Have you ever had a wedding where something went wrong? Of course, most of us as makeup or hair artists have experienced some sort of disaster.  If you work a lot of weddings or if you are working on making this your full time job, it’s super important that you prepare for ANYTHING. Even if it’s not in your job description, it’s your job.

I had this client we’ll call Luka whom I met at a salon open house. I over heard her and some friends talking about her upcoming wedding, about a year out. I started chatting with them and asked who was doing hair & makeup, when they said no one yet- I closed that sale…..quick!

Luka became a regular client of mine and soon her friends and mom were visiting me every 6 weeks or so for cuts and color.  We always had great conversations and I really looked forward to her appointments.

She scheduled her trial run and brought 2 friends along. Normally I don’t like the whole crew on the trial, but I knew all of them and genuinely liked their company. Everyone loved the look I created and we talked about the big day, the schedule and the time she wanted to start. The ceremony was taking place at a gorgeous coastal hotel in Monterey, CA and the reception in the ballroom of that same property.  I was excited to see the gown and so we headed down to the venue the day of her rehearsal dinner.

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The hotel was very nice and our room couldn’t have been better. I had time to go over my kit, clean brushes and get prepared for the next day. We ventured out to the restaurant in the hotel and got an early night sleep. The morning of went just ok with the bridesmaids. Each one had their quirks, but in the end they all seemed happy. Only one bridesmaid was not happy that she had very thin hair and wanted it to look like the others. Hey, I’m a beautician, not a magician, right?

When it came time for Luka to get ready, she revealed her gown and it was breathtaking.

The silhouette was a ballroom gown, hand sewn, all in raw silk with beautiful pleating. The bodice fit perfect at her waist and had incredible thick pleats that were diagonal, almost like wind was hitting it. As the skirt gained volume there were tons of ‘pick-up-pleats’ around the circumference, all the way to the floor. There was a wafer thin piece of silk tulle on the top of thicker silk and the way it hit the light was brilliant. It had opalescence and it was completely original. She mentioned how she splurged and I remember thinking that I had never heard of a dress costing so much. Her shoes were one of the big labels that are always in the magazines and looked very uncomfortable, but so elegant.

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The ceremony was very smooth and everyone looked so happy. When the vows are being exchanged, I thought – this is the perfect time to start packing up my kit and prepping the set bag so I can be ready for post ceremony touch ups as needed. I always have their lip color, complexion, powder/blot sheets, pre-loaded brushes for lid & crease color and hair spray with pins and comb. In case of any hiccups,  I have some emergency supplies like white chalk, shout wipes etc. When everything is going so well at a wedding, I can only assume that our luck will last. For Luka, she had a big problem.

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After my final touch up, we were offered dinner in my room & Luka said she didn’t need me for the rest of the night. I was happy, she was happy. I was starving and I couldn’t wait to lay down. I got to put my feet up for about 5 minutes before my phone started blowing up with texts and calls. Luka’s cousin, a bridesmaid said I needed to come to the ballroom quick. I wondered what could have happened in that short amount of time?

I headed downstairs and as I rounded the corner I see Luka holding up her gown, almost up to her chin. It looked like 10lbs of extra material. Her fancy shoes had a fancy buckle and that snagged the fancy silk helping pull ALL of the pick-up-pleats out of the dress!

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It was about 3 feet too long and a bustle wasn’t going to help, she needed it sewn and in the next 5 minutes.

My sewing kit was made for buttons, a few cross stitches in a man’s trouser, but not a $25,000 gown. Luka was staring at me as if to say, “HELP!” She had a ballroom with about 400 guests and they were all waiting for her to walk around and say the hellos, as her new husband was preparing for the special dance they planned. They had practiced for months and I knew it was extremely important to them. The bridesmaids were all trying to find solutions, but the one who had the thin hair wanted me to stop what I was doing and give her a lip touch up. Ignoring the fact that I was not there to help her, I was there to help Luka, period.

I didn’t have enough thread on me so I went to the front desk and asked for all their sewing kits. I got about 10 of them and started to plan my next move. Luka was standing next to a guest table talking and I asked her to come with me to the ladies lounge. She whispered in my ear, “If I don’t start saying hi to them now, I’ll never finish in time before the dance, can you just sew it here?” and just like that she went back to talking to someone’s uncle’s cousin’s co-worker she didn’t know.

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I got down on my hands and knees (no one seemed to notice, it was so packed) and went under the table she was standing by. I had the light from my phone and I started looking at her dress. I remember learning how to sew on a new button, just by looking at where the original holes were and I tried to apply that same theory here. I did ask her before I started if I can just sew it how it needs to be and please don’t be mad at me for sewing your dress the wrong way.  It took me a  few tries to get it to hold but then it did. I figured out a stitch that would hold the pleats so she wouldn’t be tripping while walking. I had her move round as I sewed and I got it done in about 7 minutes. Now it didn’t have as many pleats as she started out with, but at least the material wasn’t a tripping hazard. I had her twirl so I could make sure I did everything I needed to do before I retired again for the night. I stood up, brushed off my pants and headed back to the room. I started thinking about how I wish I had thicker thread to sew with, and I wish I had paid better attention in home-ec.

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All in all, everything worked out. It’s important to come prepared for your wedding clients. Each time you style a new bride, think about how you can make it better and easy for her to feel beautiful and confident as walks down the aisle. I’m usually the last person they see before walking and I want to make sure they think of me first as being their favorite vendors. Learning every aspect of the industry is crucial. It’s ok if sewing isn’t your thing, but at least you should know how to do it.

Luka is still my client and drives 2 hours, one-way to get her hair cut & colored. She was so thankful that I took care of her and made her feel special, she sent me a bottle of very nice champagne and a huge tip in a thank you card.

After her wedding, I started adding things to my emergency kit so that if anything does happen and it will, I am fully prepared to do what ever it takes to make my guests happy.  What is one thing you can do from now on that will make you stand out? Tell me in the comments! Until next time, E

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