson (the Nick Lachey wedding version) and Snow White—an angelic vision of brideliness. Or something.
In an effort to make at least part of that image come to pass, I've been growing out my hair. For a very long time. (Guys, meet my split ends.) It's getting a bit gross, actually, and I can't wait to chop an inch or two off before the big day—it's the longest it's ever been in my entire life, and it's annoying. I'm not going to lie to you and say that I'm super low-maintenance and that this messy pouf hasn't bothered me, because I'm not, and it does. But it's worth a few months of messy buns and umpteen bottles of split-end-repair cream if it means it looks good at the wedding.
Like I mentioned, I have a clear vision of what I want: to look glowing and gorgeous and all the other things that every bride wants to be when she sees her almost-husband waiting at the end of the aisle. But the more I think about it, the more my original idea of loose waves and soft makeup seems too much like everyday me. I do like my normal, low-maintenance look (obviously, or I wouldn't do it!), but I don't want the main difference between Monday-morning Jen and here-comes-the-bride Jen to be a white dress. It's my wedding day—I want to look gorgeous! And radiant! (And slimmer, but I don't think my makeup artist has a concealer for that.) Plus, I've scoured the interwebs for wedding hairstyle ideas and talked with countless stylists for a reason: I want their expertise. If I were doing my normal look, I'd just do it myself.
Photo: Getty Images
But at the same time, I also don't want to look... not like myself. A glamour girl I am not. On special occasions, I may flatiron and throw on a little eye shadow and a red lip, but that's about the extent of it. I have never gotten a blowout, or an eyebrow wax, or highlights, or done practically anything else that requires the effort of going to a beauty professional. In searching for makeup artists and hairstylists for the wedding, which turned into a much more epic hunt than I anticipated, I came across a ton that did glamorous, camera-ready updos and dramatic makeup, but that's not my bag. (Possibly complicating matters is that I live in and am getting married in New Jersey, land of the Snooki bump. I've started most of my conversations with hairdressers with the words "PLEASE, NO BUMP." A pretty, soft pouf like the one Kate Beckinsale is rocking above would do, though.) I wear my hair up occasionally, but it's most often because I'm going to the gym, overslept, or haven't washed it recently. That's just not the association I'm going for.
I've also used the bazillion weddings I've been to as a testing ground for my own look. A few brides I've known, although they looked gorgeous, chose more typical "wedding" styles that didn't really suit their own looks—or their personalities. One bride wore her hair in a super-high, super-curly style when she's normally a long, flatironed girl, and I just thought she looked... well, odd. I don't really think my walk down the aisle is the right time to try out something I've never done before—those pictures will last forever, and I'm paying too much money for them to sock them away in a drawer because I took a risk I regret.
Photo: Getty Images
So I've determined that my ultimate goal is too look like a high-def version of me, if you will. I want to take my original plan (the long, romantic hair and soft, pretty makeup that's similar to what I do every day) and amp it up. Whereas my normal hair is barely-contained frizz, I want it perfectly styled and in place all day, but still soft. I most often wear it down and feel more attractive with it that way, so I'm going with that. And if I do put on heavier makeup in my normal life, I always emphasize the eyes, so I want my makeup to do the same, just in a more dramatic way. I've mostly settled on a half-up, half-down look, but I'm still toying with it. I love the idea of a side ponytail (love Kate Mara's romantic take above) or long, loose waves. Whatever I settle on, I'm hoping I'll look like exactly what I want: myself at my best.