If you grew up in Vegas, you know that the Bridal Spectacular show is where it’s AT for brides. I remember being little and hearing their signature jingle, “If your a bride to be, the place to be is the Spectacular Bridal Show!” Now that I’m a grown woman running the amazing Las Vegas wedding hair and makeup team that is the ‘Co, I actually get to be a part of the bridal fair. It’s pretty surreal! We got our very first booth at the bridal show in 2011- and just to show how human we are, here’s a very incriminating photo of how rough around the edges we were. Yea, it was pretty bad. Thankfully, it only took one botched show for me to figure out that it’s better to hire one of the amazing floral designers in town to do your booth.
Booth swagger aside, there’s also another element that the Bridal Spectacular pulls together. Every late fall, sometime before the holidays but after the big wedding season (October is our busiest month!), the show producers put on a big shoot out. They corral a few stunning models in exquisite gowns, pick some prestigious venues, pull from Las Vegas’s finest wedding vendors, and stage a styled shoot. Of course, you probably didn’t hear much about this on our Facebook page, because the images are all kept very hush hush until the new Spectacular Bride magazine comes out at the following show. For the past three years, we’ve had the privilege of being invited to these well-done photo-shoots as the bridal hair and makeup team. The rush of making incredible images doesn’t get any less with time, if anything, it gets stronger. The original concept for the shoots was to showcase how one bride could be portrayed so differently depending on what photographer was capturing her image. (It’s really incredible how much artistic license impacts how the photo turns out!) And from there it just evolved and flourished, time and time again.
This year, stoked beyond belief, we were invited to not one, but TWO different shoots! Two amazing opportunities to work with super high-caliber photographers, get published, and get some amazing images for our book. In this post, I wanted to share with you the second of the two shoots. It thrilled us to bits when we found out Alex, the cover model for the 2012 issue, was one of our models. We also had a chance to work with Eriko for the first time, and she is as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside. Both professional models, you could probably put a trash bag on them and they’d make it work. Fortunately, there was a ton of beautiful, curated gowns to choose from. These images come from three different photographers, and are some of the most beautiful photo’s we’ve ever helped to create. Thrilled to be sharing with you!
Photographer Credits, in order of appearance:
Rather than put this gem truly at the end, we are going to stick it right here in the middle. It’s pretty amazing, and while we could wait till everything has been posted, you could be swooning over the amazing gown collection at the Las Vegas designer wedding gown boutique, Couture Bride! There’s a saying that goes something like this- Dec 26th is the busiest day for wedding gown shops. Ok, so maybe it’s more of a rumor than a saying, but the point is this- we are just about half-way through March and that means all you newly engaged brides are on the hunt for THE gown. Our fancy stats show that’s one of the very first things you are going to purchase for your wedding. Which means right about now, about a month after engagement season, you’re probably on the hunt.
For the #30daysgorgeous final shoot, I wanted to do something over-the-top bridal. We had a blast breaking the mold with our non-bridal shoots. Reaching decades back and reviving hair and makeup styles, rocking out our version of classics, it was like a cool remix. However, at the end of the day, there’s something just so perfect about the impeccable beauty that wedding hair and makeup can be. It’s very much the epitome of when a woman looks her most stunning.
Over a month and a half, I had been in the Couture Bride shop so much I started to think of my parking space as assigned. When I’d go in to pick a gown for an upcoming shoot, I’d try to drag out the visit as long as possible without being invasive. The shop is just gorgeous- light, airy, beautiful furniture, stone floors. You just feel prettier when you’re in it, even if your rocking yoga pants like I did most of the time. I’d chat with Dawn, coo over Chloe, and just breath. A couple of times, the only reason why I managed to peel myself off their couch was because one of their brides had walked in and I knew I needed to let them take care of her. I just love how I feel when I am there. I mentioned this to Ron, how beautiful the space was and how it’s make for an amazing shoot, and almost automatically the idea clicked into place. To have models there, with beautiful wedding hair and makeup, and then turn them over to the experts in a store filled with wedding dresses, veils, accessories… it was too perfect. It’s what I imagine all of us dreamed of as little girls. And so, we made it happen. A quick call to our girl Christine over at Floral Couture and we had two stunning floral pieces to add drama to the already breathtaking scene. Add three models, an amazing wedding hair and makeup team, two wedding fashionistas, one way epic wedding photographer, and the cutest assistant in all the land… and this is what you get.
Sometimes you just feel lucky, you know? Outside of the whole “lady luck” situation that Vegas has. This particular #30daysgorgeous session made me feel really lucky. Lucky that photographer Ella Gagiano was on board with the project. Lucky that I happen to know a beyond beautiful model who just so happens to be a friend. Lucky that our friends at Couture Bride would loan us yet another dress. Lucky that this team of ours is 5-star, all the way. Lucky that M Resort liked the idea and would let us shoot there. Lucky, lucky, lucky are we.
In a pow-wow with Christine over at Floral Couture, she mentioned that we should do something over at the M Resort for the project. I admit, for all my candor I can be a bit nervous when it comes to reaching out. But I did, and the results were so awesome that it makes me wonder what else my nerves are getting in the way of. Anyways, after chatting with Tina over at M, she recommended reaching out to Ella Gagiano to do the photography for the shoot. Oh, here we go with nerves again. Ella and I had crossed paths briefly before, but we weren’t exactly on each others Christmas card lists. So I swallowed my nerves and reached out anyways. She was on board too! It was like the stars had aligned just for us, just for the project.
We’ve had the luxury of being at the M several times. The first time was when it first opened, my husband and I did an extended “date night” there and sipped our martini’s over an unparalleled view of the strip. The resort is on the far south side of the strip, far away from pretty much all the other big properties, and at the top the Lux provides an incredible view of the city. Then, a couple years ago, our company sponsored an industry event that was also in that same space. If you’re on the hunt for a sexy, swanky, sophisticated venue, let me tell you this is it. It’s got all the fixings for a glamorous Vegas wedding, easy on the Vegas. Of course, our bride Brittney had to have an equally swanky gown that hugged her curves in all the right places, and Couture Bride had just the dress. The ensemble was finished off with a chic bouquet from Floral Couture, and ‘Co artists Bri and Hayley sealed the deal with all the sexy vibe that the shoot was sure to be. And yes, it was sexy in all the right ways.
The last few months of every year are so exciting. The holidays, the parties, and just around the corner my favorite holiday, New Years Eve. Every year, the ‘Co does something of a family photo shoot. It’s fun to get in front of the camera once in a while, get glammed up and have some killer images. And laugh. Oh do we laugh. Being only our second year doing photos of the Las Vegas hair and makeup team, we haven’t quite come up with a set order of how it all should go down, but we did learn some very valuable things. Like, if you give Bianca just a small glass of chardonnay before the shoot, she’ll get giggly but is more comfortable in front of the camera. And I (Amelia) should probably wear some thicker leggings if the ‘Co is going to have a great view of my butt. And how damn fine Chief Dude looks on camera.
That particular day was cold and windy, but we still trooped out to a much-used-but-not-by-us dry lake bed for our photo shoot that would be, of course, followed by margaritas. Our pal Ralph James of PinUp Bride Photography had the patience to do our photo’s last year, and they turned out amazing! How he managed 8 females and our Dude I’m not sure, because we can be quite a handful when we are all together, but he did and the results killed it. 2013 ended with a bang, and if the start of this year is any indication of how the year is going to roll, it’s going to be amazing. So here they are, Amelia C & Co Las Vegas Hair and Makeup Team, 2013.
#30daysgorgeous- 30 days of beauty, inspiration, creativity, collaboration. 30 photoshoots. 30 days.
As of this writing, I am on Day 3 after the project. The first two days after were spent doing nothing. And I mean nothing. Aside from basic personal hygiene, cuz you know, I’m married and that man has to sleep in the same bed as me. I believe the southern phrase is “Bless his heart.” (Should out to my Dixie brides for schooling me on that one! Hope I’m using it right.)
I had the best of intentions at the start of the project to do this grand blog post about it, this kind of decree about what the project was and how it was all going to go down. But, the thing is, when you start doing something something really big, there isn’t a lot of time left over to chat about it. So here it is, the beginning, at the end, of Project #30daysgorgeous.
Last November I was sitting in my office, mulling over what the game plan was for 2014. Though I’m a makeup artist, I’m a total geek and some would even call me a little neurotic. I like to know where I’m going and how I’m getting there. Flipping through our galleries, I noticed that it had been a long time since we had created something totally on our own accord and inspiring. It’s true, we do beautiful work every day, but times and trends and loves and looks and all of it changes. It’s so easy for an artist, weather your medium is oil on canvas or makeup on skin, to fall into a very cozy rut. The awe can be gone, the appreciation for how magnificent we can truly be starts to slip. You know that movie The Incredible Burt Wonderstone? Kind of like that.
Only, I don’t EVER want to get too comfortable. As long as I’m leading this team, as long as I am an artist by trade, as long as it is my God-given duty to bring beauty to this planet, I will need to do whatever it takes to remain inspired and inspiring. And I really don’t give a damn if it takes doing something that looks impossible.
Nearly every event professional will tell you that their best work, especially for photographers, comes when we hatch our own ideas. It’s not to say that other’s idea’s are bad, not at all. It’s just that, when we can control every part of the outcome, something really wonderful starts to happen. We get invested in it. We chat about it and interrupt each other with ideas. It’s a different kind of feeling. When we work with clients, our number one priority is to make sure that client is happy. When we do it for ourselves, our number one priority is to make ourselves happy. Planning a styled shoot is a LOT OF WORK. So much that most of us may do a couple a year for a random reason, but not much else. Now, I’ve got a pretty vivid imagination, but even I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull off thirty shoots in thirty days. The way I figure, if I shoot for the moon and miss, I’ll land among the stars. And that’s not a bad place to be.
In the coming weeks, this blog is going to start to burst with the final results of two and a half months of pouring my soul into something that was so much bigger than little me. And it is bigger, because without the faith of everyone who jumped on board, none of this would happen. The amazing team that is the Artists of Amelia C & Co blew my mind. (To quote Melissa, in response to my idea, she said “Um, that sounds kinda scary. But OK!”)
I can’t possibly begin this series without some shout outs to those who came together, got excited with me, had patience when I was all over the place, whose email boxes got filled up with emails, for all of it. Because they rode this crazy train too, it went somewhere. There were so very many people who made this happen that I can’t possibly list them all in one post (whoa, sound like I’m giving an acceptance speech!) but this is a very, very fine start. And in the coming posts, there’s many, many more extraordinary people I’m excited for you to meet.
Ron: Man, you are amazing. I can’t believe we’ve been on the parameters of each others world for years now and just so happened to connect at the very right time. You are a so damn talented, and the best friend a girl could ask for. Your cool head, your make-it-happen attitude, your authenticity- it’s safe to say that having that touchstone helped me avert many anxiety attacks over the past couple months. You rock, my friend.
Mindy: You are one tough cookie. Sticking it out with me, trying to find solutions and tripping over one thing after another. We’ve worked together for so long but I finally feel like I got to know you. Nothing like going into the trenches to find out what your friendship is made of! And my heart is so uplifted when I think of ours.
Stephen: Dude. Your creativity, your excitement, your passion for what you do is so inspiring. Not many non-coffee drinkers with two small children and a wife would have the patience to sit in a Starbucks chatting and collaborating on a styled shoot in the late afternoon. Being around you refreshed my own passion for what we do, and kept me going when I was counting down the minutes till I could reasonably call it a night.
McKenzi: Darling, the amount of bravery it must have taken you to do this with us is astounding. Though we’ve shared the same brides before, having never worked directly with each other was definitely a leap of faith. One I am so grateful you took, despite all the last-minute happenings when most people would have wrote it off. For that, I am so grateful.
Ella: If I was flexible enough, my foot would have gone in my mouth at least twice with you in the past month. And yet you stuck it out with me! I am humbled by your grace through this adventure, and working with you had the beautiful ease of synchronicity. I am so looking forward to getting to know you better, and toast to beautiful photographs!
Sue: How you managed to pull off not one, but two days shooting with us given your over-the-top crazy schedule amazes me. Ten years and counting now we’ve been in camera rooms and yet, you still find time for another project with me. You mean the world to me and I am forever grateful for the chance you gave this once-starting-out makeup artist. And PS- sorry I sucked so bad 10 years ago. I hope I make you proud now!
Dawn and Annette: Wow. I honestly don’t even know what to say to you ladies without looking like a corny, blubbering, cheesy fanboy. Because of you, our bridal shoots were exceptional. Because of you, our bridal shoots were designer. So much of the beauty from the last 30 days is because of you. There are just not good enough words to say how exquisite you are, and how deeply grateful I am for your friendship.
Christine: You, my friend, are a vault filled with a wealth of information. How you have not been squirreled away by some major corporation for some kind of job that involves lots of tailored skirt-suits and company retreats in Hawaii shocks me. And you’re so wide open, so willing to help, so ready to make it happen. Because of you, because I get to know you, epic things happen. You’re the tops.
We are so excited for our Third Annual Patriotic Pin-Up’s fundraiser benefiting the US Vets of Las Vegas! US Vets organization exists to “serve those who have served”, providing job training, housing, food assistance, and so many more programs for many of our homeless or disabled vets. For three years now, Altenburg Studio, Portraits by Catherine, and Amelia C & Co have partnered up for two days of pin up fun with all proceeds going to help our Veterans. Amelia C & Co provides pin up hair and makeup, Bettie Page clothing provides just the most darling dresses. Sue designs the best sets, including one unique set every year! Catherine prints all the posters, a generous 11×14, of you as a pin up! Two industry friends and pin up models, Tiffany Rose and Kitty Kobain, offer dressing help as well as modeling coaching for your session. Last year was our best year ever, raising more than $8500! This two-day event always sells out FAST, so if you’re ready to be a pin-up make your appointment before they are all gone!
What a fantastic weekend!
Ok, maybe it was two weekends ago. But what can we say? We are still crooning over here about the wonderful show.
All the cool kids have a booth the Bridal Spectacular, but our debut year in 2012 was anything but cool. And when I say not cool, I mean safety-scissors-double-sided-sticky-tape-Velcro not cool. It blows my mind how sexy these designers can make 10 cubic feet look like, and we had anything but swagger with our sad little booth our first year. The only good thing about our pathetic set up last year was that designer Deborah James of The Pin Up Bride took pity on us and designed our booth with the help of Dr. Teresa Meli, florist at Floral Couture.
(Why’s a doctor doing flowers you say? Oh that’s because she’s got a doctorate in conducting. She’s a bad-ass. We aren’t worthy.)
sloppy wet kisses go out to our girl Alicia at Orange Soda Photo for the images – we are surprised the first one didn’t crack her lens
Of course, it takes a whole lotta people to clean up the HOT MESS that we were from last year! That uber swanky fuschia uplighting in the background? Yea, the courtesy of our most epic dude Kevin Cordova of LED UNplugged. That man lights up our world! Literally! Between Deborah, Teresa, Julie (also at Floral Couture, and super sassy) and Kevin, we won the Dazzler Award for having a posh booth! Yes, there was wine and chocolate involved in the celebration.
The icing on the proverbial cake was…wait for it… making the cover of the latest edition of Bridal Spectacular! For the third year in a row!! Can I get a wwhaatt whhhaatt?!?! For the past three years, Bridal Spectacular has organized photoshoots for their upcoming spreads in the publication. Photographers, florists, stationary, gowns…and hair and makeup are all involved. Once all the submissions come back, they go into the issue, but one image is always chosen for the cover. Hayley’s trendy fishtail braids and Bianca’s dreamy makeup must’ve made some hearts flutter, and we are just ticked pink to have our work featured on the cover! Props to sweet Lorenz over at Lorenz Photo for capturing the cover-shot!!
Yea, we’ve been riding the high for as long as we could milk it. Oh, and if you didn’t make it, no worries! You can get in on some of the pretty action by booking us before Feb 13th for your upcoming wedding- 10% off your package, to be exact! So get to clickin’ that contact button on top in the right corner, and we’ll see you soon!
Amelia C & Co