What is your bridal style?

Wedding planning can be both magical and stressful. There are so many decisions to be made. With so many resources for inspiration, it can get seriously overwhelming when it comes to figuring out the vibe for your big day. It is so easy to get sucked into keeping up with everything you see on social media.

While there are many gorgeous images you’ll see floating around the interwebs, it’s important to recognize that many of these elaborate and absolutely perfect scenes are not real weddings with real couples who have real budgets. Rather, they are stylized photo shoots from insanely talented artists who want to showcase their expertise and creativity with no boundaries.

These images can serve as inspiration for your big day, but you shouldn’t feel like you need to keep up with them, because most budgets simply won’t allow it!  My two cents: before you start your planning, I recommend sitting down with your partner, and really thinking about not only the obvious things like your budget, but also your relationship, your journey to get to this most special point, your values, and the things that make you unique individually and as a couple. This should serve as a great jumping-off point for setting the scene for your big day.

Once you’ve figured out the vibe, it’s time to start thinking about your look!  As an NYC-turned-AVL hair and makeup artist who eats, sleeps, and breathes beauty, there are some terms that are common speak to me. Often, when I sit down with my clients, they have a hard time articulating what they want out of their look, simply because they don’t speak the language. So, to help combat some of the confusion in describing your bridal style goals, I have teamed up with some seriously amazing chicks in the Asheville bridal scene to give you the lowdown.

Margaux Weinstock, originally from NYC, with a background in the fashion industry, is the owner of Wildflower Bridal, an Asheville bridal shop specializing in fashion-forward, bohemian, and effortless wedding gowns. Dre Donoghue is a hairstylist who splits her time between AVL and NYC. And Briana Autran is an Asheville-based, world-traveled photographer. Together, we dreamed up this shoot to illustrate what we think of when you throw out terms like “boho” or “retro” when describing your style goals. Whether you’re here for some style inspo, or are tuning up your terminology before finding your perfect stylist, I hope you leave feeling ready to tackle all of your style needs.

The Boho Bride

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Margaux // Dress: This gown (especially styled with those amazing geode earrings) is the epitome of boho chic. The lace paneling on the skirt is so unique, as is the slight taupe tones of the gown. It has an effortless, free-spirited vibe.

Emily // Makeup: To me, the term Boho is synonymous with effortless. Forever and always, I think each bride should feel like herself on her wedding day. Sometimes that means mascara and chapstick, and sometimes that means full lashes and red lips. For this look, I kept our model’s skin looking fresh and glowy using a very lightweight foundation that still allowed her freckles and natural texture to poke through. If you find that this appeals to you, but you have areas of concern, spot conceal using a higher-coverage concealer just in the areas where you need it most, while allowing the rest of your skin to show through. (Most of us are using far more foundation than necessary on a daily basis—a topic for another day—but especially if you are someone who doesn’t ever wear makeup, this will give you the evenness you desire without feeling overwhelming and cakey). For the eyes, I kept it simple with a wash of gold and a soft contour in the crease using a bit of the same bronzer that I used on the cheeks for a nice cohesive look. Soft, smudged brown liner and a few coats of mascara help to define the eye in a subtle way. I used a touch of stain on the cheeks and lips to add a soft flush and cohesion to the face. Pro tip: if you don’t have a stain, push your lipstick into the lips in a dabbing motion to soften the look and stain your lips. Use whatever color is left on your finger and tap onto your cheeks, and into the crease of your eye to tie everything together. To finish the look, I added a soft glow and highlight to the high points of her face (cheekbones, bridge of the nose, cupid’s bow) for a “lit from within” look, and a wash of gloss on her lips. Ultimately “boho” reminds me of earth tones and natural beauty.

Dre // Hair: Effortless is the word I’d use to describe our boho bride. If someone has amazing hair texture to begin with, I love to use that as inspiration. Even the most effortless-looking hair involves some deliberate techniques to make it work for such an important occasion. I’m also into doing something a bit more unexpected than the common braid to pull hair up: a simple twist or knots can add an interesting element.

The Classic Bride

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Margaux: This gown is a formal, fitted, classic silhouette, and the unique lace and slightly dipped neckline elevate it to high-fashion status.

Emily: When I hear classic, I get all of the Kate Middleton feels. Clean lines, perfectly placed locks, and timeless fashion. For this look, I paired a cool-toned, soft, smokey eye with a neutral/baby pink lip and cheek. Her skin is perfected with a medium-coverage foundation, soft contour, strategic highlight, and powdered T zone for controlled glow. This look will forever be in style.

Dre: A low chignon will always be classic. Here, we went with a clean version. I drew inspiration from backstage hair at Dolce and Gabbana. I love the way they incorporate embellishments and flowers into the hair. Most of my inspiration and references come from fashion and looks that were created backstage. It’s usually safe to say that by pulling from such iconic designers, you’ll get a look that is timeless, and you won’t ever be afraid to look back at your pictures.  

The Romantic/Moody Bride

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Margaux: The shape and appliques on this gown scream soft and romantic, but the daring neckline and color make it edgy too.

Emily: Romance and moody aren’t necessarily the same thing, but both of these terms had me thinking about washes of color, specifically in berry and wine tones. For this look, I went a little more moody, based on our model’s skin tone. I used a palette of deep wine and berry tones on her eyes, cheeks, and lips. When I know I am going to be doing a bold lip, I prefer to start there, so I know how far I can take the other features without the whole look going overboard. The key is to find the balance of adding washes of color while keeping the look, as a whole, soft. Pro tip: If you are going to be wearing a bold lip for your wedding day, it’s best to get a long-wearing lipstick (something like L:ip Sense or Kylie Cosmetics). That way, you won’t have to worry about touching up all night, or getting that color all over your partner during your first kiss (or the rest of the night for that matter). Pro Tip 2: I’ve said this before, but when I have brides who express that they want to go for that bold lip on their wedding day, I always suggest that they go out and find their perfect lip color well in advance of their wedding day and start wearing it on a regular basis so they can get used to the maintenance of wearing a bold lip, and more importantly, seeing themselves in it and allowing it to become part of their look before the big day.

Dre: I love when a bride really embraces hernatural curls and we play them up. Here, we used tiny flowers and placed them throughout her hair. When someone has curls like this, I think that it’s so much a part of their identity, and I want my brides to feel like the best version of themselves.  

The Retro Bride

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Margaux: This gown is so timeless—the boatneck, the streamlined silhouette, and the lower back— it was just asking for some soft curls and a red lip and some vintage-inspired celestial headpieces!!

Emily: We had a lot of fun putting this look together because there is the traditional “retro” look that most people are familiar with, but there are also a lot of modern takes on this look that are just as appealing. For the first incarnation,I went super traditional with a matte red lip (MAC Ruby WOO is the most classic shade ever), winged liner, and a false lash. I opted for a soft contour and lighter-coverage foundation because not only am I obsessed with freckles and I generally always want them to show through unless otherwise requested, but I also wanted our model’s face to be cohesive with the rest of her body. Notice the freckles on her shoulders and back. Traditionally, however, this look can stand up to a more medium-to-full (but still natural) coverage. Just make sure you are taking into consideration the whole picture when choosing the amount of coverage to apply to your face. Pro tip: A blue-toned red will make your teeth look whiter, whereas a more orange-toned red will make your teeth pull a little more yellow.

Dre: One of my favorite sets to do. We could call these Old Hollywood Waves, or a classic ‘40s-style set. This set can also have an edge that feels very modern. One insider trick though… this look almost always involves extensions. Not necessarily used to create more length, but  for fullness and to hold the wave better. I use a type of extensions that are temporary and easily removed.

If you want to take inspiration from a retro look but don’t want to commit to a red lip, or just want to give it a more modern twist, this look works beautifully with any lip color. To illustrate this, I removed the red lip entirely in favor of a nude shade. This look gives me all of the Megan Fox feels. Lose the veil for some funky hair accessories to make this look your own.

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So there you have it: a great start to defining your style!

As a hair and makeup artist, I am very passionate about this last piece of advice I want to leave you with. Your wedding day might not be the best time to experiment with and change  your look completely; it is a great time to explore some options for elevating your current look. Of course we all want to look amazing on our wedding day, but let us not forget that feeling good is just as important. Trying to fit a certain mold is likely to leave you feeling uncomfortable, and maybe even regretful when you look back on your photos. After all, your partner is marrying YOU. So rather than trying to be someone else, focus on enhancing all that you already are. Ultimately whether you’re most comfortable getting married in a pink tutu, or a cathedral gown, going barefaced or full-glam, rocking your natural texture or a sleek chignon, our hope is that you feel uniquely YOU. I hope this article helped give you some new tools in your tool belt for dress shopping and communicating with your stylist at your next consultation.

What is, or was your bridal style? Let us know in the comments below!

Credits: Location: Flora, Asheville | Makeup: Emily Dawn | Hair: Dre Donoghue | Fashion: Margaux Weinstock, Wildflower Bridal | Photography: Briana Autran