It was my privilege to attend the wedding of my astrology teacher and mentor Adam Elenbaas and the gorgeous Ashley Litecky, a master yoga instructor and herbalist, at the lush and pastoral Caboose Farm in Maryland this past weekend. I was honored to do the bride’s hair and makeup, but the takeaway from the ceremony was so enlightening that I feel like it was an immersion into a higher form of spiritual living then a destination wedding. Everything, from the setting to the astrologically auspicious timing, was so thought out and intended. If Gwyneth and Chris can call their separation “conscious uncoupling” then Adam and Ashley’s wedding was a great example of “higher consciousness coupling.”
Of course, with Mercury being retrograde, the weather was mercurial. The day started with pouring rain, then miraculously the sun peeked through just as the orchestra commenced and the ceremony was about to begin. The musical selections were so apt: everything from music from “The Hobbit” to the title theme from “Game of Thrones.” The ceremony itself was an amazing hybrid of traditions performed by Dr. Chris King, an Episcopalian minister who studied theology at the University of Oxford, combining Christian ritual with astrological references. The exact timing of the ceremony was enacted as the sun became conjunct in Libra, a sign ruled by the planet Venus, representing the goddess of love and harmonious partnership. During the ceremony, Ashley and Adam planted rue and tobacco seeds, botanicals they felt spiritually akin to in the shamanic tradition. I was particularly inspired by the readings from Khahil Gibran and James Hillman by their close friends Eric Favela and Lisa Scot during the proceedings.
Yet, despite all the higher consciousness, the vibe was Boho chic, down to earth and grounded. Ashley, looking like Venus herself straight out of Botticelli’s “Birth of Aphrodite” kept it real by wearing boots that looked like Doc Martins under her long strapless gown! Of course, Venus was the inspiration for Ashley’s look that day---cascades of tousled, beachy waves combined with luminous skin. She created a fabulous Pinterest board of hair and makeup ideas, which was an invaluable road map for me to help create her vision. Weddings are such important recorded benchmarks in our lives, so it’s important to do the work necessary to bring the bride’s aspirations to life and make their dreams a reality. Ashley’s hair is naturally straight and silken fine, so it can be hard to keep texture and curl through-out the day. This is a common dilemma that I’ve learned to overcome with a trifecta of tried-and-true products. If you want how I kept her waves from wedding crashing, as well as a step-by-step to achieve her golden glow makeup, see below.
Of course, it’s not only the bride that needs to look their best. I was so happy when the groom decided to wear his long blonde hair down for the ceremony, putting it up in a bun to dance away the evening. Seeing them both standing there, exchanging their vows with such thoughtful intention and receiving their blessings and well wishes for their honeymoon in Belize, they looked like the new Adam and Eve. Paradise Found!
EVERLASTING BRIDAL BEAUTY:
All wedding looks take patience to achieve. You need to carefully budget your time, applying makeup in between setting and working in the right sequence so you don’t have to waste time fixing smudges or smears.
For her hair: The foremost thing fine hair needs is to add texture and weight before styling. To do this, hair should be already washed and dried. Separate into small sections, dousing each section with a combination of thickening and texturizing sprays (I use Oribe’s genius Dry Texturizing Spray combined with Philip B.’s Imperial Royal Amber Insta-Thick.) Once hair is thoroughly saturated, twist the section with your fingers and wrap the twist around a cone shaped curling iron, the kind that is thicker at the base and narrows towards the tip (I use one from T3), keeping the ends out, leaving them straight. Pull the curl carefully off the iron to create a pin curl. Douse this with a strong hair spray (I use L’Oreal’s Elnet) then pin to the head. Once the hair is fully set, give it another good swoosh of spray (don’t light a match!) and let it dry while starting makeup.
For her makeup, Ashley wanted to look natural, but with a touch of golden goddess. To do this, I first moisturize skin with Argan oil. This is an important step: if skin is dry and dehydrated, it will soak up the foundation, making it disappear before you say “I do.” While skin is absorbing the moisturizer, I start on eyes, so I can clean up any flakes before starting the foundation. I covered the whole lid with Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Half Baked, then layered Illamasqua black cream shadow over black pencil liner on the upper lids. I highlighted the inside corners of the eyes with a pale gold shadow from Illamasqua as well and defined the crease with a deeper bronze cream shadow, such as MAC’s Bronze Frost.
All brides fear mascara on their wedding day, afraid they will cry and look like something out of a John Water’s movie. I use just enough to help grip the individual fake lashes I attach, stroking on top of the lashes, not underneath. Then, apply small clusters of lashes in a variety of small to medium flares…nothing too fake looking.
Once eyes are done, you can create a luminous golden all-over glow. I mix several liquids together to achieve this, mixing a thin veil of a fair shade with a darker tone (I used a Becca foundation in a lighter tone mixed with Kevyn Aucoin’s Liquid Airbrush #13 for Ashley.) Apply all over the face, making sure it is blended down the neck and through the ear area. I highlight the cheekbones and eyes with a luminizing foundation (As I’ve mentioned in earlier blogs, Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation for this). On cheeks, I used a layered MAC’s Bamboo blush over Guerlain’s mosaic Terracotta bronzer. Then, it was time for the real magic: Tom Ford’s Gold Dust Bronzer dusted all over the face to make the skin glow. Lips for this look should be kept real simple: Swipe a creamy pink over lips (like MAC’s Snob), and keep applying throughout the day, rather than using a drying long-lasting formula. Ashley armed herself with a couple of tubes and reapplied through the day and night.
Then, back to the hair. When makeup is done, remove the clips and gingerly rake through the hair to separate the curls with fingers, not a brush or comb, to create the delicate beach waves. For the head piece, Ashley opted for a simple band of little cream flowers with the ties braided into her hair. Later that day, when the fog rolled in, we umphed up the waves with a few extensions that I had already prepared for her in my rooms. More Elnet and voila! A golden goddess, a Venus in cowboy boots. Congratulations Ashley and Adam!