Every bride wants to look beautiful on her wedding day, but what exactly does that mean? Maybe it's inspiration from a classic bride like Grace Kelly, the dramatic wedding style of recently married Nicole Richie, or a sultry smoky eye a la Kim Kardashian. Most brides can sum up how they want to look in one or two words, whether it's pretty and playful, chic and stylish, or simply gorgeous and glowing - you at your absolute best (after all, you've got to turn heads in that wedding gown). See how four local brides - and the experts they've entrusted with their all-important hair and makeup - have each interpreted their wedding-day looks in different ways.
Though they now call Manhattan home, Danielle Kalman, 27, originally from East Meadow, and Ross Zeifman, 27, from Hewlett, returned to their Long Island roots for their May 2010 wedding at the Woodbury Jewish Center. When it came time to find a local spot to get her glam for the big day, Zeifman followed the recommendation of a recently married friend and chose Madison Salon and Spa in Woodbury to create the perfect look not only for her, but also her rather large group of bridesmaids, flower girl, mother and mother-in-law, grandmothers and several other female relatives. Zeifman had a specific look in mind to coordinate with her wedding dress, a Pnina Tornai strapless ball gown with a dropped waist and light layers of tulle.
"I wanted something sophisticated and modern-looking; I didn't want it to be childish," says Zeifman, a dentist who is studying to be an orthodontist. She described a "bun on top of a bun" concept to hairstylist Patricia Roach, who created a chic chignon off to the side. "I ask as many questions as I can, to get the feeling of the bride as an individual, and translate that into her hairstyle," Roach says. "I want to see the dress, headpiece, what the attendants are wearing, the flowers, the venue. I try to get the same feel for the wedding as the bride has in her head."
For her makeup, Zeifman had a less-defined vision, so she entrusted her face to Valerie McHale, a head makeup artist with the Anne DeMarco Cosmetics studio within Madison Salon. DeMarco, who specializes in airbrush makeup, says her brides typically want to look like "themselves with a little oomph."
"I believe a bride should be beautiful, but have a little edge. They have to look good in pictures, but they have to look good in person, too," she says. On Zeifman, McHale created a neutral smoky eye with soft pink lips.
The finished look? "Amazing," says Zeifman. "Everybody was in awe. I usually wear my hair down, so it was pretty different."
Although she's currently based in Pittsburgh, Hima Tadoori of Baldwin has been making frequent trips home to arrange the details of her October wedding to Srinevas Reddy, a 34-year-old physician. With 400 family and friends expected to attend the celebration at the Hyatt Regency Long Island in Hauppauge, Tadoori, a 31-year-old financial writer, got a jump-start on the preparations with a hair-and-makeup trial at the newly opened Studio Tres Jolie, a small but luxe salon and spa in Manhasset that specializes in bridal prep and that, along with Vera Wang and Priscilla of Boston, form a perfect wedding trifecta on Northern Boulevard. On her wedding day, Tadoori says, she wants to look "radiant - like the best version of me." Her wedding outfit, which she'll purchase during a shopping trip to India later this month, includes a traditional sari (instead of a white gown) and Indian jewelry, which demand high-voltage accents. "I want it to feel luxurious and glamorous, but comfortable," she says.
But with nothing more specific in mind, Tadoori turned to the experts. Tres Jolie owner and makeup artist Jessica Lauren suggested a look that would work well with her complexion: "A lavender eye with a red lip is a really pretty combination," she said. Reaching for an in-house makeup line as well as the Jane Iredale brand, Lauren began with cream foundation, mineral powder and a soft mineral blush. Then she glamorized Tadoori's eyes with plum and lavender shadows, which she emphasized with black liner and softened with lavender powder.
Of course, no bride is complete without lashes - and Tadoori loved how they made her eyes pop. For lips, a plum liner, reddish-plum lipstick and lighter gloss gave a glam finish. (Taylor Swift, Lauren noted, is a popular inspiration for brides since her sheer red lips look fashionably youthful.) "She knew me all of five minutes, and upon the command to make me glamorous, she totally hit the right look," Tadoori said.
"He loves when my hair is straight," Tadoori said of her fiance. So hairstylist Renee Enea, who consults with brides at Tres Jolie, transformed her natural curls into sleek strands before setting them in Velcro rollers for volume. "Height is what makes the whole thing," says Enea, who notes that many brides are opting for a half-up, half-down style. "People don't want it all down, but they don't want to be that up-do bride, either."
She teased Tadoori's hair and clipped the top half into a barrette, accommodating the placement of the tikka, a small jeweled headpiece typically worn by Indian brides. And while she's still deciding on her wedding-day accessories, Tadoori tried on the ruby and diamond earrings and necklace her mother, Padma, received for her own 25th wedding anniversary. Admiring the glittering bride-to-be, Enea declared, "You're an Indian bride, Americanized."
Her wedding is not until September, but hair colorist Maria Lorusso, 21, of Astoria already has most of the details planned, from a dance floor awash in white to a bouquet of calla lilies and orchids. She had decided on the venue, Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, even before she was engaged, after seeing it in an episode of the show "Platinum Weddings." So it was fitting that she had a specific look she wanted to test out: an elegant and fashionable updo that accentuates her dress, an Alfred Angelo strapless sweetheart silk taffeta ball gown with crystal beading. "I wanted to get everything done early so I could relax and enjoy the process," Lorusso says.
The bride's main requirements were that she wanted her hair up in some way - a request from her fiance, restaurateur Michael Lodico, 25 - and she wanted a style that would let her "party with everyone." Lorusso trusted her vision to the stylists at nuBest Salon & Spa in Manhasset. With 37 years under its belt, the salon has catered to high-profile bridal parties, including that of Kevin Jonas of the Jonas Brothers.
Lorusso loved the look hairstylist Mayra Minquez created for her engagement party, so they decided on a variation on the theme, a sideswept low ponytail with soft curls. After setting Lorusso's blond locks with a curling iron, then teasing her hair at the roots for volume, Minquez expertly smoothed and twisted strands into a soft pattern. Her certainty, Minquez said, was not unusual. "The brides usually have an idea of how they want to look."
Although Lorusso calls herself a makeup minimalist - "I'm more of a bronzer, a little eye shadow and lip gloss type of girl" - she wanted her eyes to pop, but her lips to look soft. Makeup artist Anna Naso recommended airbrush makeup, a popular choice with brides because its flawless finish lasts through hours of photos and kisses ("If someone doesn't usually wear foundation, they like it because it feels lighter on the face," Naso says).
After the custom-blended foundation, Naso used plum- and earth-toned eye shadows appropriate for an autumn wedding and finished with individual lashes. On her lips, a plum liner to add depth, topped with a lighter gloss for a final dash of elegant beauty. "I love it; it's perfect," Lorusso said of her finished look. "It's like they could read my mind."
Rockville Centre couple Terri Wisnowski, a 29-year-old school psychologist, and Patrick McCaffrey, a 30-year-old sales professional, chose the trendy new Allegria Hotel in Long Beach for their August 2010 reception, for both its modern appeal and ocean views. Although McCaffrey says, "I wanted a romantic look," she also wanted something as light and flowing as the sea.
With her Sottero & Midgley strapless chiffon dress as a focal point, McCaffrey wanted to wear her long blond locks in loose waves to reflect the dress and the beach. Hairstylist Collette Lee Morales of Who Does Your Hair? in Bellmore created soft, natural curls that added to the romance of the day. "With a little bit of input, I'm able to get a feel for what the bride wants," Morales says. "I envisioned her looking soft. I love the way blondes look when they wear their hair down, so you can see the highlights."
Using a one-inch barrel curling iron, Morales created light waves, then pulled a few strands off McCaffrey's face to highlight her cheekbones; a side part kept the look sexy. As a finishing touch, McCaffrey added a long veil, which she took off after the cocktail hour, and a fresh orchid to keep the summery theme. "My hair looked so pretty in the back, I wanted to show it off."
When it came to makeup, McCaffrey remembered attending a wedding where the bride looked especially stunning, so she tracked down the artist, Kristin Mavroson. At the hair and makeup trial (Mavroson has a home studio in Farmingdale), McCaffrey says, "I didn't know what I wanted to do; I just wanted to look pretty. I told her my look was light and romantic, but I let her have free rein." Since the bride liked warm colors, Mavroson used peach and brown eye shadows, with a touch of forest green in the corners - and, of course, lashes for drama; she finished with a soft lip.
Happy with her trial run, McCaffrey says she woke up on her wedding day with nothing to worry about while getting ready in her bridal suite. With her romantic look in place, she says she experienced the quintessential bridal rush as she walked down the aisle at the First Presbyterian Church of Freeport: "I felt like I had that moment when they open the doors and everyone just says, 'Aaaah,' and their eyes widen," she says. "The first thing my husband said to me was, 'You look beautiful,' which is exactly what you want to hear."
Trying on the look before the big day
Schedule a trial: Since a practice run of your hair and makeup is the time to work out any kinks, leave plenty of time. Book it up to a year in advance - though be warned: You may change your mind two or 20 times if you start too early. And leave time to schedule a second trial, or another with different stylists if you're not satisfied.
Time is everything: Schedule your trial on the day of an event, like your engagement party or a friend's wedding, so you can see how you like the look and how long it lasts. If you don't have plans, make some. Go out dancing with the girls, or to dinner with your fiance. Take note of how long your prep takes, so you'll be sure to schedule plenty of primping time on The Day.
A picture is worth a thousand words: Flip through magazines or online galleries for shots of hair and makeup you like, whether it's bridal looks or snaps of your favorite celebs. Bring the file to your trial, along with photos of your dress. And don't forget shots of what you don't want.
Don't overdo it: Aim to look like yourself at your best - the key word being yourself. If you've never worn a bright- red lip or exaggerated curls, now is not the time to start. However, don't go too far in the other direction. Steer away from the same hairstyle you wear to work every day. Your wedding is the time to glam it up - just don't turn yourself into someone no one will recognize.
All that glitters: Don't forget your veil or headpiece and any wedding-day jewelry. The idea is to see your finished look. Are there too many accessories? Too few? Here's where dreams and reality should match up. And if you don't have your extras in time for the trial, keep your chosen hairstyle and makeup in mind when you're making your final decisions.
Be honest: If you don't love your look, say so. It's your money and your wedding, so ask the stylist to tweak things, or change course. And while you don't want an entourage in tow, bring along someone whose taste and truthfulness you trust. Finally, snap some photos of yourself so you can think about the look at home, away from the cans of hairspray and pots of glitter.