Travel Diary: Bellagio
We landed in Milan and our driver, Jean Luca, drove us through the winding roads that led to the town of Bellagio on Lake Como. The same little town that inspired the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas. The entire drive was surprisingly lush. It was my first ever visit to Italy and I wasn't expecting to see so much greenery and natural beauty surrounding the historical buildings and small towns we passed by.
I was traveling with our makeup artist, Stephanie. It was also her first visit to Italy, which made it a really fun, shared experience for the two of us. I think the companionship between your hair stylist and makeup artist is an important element to consider for your wedding day. Booking people who already get along adds a really fun dynamic to the process of getting ready with your family and friends, especially when travel is involved.
Once we arrived, we learned that the entrance to our hotel entailed a rather steep set of cobblestone stairs for us to climb up with our overpacked suitcases and unsupportive summer footwear, and that our hotel rooms were not ready for check-in. A perfect opportunity to drag our jet-lagged selves to a cafe for some people watching and listening.
After breakfast we roamed up and down all the main roads in town, popping into shops that sold locally sourced and crafted goods, scoping out which restaurants we might want to try out over the next couple of days and of course stopping every couple of minutes so I could take photos of all the mundane beauties that stopped me in my tracks, like a true tourist.
We had just shy of three hours to ourselves once we were able to check in to our hotel rooms. It was the perfect amount of time for a power nap, shower, and prep as we stepped into our first work day: The Welcome Dinner.
Going into a travel job like this, we had already done a couple of trials with our bride to finalize the beauty looks for each event throughout the trip. It's really a fun, collaborative process for us all in the months leading up to the wedding weekend. And it makes things so much more relaxed overall and simply enjoyable when we all know what to expect of one another and what to anticipate.
For our first look, our bride Karrie wore a lovely red dress (viva la Italia). I braided her hair back and added some soft waves to keep the overall look loose and effortless. Stephanie kept things bronzed and sun-kissed for an authentically relaxed feel that reflected the start of the weekend. Most importantly, she was sure to keep our bride's skin tone on point. If your bride spends her week tanning poolside like our lovely lady did, you have to pay close attention to the color of her neck and chest, not just her face. It's a part of what gives off that "no-makeup" ease to getting dolled up.
The next day, we had all morning and most of the afternoon to enjoy at our leisure. Steph and I walked along the coast and hiked our way over to a tiny pebbled beach where we could swim and enjoy a meal before heading into work.
The rehearsal dinner was our first chance at meeting the bridal party, and they were all so fun! Steph and I had the chance to get them all ready together in the bridal suite and really enjoyed hearing all the stories and relational dynamics of the group. It was also one of my favorite hair moments with the bride over the entire weekend.
Karrie put a lot of trust in me with this one, as it was not your average wedding-esque 'do, but something much more editorially driven. It was inspired by the Valentino Spring 2015 runway style. Karrie was wearing a long, teal-blue dress that evening with simple silver jewelry. To accentuate her wardrobe, I wove some silver thread into her half-up hairstyle, and Stephanie added a tasteful pop of blue under the waterline of her lashes (a la Jessica Biel). They were very subtle details that amplified her overall look without bringing the focal point to any one particular element. It was bold, elegant, and cohesive. She looked ravishing for her seaside rehearsal.
Naturally, this was the busiest day we had on our trip. What I've realized in my years of experience doing destination weddings, is that this day really is a reflection of your entire team. It's the first time that all the pieces come together to embody your vision, and in order for any one vendor to do their job well, we all have to do our job well. It's the same as a photoshoot. Everyone needs to bring their A-game. If production, photography, or beauty is running behind on something, it slows down the whole ship.
That being said, we got off to a bit of a later start, and it induced a bit of stress for the beauty team, as we weren't sure we'd still be able to manage everyone on our schedules. Thankfully, the whole event was pushed for time, not just beauty prep, and it all worked out fine. I guess Italians just can't operate in a New York minute!
As I mentioned, our day was jam-packed with clients and movement as we accompanied our bride through the day and into the evening. Karrie wore a veil with her dress so I decided to add some pearl bobby pins (from Jen Atkin's collaboration with Chloe & Isabel) to peek through the veil and help hold it into place. After the ceremony, we removed the pearls and the veil and replaced it all with a side barrette from Untamed Petals.
That's a wrap!
After a 12-hour work day, we were ready for some R&R! Steph and I decided to tack on a few extra days to our trip before heading back to the busy, humid city life. The next morning we took a boat into a tiny town across the water called Mennagio. We spent that first day migrating our things, laying by the pool, and I finished reading The Circle by Dave Eggers which I really, really enjoyed!
Over the next couple of days, we were able to venture around the lake, enjoy our fair amount of negronis and pizza, and we even took a day trip across the border into Switzerland! Stephanie got attacked by a swan at Lake Lugano, and I got a beautiful blazer on sale from Sandro. It was certainly a memorable experience for us both.
While surrounded by all this beauty, basking in this incredible opportunity that my job provided me with, I would be wrong not to admit that my life back home was still very much pulling me away. I experienced the loss of my Grandfather while I was away. He left very suddenly, and there was no room for me to make it to CA in time to say goodbye... so while there is so much beauty to all of this, I also experienced a heavy sadness and stress. I share this to paint a realistic picture of what life hands us. Sometimes our glory gets sprinkled with pain, but it is glorious nonetheless...