All brides have their own priorities and private excitements when it comes to wedding fluff. You know the stuff that’s completely separate from the fact that you are making a sacred vow in front of God and all the people you care about to remain with one person for life, to love, honour and cherish them and make them banana milkshakes, or whatever? So my favourite fluff is: 1. My dress. 2. The bridesmaids and their outfits. 3. The hair and make-up. 4. The groom and groomsmen outfits. In other words, the fashion. This explains why the dress search turned into such a palaver, and why the following post constitutes my first rant.
I am in the fortunate position of knowing many professional make-up artists in Cape Town, so you’d think finding someone to prettify me on my wedding day would be a cinch. Ha, not so. You see, firstly, November is high season in the modelling industry in Cape Town, which means most fashion make-up artists don’t really do weddings at this time. I totally understand this, as I wouldn’t expect any freelance professional to give up the potential earnings of a five-day catalogue or advertising shoot in exchange for one day’s wedding rate. Secondly, a few of these fabulous face creators are my friends, so if they aren't invited to the wedding, I feel bad asking them work for me and if they are, I’d rather have them enjoy the day as guests.
Then in June I remembered SuperStylish, a friend of a friend (who happens to be my Ex’s best friend’s wife… complicated) who happens to be a brilliant make-up artist and adequate hair stylist. I had booked her for Jewel’s wedding last year and she did a fabulous job on both our faces. SS and I were more like acquaintances, never friends and her relation to my Ex is rather far removed so I was sure it would work out just fine.
I asked her and she replied so enthusiastically, saying she’d be honoured and I was happy as a clam. Then she also volunteered a friend of hers to do the bridesmaids’ make-up. The Friend owed her a favour and was going to drive with her and she was asking very little as payment. I was overjoyed.
In the mean time I saw SS a couple of times at the (Big Name) make-up store where she works. I always went to her when I wanted to treat myself to a little something and even took Nightingale there for a makeover for her birthday. I was excited and looking forward to my trial at the end of October.
Then came 18 September, and with it a message in my Facebook inbox. “Bad news and good news, I can’t do your make-up anymore but will recommend someone else at the same price” was the gist of it. At first I was calm and disbelieving, then it sank in and I was hurt and furious. It was two months before my wedding, two months before the height of modelling AND wedding season, and my “friend”/make-up artist/hair stylist just dropped me. She said that a closer friend of hers was now also getting married in November and as she would also be a guest at that wedding, she’d rather do the closer friend’s make-up. Working in retail, she’s not allowed more than one weekend off per month.
I had complete respect and sympathy for her plight, but this was surely not acceptable? I composed myself before I wrote back. Then I told her how very upset I was, that it was quite late in the day for her to be doing this and that I’d chosen her for various reasons; any old “recommendation” of hers would not do. (Argh, just reading through our mails of that time for reference is making me mad…)
She replied then that she was really sorry, she hadn’t thought of it from my perspective and had assumed that as I know so many make-up artists, it wouldn’t be an issue. She offered to try and take unpaid leave on my Saturday and all could go back to the original plan.
I thanked her and said I’d be ever so grateful, i.e. “It’s the fricking least you can do”! At this stage I was so sad and deflated, I wasn’t even sure I wanted her there on the day? Like a good little trooper I awaited her response, and days later she mails again, “Sorry, I’ve tried everything but I can’t help you out any more”. I cried out of frustration.
A little later I realised time was ticking and I’d better find someone else. I checked out the few girls she'd referred me to. I wasn’t blown away by any of them, they all do a classic “wedding face” and all their brides look the same. Blah. I got a quote from one or two and they were all charging quite a bit more than SS. So much for “at the same price”.
I left it and left it and couldn’t decide what to do. I tried a few fashion artists but as I’d suspected, they were already booked out on wedding / fashion shoots or not available for weddings.
One particularly lovely girl, Coolest, was genuinely shocked at the way SS had treated me, and as she was already booked for a wedding on my day, did her best to recommend other fab girls. I just couldn’t even feign interest. I was completely demotivated and disillusioned. I thought I’d just do it myself. Then Coolest mailed me again one day to see if I had found someone. “No,” I replied. “I can’t be bothered.” Coolest: “Here’s a funny thing. My bride on your day had her wedding cancelled. It’s actually quite sad, the groom broke it off. But it means I’m now available, should you still be interested.”
I know it’s terribly, horribly selfish and unkind of me, but I nearly jumped up and down for joy. Look, if that groom was leaving his bride a month before the wedding he’s no good for her anyway, right? She’s much better off without him, she dodged a bullet. AND I GET TO HAVE A FANTASTIC MAKE-UP ARTIST WHO’S EVEN BETTER THAN SS, AND WHOM I ACTUALLY KNOW, LIKE AND ADMIRE.
Sorry, was I shouting? I’m just really thrilled.
So we had the trial yesterday.
After several serious acts of magic and illusion:
And then we tested ‘the do’ over copious amounts of G&T’s and me shaking my head around every now and then. To simulate dancing, obviously.
AND she's going to do all five my bridesmaids' faces, just because she's fantastically driven and organised and capable and professional that way and she can, and she's a doll.
I heart Sebastine Pepler.