LDM Beauty Group

Tampa Bay's Elite Makeup and Hair Artistry Group

How to enjoy the day before you say I DO.

How fast does your wedding day go? And how can you enjoy it?

Let’s set the stage: hotel room, bride’s room at the venue, or MOB’s home. I’ve just walked in, kit in hand and I’m scoping the room out for the best place to set up. I’m looking for all my clients for the day- counting BM’s, and taking in the overall vibe. Then the bride pops in, usually in a robe or other white lounge-wear and happily says-

‘Set up where ever you’d like! We have all day! Take your time!’

I smile broadly, laugh and say- ‘Happy Wedding Day!!! There is never enough time today! Let’s get rolling!’ It’s also at this time when I inform them what time they need to be in my chair- with their hair done. Next, I turn to the hair stylist (if I’m lucky enough to be in the same room with them) and confirm that they are also OK with the time for the bride to be in their chair. If this works- the show goes off without a hitch. Trust me.

I’m a makeup artist. True fact.

But- more importantly- I am a ringleader.

Few wedding planners are around during the ‘getting ready’ process. They have other things on their plate- where’s the linens? How come the chairs aren’t set up? The caterer isn’t answering their phones. Yeah, their hands are full. But when they or the photographer/videographer arrive, they want- no, they NEED- you to be running on time. That’s where I come in.

So, let me give you some insight from my perspective to ensure that you won’t be rushed, feel like you missed out, or turn into a stress ball during your wedding day prepping process. (This is supposed to be fun….friendly reminder.)

1. Book at least 45 min makeup and hair appointments for parties larger than 1.

I don’t really tell anyone I do this, because my goal is to run 10-15 min early by time I’m done with the 2nd person. Why? Because it takes me 30 minutes to do a face. But it may take 15 minutes to talk to the client about their desires/needs and make them feel like they have all the time in the world to work with me. This also allows for those moments when they get pulled away: a mimosa toast; a toddler who needs convincing by mom that they, in fact, won’t die if they get their hair done; the florist who arrives to unveil the bouquets; the cars that need moved from the hotel to the venue. Need I go on? And if I’m not running early, I have ensured that I am not running late. Key.

2. Choose vendors that have done this before.

Please hire someone who has experience in bridal hair/makeup. Someone who has spent time working on location with a party the size (or bigger) than yours. Why? Because there isn’t unlimited time, and we can get disastrously backed up if time isn’t being watched and respected by your vendors. It’s not your job- it’s ours. Your job is to have fun. And a seasoned hair stylist and MUA know how to manage their time properly without you having any idea what we are doing.  IE: When I know you should be sitting down for hair soon, I’ll say- ‘If you have any projects or things you’d like to accomplish today, now is the time to do it. Because as soon as you sit down to do hair, the train takes off! Hair, makeup, dress, photos, vows…tomorrow morning!’ Everyone laughs, but everything keeps moving too.

3. Delegate!

Everyone wants to help the bride- so let them! Ask your groomsmen to move/pack cars; ask a friend to bring in lunch. You will make them so happy. Who don’t you want ask to do anything that includes leaving the hotel/house/suite?: Your mom, your future mother in law and your bridesmaids. They aren’t the grunt-women of the day. They are here to experience the day with you, tell you how amazing you look, which bracelet looks the best, and toast with a mimosa. Those are all serious wedding business matters, you know! The men associated with your day are capable humans- they’ve survived to adulthood and as much as you might think you can do it better/faster/more efficiently, who cares as long as something edible actually arrives for you to eat? Trust them.

4. Communicate and plan ahead.

Especially if you don’t have a comprehensive wedding planner. Day of and venue coordinators are not wedding planners. They are very helpful, but communicating a timeline to all of your vendors is not in their job description. And I can’t stress how important it is that everyone knows what everyone else is doing. For example, I often ask for your photographer’s and hair stylist’s information so that I can touch base with them. And I urge you to send my contract to your wedding planner, photographer, videographer and hair stylist. If you and I agree that you need to be done at 2:00 and your photographer thinks you’ll be ready by 1:00, we have stress and missed opportunities instead of laughs and fun photos. It’s not the end of the world (you’ll still get married), but we want to give you the moon and the stars, so if you communicate with us, we can do more for you.

Want to see time disappear? Magic!!

Here’s a wedding that you might just resonate with…..

Scenario:

  • Ceremony at 5:00p.
  • 5 BM, 2 moms, and Bride to get hair and makeup done. (8 total)
  • First look scheduled with Photographer.
  • Getting ready location is different than ceremony location. 3 miles apart.

7:30a– Hair and makeup begin on 45 min increments. Yup. 730a…..call room service for the coffee and breakfast. Or ask Dad or brother to deliver it to you. Thought you were going to get a run in? Hahaha…even most of my serious athlete friends can’t even find a time to do that… Just get up and shower. You’ll burn enough calories today.

12:00- Lunch arrives. Remember that girlfriend who said- Just let me know how I can help!! Well, here you go. Order online and have her pick up and deliver. You will make her day. And it will make yours. Nothing sucks more than being hungry on your wedding day….or ever. And nothing you eat today will make you too fat for your dress. So, please for the love of food, eat!

12:30- Your photographer arrives. He/She’ll need the rings, other jewelry, the garter, the dress, the shoes, the bouquet, and any other small details that matter to you. She/he’ll whisk them away and create magical images- trust me. You want those and they want to do them. So- help them out by having all your details stashed away in the same place the night before.

12:45- You are the last to sit in my chair. Holy-this-wedding-doesn’t-start-for-another-4+-hours-and-everyone-is-already-done. Yes. I get it. And remember when I said the train is about to take off? Here it goes!

1:15- Photographer takes ‘getting makeup done’ images. Lash, lip and touch-up powder brush application.

1:30- Hair and makeup done, ready to put dress. If you have robes for you and your girls and want that iconic Pinterest image of you all, this is the time to do it. 1:30. Not 1:35. By 1:35 those gals need to be dressed and ready to assist you into that drop dead, super expensive, unbelievable, dress of your dreams.

1:30-2:00- Get dressed. Give yourself at least 30 minutes if you have a dress that laces up the back. The photographer will want to be there to take pics of your attendants and your mom helping you into your gown and putting the veil in place. Please note your mom and bridal party need to be dressed for those photos. That’s why I say dress asap after those robe shots.

2:00-2:30- Same location bridal portraits, while your the freshest, and haven’t gone outside yet…or touched anything….or breathed really.

2:30-3:30- First Look and other cute pics. This is where the photographer will take you and your groom to have a moment to see each other, exchange gifts, hugs or maybe just a small prayer together. Then take lots of great images of you together and apart. At least an hour. That way it isn’t rushed and you two can truly enjoy each other….oh yeah, that’s what this is all about, remember? 

3:30-4:00- Pop in whoever else can get photos with you. BM’s, moms, parents, family. Your dog. Whoever….you will be thankful you did this while you are attending your own cocktail hour.    Trust. Me.

Exception: 3:00- the ABSOLUTE LATEST you should be done with hair and makeup and start putting the dress on. This is only if you have agreed to do ZERO photos before the ceremony outside of ‘getting ready pics’ and your photographer arrives at 2:30.

4:00- Leave getting ready location. 3 miles? Yeah, that’ll take 30 minutes. And if it doesn’t, you’ll be early. How nice- take a seat, take a breath, and take the time to hug your favorite attendant. Or say thank you to your parents for throwing such an amazing shindig for you. They’ll appreciate that even if you and your groom paid for a good chunk too. Running late becasue you just HAD to get that cool shot in the hotel lobby?? Totally cool- you’re now back on track.

4:30- Arrive at venue before any of your guest do because they will see you and they shouldn’t be seeing you. I hate it when the bride is arriving with her guests. The guests can’t help themselves- ‘OMG- YOU LOOK SO AMAZING!!’ they scream from the other side of the parking lot. Seriously, face palm. But it’s all meant in kindness, so you can’t even be annoyed. Just avoid it. There’s plenty of time for them to ogle over you.

5:00- Here comes the bride!! Whoa, how on Earth is is 5:00 already?? You will say this. I will laugh.

5:30ish: I’m off the clock at this point….please refer to your wedding planner. They haven’t been sipping cocktails all day and they will be right there to take over the remainder of the night with a swiftness.

And that, my friends, is how a 14.5 hour day (assuming your reception ends at 10) happens in a blink of an eye!

I know it sounds like a lot. And it can be. But there are people out there that do it for a living. This is not our first rodeo! Experienced wedding vendors don’t have to cost you a fortune, but they will be worth every penny. I tell my clients- we have learned lots of lessons along the way that we impart to our future clients. 13 years I’ve been doing this, and to some vendors, I’m the new kid! But my favorite quote is this: ‘You can’t be the star of the show and the crew’. Put us in, coach. We want to make this the best day of your life.

 

Thanks for reading.

Planning can be pretty powerful!

Character Creation for Mad Theater's Company

The thing that catapulted me into being a makeup artist was my love of theater. More specifically, my utter fascination of people who can change themselves into someone completely different. I'd spend weeks working alongside people in rehearsal, only to have my jaw hit the ground when the character finally emerged from within them when they walked on stage in full costume, hair, and makeup.

I found that I loved creating those visuals and makeup became my medium.

One of my favorite examples is Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I was hired to do Hedwig's makeup for a month run of the show with a professional theater in town. The man playing hedwig was not your typical emaciated, lanky, overly feminine, person. Spencer had a 2 o'clock shadow, and looked liked you could find him at an Irish bar throwing back Guinness with the owner on any given night. Instead, every night, I would watch as Hedwig emerged from within Spencer. We'd start with the 'Uncle Fester' look, blocking out the bushy eyebrows with wax and filling in the hair follicles with foundation. Then, as we added the iconic eyebrows, glitter blue eye shadows, sharp cheek line, and of course the perfectly drawn red glitter lip, 'She' would arrive. Small mannerisms, a change in the voice, even a change in the choice of words would begin and by the time I'd hand her the wig, I was standing in front of a wonderfully sassy, slightly vulnerable, undeniable Hedwig. It may have been one of the most ongoingly satisfying repetitive jobs I've ever done.

But while something like Hedwig is very obvious because the makeup and hair is so necessary to the character, I find that all characters are expressed though the makeup choices. And since I currently have the great pleasure to play April in COMPANY right now, I will use her (and by default, me) and an example.

Makeup Design: 'April', COMPANY

April is self-professed 'very dumb.' She's a flight attendant, and she's dating (casually or with the intent of more depending on what character in the show you ask) the leading man, Bobby. I've translated April as maybe not the sharpest tack in the box, but a pretty astute manipulator, especially when it comes to controlling men in the bedroom. You've got to give her credit to the fact that she has a legit job and lives in New York City, so, she's no southern debutante waiting for a man to control her. On the other hand, she's no future rocket scientist either.

I started where I normally do- the eyes. The eyes alway tell people's life story. It's the gateway to the soul and if you can trick someone you can send them to your character's soul. In the case of April, I wanted her to have wide eyes and one of the physical ticks I give her is that I blink a lot- conveying a sense of cluelessness that also buys her time to control the situation. Therefore, I started with the lash- a #35 from MAC lash to be exact. This lash is longest directly in the center and if you put them through a lash curler, you can get a nice wide-eyed look. They're very long, but the hairs are brown (despite the picture), so they aren't dark enough to make it blatantly sexy.

 
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Then I moved to eyeshadow. I wanted her to have warmth. I truly believe that all she wants is to connect with Bobby- or anyone really. She wants a deep rooted relationship that she can be comfortable and confident in. For this, I wanted warm colors deeply blended and soft- only there to enhance how big I could get her (my) eyes. So I used a pastel matte pink lid color, a peach crease color that deepened into a mahogany outer contour color. I then added a creamy yellow shadow with a hint of shimmer to it in the inner corner of the eye to open it up just a tad more. I mixed black and brown liner as to not make her harsh in any way and added white eyeliner to the inner rim of the bottom lid as one last attempt to get all the good out of the wide-eyed look.

We perform in a blackbox theater, so while I don't wear this much makeup on a daily basis, I would also not consider it true stage makeup. I used a matte full coverage long wearing foundation, as I see her as someone who would be very concerned with how she looked. To me, April hasn't realized yet that people don't fall in love with you because you look pretty, so it's very important to her to be put together at all times. An attribute her employer no doubt supports. I contour with a warm terra-cotta bronzer that has a slight sheen to it to continue the theme of warm and soft. A pink shimmer highlighter is brushed on the cheek bones to enhance their height reinforcing her attempt at being 'perfect.' Then I finish off with a bright pink blush that gives her a lot of color to her face and makes her sexy from a healthy and excitable perspective.

Lastly, we have her lip. I contemplated this for a while, thinking I would again soften her with a berry color. But when I saw my navy blue suit with blue, white and red striped satin scarf to tie around my neck, I knew I needed a red lip. But I didn't want it too gaudy or clashing in color scheme to the rest of her face. I chose a deep red stain. It's not flashy- she wouldn't be flashy, there's not quite enough confidence in her for that. The stain is great because from a design perspective, it looks like her lips, not something sitting on top of her lips; and from a practical perspective, it doesn't transfer all over poor Ricky during the bedroom scene. Bobby would be thrilled to have lipstick on his face I believe....Ricky, the actor, not so much. We spend a whole song liplocked and he has about 30 seconds to reset for the next scene, so I needed something that wouldn't make a mess.

 
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While I'm not playing the most deeply studied character in theater, or one with an iconic look, I still believe in finding motivations, desires, and intentions in every character I'm given the opportunity to become. It's not as obvious as Hedwig, and I'm quite comfortable in my costume and face to be just me- but I feel like I've made her someone to relate to, feel sorry for, and laugh along with. And I think that's the point of theater. To watch pieces of ourselves find their way through the story. They teach us, they reinforce us, and they make us feel like we aren't alone. It's a beautiful thing.

Most people don't even recognize that makeup can play an integral roll in how we connect with a person. It's why I love my job- I get to help people put their best foot forward before they even say their lines, sing their songs, or dance their routines. And, as Shakespeare wrote, 'All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.'

 
 

Thanks for reading.

Act pretty powerful.

3 events you should NOT use your makeup trial for.

It's a rare occasion when myself or any of my artists meet the bride on the day of the wedding. Can you imagine- 'Hi! So nice to meet you, let me slather opaque wax and powder all over your face on what is most likely the most photographed day of your life!' Holy, no, no, no way is that a good idea! Only in extreme circumstances (like a hurricane has moved your wedding and you need someone there tomorrow kind of extreme- yep done it.) do we meet the bride on the wedding day. We even work it out with our destination weddings! So, let's discuss: The Makeup Trial.

As any LDM Bride can tell you, there's prep work to be done before our appointment. This isn't the time to drink champagne and giggle! This is your face. And while I believe in enjoying my job and life, I also believe that makeup is a pretty important part of your wedding day.  And I assume my clients feel the same or they wouldn't be paying us to bring our expertise to do it for them. First, you'll get some 'Homework' to do. Among things like sourcing out images of makeup you like or don't like, and wear a neutral white-ish solid top to your appointment, I also suggest to make plans after your trial. You'll be all done up, might as well get some use out of it! Hoooowever, let's talk about events that are not good matches with your wedding makeup trial. And without further ado, I present:

3 Events you Shouldn't Use Your Makeup Trial for.

1. The Bridal Shower: Normally, bridal showers are done at someone's house, or a restaurant. It happens sometime in the afternoon and the attire is typically something appropriate at church. Summer dresses, cute flats, something chic but comfortable. Am I wrong? Also, It's also not a highly photographed event. There will be some selfies and pics of you holding up the new towels Grandma sent from the registry, but for the most part this is a time to spend with girlfriends and family and prepare for your new future with your partner (even if you've been living together for 5 years and are simply ready for new towels) and an opportunity for all the older women in your life to tell you how to change your husband to be exactly what you want (a great moment to practice your 'smile and nod' act). So, when you come to your makeup trial on the day of your bridal shower- that's the energy flowing through you. You are probably sitting in my chair at 9am, on a Sunday, and you've got a cute little outfit picked out. Let me be frank: This taints your ability to make wedding day decisions that are in line with that full length glamorous GOWN you plan on wearing on your wedding day. You know, the one you'll do a few fittings for, spent a small fortune on and don't plan on ever wearing again? That's what I want in your head when you sit in my chair. I want to talk about what you want to look like when you come down the stairs, the church doors open, or you enter the room. I want to talk about how you're going to look when people stand up and murmur- Wow, what a beautiful bride. I want to talk about what those wedding photos are going to look like 20-30-hopefully 50 years from now. Sure, come get your makeup done for your shower- have a little glam moment for yourself. But I can GUARANTEE you- it will not be the same look we do on your wedding day. It will be nowhere close. And yes, even if you're super natural and want to look like yourself on your wedding day (blah blah), its still going to be a completely different look. Trust me.

 2. Engagement Photos: On first look, this sounds like a fabulous idea. It's usually the first time you'll get to work with your photographer, so why not get your makeup done so you can see how it looks on camera? I get it. But let's discuss the Engagement Photos. Firstly, what is an engagement photo most often used for? A: The Save the Dates. Great idea! Let's show everyone exactly what you're going to look like on your wedding day! Um, no. Also, as pointed out above, this is usually a much different wardrobe than that drop dead gorgeous gown you've got hanging in your closet, on order, or in between fittings. Granted, this is typically a more formal event than the Bridal Shower. I see lots of black dresses with heels and guys in suits. Or a cute top with jeans and pumps and guys in coordinating button downs and jeans. Again- that's going to be your subconscious goal in the makeup chair- to look good for those photos. And those photos are not what I want to talk about- I want to talk about the photos in the white/ivory/blush dress. The Wedding Gown. And plus, let's keep some tricks up our sleeves here, so that when you get the moment to WOW everyone, we truly can. Engagement shoots are, on the other hand, a wonderful trial run of a makeup artist. It's a low stress time where you can see if you feel comfortable with each other, and if you like their work enough to grant them permission to do your actual wedding. Yeah, it might be a little extra money, but hey, you'll look great for your engagement photos and will probably learn something about what you want/don't want for your wedding. It's worth it.

3. Netflix and Chill: So now that I've totally scared you from doing any of those ideas you had with your makeup trial, I am also not a fan of people who say- Oh, I'm just going to go home and make dinner. What??? Do you SEEEEE how gorgeous you look?? And you're going to go home and sit in front of the TV?? I actually rescheduled a trial once when I found out that the client was going to go to a Soul Cycle class after. Nope. Not ok with me. Go out into the world and live in your makeup. Get some friends together and go to dinner, go dancing, laugh, live, enjoy and do your best to ruin it by having so much fun that you completely ignore it. Because, you know what- that's how your wedding should be- so much fun and joy that you forget about your hair and makeup and shoes and dress and jewelry and think only of your friends and family. If your artist has done her job right, you'll still look stunning at the end. And you'll only get to appreciate it when you get your photos back, and you say- Damn, I looked good!

 

Thanks for reading.

Makeup is as pretty powerful as the spirit wearing it.

Why your Husband, Fiancé or Boyfriend is the wrong person to ask about your makeup.

The Catch 22: Act I, Scene 1

Bride to be: ‘Honey, what do you think about my makeup?’

Groom to Be: shifts uncomfortably in his chair, looks for an emergency exit.

  • Response Option 1, The Affirmation: 'Wow, you look super sexy!!' Now, tell me this isn't what goes through your mind: Hmm...maybe he'd prefer me to wear more makeup than I normally do? What about this does he find sexy anyway? {the train continues....} Does he want me to look like this all the time? {it starts to speed up...} What if he doesn't like it when I don't wear any?? {The irrational thought....} Doesn't he think I'm sexy with nothing on my face??????  #fail
  • Response Option 2, The Supportive: ‘You're beautiful without any makeup.’ It’s meant as a compliment; he thinks you’re beautiful- of course he does! But all the sudden the doubt and self-consciousness within us overrides good judgment. Now the makeup you felt confident and beautiful in has dulled a little; maybe even made you feel a bit garish. Or rebellious, as though to say- I don't care what you want- I'm wearing this makeup, dammit!  Annnnddd I'm pretty sure that wasn't his intended reaction.
  • Response Option 3, The Clueless: 'That's a lot of makeup.' Face palm. Maybe it's not even a lot of makeup...maybe he wouldn't even have noticed if you didn't ask him. But you caught him on the spot and he didn't know what to do and now, you're left with nothing- not feeling pretty, not feeling rebellious, nothing.

Asking a man (yes, every single man...stay with me here...) about your makeup will get you a response that comes without experience. Because no man alive has ever lived in a society that expects them to utilize the luxury of makeup as an accepted form of self expression. Even male makeup artists will never know what it's like to be a woman with a deep social understanding of makeup. It is a luxury that we, as women, have. We can use to our advantage at all times. Maybe sometimes it's a hassle, but when we get a pimple, have a bad night sleep or get sunburned- makeup is there to fix it for us. Honestly, I've always felt bad for guys- they have to walk around in broad daylight, no matter how they feel about it! 

If you want an opinion- ask a woman you trust with the same style as you. They will tell you- ‘Lighten up on the black eyeliner’ or ‘That is a great blush color.’ or ‘Your skin looks great/shiny/matte.’ This is constructive feedback (for you and your makeup artist) because they understand what it is like to wear makeup. Therefore, you won't be left with vague feelings, and together we can get you to the look that you love.

And here's the thing about makeup: if you love what you look like, you will look amazing. Because confidence is more powerful than any wax or powder. 

So if you're going to be in an LDM makeup chair- leave the guys at home. Take the opportunity to spend some time with your mom, sister, or girlfriend. Or have some solo time getting pampered. We won't let you leave looking a hot mess!

If you're coming for a wedding makeup trial, definitely leave the guys at home- he doesn't even know what your dress looks like, how on Earth do you expect him to help you decide what your face is going to look like?? Take him to the cake tasting instead. He'll thank you. Here's the thing: Every single groom I've ever seen has thought his bride was beautiful as she walked down the aisle. So don't worry about him; he's already in love.

 

Thanks for reading.

Makeup is pretty powerful.

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