Monday, February 6, 2017

Will Your Flower Girl Remember Being in Your Wedding? I Say YES, and Here's Why.....

I was having a conversation with a bride recently...she wondered if her adorable little flower girls (ages 3-6) will even remember being in her wedding?  I definitely think so, and here's my proof....

Yep, that's me....I'm about 4 years old and I was a miniature bride in my Aunt Candy's wedding.  I don't know if that was a seventies thing, or a northern thing (I'm from Wisconsin), but I haven' t really heard of miniature brides since then, so I'm not sure?  Anyway, my dress and bouquet looked exactly like hers, and I had never been more excited I my life! Here's another thing...I'm one of 4 kids, we're all 13  months apart.  If your family is like that, then you do EVERYTHING together, one on one attention is somewhat rare.  Being chosen for this special task, just me.....not one of my sisters....was the biggest thing that possibly could've happened.  I literally remember EVERY DETAIL...walking down the aisle, pictures, dancing.  I only have 2 or 3 pictures from the event, including this one, and I treasure it! The wedding day was an excited blur, but I thought it was the most incredible night.

Weddings are magical like that, aren't they?!? Who knew that someday I'd be a wedding vendor myself.....a bridal beauty expert. I have worked with well over 1000 brides (and counting!) over my 20+ year career AND get to live in the world of weddings every day. I never, ever get tired of it, and I never's a honor to be a part of such a special celebration! This may be an old, grainy photo, but clearly, this pic is instrumental in explaining my love and passion for being a bridal beauty artist.

And yes, bride to be.....someday your lil' peanut will be a grown up too.  She'll remember every detail about being in YOUR wedding, and it'll make her smile.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Should you Wear Foundation When it's Hot and Humid? (SheFinds Feature!)

I live in Texas y'all...
In case you've been living under a rock, then you know it gets HOT here....we often endure temps of 90 and up six months out of the year, and yes, that includes September!  Sometimes you just can't stay in AC...outdoor concerts, weddings, a photo shoot, or even just running around during the day...women are constantly asking me how they can look polished even when it's sticky and miserable weather.
So...the question really is:

Should I wear foundation when it's hot and humid?
Photo credit: Chelsea Crockett
How can I apply my foundation so it doesn't have a complete meltdown?

You CAN wear foundation when it's hot and humid, but you need to make a few adjustments from your cool weather routine for best results.  Here are my favorite tips as profiled in SheFinds!

If it's a casual occasion and your skin is looking good?

Start with a mattifying primer, add a bit of concealer on dark circles and any red spots.....go ahead and skip a full face of foundation.  Add waterproof mascara, a fun lipcolor and a bit of bronzer and work a carefree natural look!

If you need/want a full face/full coverage look despite soaring temps, here's your plan of action:
Cleanse well, and use a light, water gel formula moisturizer (I like Garnier's versions), save the ultra-creamy moisturizers for nightime during summer months.

- Apply a mattifying gel (I like Benefit Porefessional Mattifying gel or Makeup Forever Step 1 Primer) to prep skin and keep oil at bay.

- Dot on a highly pigmented cream foundation or even a concealer that matches your skin and has a slightly drier texture (you can use less product!) with a foundation brush, focus on dark circles, blotchy areas,
shadows around your mouth.  Blend with a slightly damp beauty blender...skip using your fingers, they can add extra oil.  Use as little foundation as you can to achieve the
coverage you need to avoid a total meltdown!  (I use RCMA, IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Redness and Laura Mercier concealer)

Set foundation with a very finely milled setting powder (I like Cover FX or Laura Mercier) buffed on lightly using a
large, fluffy brush.

Take your dampened beauty blender and lightly press all over your face....this avoids a powdery look and helps to ensure your foundation is set.

- Final step?  A light misting of setting spray to lock everything into place....I like Urban Decay "All Nighter".

I don't recommend powder foundations for anything other than an easy mid-day touch up....., it's much easier to achieve natural looking coverage using liquid or cream products (sparingly!) and set with setting powder.

If you do get really hot and sweaty, remember these tips:

NEVER add powder to wet or sweaty'll look pasty and muddy!

BLOT - use a paper towel (My fave?  Viva! They have a soft, cloth-like texture that absorbs like crazy)  to gently blot moisture off your face and don't wipe...the combination of sweat/water
and wiping will ruin your makeup!  Blot gently, and it'll stay intact.

REMOVE OIL - Once you've blotted excess sweat, THEN blot oil using a oil blot sheet (I like Clean and Clear) to blot oil instead of adding powder.

Sometimes you just can't skip a full face of makeup even when it's super hot and humid.  Follow these steps and you'll look great, regardless of the temps!

(Thanks again to SheFinds for using my comments in their feature!  Click here to read these tips, plus so many other helpful beauty and lifestyle tips on SheFinds!)

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Bridal Portrait Session 101 - Absolutely EVERYTHING You Need to Know!

So if you're reading this and don't live in the South, you might be saying..."um, what's a bridal
portrait?"  Basically, it's a bridal preview...full hair and makeup, plus the dress and bouquet...all captured in a photo session by your photographer.  Often, girls will choose their favorite to have printed and framed at the wedding reception, later to hang in their home. It's mainly a southern custom, but it's quickly creeping into other parts of the US and it's already a tradition in other parts of
the world.
Image: Beatbox Portraits

You might be wondering...should I do one?  Is it worth it?  Is it really necessary?  Well, as a bridal beauty expert and makeup artist who's worked with hundreds and hundreds of brides...and the talented photographers who shoot the bridal sessions....I definitely know a thing or two about them.

Here's the lowdown so you can decide for yourself if a bridal portrait session is for you, and to ensure that you LOVE your photos if you do book one:

One thing you should know right off the bat?

Bridal Session Photos are VERY Different than Wedding Day Photos!
Wedding day is all about the intimacy, the emotion, the're getting MARRIED.  A great photographer will focus on capturing not only the traditional family photos, but also all of the details and special moments that happen all throughout the day. When it's done right, it's a 360 view of the entire event to help you remember all the details! Whether you look at it once a year or every Friday night, you and your spouse, plus your kids AND grandkids will truly love enjoying your wedding photos for years to come.

 A bridal session?  That's about YOU, honey. When else in your life do you look that freakin' fabulous!?! No matter how practical you are, you can't deny that there is something magical about a beautiful bride. Here's your chance to be that beautiful bride....and the bridal session captures that moment in time forever. (Sounds cheesy, but it's SO TRUE!)

OK, But What Are the Benefits of Doing a Bridal Portrait Session?
- It's a chance to try everything, makeup, dress, veil, accessories...and make sure it all works.  If you need to change anything, you have time.
- Bridal sessions are a great time to bond and build trust with your photographer and beauty team. The more you all know each other, the more comfortable and relaxed you'll be on wedding day! Hopefully there won't be any snags, but if there are, you can solve them beforehand.
- It'll calm your nerves...bigtime.  Once you know that the intricate hairstyle you chose looks perfect with your dress, that bright lip color works and the necklace is the perfect's a huge stress reliever the day of.
- A bridal session is relaxed and fun....a great way to capture how gorgeous you look BEFORE the big day.  Save wedding day for being "in the moment" and enjoying the emotion!
- And lastly, yes you'll have a gorgeous photo to display at the reception, or if that's not your thing, to hang in your home for years to come. You might not think you want it, but trust me....I've never heard
Image: Peyronet Photography
a bride say she regretted doing a bridal session, and they're always really happy to have the images.  And the husbands?  There's no man on the planet who doesn't want an image of his wife looking the most beautiful he's ever seen....#justsaying

What do Bridal Sessions Cost?
Just like everything else wedding related, costs vary according to where you live, and the type of vendors you've chosen.  Professional hair and makeup is 100% worth it, so don't skip it for your photo session! Expect to pay somewhere between $200-$400 for hair and makeup depending on rates where you live (less in small towns, higher in big cities) and expect to pay more to have your beauty team come on location.

 Expect to pay somewhere between $300-$900 for your bridal photography session (doesn't include prints, those are extra)....many photographers roll it into your entire package, but you can book it separately too. Use legit and reputable vendors ALWAYS.  Looking incredible and having stunning bridal photos will be an investment, but one that's worth it....don't fall into the trap of going cheap or hiring inexperienced vendors. (Read more about why here....)

Also...DON'T forget to order a bouquet!  It doesn't have to be elaborate or the same bouquet you'll have for your wedding, but it gives you something to do with your hands and provides a pop of color....cost starts around $75 for a simple version and goes up depending on size and the type of flowers you choose.

When Should I Schedule it?
- Look at dates AFTER your dress is due to arrive....and be sure to allow extra time for alterations.
Image: Matt and Ivy Weddings
- You can schedule it as early as you want once you have your dress, but most bridal sessions are done 2-3 months before wedding day.
- Expect to schedule a bridal session on a weekday or Sunday...Saturdays won't work for your photographer or your beauty team who will most likely be working a wedding!
- Early morning sessions work well for outdoor shoots in the summer to beat the heat, and afternoon/early evening shoots work well in fall and winter to capture "golden hour"...those hours before sunset when the light is amazing.
- If you DO want a framed photo for your reception, be sure to check with your photographer on how early you need to schedule your session so that there's enough time to edit, order and receive your image in time to display it.

How Do I Choose A Good Location?
Options are really endless, but here's a list to get you started:
Image: Peyronet Photography
- Outdoor Locations: Your wedding venue, Botanical Gardens, Historic Homes, Local Wineries, a Ranch in the country, The Terrace or Rooftop of a Hotel, Sports Venues, or even downtown areas with modern sculptures.  Ask your photographer for suggestions!

- Indoor Locations:  Your wedding venue, Museums, Art Galleries, Hotels, Fancy Restaurants, A Concert Hall, A Historic Theater, Sleek lobby of a building, a private home, a downtown loft or industrial space....get creative!

Just make sure you choose somewhere that allows photo shoots, and check to see if there's a fee involved or time restrictions. If you are working with a photographer who specializes in natural light be sure to choose a location that allows for that. Bonus tip #1: If you choose a hotel, book a night at that hotel, have a girlfriend or two stay with you and then arrange for your beauty team to come on location to help you get ready there in your room. Serve drinks and snacks, play fun music and Snapchat the whole getting ready process...make your photo session a truly fun EVENT!

Consider indoor locations during months that typically have rain, ice or extreme's easier to schedule and the shoot will be more fun! (translation, less of a beating ; )  If you want something outdoors, and a traditional garden backdrop isn't your style, that's ok...choose a location that that fits YOUR personality.

Bonus tip #2: Don't assume you can get ready or change into your gown at your shoot location, many venues don't have dedicated space for that or just won't allow it if they feel it interferes with customers or daily business.  Find out ahead of time to avoid having to change in the parking lot!

The Bridal Session Shoot.....Do's and Don'ts
Image: Tracy Autem Photography
- DO schedule a separate hair and makeup trial BEFORE your bridal session...particularly if you have no idea what you want or are planning on choosing a very complicated Pinterest-y hairdo or want makeup that is a big change from what you usually do.
- DO Plan on 2 hours for your hair and makeup appointment, and allow a little extra time if you're an out of town bride or didn't have time to squeeze in a trial first.
- DO consider having your bridal beauty team get you ready on-site if that's an option.  (Expect extra charges for travel and site fees! )
- DO Bring your BFF or your mom, or both! They'll make it fun and help you do relax.
- DON'T forget to bring your veil or hair accessory to your hair appointment so your stylist can put in in for you.
- DON'T forget to order and pick up your bouquet!
- DO make sure you have oil blot sheets and lip color with you for emergency touch ups. Avoid touching up with powder if can look cakey and can flash out.
- DO have a glass or two of champagne to relax and loosen up!
- DON'T drink too'll get blotchy and have a hard time focusing.  No red can stain your teeth!
- DO bring an old white sheet with you!  You can sit on it if you need to wear your dress in the car and it can be spread out on the ground if you need to protect the bottom of your dress.
- DO bring your wedding heels (especially if they're really pretty!) so your photographer can capture a few shots of them, as well as a pair of slip-on flats for walking to and from shooting locations.
- DON'T freak out too much about getting your dress dirty!  A few specks of dust won't matter, and you can get it cleaned before the wedding if you really need to.
DO ensure that any friends or family who come with you remember to keep photos private until AFTER wedding day, especially if you're a traditional bride and don't want your fiance to see how you'll look ahead of time.  It sounds like common sense, but in this age of social media and non-stop posting, people accidentally leak them all the time!  Generally, it's considered ok to post hair and makeup only pics, but most girls don't want anyone to post the whole she-bang. Let everyone know what you prefer so your bridal look doesn't wind up all over Instagram weeks before the wedding!

And my number one bridal portrait tip?
- DON'T obsess about how you look!  If you're constantly thinking "do I look stupid?".....yep, you'll
Image: Jenny Martell Photography
look stupid.  Or at the very least, tense and awkward....not cute! Instead, think about when he proposed, the first "I love you" or the night you met.... it'll create soft and romantic expressions and you'll love how you look.  You really only need 2 or 3 good shots, and your photographer will capture plenty for you to choose from!  They don't all need to be super-serious either, so laugh, smile, and think romantic thoughts about your honey for fool-proof and fabulous photos!

(Stunning bride Lauren?  #nailedit!!!)

(All makeup on these lovely brides by Jennifer Trotter of Lip Service Makeup)

Copyright Jennifer Trotter (Lip Service Makeup) 2016

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Choosing Wedding Vendors - Why Going Cheap is a Mistake

Will you do Anything for a Bargain?  Can't remember the last time you paid full price?  It's true....we all love a good deal, but when it comes to your wedding, choosing your vendors based on the cheapest option will often lead to disaster. Super low prices might be ok if you're picking up a fridge on Craigslist, but this is your WEDDING....there's only one chance to get it right, and the stakes are high. Maybe you've heard "don't go cheap",  but maybe no one has ever explained WHY. Short story? Bargain based thinking could cause you stress, or you could choose vendors who tank your wedding, or you could wind up spending even more in the long run. Interested to find out more? Keep reading.....

Last year, one of my blog posts really created a buzz....much more so than any other.  It's been read and shared thousands of times, and I've been asked about it by countless wedding vendors and potential brides over the past several months.  What post caused all that fuss? It's called  "Why Choosing a Cheap Makeup Artist is a Mistake", and it's a pretty long post delving into what it really means when beauty providers offer super cheap prices.  ( ain't good.) Clearly, it's a conversation that isn't in the mainstream and it's a message that brides really need, and want to hear!  From Instagram to YouTube and bridal magazines, brides are barraged with messages of "How to Save on Your Wedding!", "Budget Bride tips!" and on and on.  I've heard seriously crazy tips of ways to save and I can tell you as a wedding vendor, tips like that could truly ruin your wedding.
Just ask anyone who's planned a wedding or been in a wedding, and you'll hear real-life stories of couples who went cheap and regretted it, like:

The couple who chose a photographer who quoted $900 when everyone else quoted $4K,  They never got a single photo.... and it's been two years.
- The couple who hired the cheapest DJ they could find, and he literally showed up with two speakers and his Ipod.
- The bride who had to scramble and hire another makeup artist last minute because the girl she hired at half price rates called her 3 weeks out and said "she forgot she was going to be on vacation", or the bride who hired a random and cheap "friend of a friend" to do makeup and she showed up an hour late...with no makeup!  She actually asked the mother of the bride to run down to CVS and pick up makeup.  (This one gives me heart palpitations!!)

So...let's talk about cold, hard cash!  I want to give you the insider scoop on what cheap means, and 4 tips to avoid making huge mistakes when hiring your wedding vendors....

Quick note about my credentials on this topic? I've been specializing in bridal beauty for over 20 years, have worked with nearly 1000 brides, I sit on the board of a local wedding vendor organization, and I'm a featured speaker at Wedding MBA held annually in Las Vegas, where I speak on pricing, and other industry related topics.  I spend a LOT of time with brides and other wedding vendors, and I live and breathe the world of weddings!  I hear it all...including the horror stories of the non-legit vendors that have infiltrated our industry. (Insert frustrated eye-roll here) on to the tips!

1. HIRE A PLANNER!  An experienced planner not only make the wedding planning process infinitely easier, but more importantly, they can actually save you money.  Planners have extensive lists of local vendors that they trust 100%, people they actually know and have worked with time and time again. They know what appropriate pricing is in your area, and they can help find reputable vendors that are perfect for you. Slick websites and reviews can be fudged....a planner knows actual vendors and who can truly be trusted to show up and knock it out of the park for you.  They can also help you choose elements of your wedding designed to help you stay within your budget and give you advice to get more bang for your buck! They have many options with different levels of assistance...all the way from full service to just assisting the month of your wedding, and it's less expensive than you think.  A great planner will become your new BFF, trust me!  Anytime a wedding day is frenzied and stressed, I guarantee it's because the bride skipped hiring a planner.  Get one, they are 100% worth it.

2. USE ONLY LEGIT VENDORS WHO ACTUALLY DO WEDDINGS.  As tempting as it may be to save money by using Gina's cousin who's "pretty good at makeup" or use your friend's neighbor who does "flowers on the side" or Bob's friend who just graduated college and "has a nice video camera".... this route is almost always a mistake. Regardless of someone's natural talent, weddings are a hard-core, stressful experience that not everyone can handle. There are hundreds of very experienced and capable vendors who still choose not to work on weddings for this very reason! Timelines are tight, anxiety levels are high, and vendors have to be able to consistently produce fabulous results each and every weekend for every single bride as if she's the only one. There are no do-overs!  In addition, there are a million little things that experienced vendors know....things like where and how to load in each venue, how to schedule services efficiently, and how to troubleshoot common to keep your cool no matter what. Watch out for vendors offering the cheapest price around, as they're usually amateurs with little to no experience, hobbyists, or vendors no one has ever heard of....they'll be in over their heads with no clue what to do.  And for Pete's sake, don't let them use your wedding as a practice run! If you don't know where to start looking, refer to your planner, photographer or venue....all will have lists of vendors in your price range who they trust and have worked with previously.  Reputable vendors will be able to deliver the flawless and beautiful services you want and need, and but also know how to manage the high stress and "no room for error" factor unique to weddings as well. #Crucial  

3. REMEMBER THAT CHEAP IS A RED FLAG.  When considering which wedding vendors to hire, good isn't cheap and cheap isn't good. Why?  Let's break it down.....
Think about what you get paid to do what YOU do for a nurse, accountant, customer service rep, whatever.  You're paid that salary based on many factors....your experience, your talent in your field, the time you spend working each week and what your particular profession pays.  Why doesn't your boss just pay you half of that?  (Visualize this...If they cut salaries in half, think of who at your company would stick around and actually agree to that.'s not the most talented and valuable employees.) Companies know that in order to get talented people who are good at what they do, they must pay them fair rates appropriate for the job and that person's particular skill level. Rates set by wedding professionals (who are business owners, by the way) are set based on the same factors....experience, level of talent and expertise, time spend doing what they do, and the current market rate for their particular set of goods or services....but also add the cost of doing business as an owner (materials, insurance, marketing, overhead, etc.).  Just like you wouldn't work for half of what you're worth, a legit vendor who runs their business seriously isn't able to either.  Why would they?
So when vendors quote extra low pricing well below the current industry standards, it often means they have no experience, offer lower quality products or services, don't actually do weddings for a living, or they might really suck at what they do and as a result are desperate for business...any business, at any price. Or another possible reason....they are jerks who are trying to undercut their competitors. (Cheap AND shady, for sure.) None of those scenarios are good for you as the client! People like that will NOT deliver what you need when it counts.  Hire legit, established, professional and caring won't regret it. If you want stunning invitations, the most gorgeous flowers, flawless hair and makeup, a photographer who captures every special moment, and on and on.....if you want expert vendors who will really take care of you....they are going to charge appropriate rates. You get what you pay for!

4. INSTEAD OF PRICE ONLY, CHOOSE BASED ON WHAT MATTERS. Narrow down your choices to 2-3 reputable and appropriately priced options in each category, and then choose based on customer service, portfolio, style/aesthetic, how well you connect and vibe with the vendor, great reviews, personal referrals, and recommendations from other vendors.  Choosing based on these factors will ensure that you love each and every vendor, and you'll be thrilled with all of the services that they provide!
HMU - Lip Service Makeup
Image: Tyler and Lindsey

Being a wedding vendor is really fun, I wouldn't trade it for anything! I honestly LOVE working with brides and their families, and I know my peers do too...there's something really special about being a part of each couple's new life together. Yes, wedding days can be stressful, but legit vendors use our years of experience (having lived through hundreds of wedding days!) to problem solve and ensure that we do everything we can to ensure your day is perfect. We love to help you plan, create, celebrate, laugh and even wipe away a happy tear if needed.  If you're engaged or might be in the future, I hope this insider perspective is enlightening and helpful in approaching your wedding planning....why not avoid mistakes if you can? Choose wisely and assemble a team that you'll love having around you on your big day.

BONUS:   Check out this super helpful calculator, courtesy of Wedding Paper Divas!  Plug in your overall budget and then review the suggested amounts for each category.  It's not a definitive guide, but it can be a great place to start to ensure that you're starting with a realistic budget.

Questions?  Comments?  Post below and join the conversation!

Copyright Jennifer Trotter - Lip Service Makeup - 2016

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Number One Mistake Brown-Eyed girls Make When Choosing Eye Shadow.....(SheFinds Feature)

Brown-eyed girl....if you've got deep, chocolate hued eyes, you should LOVE them.  I mean, after all, there's a hit song written about you!  And, you're in luck...almost (ALMOST) any color eye shadow works against your eye shade.  But so often, I meet brown-eyed girls who are making a big mistake with their eye makeup and they don't even realize it....

So what is it?

Don't Wear a Matte, Brown Eye shadow that Matches your eyes!!!

Seriously, it's the only color that really does nothing for you. Let's dig into that, and look at a few quick tips for brown-eyed girls:

Choose Neutrals other than Basic Brown - Brown is literally one of the only shades that doesn't
work for you! Often, brown-eyed girls think that brown will look the most natural, but on brown eyes, matching shadow looks flat and dull. Experiment with other neutral choices, such as bronze or taupe (brown eyed girls with lighter skin), or gold, champagne or silver (brown eyed girls with deep skin tones). If you like a natural look, you can also try soft, matte shadows in gray, blush or warm ginger tones...they all look awesome on brown eyes!
Pick Shadows with Subtle Shimmer - Subtle shimmer (not glitter!) in shades of silver, champagne, bronze and taupe all contrast against the depth of your eye color....and really light it up!  Shimmery shadows are easy to blend and help you keep it can use one color blended well and presto, you're done. Play with it to find the most flattering formula for you....don't just always reach for safe, matte shades.

Try a Pop of Color - If you have brown eyes and want a pop of color, try a deep forest green, a rich plum or
even a deep cobalt or navy....all look incredible on brown eyes!  If you have brown hair and brown eyes, you can really pull off bold color...don't be afraid of it!

Don't Always go for Black Liner -  Black can look blah on you, especially if your eyes are really consider liner in shades besides black. Start with a deep charcoal or navy instead, your eyes will really glow!  If you have darker skin, work with contrast of dark eyes and dark skin...use lighter shades of silver and gold to light up your eyes.

Warm Up Your Skin - One of the biggest mistake brown-eyed girls make? Keeping your lip/cheek colors in the beige/brown family....not the most flattering on you, especially if you're pale!  If you're a brown-eyed brunette with lighter skin, don't forget rosy or peachy tones for cheeks and lips or you'll risk looking really washed out. If you're a Brunette or Blonde with brown eyes and deep, golden skin tones? You can play with warm caramel tones and golds...the bronze goddess look works well on on this combo.  Brown-eyed Blonde?  Experiment...a variety of color palettes can work on you depending on your skin tone.

Glossy Black Mascara Always works - Plenty of mascara, lash extensions or false lashes definitely work on'll create balance with the deep tones in your eye shade.

Are you a brown-eyed girl?  What shadows do YOU love to play up your eyes?  

Be sure to click here to read more...some of the tips and tricks in this article were feature recently on popular beauty blog SheFinds!