The Best of Our 2014 Wedding Season

A big part of my business, Allison Barbera Beauty, is wedding hair and makeup. My crazy talented team of artists and stylists and I did 60+ weddings this year, as well as many engagement shoots and rehearsal day hair and makeup services. We love love love doing weddings and are thrilled that 2015 is booking up so quickly.

2014 was a busy year for us. We did our first wedding of the year in February and our last one in late November. Lindsay, Olivia and Kerri joined the team as hair stylists and Shaley joined as makeup artist. As a company, we did around 500 hair and makeup services. We got to go to tons of beautiful homes, hotels and venues, we worked with several talented photographers and most importantly, we met so many fun and interesting people. As stylists/artists, we get to spend 30-60 minutes (more with our brides) having one-on-one conversations with each client . There are not many jobs that I can think of that allow you to meet so many people and get to talk to them for more than five minutes. We get to interact with new people while doing what we love. That’s a win-win.

Here are a few highlights of our 2014 season:

1) The Gorgeous Venues. OceanCliff. Castle Hill Inn. The Ocean House. Bristol Harbor Inn. The Chanler at Cliffwalk. 41 North. The Island House at Belle Mer. Hotel Viking. Glen Manor. Mount Hope Farm. The Attwater. Tower House B&B. Several beach homes and private mansions. Whether the bride was getting married there or just getting ready there, we got to set up shop in so many beautiful places. As a former real estate agent who chose that profession mainly to see inside different homes (admittedly not the best reason), I love this perk of my job as a freelance makeup artist.

2) The Stunning Wedding Gowns. From bombshell mermaid cuts to cap-sleeved vintage perfection to classic, romantic princess styles, we saw some absolutely breathtaking gowns this year. One bride had a Vera Wang gown with a Grace Kelly feel and another wore a blush gown while her bridesmaids wore ivory (love that idea!). Sometimes hair and makeup is done in one location and the bride changes into her dress at another, so I’m always psyched when I get to see the photos after, with the bride in her dress. Check out some of our glowing brides here:

3) The Beautiful Bridesmaids Dresses. Navy and blush were the most popular colors that we saw, and for good reason–they were flattering on everyone! Some bridal parties all had the same dress, while others wore the same color in different styles. A few bridal parties wore different shades and styles from the same color palette, which stands out beautifully in photos. And oh, the Indian weddings! They make me want to wear a sari every day. We also saw a ton of cute getting-ready robes–a trend that I think is here to stay. Take a look at some of these beauties here:

4) The Hugs. I’m pretty sure my whole team is with me on this one–there is nothing better than getting a hug from a client because she loves her hair or makeup so much. These hugs are often followed by “My hair/makeup has never looked this good!,” “Can you come to my house and do this every day?” or “I can’t stop checking myself out!” Knowing that we have made people that much happier and more confident on such an important day really means a lot.

5) The Amazing Reviews, Thank You Cards and Emails. I’ll admit it–kind words from a happy client make me tear up. Even after six plus years of doing this, it never gets old. We work so hard to make our brides and their parties happy, so when they take the time to tell us that we did, it really makes my day. If you are interested in our reviews, click here:

6) The Bright Lip Trend. Alexis, Jennifer, Shaley and I loved how so many brides, bridesmaids and mothers requested bright or intense lipcolors this year. When done right–the only way we do things!–a lipcolor that pops really makes the whole look. We are hoping this trend continues in 2015!

7) The Crazy Amount of Referrals. Past brides, bridesmaids and just people who know me sent us a ton of work in 2014. We have an Allison Barbera Beauty Referral Rewards Program where I send people a $25 Sephora giftcard (or somewhere else, if they prefer) for referring any bride who books, and I sent out more this year than I ever have. So thank you, referrers!

8) The Optimistic Rainy Day Brides. Mother Nature does whatever the hell she wants and sometimes that means a couple gets a rainy wedding day. I understand how this could upset a bride, but all of our 2014 rainy day brides were troopers. Even if they were a little bummed out, they didn’t cry or scream or take it out on anyone. In fact, they all said a variation of the same thing: “I’m just happy to be getting married to ___.” Really sweet and, I think, very admirable.

9) The Family and Friend Weddings. I got to do several weddings for family and friends (or friends/family of close friends) this year, which I loved. It’s so nice to be there with them as they get ready for their wedding, and I am always honored when they ask me to do their makeup. I have a few already lined up for 2015, and I hope that list continues to grow.

10) The Conversations. As I mentioned, I love meeting and talking to new people. I don’t want to get too preachy here, but I believe that human interactions are kind of the point of life. I’m so interested in what other people do, where they are from and what their lives are like. I feel like I made a great connection with dozens of people this wedding season, and that is something I’m really grateful for.

Thank you again to all of our brides, the people who referred us and of course, my rockstar team. I appreciate the business, the conversations and the mimosa offers (which we sadly can’t accept because, you know, professionalism!) The 2014 wedding season was absolutely wonderful and I am full of gratitude for that.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Bridal Beauty Tips

A big part of what I do is wedding makeup. I love working with brides, and my favorite thing to hear at a wedding makeup trial is “It’s exactly what I pictured!” Bridal makeup needs to be a look that the bride feels like herself in, something that will photograph well, and of course, something that will last.

If you’re getting married in Rhode Island or Massachusetts, hopefully you’ll contact me for your wedding makeup services! But if not, or even if you will be working with me and haven’t had your trial yet, here are some factors to consider before having your trial or day-of makeup done.

1) To show up in photography, bridal makeup needs to be more intense than everyday makeup. This doesn’t mean foundation has to be caked on, or you have to wear red lipstick or dark eyeshadow colors. It means that eyeliner may be heavier than usual or blush may be a brighter or deeper shade than you normally go for. It shouldn’t be so intense that you feel uncomfortable, but keep in mind that a slightly heavier application will make for much better pictures (which are, after all, your visual memories from the day!) A good makeup artist knows how to strike the balance between what will photograph well and what a bride is comfortable wearing.

2) There may be 12 or more hours between when you get your makeup done and the last dance, so product longevity is important. For this reason, skin primers, eye primers, powders and setting sprays are key. If you book with Allison Barbera Beauty, we will provide you with a touchup lipstick and oil blotting sheets to keep your makeup looking fresh on your wedding day. If not, ask your maid of honor to hold onto some touchup products for you.

3) When it comes to mascara, waterproof is the only way to go. Even if you’re not a crier, the long day and factors like humidity and rain can cause mascara smudging. Why risk it?

4) Your makeup color palette should reflect your tastes, but beware of choosing colors that are too trendy. That’s the quickest way to look dated in your pictures. I recommend that brides stick to more neutral colors for eye makeup. If you want the focus on your eyes, it’s better to choose colors that will compliment your eye color rather than compete with it (if you use an experienced makeup artist, they will know which colors will do this).

5) A red lip can be gorgeous, and if that’s your signature thing, rock on. But if you don’t normally wear a red (or any strong shade), remember that these colors are high maintenance. That means more touchups throughout the day. If that’s not your style, maybe try a strong lip for your bachelorette party or bridal shower, which will be shorter events with more chances for you to re-apply.

6) If you are going with a makeup artist and don’t have pictures of looks you like, and he or she doesn’t either, make sure you know what beauty terms and references actually mean. If you say you want a 1960s look, be clear about what it is you like about the look. Each decade had at least a few big looks, so knowing which one you like is important. (Don’t believe me? Check out pictures of Twiggy and Brigitte Bardot. Same decade, very different eye makeup.) A good makeup artist will ask you lots of questions anyway, but it’s still smart to be able to articulate what you want, or have pictures that you can pinpoint what you like in them.

7) Many brides say that they want a “natural” look, and that’s great. Just know that a true natural look is going to be colors close to your skin tone, with a focus on perfected skin and contouring and highlighting. If you’re the type of girl who could blow a week’s paycheck at Sephora, the natural look may not be your thing. I find that some people say “natural” because they are afraid of caked on makeup, but a good makeup artist won’t do that to you anyway!

8) False lashes do make a difference. I use flare lashes (little bunches of lashes) as opposed to strip lashes because they allow me to add more to build the level of “drama,” where with strip lashes, you either have them on or you don’t. I also find that the flare lashes stay on much better, and because of their design, they don’t lift off the lash base, like strip lashes can.

9) If you’re wearing a veil that comes down over your face, skip the lipgloss. The stickiness of a gloss is like a magnet for veils, which can leave you with lip color stains on your veil.

10) One of the best things you can do to make your wedding makeup look gorgeous is to take care of your skin. In the months leading up to your wedding, make sure that you are diligent about cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing. If you get facials or want to start doing that, that is beneficial as well. And please, bride-to-be, no pimple popping! This can cause scarring on the skin, and if you pick pick pick too close to your wedding, you may end up with a scabbed over blemish that is hard to conceal.

If you’re planning a wedding, you’ve already got a lot on your plate, so hopefully this has been helpful. Enjoy your big day 🙂

Wedding Makeup Do’s & Don’ts

If you live in New England and would rather just hire a pro for the job, AB Beauty is here for you. Photo: Snap! Photography
Makeup: Allison Barbera

Congratulations! The love of your life has finally popped the question. (Took them long enough, huh?) You’ve got a lot of things to decide once you start your wedding planning process, and whether or not you want to hire a makeup artist is one of them. Of course, I recommend hiring a professional who understands colors, skin types, lighting, photography, etc., but I understand that’s not always in the budget. So here are some Dos and Don’ts to help you if you decide to go it alone.

Do practice a good skincare routine, especially during the six months before your wedding. Healthy, clear skin will photograph better and will mean you don’t need as much makeup.

Don’t get a facial or have any waxing done the week of your wedding. Even if you’re not prone to breakouts or reactions, this could be the one time it happens. Red, puffy or burned skin is tough to cover, so why chance it?

Do practice your wedding makeup look several times. I suggest writing down the products/colors you use. There’s a good chance you will be nervous on the big day, so a written list will help take some pressure off.

Don’t underestimate the time you need to do your makeup. If you’re rushed, you’re more likely to mess something up and get frustrated because you don’t have enough time to fix it.

Do use a foundation. Unless you have perfect skin, you need something to even out your skintone. A lightweight foundation like MAC Face and Body lets your skin show through while giving an even finish.

Don’t use products with SPF. There is a debate about this, but many products with SPF contain zinc oxide, which can give a white cast to the skin in photographs.

Do use primers on your eyes and your skin. Primers help keep the makeup on, so you won’t have to worry as much about face and eye touchups. For an eye primer, I prefer Too Faced Shadow Insurance. For the skin, I like Laura Mercier Foundation Primer.

Don’t even consider using a non-waterproof mascara. Even if you think the Father/Daughter dance or your Maid of Honor’s toast won’t affect you, you could surprise yourself. Mascara streaks cut right through makeup, so why risk it? I use this Revlon waterproof mascara on all of my wedding clients.

Do carry oil blotting papers with you. The camera picks up shine, but oil blotting papers will get rid of it. Powder will cut shine too, but it can get cakey if you touch up too often.

Don’t go on shimmer overload. Every bride wants to look glowing, but shimmery products can translate as shine in photographs. It’s okay to put a little bit on the cheekbones, but do so with a light touch.

Do consider fake lashes. I use these flare lashes (bunches of 6-8 lashes, aka individuals) from Ardell and even five flares makes a difference. They really open up the eyes and add something special to the look. Try them before the wedding day though, or have a bridesmaid put them on for you. They can be tricky.

Hope all of you brides out there found this post helpful.

Have a beautiful day 🙂