Makeup, Mansions and Transformations

Spring has arrived and warmer weather will soon be here. The days are assuredly getting longer. Weddings happen throughout the year but spring is the official start of wedding season.

Each wedding is unique and being part of a couple’s wedding is a privilege. Firstly, I get to spend time with clients’ friends and families. As a result I’m able to learn about things that are meaningful to them. I then 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. Particularly one wedding trend I’ve noticed and love is the ceremony to reception wardrobe change.  

Switching from attire for the ceremony to a more party friendly reception look offers the perfect opportunity for a makeup and hair transformation too. Many brides request natural makeup for their ceremony, so the reception can be a great opportunity to amplify the makeup. Surprisingly, keeping makeup simple and clean for a daytime wedding ceremony and transitioning to a more glamorous look for a low lit evening reception is easy. ​Changing a lip color or adding a smoky liner can do a lot to shift the vibe. Likewise one can wear an updo at the ceremony and loosen up into something softer at the reception. Yet still hair that’s been down all day might do better fashioned in a secure chignon to manage any frizz exacerbated by the Hudson Valley’s humid summer weather.

A just married couple stand under the outdoor archway of one of Hudson, NY's grand mansions.

A relic of a bygone era…

I was part of a team that photographed a wedding themed styled shoot where 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. I’m a lover of history and was curious about the property. I began to research and then discovered a rich historical account akin to many of the Hudson Valley’s other mansions and estates. I consider Tiger House a relic of a bygone era. It was 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 stylish couple stand on the stone walkway of one of Hudson, NY's historical mansions.

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. These details are a matter of conjecture. Morgan Akin Jones was a member of the social elite and enjoyed a privileged lifestyle. He was well traveled and educated. Jones abandoned pursuit of a law degree. He then worked in the mill supply business. Following that he held prominent positions in Hudson’s commercial and banking communities. 

The 1910 census and a belle of Honolulu…

Evidence suggests Tiger House was not commissioned as a hunting lodge by a married couple. 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. The 1910 census places Jones living at the Hudson, NY address with his mother, sister and a couple of servants. Morgan Akin Jones did not in fact marry until 1911. Genealogical records do not reflect any prior marriages for Jones. The name of the woman Jones would come to marry appears with several spelling variations in census, newspaper articles and genealogical records. Clarissa Weaver Boedefeld and Clarisse Boedefeld are some variations. Jones met Clarice Bedefeld, as the spelling 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 then returned to Hudson. One can only imagine what a fascinating love story that may 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. 

The Morgans and the Jones

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 managed by his three sons.

It took some resourcefulness to uncover any connection to Morgan Akin Jones’s mother, Mary Elizabeth Morgan. However I was able to unearth a trove of genealogical information on the Morgans and Joneses in the publication 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. 

The glow of Hudson’s red light…

Over the decades the mansion changed owners and the property altered sometimes for better, other times for worse. It’s 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 workers were valued members of the community whose industry fostered prosperity within the city. Local law enforcement and public officials turned a blind eye to the sex workers but in the 1950’s the state police operating without the knowledge of the local authorities arrested many of the madams causing an exodus of workers that never returned and an industry that never recovered.  

Much of the mansion’s original grandeur is restored. The building turned into an inn when it was purchased in the 1980’s by two musicians. At the time of our shoot the mansion was operating as Tiger House Inn at Hudson.

Two makeup looks…

Accordingly, I wanted the two makeup looks to work in the openess of the Tiger House’s interiors with the warmth of its wood paneling. Our photographer, Erica Leman of Sweet Alice Photography, captured the natural light streaming through the mansion’s large windows. I’ve learned makeup doesn’t exist in a vacuum. The environment and lighting affects how the makeup is perceived.

A newly married couple stand in a library.
A just married couple embrace while standing on stairs.
A bride wearing a backless wedding gown stands before a mirror.
A bride puts on a ring.

Inspired by the works of Tamara de Lempicka…

Our dresses both had vintage qualities 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. Refined cubism and neoclassicism influence her art deco style of portraiture. I love the depth and dimension to her portraits and especially wanted to reflect it in the makeup design. I didn’t want these looks to explicitly be a literal translation of early 20th century makeup trends. 

On makeup…keep the skin real.

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 wanted 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. Its light coverage evened out what little redness Jaime had and then I added just a bit of NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer under the eyes, around the nose and on any spots. Following that 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. ​

A bride puts on earrings.
A closeup picture of a bride's glowing makeup.

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.  I thought this makeup perfectly complemented the loose updo as well as the style of the white lace wedding gown with its geometric lines. 

Smokey eyes and red lips. A makeup don’t, or is it do?

Our second look was a stunning reception dress from family owned and operated bridal fashion 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 added a smokey eye AND red lip. That’s right, I chose both bold eyes and lips. Typically advice is to avoid wearing strong makeup on more than one part of the face. A 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.

A couple feed each other wedding cake.
A couple toast with two glasses of champagne.
A couple embrace on a lawn.
A close up picture of a bride's glamorous makeup look.
A painting by Tamara de Lempicka .

The Sleeping Girl, 1930

Tamara de Lempicka

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. Cream eyeshadow sticks exist from both budget and premium brands and these belong right beside the more expensive ones but at a more affordable price. Accordingly I used shades #39 and #25. These colors are light and dark cool neutrals which paired well with the bold lip. The red liquid lip color is light in texture yet full of rich pigment because of this the lip product lacked a super matte texture which can suck the life right out of lips leaving them looking desiccated and flat in photographs.      

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.

What better time to experiment with hair and makeup…

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 one doesn’t have to be limit themselves to traditional bridal choices. Wardrobe changes also offer the perfect opportunity to have even more fun with hair and makeup. What better time to experiment than when there are hair and makeup artists at beck and call. Enjoy exploring all the options!

A picture of a bridal bouquet.
A picture of wedding invitations.
A picture of wedding cake and cupcakes.

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.,33009,848470,00.html

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