April 2014 Archive

Katie O' Got Married: Bridal Beauty Prep for the Big Day

All women are beautiful every day in my opinion; heading to work or when out for a run, ladies–you're gorgeous! But some women feel the most beautiful on their wedding day–whether it's the dress, the adrenaline, or the fanfare, I've heard so many of my brides tell me they felt their most beautiful when the got married.

While so much of how you look on your wedding day is the result of your hair and makeup stylist that day (more on that in another post), there is also a lot of beauty preparation that can help you tremendously to look your best for your wedding. Now, this was my experience, at least, and it is by no means a requirement for other brides! But I decided to treat my bridal beauty prep the same way I treated my exercise regimen for the wedding. And everything I did in advance of the big day (both in beauty and exercise) enhanced my look on March 14th. I wholeheartedly believe it.

I recently reached out to my “team” of beauty experts who helped me on my path to the alter to get their recommendations for brides-to-be. First, let me introduce you to the team: Kaitlin Marion Bray is an esthetician and the owner of Strut Spalontique in Albany and is also widely known as a beauty and eyebrow guru. I've been trusting Kaitlin with my brows for years and she is so talented! Next, Lauren Osterhout is a hairsylist and I've been sitting in her chair for 9 years! Wow! She's not only the one who I trust with these signature red locks, but a dear friend as well. Last (but not least), Gina Massaro and Jennifer Near from Island Mist Tanning have been so incredibly awesome to work with. I have a very fair complexion, but they guided me to the perfect sunkissed color for my wedding day. Now on to the questions!

1. When should brides start thinking about treatments (facials, peels, hair, tanning, brows, etc.)to get  ready for their wedding?

Gina and Jennifer from Island Mist Tanning:


Brides should be thinking about asking their bridal party, and any family and friends, if they would like to have an airbrush tan applied for their event around three months prior to their actual wedding day. It is best to ask around early and make sure everyone who is looking to have an airbrush tan for the wedding is booking a trial run about a month in advance of the wedding. It's increasingly popular to host tanning parties that include everyone in the bridal party and make it a fun event! Since Island Mist Tanning offers custom colors for all of their clients, the trial run will help our staff to determine a perfect shade for each client based upon their skin tone and the color of the dress that they will be wearing. If anyone would like to go lighter or darker the color can be adjusted for the actual wedding tan so that everyone is picture perfect and exactly the shade of tan that they were looking for.

Lauren from Fleur de Lis:

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Whenever a client comes in and I know they're recently engaged I ask general questions about when the wedding is (if they know) or if they're thinking of a particular hairstyle for the wedding. Even if they have no idea how they're going to wear their hair, they have a general idea if it'll be an updo or long curls and we can map out when haircuts can be to make sure their hair is as healthy as possible for the big day.

Kaitlin from Strut Spalontique:

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Ahhhh, this is a tough one…but, personally, I feel that one should not wait until they are getting married to look their best (from KOM–such a great point! I agree!) That being said, it's always best to consult with your hairsylist, esthetician, nail technician, lash extension specialist, and whom ever else you may utilize as soon as you get engaged to come up with a plan for your beauty routine. Planning ahead ensures that you are in tip-top shape before the big day arrives! It's also very important to schedule whatever treatments / appointments that are needed ahead of time so that you can work the cost into your budget!

2. What is the most beneficial treatment you would suggest to brides?

Lauren from Fleur de Lis:

If you want your hair in the best condition on your wedding, I suggest getting conditioning treatments. Depending on your hair type, you can start getting them 6 months before your big day. To make it easier, you can also purchase an at home hair conditioning treatment so you can use it at home.

Kaitlin from Strut Spalontique:

Enzyme Treatments! These Treatments can be a stand alone service, or they can be incorporated into a full facial. Either way, they are a wonderful and gentle way to remove dead skin cells and rejuvenate all skin types! Even if you don't necessarily have problematic skin or bad skin, a good gentle Enzyme Treatment will give you that beautiful Blushing Bride Glow WITHOUT turning you into a Lobster!

Gina and Jennifer from Island Mist Tanning:

The best way to prepare your skin for your airbrush tan would be to drink plenty of water the week of the application and to make sure to do a gentle exfoliation about 24 hours prior to your appointment.  Island Mist Tanning offers an organic and vegan tanning solution that is aloe based, therefore it is excellent for your skin and provides ample moisture comprable to having a spa treatment done.

3.How many weeks before the wedding should the bride schedule her “last” appointment (for hair cut / color, etc)?

Kaitlin from Stut Spalontique:

Hair cut and color appointments can be scheduled anywhere from two weeks or two days before the big day! It all depends on when you like your hair best. Some women like their hair the first day after a cut and color service and some like it best a week after, so it is important to make note of when that is and book accordingly!

Gina and Jennifer from Island Mist Tanning:

The airbrush tan for the actual wedding should be booked two days prior to the wedding day, preferably in the evening, so that the color has ample time to fully develop.

Lauren from Fleur de Lis:

With Katie we had her hair appointments set so the last one would be a week before her wedding. We did a cut and a color and made sure it was the very best color since we do change her formula every now and then. Most brides don't want to to lose their length for their wedding, but I still suggest getting at least a trim, or as I call it, a “dusting.” This small cut helps get rid of all the dry ends; so whether you wear your hair in an updo or you wear it down, your hair will look it's best!

4. Is there anything else you did for Katie O' to help her get ready for her big day?

Gina and Jennifer from Island Mist Tanning:

We always provide our clients with a list of instructions to bring home so that they get the most out of their Island Mist Tan. We also recommend our signature line of Island Mist Tanning lotions and body washes to maintain their tan. We just started carrying a new line of body butter bars and exfoliating bars called Raw Lux that we have created to give our clients more options for skin care. All of these products were recommended to Katie! 

Kaitlin from Strut Spalontique:

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#braybrows….I've been shaping Katie's brows for a few years now, but when she started planning her wedding I knew it was time for Brow Bootcamp. I demanded that Katie completely surrender her tweezers and any mirrors with magnifying capabilities! Every girl wants to be her “most beautiful self” on her wedding day…which can make even the most even tempered girl into an overzealous tweezer, picker, prepper, and so on and so on. As a general rule of thumb with all of my brides, they all get “sent” to Brow Bootcamp where their brows belong to me for the months leading up to the wedding day! Yes, even Katie O'!

Wow, so much awesome information! I guess it depends on your personality, but I really enjoyed this facet of wedding preparation! Sometimes I questioned whether or not one aspect was totally necessary (ahem, brow bootcamp!), but I put my trust in the professionals and it totally paid off; I felt amazing on my wedding day.

What did you do / what are you doing to prepare for your wedding? Let me know in the comments!

Keep sparkling–

Sharing the Sparkle: Dining Out for Life 2014

It's that time of year again…yep, it's Dining Out for Life! Dining Out for Life is an annual event to raise money for AIDS service organizations–2014 marks its 30th year! I really love being part of such a great event for an even better cause!

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JP Elario and I have teamed up once more with our friends at dp: An American Brasserie as hosts for Dining Out for Life. Dominick Purnomo and his staff have also updated our signature drinks–so the Mrs. Sparkletini and the Blogstalker 2.0 are new and improved! Seriously, they're SO. GOOD. (But the Mrs. Sparkletini is the best!)

The general idea is that you come out, eat some food, have some drinks (Mrs. Sparkletinis, obvs) and then a portion of the total of your meal and 100% of the proceeds of the special cocktails goes to the AIDS Council of Northeastern NY. Last year we donated over $1700 in drink proceeds alone!!! It's a really great cause and I'm so proud to be part of it and sharing the sparkle.

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As of this posting, Dominck Purnomo, owner of dp's has told me that they are fully committed for dinner service, but we're offering a happy hour special for anyone who wants to stop by the bar from 3-5pm for a special small plate menu! Some dinner reservations are still available at Yonos, however, and they're also participating Dining Out for Life!

We would LOVE to see you next Thursday, April 24th at dp's and Yono's–and, remember, the Mrs. Sparkletini is the drink of choice for the evening!

Keep sparkling–

Venue Spotlight: Sixty State Place

So, you may have heard that downtown Albany is really starting to turnaround and become a destination. As a former Tulip Queen (and you should totally go to the Tulip Lucheon) this makes me really happy! Between Angela's Bridal, 90 State, and now Sixty State Place, there are even more options for hosting weddings and events in the heart of downtown Albany.

Built in 1902 and used as a financial hub for the past century, during the last two years Sixty State Place was extensively renovated by the Gordon Companies. Sixty State Place is now an amazing event venue that can accommodate 250 guests. What impresses me most about the venue is the soaring height of the ceilings and the ornate detail on the interior spaces. They simply don't make them like they used to.

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The building was lovingly renovated with an incredible attention to detail. Elements of the building's historic use as a bank are present and were incorporated into the new space (like the vault!). It's a really creative adaptive reuse of a historic building in downtown Albany.

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Sixty State Place is such a great location–it's close to places of worship, interesting architecture, Washington Park, hotels, and restaurants. This venue very attractive to me as an event planner given its proximity to so many other things!

Some great details about the space that we love is that you can use the main ballroom for your on site ceremony and then invite guests downstairs to a really unique spot for cocktails.  While guests are enjoying cocktail hour the ballroom space can be transformed into your reception space.  This is a great option for couples who wish to get married and celebrate in the same location as it provides three very distinct and different looks for each part of your day. Sixty State Place is open to various caterers, allowing you the opportunity to hand pick their culinary team.

I've had the pleasure of seeing this new space a few times and even chose it as the location for my bridal portraits with JP Elario and Alayne Curtiss of Make Me Fabulous! Check out a few of those images below!

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If you're planning a wedding or event, definitely check out Sixty State Place!  They are hosting a Tour & Tasting tomorrow evening if you have a chance to visit and sample some delicious food catered by Mazzone Hospitality!  Check out their Facebook page for more details!

Keep sparkling–

Save the Date: the 2014 Tulip Luncheon!

I'm really excited to tell you that in just about a month KatieO Weddings & Events will be at the Tulip Luncheon as part of the 66th Annual Albany Tulip Festival! The festival will be held, as always, on Mother's Day weekend–May 9-11, 2014.

The annual Tulip Luncheon on Friday, May 9th will benefit the Tulip Fund at the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region. As a former Tulip Queen, the Tulip Festival is very near and dear to my heart. I really enjoy donating my time along with my Co-Chair, Amy Kaplan, and other former Tulip Queens and members of the Tulip Court to plan such a fun event every year–and for such a great cause, the Tulip Fund! Plus, this event allows me to give back to a program that has meant so much to me and has influenced my overall success.

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The Tulip Fund was set up through the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region by the 2008 Tulip Queen, Sarah Volk and her Court. This fund is used by Tulip Courts to enhance programs for the Mayor’s Literacy Campaign and to donate to organizations that the Tulips support.

Tulip Queens and Court members have had a significant impact on the community in New York's Capital city; the Tulip Fund ensures that future Tulip Queens will be able to further enhance this impact and continue its legacy. 

Our Keynote Speaker for the Tulip Luncheon is Sr. Anne Bryan Smollin, CSJ, PhD. Sr. Anne is a therapist and group facilitator, lecturer and consultant and is well known for her candor and dynamic public speaking ability. I know she'll grace us with an inspirational and light-hearted talk reminding us to “Live Each Moment Fully.” If you haven’t had the opportunity to hear Sister Anne speak, this is the event to attend! She is a truly memorable, humorous, and all around amazing motivational speaker.

This year we will be honoring the former mayor of the City of Albany, Jerry Jennings, as we thank him for his 20+ years of service to the City of Albany and, specifically, as a strong supporter of the Tulip Queen program. Mayor Jennings has always had a special place in his heart for the Tulip Queen and Court!

For more information or to buy tickets today call 518-275-6813! Hope to see you on May 9th!

Keep sparkling–