Hello Beautiful People!
Spring has sprung and warmer days will soon be upon us here in the Hudson Valley. Personally I can't wait for more sunshine:) It surely has been a protracted winter. Spring also means the arrival of wedding season!
Each wedding is unique and being part of a couple's special day is a privilege. Being a makeup artist working at a wedding; I get to spend time with friends and families. I get to learn about all the things that are meaningful to them. I get to see the various customs and ways people celebrate love and togetherness. There are many wedding trends that influence everything from what couples eat and drink to what venues they choose to the style of wedding photographer they hire to capture what will become some of their most treasured moments. One wedding trend I’ve seen and think is here to stay is changing up your look from ceremony to reception.
A reception outfit can change the vibe of your look. Switching from formal attire for the ceremony to a more party friendly reception look begs for a makeup and hair change too! Since many brides request natural makeup for their wedding day it's the perfect opportunity to amplify your look by adding some more dramatic touches to your makeup. I say why not go for it! When else in your life are you going to have a makeup and hair team at your beck and call? Maybe you want an updo for the ceremony and then when the time comes you want to let your hair down and party. Or perhaps you will wear your hair down or in a half up half down style for your wedding and want your hair fashioned in a secure updo to manage frizz while you're dancing the night way in the Hudson Valley's notoriously humid summer weather. The same goes for makeup, keeping the makeup simple and clean for a daytime wedding ceremony and transitioning to a more glamorous look for a low lit evening reception will never fail.
I was part of a team that photographed a wedding themed styled shoot in which we told a vintage inspired wedding story featuring our bride who changed dresses from wedding ceremony to reception. We shot at the awe inspiring Tiger House located at 317 Allen Street in Hudson, New York. Since I love history I was curious to learn more about this property. I soon discovered its rich history like many of the Hudson Valley's other historic mansions and estates. A relic of a bygone era built just after the close of the Gilded Age, Tiger House was designed by renowned architect Marcus Tullius Reynolds and construction lasted from 1903 - 1906.
A few publications state the home was commissioned as a hunting lodge for Mr. and Mrs. Morgan Akin Jones, heirs to a prominent soap company fortune. However these details are a matter of conjecture. Morgan Akin Jones was indeed a member of the social elite and undoubtedly enjoyed a privileged lifestyle. He was well traveled and educated. He studied law but abandoned pursuit of the degree to take a role in the mill supply business. He held prominent positions in Hudson’s commercial and banking communities.
Some evidence that suggests Tiger House was not commissioned as a hunting lodge by the married couple is that a Mr. and Mrs. Jones didn’t exist when Tiger House was finished in 1906, at least not as these titles would have related to Morgan Jones and a wife. In fact the 1910 census places Jones living at the Hudson, NY address with his mother, sister and a couple of servants.
Furthermore Morgan Akin Jones did not marry until 1911. Jones met Clarisse Boedefeld, as it was reported in the Hudson Evening Register, on the second night of his trip to Hawaii. She must have made quite an impression because he proposed FOUR DAYS later. She is referred to as a "belle of Honolulu.'' They married in Hawaii and returned to Hudson. One can only imagine what a fascinating love story that must have been!
The soap company for which it is alleged they were heirs is reported to be The Sapolio Soap Company operated by Enoch Morgan and Sons Co. Sapolio Soap was estimated between 1899 and 1905 to have been one of the world's best advertised products. Although its initial success was largely due to its jingles, the company's print advertising can be found today in the archives of the Smithsonian Institution.
Perhaps many believe Morgan and Clarisse stood to inherit this company’s fortune because his mother and the owners of Sapolio shared a surname. There's not much information publicly available about Enoch Morgan and his sons. According to a 1936 Time article the soap company was started by Enoch's father in law, handed down to Enoch and was managed by his three sons. It took some resourcefulness to try and uncover any connection to Morgan Akin Jones's mother, Mary Elizabeth Morgan. I was able to unearth a trove of genealogical information on the Morgans and Joneses from Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs: A Record of Achievements of the People of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys in New York State, Included Within the Present Counties of Albany, Rensselaer, Washington, Saratoga, Montgomery, Fulton, Schenectady, Columbia, and Greene by Cuyler Reynolds. Coincidently the author of this book was the older brother of Tiger House's architect Marcus Tullius Reynolds. There is no connection between Enoch Morgan and the mother of Morgan Akin Jones that I can find in this text. Mr. Jones' mother Mary Elizabeth was a Morgan by birth but seemingly from an unrelated lineage to Enoch.
Over the decades the mansion changed owners and the property was altered sometimes for better, other times for worse. It is rumored to have even been a brothel. At one time the small river-town of Hudson held a red light district so legendary it was known as far as Europe. The ladies were seen as valued members of the community whose industry fostered prosperity within the city. Local law enforcement and public officials turned a blind eye to the working girls but sadly in the 1950’s the state police operating without the knowledge of the local authorities arrested many of the madams and they never returned.
Today much of the mansion's original grandeur has been restored. After its purchase in the 1980’s by two musicians it was turned into an inn. At the time of our shoot the mansion was operating as Tiger House Inn at Hudson. I wanted the two makeup looks I developed to work in the vastness of the Tiger House's interiors with the warmth of its wood paneling. We didn't use any artificial lighting. Our photographer, Erica Leman of Sweet Alice Photography, captured the natural directional light streaming through the mansion's large windows masterfully. From my experience working as a makeup artist on location I’ve learned makeup doesn't exist in a vacuum. Like light, it too is motivated. It’s affected by the environment in which it's being seen.
Our dresses both had vintage qualities to them reminiscent of the 1920’s and 1930’s. For further vintage inspiration I turned to the works of Tamara de Lempicka, a Polish artist who painted during the 1920’s and 1930’s. Her art deco style of portraiture was influenced by refined cubism and neoclassicism. I love the depth and dimension to her portraits and wanted to reflect it in the makeup design. I didn't want these looks to be a literal translation of early 20th century makeup trends however.
We shot the wedding gown by mother-daughter design team WTOO with its patterned white lace and cap sleeves as our first look. Our hairstylist Emi Lockheart perfected a loose chignon but one with less of a Boho vibe. I decided on a clean timeless makeup look. I endeavored to keep the skin as realistic as possible and with our model Jaime that was easy to achieve. She has such even toned, smooth skin that it didn't make much sense covering it up with foundation. For a makeup base I started with a glow enhancing primer. Its creamy texture melted into the skin leaving a glow that looked like healthy skin, not glittery or shimmery in any way. It worked best for fair to medium/tan skin already in great condition but could be layered under foundation. Its light coverage evened out what little redness Jaime had and then I added just a bit of NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer (my fave) under the eyes, around the nose and on any spots. To amplify the glowy skin I layered Benefit's Watts Up! Cream Highlighter on the high points of the face like the cheekbones, down the bridge of the nose and so forth.
For the eyes I smudged a deep dark brown liner into the lash line and finished by curling the lashes and topping with black volumizing mascara. For lips I used a classic "my lips but better" shade. It's actually lip liner over balm to get more of a stained effect. Unfortunately it's a discontinued color from Makeup Forever. This photoshoot was shot pre pandemic so some of the products I used are no longer available. I thought this makeup perfectly complemented the loose updo as well as the style of the white lace wedding gown with its geometric lines.
Our second look was a stunning reception dress from family owned and operated wedding and bridesmaid dress design company Bari Jay. The sleeveless gold sequin dress featured a v neck and low back with fitted and flared mermaid bottom. It was flexible in terms of its styling due to its vintage yet contemporary feel. Emi dropped the hair down into long waves and I amped up the drama with a smokey eye AND red lip. Yep that's right, I chose to focus on both the eyes and the lips. I know the typical advice is to avoid wearing strong makeup on more than one part of the face but I'm a firm believer in bending rules. One key aspect to making this type of look work is to choose colors that harmonize with each other. Also, because I started with sheer textures on the skin I could add more makeup without it looking too heavy.
Since my goal was to mimic the depth and dimension reminiscent of de Lempicka's paintings I blended a little cream blush in a neutral rose tone to very slightly sculpt the cheeks. For the eyes I added satiny Long Lasting Eyeshadow Sticks from Kiko Milano. They are creamy easy blending eyeshadow sticks that set to a long wearing waterproof and smudge proof finish. I have used cream eyeshadow sticks from both budget friendly and premium brands and these belong right beside the more expensive ones but at an affordable price. I used shades #39 and #25. These colors are light and dark cool neutrals that paired well with the bold lip which was created using Beaute Cosmetics Weightless Lip Creme in Masochist, a cool toned red liquid lip color that's light textured yet full of rich pigment. These lip creams are a far cry from those super matte liquid lipsticks that suck the life right out of the lips leaving them looking desiccated and flat in photographs.
One great thing about having the makeup and hair team stay for a wardrobe change is that they'll be on site to do a touch up for first look and family photos. I'm sure your makeup and hair artists will be so excited to flex their creativity. With so many choices and price points on the market, wedding day wardrobe changes are something that can be within reach despite one's budget. There are no rules and obviously one isn’t limited to traditional bridal choices. If you haven't considered changing outfits from wedding ceremony to reception I hope it is now something you are thinking about!
Wedding Vendor Credits
Venue: Tiger House Hudson
Photography: Sweet Alice Photography
Hair: Emi Lockhart
Makeup: Azesha Ramcharan
Jewelry: Bavier Brook
Invitations: Kristal Walden
Cake: Quirky Kakes
Reynolds, Cuyler. “Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs: A Record of Achievements of the People of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys in New York State, Included Within the Present Counties of Albany, Rensselaer, Washington, Saratoga, Montgomery, Fulton, Schenectady, Columbia, and Greene. Volume III” Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911.