Why you don't want to miss out on Baltimore Brides Aisle Style Event

Why you don't want to miss out on Baltimore Brides Aisle Style Event

Maybe you just got engaged, or maybe the question was popped a while back and you’ve just been basking in the excitement. Either way, we’re glad you’re here, because planning for your wedding day fashion, hair, and makeup needs to happen a lot sooner than you might think.

Luckily, there’s an upcoming event right here in Baltimore geared towards checking off all those To Do's in one stylish place. Think of the Baltimore Bride’s Aisle Style as your own personal bridal consultation, chock full of necessities like hair and makeup tutorials, wedding dress trials and more. Sounds like the perfect way to take care of a bunch of things at once, right?

Aisle Style is happening this Monday, January 22nd from 5:30 PM to 8:30 at The Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore (200 International Drive). The day will be filled with a TON of personalized consultations with wedding professionals to help you create or complete your vision for the big day. Plus, there will be live bridal fashion show and, of course, canapés and champagne to get you feeling fancy.

See our makeup on live models, as we’re the official makeup sponsor for the fashion show. We will also have a booth so please stop by for your complimentary mini beauty service.

Grab your tickets here. We can’t wait to meet you!

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Elite Secrets earns WeddingWire’s 2018 Couples' Choice Awards®

Elite Secrets earns WeddingWire’s 2018 Couples' Choice Awards®

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We are thrilled to announce that we are the recipients of WeddingWire’s 2018 Couples’ Choice Award!! Announced yesterday, WeddingWire Couples' Choice Awards celebrate the top five percent of wedding professionals who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness, and professionalism across more than 20 service categories, from wedding venues and photographers to florists and caterers.


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Winners are selected solely based on reviews by couples and are determined by a combination of four factors: overall rating, the total number of reviews, review performance from 2017, and consistency of reviews from year to year.

Here are some of the great things our couples had to say:

“Working with LaTonya and her team was a dream! She listened to my views on makeup and kept me so natural and simple- yet glam! I wanted to step back and truly allow for her to do her job. She made me feel like my best self on my wedding day and I couldn't have been happier. Besides my overall look, she is one of the kindest women. Her kind words and sweet hugs were so needed in the moments before and during my wedding. She was genuinely kind..you could tell how honest and real she was.   Her prices and communication were awesome! I would work with her again in a heartbeat and recommend her for any bride.”

 —Meryl (wed on 11/11/17)


“The experience I had with Elite Secrets was one of a kind. Not only was the studio beautiful, but Tonya was a true artist. The blend of products she used on my face really were perfect and made me look flawless. It was wonderful to walk out of there feeling like a brand-new person. Not only is she amazing at her make up artistry... but I was truly inspired speaking with her and learning her journey to be a Girl Boss. I know I will be recommending her to everyone I know!”

—Angela (wed on 12/31/17)


You (the couples), chose us and now we want to celebrate you. To thank you we’re giving brides HALF OFF hair and makeup trials. Yes, that’s 50% off your bridal trial with Elite Secrets. Book your appointments here. We can’t wait to meet you!

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Should you pay for your bridesmaids' hair and makeup?

Should you pay for your bridesmaids' hair and makeup?

Every bride wants her bride tribe to look fierce on her wedding day, from the perfect hair to flawless makeup. To ensure there’s a uniform look she may book hair and makeup for her bridesmaids. The cohesive beauty makes for amazing photos and memorable girl-time before the soon-to-be Mrs.’ trip down the aisle.


Although, whether the bride picks up the tab for her bridal party’s hair and makeup is an individual decision, it is not a guaranteed one. If the bridesmaids are responsible for beauty services, what happens when one doesn't have the resources to pay for hair and makeup? Should she do her hair and makeup, or should you cover the costs? Our bridal beauty expert, LaTonya Turnage, weighs in.


If you want your bridesmaids to have professional hair and makeup looks, it should be discussed in the early stages of the wedding planning process. Even though it may not be understood, there are some financial costs associated with bridesmaid’s responsibilities, so if she can't do the hair and makeup, it's important to be honest upfront.


However, if one of your girls can't afford to get her hair and makeup done, it'd be a generous gesture to help her out. In this case, it may be best to chip in privately. It's not a rule, but it's the right thing to do. It's an honor to be a bridesmaid, but the bride should know there are different levels of financial responsibility.


Common courtesy also suggests that if you require hair and makeup for all of your bridesmaids, the payment for said services should come out of your pocket. If the choice is left to each bridesmaid, you are by no means obligated to pay. By the same reasoning, if your bridesmaid doesn't want to have her makeup done, there is no need to push the issue. However, leaving one member of the group out of the bonding beauty session is not an incredibly gracious way to treat a friend. And, you risk the bridesmaid doing her hair and makeup herself, which could potentially clash with the others. To remedy this situation, offer to pay a portion of her hair and makeup expense. If your economics are such that you can manage to foot the bill for all of your bridesmaids, you may want to do so. At Elite Secrets, we provide discounts for large groups, so you may be able to secure a deal while pleasing every member of your wedding party.

Want to book your bridal hair and makeup trial with Elite Secrets? Enjoy our New Year special and save 50% on your bridal hair and makeup trial. Book here today!

Merry, Marry Christmas Styled Shoot

Merry, Marry Christmas Styled Shoot

With Christmas just a few days ago, what better way to continue the jolly season than with this festive wedding inspiration?! It’s romantic, cozy, and green all over!

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This beautiful shoot is all about the warm and rich color palette. Evergreen wedding inspiration is everywhere from the greenery in the bride’s crown to the hue in the groom’s suit. The color palette had to be rich yet natural.  We wanted it to feel like the holidays but not scream Merry Christmas. Hints of cranberry red, evergreen and winter white with natural wood tones felt like a classic holiday card.


Our bride wore a lace Justin Alexander gown with a sweetheart neckline. The glorious crown was the star of the show and the bouquet was just as dreamy with mixed winter greens, berries, and large white blooms. A perfectly coiffed updo and makeup with nude lips pulled the entire look together.

Venue: The Living Well

Photography: Bliss Culture Photography

Sugar Artist: Cupcake Syn       

Florals: B Willow

Bride’s Dress and Accessories: Elite Secrets Bridal

Bride’s Accessories: Ilieana George

Hair and Makeup: Elite Secrets Bridal

{Event Recap} Holiday Open House, MinkMaids Trunk Show, and Prayer Night

{Event Recap} Holiday Open House, MinkMaids Trunk Show, and Prayer Night


Last Saturday, December 16, we had our first annual holiday open house. And, if you weren’t there you missed it!

Some of Baltimore’s Elite showed up for a party to remember. Guests enjoyed a treasure trove of holiday sweets and festive drinks. And, the sights were just as impressive. Models worked the room donning the latest in bridal wear. The beauties showcased dresses by Allure and MinkMaids and hair and makeup by Elite Secrets, of course!

Between mixing and mingling our Elite clients and friends had fun taking photos with Megapixel Media in front of our infamous flower wall.

At the end of the night, we announced the winner of our raffle. A lucky attendee walked away with a ticket to the Baltimore Bride’s Aisle Style Event.

Thank you to our bridal event manager, Sabrina, Megapixels Media, the ladies of Bird of Paradise Events, Sarah Beth Ramsey, Events by Lady J, New Beginnings Event Management, Tira Lynn Events, Alexis Wilkins Events, and Mr. Keith of Christopher Schafer Clothier.



We kicked off the month with our first MinkMaids Trunk Show. Brides and local wedding vendors gathered at our Mount Vernon bridal boutique to shop and mingle over champagne. Not only did we feature stunning wedding dresses from the collection, but ready-to-wear evening gowns—perfect for bridesmaids, mother of the bride, or festive holiday events. The MinkMaids Trunk Show was a huge hit!

In fact, because the show was such a success we’ve extended the MinkMaids Trunk Show for a New Year’s Special! Enjoy 10% off MinkMaids ready-to-wear evening gowns and 50% off New Year’s makeup! Ring in the New Year with head to toe glam from Elite Secrets and MinkMaids.


Our last event of the year, took place last night—our Prayer night. With so many things to be grateful for, ending the year in prayer could not be more fitting. Led by of dear friend Tonya, we praised God for all the blessings bestowed in 2017 and thanked him for blessings, increase, victory, and favor for the new year.

We can’t end this blog post without thanking all of you. This year has been amazing, and we are tremendously grateful for your support—whether you read the blog, liked a post, shopped with us, referred a friend, or stopped by the showroom. No deed—big or small—positive thought, or prayer went unnoticed. We thank you for everything! Have a happy holiday!



Tis the season to be giving

Tis the season to be giving

Hello Elite Friends,

Here we are with 12 days until Christmas. Since the trunk show, we’ve been busy decorating the showroom and stocking up on eggnog to prepare for the best holiday of the year. And, speaking of year, it’s been an amazing one!

In the spirit of holiday cheer and giving, we want to do something special for you! So, we’ve enlisted a few of our dear wedding friendors to spread some love to brides on Santa’s list.

Starting this week, we’re giving away prizes from brands like:

Mrs. Box

Bella Bridemaids

Chip Dizard Weddings

Loco Color Flowers

Winnie's Bakery

Charles Street Barre...and more!

To enter: Book an appointment between now and the end of the year. 

To win: Winners will be chosen weekly and contacted via email. 

Good luck, Elite Ladies!


More Elite Holiday Events

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December 16 Tis the season to be married! Join us at our holiday OPEN HOUSE at our brand new bridal showroom! View our space while enjoying holiday cheer, champagne, sweet treats, and holiday tunes! Also, enter to win one FREE ticket to Baltimore Bride's Aisle Style event at the Four Seasons Baltimore! Bring a friend. All are welcome! Click here for more info.

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December 19 Join us for our END of THE YEAR powerful prayer hour! Prayer begins promptly at 7:00 pm. This is a time to come together and pray with and for one another! Prayer changes things! Click here to learn more.


Elite Secrets Bridal in Baltimore Bride Magazine

Elite Secrets Bridal in Baltimore Bride Magazine

We are so thrilled to see our ad in the new issue of Baltimore Bride Magazine!! On stands now, the Spring/Summer issue of the publication arrived on our doorstep yesterday.

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Featuring our favorite IT girl and model, Lashira Monae is wearing a beautiful lace gown from the Justin Alexander collection. To complete the look, our in-house bridal stylist accessorized the model with custom jewelry from Iliena George. And we can’t forget the show-stopping makeup and hair by Elite Secrets, of course. All of the images were captured by our fabulous photographer friendor at Belle Imagery Portraits.

See more Elite Secrets makeup artistry live at Baltimore Bride Magazine’s Aisle Style event, January 22. We’re the exclusive makeup sponsor of the annual runway style bridal fashion show. For more information and tickets visit http://www.baltimorebridemagazine.com/aisle-style-2018.

…But in the meantime, check out more images from this shoot with Belle Imagery Portraits.

Ready to make your appointment with Elite Secrets? Drop us a line here to book your appointment now.

Ready to make your appointment with Elite Secrets? Drop us a line here to book your appointment now.

New Inventory at Elite Secrets Bridal

New Inventory at Elite Secrets Bridal

You asked, and we listened! We’re super excited to announce new arrivals at Elite Secrets Bridal. And, our new inventory includes Mermaid styles from an array of collections ranging in size from 2 to 32.

Perfect for the bride who wants to make a grand statement with her gown, the mermaid silhouette is fitted throughout the bodice and flares dramatically at the knee. The style is appealing because it looks stunning on most body types. It gives you that sexy feeling and at the same time gives you the feeling of a traditional bride with its full skirt effect.

Although the mermaid silhouette has been a bride favorite for some time, Pinterest reports an increase of 136% in pin activity this year, making it the favorite for brides on the social media site.

Our bridal fashion expert, LaTonya Turnage, shares her favorite looks here. These dresses are bound to go fast, so book your appointment today to say yes to your dress

Don't forget to book an appointment to try on your favorite looks today!

Don't forget to book an appointment to try on your favorite looks today!

Black Friday gone bridal! White Friday sale all weekend.

Black Friday gone bridal! White Friday sale all weekend.

It's that time again, and we are happy to be ringing in the season with you! Join us as we host our first annual White Friday Sale ALL WEEKEND in our new bridal showroom on North Charles Street (across the street from Bella Bridesmaids) in downtown Baltimore. 

With the family in town for the holidays, it's the perfect time for dress shopping. So grab your favorite girls—mom, sis, and grandma, too—and come ready to find your dream dress. 

Enjoy up to 70% off sample gowns,
plus 10% off all new orders! 

Be sure to book your appointment as showroom spaces will fill up quickly. We cannot wait to celebrate with you!



Wedding dress shopping can be a bit overwhelming. Not only are there so many choices (so many gorgeous dresses!) but the pressure is on to find a dress you love, look and feel fabulous in, and comes in (ideally!) under budget.

Add a sample sale or trunk show into the mix, and we’re officially bewildered. But fear not, we’re here to help!

What is a Bridal Trunk Show?

A trunk show is a special event in a bridal boutique where they invite a designer to showcase their collection. Sometimes it’s a one-day event, but for particularly popular collections, it could last for multiple days. Often the designers themselves, or stylists from the fashion house will be on hand to help you find the right dress.

Trunk shows are a particularly good opportunity to check out a visiting designer whose full collections aren’t stocked in your city.

8 Expert Tips for Shopping at Sample Sales and Trunk Shows

So, now you know what bridal trunk shows are, how do you get the most out of shopping at one? Here’s where bridal beauty expert LaTonya of Elite Secrets Bridal steps in.

Located in Baltimore's esteemed Mount Vernon fashion boutique district, Elite Secrets Bridal opened its doors bringing to Baltimore’s bridal scene an experience that cannot be found in any other Baltimore bridal boutique. The pedigree of founder LaTonya Turnage, bridal beauty expert, has been fundamental to our philosophy to combine expertise and excellent service with style and grace. Leaving pretense to the side, we focus on bringing the best designer and emerging bridal gowns from all over the world to Baltimore Brides!

What Lies Beneath. Feel your best underneath your wedding dress. The appropriate undergarments will not only help you feel your best; they will help your dress look the best. Opt for nude-colored underwear and a great strapless bra.

Bring a Companion. Take a trusted friend—someone you trust that will give you sound advice. Honest encouragement and constructive feedback can be extremely helpful and great company can up the factor for your bridal dress appointment.

Leave the whole entourage though. Too many conflicting opinions can leave you confused and stressed.

Mind Your Budget. Know your budget! Bridal trunk shows often offer a discretionary discount (usually 10%) off gowns ordered over that weekend.

It’s a great way to spend a little less in the event you find your dream wedding dress.

Do Your Homework. Research the designer first – for a trunk show the boutique will primarily present the featured designer only.

Make sure you are interested in their styles and silhouettes to get the most from your experience.

Necklines, Shape, and Silhouettes Oh My. There are so many variations to a wedding dress. Have an idea of what neckline, shape and silhouette you like best. Research the different styles, so you’re familiar will the lingo, too.

You will soon find you have narrowed down your style and what is flattering for your figure.

How High? Bear in mind the height of your heels you plan to wear on your wedding day when you begin your dress shopping.

Keep in mind that hems cannot be lengthened, only shortened, so it’s a good idea to take the maximum heel height with you.

Ask the Expert. At a trunk show, if you are lucky the designer or stylist may be there in person, take full advantage of expert availability and ask for styling advice.

With their experience and knowledge, you are likely to find that they know what suits you—sometimes better than you!

Join our mailing list to get exclusive details on upcoming shows and events. 

Consider Your Timing. Know your time frame. Some designer dresses need up to eight months to be completed and altered.

Learn beforehand, how long the designer needs for your dress and let your stylist know if you’re in a time crunch.

Looking for the perfect dress? We’ve got you covered. Join us at Elite Secrets Bridal this weekend for our indoor sidewalk sale. Click the button below to make your appointment today! You don’t want to miss this! 

Three Big Announcements You Want to Know About

Three Big Announcements You Want to Know About

So excited to share all the incredible things happening at Elite Secrets Bridal. Who would ever guess that we would end an already epic year with an even more epic ending?

In case you missed it yesterday, I announced our biggest news yet on Facebook Live revealing our new bridal showroom in its new location. We’re still on Charles Street—just a few blocks from our previous space which is home to our custom and ready-to-wear boutique. Directly across the street from Bella Bridesmaids, our transition makes Baltimore’s Mount Vernon area a true fashion boutique district and Charles Street the epicenter for all things weddings.

Mark your calendars! We are having our very first indoor sidewalk sale this month. If you are getting hitched anytime soon, you cannot miss this bridal event. Check out our new bridal showroom and enjoy incredible savings. There will be super specials on bridal accessories and dresses discounted as low as $99. Who says your dream dress has to be a fortune? Join us Friday, November 17th through Sunday, November 19th. Just in time for Thanksgiving, you can say yes to your designer wedding dress. No appointment needed.

Finally (drumroll, please), Elite Secrets Bridal will be the official fashion show partner for Baltimore Bride Magazine’s Aisle Style. Check out the dynamic show and our wedding beat on live models, Monday, January 22nd. Take in an evening of spectacular harbor views at the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore, while sipping bubbly, tasting wedding cakes, and sampling treats from local caterers.

At 7:45 pm, move into the grand ballroom and prepare to be inspired by Baltimore Bride’s third annual fashion show produced by the Stephanie Bradshaw design team highlights the newest styles in bride and groom fashion and beauty trends by Elite Secrets Bridal. Before the end of the night, enter your name to win fabulous giveaways courtesy of our Aisle Style participating vendors. Can’t wait to see you there! Get your tickets here.

Want to stay on top of all Elite Secrets Bridal news? Join our Elite List. Get news, tips, and specials delivered right to your inbox. 

Elite Secrets Bridal Hosts Trunk Show Featuring Mink Maids, December 1-10

Elite Secrets Bridal Hosts Trunk Show Featuring Mink Maids, December 1-10

Are you ready to find your dream dress and create a lasting memory with your bride tribe?

If this sounds like your jam, we have something in store for you. Mink Maids is hosting one show in all of the DMV, and it’s going down at Elite Secrets Bridal. For 10 days, we will be celebrating Mink Maids’ newest collection of custom gowns so mark your calendars for some serious dress shopping, December 1st through December 10th –it’s a can’t miss event for brides. Think clean, modern silhouettes, architectural elements with a side of sexy, AND a 10% discount.

For the out-of-the-box bride who wants a fashion-forward dress that can’t be found at every other bridal shop, the new Mink Maids Collection is everything you’ve ever wanted and so much more.

Imagine wedding dresses that will have your guests talking from the moment they lay eyes on you. Whether you plan to tie the knot in a garden ceremony or say I do in a city ballroom, Elite Secrets Bridal’s Mink Maids Trunk Show is THE place to find your perfect wedding dress.

Here’s how to say yes to your Mink Maids wedding dress:

  1. Click the button below to book your appointment between Friday, December 1st, and Sunday, December 10th, or call 410.727.7000.
  2. Grab your besties. We’ll bring the champagne!
  3. Let’s make magic! Our professional staff is ready to serve you and your tribe—with bubbly in hand.

About Elite Secrets Bridal

Located in Baltimore's esteemed Mount Vernon fashion boutique district, Elite Secrets Bridal opened its doors, bringing to Baltimore’s bridal scene an experience that cannot be found in any other Baltimore bridal boutique. If it has anything to do with bridal beauty, Elite Secrets Bridal is your source. We serve brides with beauty for their Big Day from bridal hair, and makeup to accessories and wedding dresses Leaving pretense to the side, we focus on bringing the best designer and emerging bridal gowns from all over the world to Baltimore Brides! For two years in a row, brides voted us best in class with the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award. Elite Secrets Bridal is located at 330 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201.To book an appointment or for additional information, please visit www.elitesecretsbridal.com.



The Top 4 Secrets to Success in the Beauty Business 

The Top 4 Secrets to Success in the Beauty Business 

With a license in cosmetology and state board exams under my belt, I started my career in makeup with M.A.C. Cosmetics and Estee Lauder brands. After 14 years of juggling makeup artistry and a corporate job, I launched my beauty business, Elite Secrets. And, as they say, “the rest is history.”

When I look back on when I started my business, I can’t help but wonder “If I only knew then what I know now…” So as all great mentors do, I’m sharing the most valuable lessons I learned in the beginning. Read on to learn the things that kept me grounded and focused as I launched my own beauty business. These practical tips would apply to anyone who’s starting their own business, so please share with your business bestie.

1. Decide how your business and money will work.

Don’t spend another dollar on another program or service until you have a handle on this part first. Get clear on how much money you need to make to survive, based on the kind of beauty business you own

2. Know that nothing will work unless you do.

This is especially true when it comes to launching your beauty business. Opportunities won’t always just fall into your lap, and eventually, you will have to work at making money. So instead of putting it off, create a plan to attract your dream customers now and do the work to make your dreams come true.

3. Get very clear on what you want from your beauty business.

Define how you want to be perceived and who you want as your customer. Otherwise, you’ll just be running in circles doing work that doesn’t motivate you for clients you aren’t excited about working with every day.

4. Join a community that you can go to for answers, advice, and support.

Connect with groups that get you. Don’t miss out for fear of asking for help or sharing your struggles. Some of the biggest, most important breakthroughs can come from your significant hurdles and challenges. Keeping them to yourself and suffering through them alone will only delay your success.

Looking for a community? I invite you to join the Beauty Business Unplugged a specialized monthly subscription service—made specifically for entrepreneurs in the world of beauty. We provide the best resources on how to build a business built on passion and intended for profits.

The Beauty Business Unplugged gives you exclusive access to other members, business experts, and resources that will guide you step-by-step on how to grow a profitable beauty business that fits your lifestyle.

5 Secret Ways to Attract the Clients You Love to Your Beauty Business

5 Secret Ways to Attract the Clients You Love to Your Beauty Business

We all want those dream customers that come back all the time, love our services, and refer all of their friends—and lots of them.

The great thing about the beauty business is you can have your cake and eat it too, (and by cake, I mean a business you love with clients you love just as much).

Here are my five secret tips for growing your beauty business and attracting your ideal customer.

Identify your dream client.

To attract your dream customer, you must identify who they are. Start by creating a profile for your ideal client. Try to be as detailed as possible.

Determine your worth.

For your prospects to value what you do, you must first assess it yourself. Determine your worth, then set your prices to reflect your value.

Go where your clients are.

To attract your ideal customers, you have to go to their hangout spots. Being consistently present so your ideal clients can find you is an essential marketing strategy. If they are on Instagram or Pinterest, you should be there too.

Offer services and products they want.

It’s important to offer services or create products that your target customer wants, not just things you want to provide. Remember a goal in business is to solve a problem for your savvy customer. If you don’t service their needs another business will.

Hold yourself accountable.

This tip is the most important. It’s the one thing to say you’re going to do all of these things for your business, but it’s another to roll up your sleeves and do it. I recommend finding an accountability partner. An accountability partner can lend support, offer constructive criticism on new ideas, and make sure you stay on top of your to do’s.

If you’re not sure where to find a beauty business bestie, check out The Beauty Business Unplugged. The Beauty Business Unplugged is a specialized monthly subscription service—made specifically for entrepreneurs in the world of beauty. We provide the best resources on how to build a business built on passion and intended for profits.

The Beauty Business Unplugged gives you exclusive access to other members, business experts, and resources that will guide you step-by-step on how to grow a profitable beauty business that fits your lifestyle.

Your Expert Bridal Fashion Week Trend Report

Your Expert Bridal Fashion Week Trend Report

Another New York Bridal Fashion Week has come and gone. If you’re obsessed with bridal fashion (like we are), but couldn’t catch a flight to the Big Apple, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. Keep reading for my 2018 fall and winter trend report and my favorite designer from the shows. 

Fierce Jumpsuits
This hot trend piece could easily replace the traditional wedding dress or could be worn for your pre-wedding events—think super chic bridal shower attire. Di Santo and Theia included glamourous takes of the jumpsuit down their runaways this week, and the crowd loved the sleek sets.


Fringe and Feathers
Added texture from rich embellishments like feather and fringe made an appearance at the Hayley Paige and Berta shows. Pronovias ended their show with a banger: a gorgeous gown adorned with beads and fringe from top to bottom. 


Structured Jackets
We were stunned to see so many structured blazers and intricately designed bolero jackets paired with a variety of gowns, but loving it all at the same time. Inbal Dror’s tulle skirt with tailored blazer was a fave with onlookers. 



Off the Shoulder
Another new trend was the off-the-shoulder-wedding-dress. Strapless dresses have been a favorite with brides for years, but this year designers are adding sleeves for a more off-the-shoulder look. From sleek to bouffant all types of off-the-shoulder sleeves were spotted, and most are detachable. 


Nude is the New White
Almost all of the designers had some representation of the blush-tone trend. From taupe-like shades of nude to soft shades of rose, we witnessed some sort of departure from the traditional white. My favorite was the Lydia Tulle gown by Mink Maids in Dusty Pink. 


Speaking of Mink Maids, not only was their Lydia gown a favorite, I loved it all. In fact, I love the collection so much that we will have them here in December. Yes, Mink Maids will be in the building for a full trunk show December 1 through the December 10. 

From ballgowns to romantic A-lines to sleek modern dresses, the 2018 Fall Winter Collection has something for every bride. Think soft tulle fabrics, down-to-earth details, and modern hues all coming together to create some of the most fashionable gowns you will ever lay your eyes on. Now pair those gorgeous gowns with a team of bridal fashion experts that knows everything about exceptional customer service and making brides feel gorgeous.

Grab your besties and book your appointment NOW to attend between December 1 and December 10. You’ll get to bask in the beauty that is Mink Maids, and receive an exclusive 10% discount on their stunning designs. By Appointment only. Schedule your appointment at http://bit.ly/2kyUiTX or call 443-219-7049.

What to Look for in Your Next Beauty Team Member?

What to Look for in Your Next Beauty Team Member?

Last week, I shared why it is important to hire a beauty team and how it can help you with your business. Today, I want to share tips on how to actually start searching for beauty teams.

After all, you certainly want to look professional when hiring someone—and expect the very same from any prospect. Plus, there are many things to discuss when hiring your own beauty team, and they include work ethic, business organization and variety of services.

The truth is, building the best beauty team is not easy. You need to start thinking like a business owner and take care of your team. So, how to begin?

Start Advertising

The first and foremost step to do when hiring a beauty team is to advertise. Even if you try and look for referrals by other beauty professionals, you will hardly get to the number of specialized and targeted beauty team members you expect.

Some of the places where you can find experienced artists and stylists include Facebook Groups and local beauty message boards, Craigslist, Cosmetology schools or social media - where you can advertise as well.

Look for True Professionals

You should always look for artists and stylists that are on-time, educated and professional. You’d actually be surprised to hear how many of these ‘professionals’ actually do not show on time or come up with constant excuses.

It goes without saying that every member of your bridal team should be polite and have good manners—not only because of work ethics, but as a great tactic to keep and retain all the great customers.

Search for Different Levels of Skillset

As soon as you start opening your doors and holding interviews, you should see the different levels of education and experience your beauty team candidates have. In order to suit their needs and expectations, it is best if you work on tiered levels of skills. We have two skillset levels at Elite Secrets:  beauty advisor and senior beauty advisor. The beauty advisor may be slightly experienced and have a small portfolio, where the senior beauty advisor has years of experience and a large portfolio of work.

This will also help your customers choose the option they like most - and know what they are getting in exchange for it.

So, are you ready to grow your team and make most of your wedding business?


4 Telltale Signs Telling You It’s Time to Build Your Beauty Dream Team

4 Telltale Signs Telling You It’s Time to Build Your Beauty Dream Team

You’ve worked really hard to build your beauty brand into a viable revenue generator. Appointments are piling in, and your dream of becoming a beauty business owner is finally coming true. But you start to notice something…you’re constantly turning away work. You must remember that there are only so many hours in a day and you are only one person, so what do you do now?

Let’s face it - its time to grow your beauty dream team. Potential clients are coming to you because of a referral or they know your work and want to pay for your services. If you turn most of them away your once great reputation will be tarnished. Is that a risk you can afford to take in your beauty business? 

If you are still not sure that you need a beauty dream team, let these signs gauge whether it’s time for you to make some considerations.

1. You are turning away consistent work week after week

If you’re turning down appointments because you’re booked solid, it’s time to grow your team. This basically means that you are leaving money on the table and missing out on potential revenue. It’s a sure sign that you need a beauty team.

2. You have no time to grow

Sure, you’re able to handle day-to-day operations without letting your customers down, but adding new customers is out of the question. You don’t have time to stop to think about where your business is going next because you’re too busy trying to keep your existing business model operating.

3. You are sending clients to other artists in your area

Sending clients to other artists in your area is good - but only for the other artists. Even if you are making some commissions from these referrals, you are once again leaving money on the table that is offered to you based on your professional approach.

4. You need assistants when organizing larger parties

Big bridal parties and productions with lots of customers will require the use of an assistant. If you think you can manage it alone, it is certain that you will always need a helping hand or two to run errands and manage client expectations. However, the big picture is that you need a team by your side that will help you earn more money and a solidify your reputation.

So, don’t you think it’s about time to...start thinking like a business owner!

Looking for more beauty business advice? Join our list for beauty pros and learn about our community for beauty pros.

How to Plan a Successful Styled Shoot

How to Plan a Successful Styled Shoot

Ever just wished you had a blueprint to help you get started on planning a styled shoot?

Whether you're lost on how to get started and just need a basic blueprint, or you’re looking for a few tweaks to revamp your current process for connecting with your dream vendors, I’m here for you.  I’m going to teach you how to plan a successful styled shoot—one so great that the images will get your work published and get more clients to book with you—and share all my swipe files to get you started.

If you’re new to my blog, I’m LaTonya Turnage, makeup artist and entrepreneur, who can now add author, educator, and business mentor to my belt. For more than ten years, I've worked in the makeup industry, and I've done it all from editorial and runway to stage and bridal (Bridal is my favorite!). I’ve been featured in Munaluchi Bridal, Baltimore Sun and FOX-TV to name a few.

To stay top of mind for brides, I had to add styled shoots to my marketing strategy. It’s a lot of work, but a genius way to do the work I love and attract my target audience.

If you’re scratching your head wondering “is a styled shoot right for me,” that’s ok! Here are 4 benefits of planning one.

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Styled shoots allow you to do it your way

If I had to guess, I would bet that you started this business because you love it. Yet, I know that clients don’t always want what you want to create. Styled shoots can offer the outlet you need to spread your creative wings and work on your dream projects. You can get as over-the-top or as minimalist as you want because you are not limited to your clients’ demands.

Styled shoots can connect you with your vendor crush

Networking and collaborating with your vendor crush—you know that one creative that you've been dying to work with since the beginning of your career—is a major plus for styled shoots.

When planning the collaboration, plot out time for networking on the day of the shoot. Most importantly, follow up afterward and make sure you stay in touch.

Challenge yourself to learn more about them, their business, the type of clients they want they want to serve, so you know who to refer to them. Referrals are a two-way street, and if you can start by sending someone to them, they will remember and be inclined to return the favor!

Styled shoots can help get your work published

If you haven’t noticed, blogs and magazines LOVE styled shoots, especially in the wedding category. And, who could blame the editors? Styled shoots are representative of the creatives best work and (sometimes) the most imaginative. 

Styled shoots can help you score new clients

If your styled shoot is featured on a wedding blog, couples will soon start to visit your website to learn more about you. We can almost always trace some of our clients directly back to a styled shoot we had published.

Even if your goal isn’t to get your shoot featured, the images will enhance your site and social media channels so that your ideal client identifies with you and takes that next steps to move deeper into your sales funnel.

So how do you plan for success?  Here’s a quick way to get started.

Be Clear on the Concept

Before you start emailing or reaching out to vendors, make sure you have a clear vision of the shoot’s concept.  Have an idea of all the players and props needs. A mood board can be beneficial and offer you a way to communicate your vision to the team and venue succinctly. Having your ideas thought out and on paper will save tons of time and the vendor will be assured because of your preparedness.

Send Out an Invite

Soliciting vendors can be intimidating, I’ll admit. There’s no guarantee that they will respond favorably. I encourage you to move past the fears and just go for it!  Honestly, there were a few vendors who had to turn me down due to scheduling conflicts, but almost every vendor was more than happy to get involved! Despite the uncertainty and fear that comes with contacting others about your styled shoot vision, feel the fear and leap regardless. The worst thing they can say is, “No.”

Compile A Shoot List

I’ve found that the best way to ensure your expectations for a shoot are met is simply by making them known. Before meeting with the vendors, we think through all the images we want to walk away with once the shoot ends.  Compiling a list of “must have” images and sharing them with the group before production day is crucial to the shoot’s success.

If you’re working with a photographer you trust, you can work together on your shoot wish list.

Show Your Partners Love

From start to finish, it’s important that the vendors know just how much you appreciate their contributions. Make it clear in the beginning what sort of exposure they’d receive at the end of the project.

It’s important to keep in mind that these vendors are donating their time, services, or products to bring your vision to life, so it’s critical to make sure they feel valued and appreciated for their contributions.

Set a process and rules for sharing images, both physically and online. Each vendor should walk away with positive memories of working with you and eager to collaborate again.

Click below to grab your FREE Swipe Files to get started planning your next styled shoot!

Beauty Expert and Entrepreneur turns Author: LaTonya Tells All About Her New Book

Beauty Expert and Entrepreneur turns Author: LaTonya Tells All About Her New Book

As you may already know, I’ll be speaking at MINT Conference this week. The MINT Conference is a two-day intensive powered by Brown Girls with a Camera, a group of professional photographers. The conference on all things related to the business of photography aims to celebrate, inform, collaborate and bring together photographers and videographers of color. The MINT Conference offers multiple sessions packed with experts of all kinds to share their knowledge, experience, and recommendations on the business side of photography.

So, I can imagine that you must be thinking what does a beauty expert need to say to a room full of photographers?

Great question.

I’ll be sharing advice on how photographers can level up in their business by partnering with beauty professionals. When it comes to getting quality images—the ones that get you published and get you the clients willing to pay top dollar to work with you—you need to get a beauty team on board. We share all the tips for meeting, vetting, and establishing a professional working relationship with beauty professionals from the moment you sign an agreement. Yes, you need an agreement…And, we cover the appropriate contracts and forms needed, too.

Sounds interesting, but you can’t make the MINT Conference? Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered!

I’ve compiled all the must-know tips, forms, and template into my new book, HOW TO BUILD YOUR DREAM TEAM: A GUIDE FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS.

As a beauty expert, I work with tons of well-renowned photographers. And, as a mentor to budding beauty pros, I instill in my mentees the importance of having professional relationships with photographers. I've established a process in my own business for working with photographers in a way that is consistent and professional and gives the clients an elevated, high-end experience each time.


  •  Instant access to the digital download
  • Tips and templates to personalize and enhance your relationship with beauty pros in less than a minute, giving you a consistent 1-on-1 relationship, including:
    • How to know what you need in a beauty partner
    • Tips for vetting the beauty professional properly
    • My Checklist for all the items you need to ensure they are the right beauty pro for you
    • The Standard Agreement Template--no matter the type of pro, this template works for them all
    • A Model Release Form
    • My customizable SOP, so you have something to send when a project's a fit


Our expert weighs in on the squiggle brow trend

Our expert weighs in on the squiggle brow trend

Talk about squiggle brows has dominated social media, blogs, and beauty news everywhere. The beauty community has posted their take on the trend all over Instagram, and mainstream media has picked up on the craze.

So, what are squiggle brows? Makeup artists create the look by shaping the eyebrows into a squiggle shape with washable glue. No hairs are actually plucked, which means the brows can be coaxed back to its natural state. But, is this trend appropriate for everybody?

Our beauty expert, LaTonya Turnage, owner of Elite Secrets weighs in.

"Your eyebrows should frame your face and work hand and hand with your eye shape to enhance your facial features. When you deviate from the natural structure it breaks the original shaping and draws attention from all the other striking features," she explains. "Squiggle brows may be great for theatrical makeup or for the girl looking for a daring, bold look, but it's not for the everyday beauty."

"The way a beautiful picture can enhance an image, your eyebrows can frame and enhance your face," says Turnage.

She recommends a few simple tips to nail the perfect brow for your facial form.

  • Follow the natural arch of your eye and resist creating a different shape.
  • Use the appropriate shade of eyeshadow to fill them in and ensure a more natural finish...when in doubt, follow the hair color.
  • Properly grooming your brows help and cut time spent on perfecting the full eyeshadow look.
  • Invest in a good brow gel, (for unruly brows) or brow pencil. These tools are perfect for adding instant definition to the brows.
  • Set the brows with a brow powder for a less waxy look and a more natural appearance.
  • Use short feathered strokes to fill in the brows and avoid a harsh, overbearing look.
  • For more dramatic look, use products such as pomade for a clean, dramatic look.

Some of LaTonya favorite beauty products for eyebrows: 

Want to book an appointment with the beauty pros at Elite Secrets? Click here to schedule your beauty appointment today.