Wedding Ideas

Ask the Expert: Coterie 17

Posted on August 05 by Susan Brierly Bush

We talked with Angela Pantaleone, founder of the luxury salon Coterie 17 in Robbinsville. Here’s what she had to say about helping New Jersey brides look their best for their wedding:


Q: What do you offer brides?

    A: Coterie 17 is a sociable place where brides, maids and moms can interact and celebrate. We offer a private event space with an indoor/outdoor rooftop deck to accommodate parties, and we also provide personalized bridal consults to make certain that each bride’s hair, makeup and wardrobe match the feel of her wedding. Brides receive a signature canvas swag bag loaded with our private-label, long-wearing Tattoue lipstick, a Cote Society card for a signature service after the honeymoon, as well as assorted gifts from local businesses.


Q: What’s the first step in planning a wedding-day look?

    A: It’s fun to start an inspiration board for hair, makeup, flowers, colors and décor as soon as the engagement (or even before!). Any visuals should be shared during the initial beauty consultation, and photos of favorite hair designs should be shown from all angles—front, back and both sides. Ideas and agreement come faster when the bride and her consultant can use detailed photos as a reference.

Q: Can you share expert beauty advice for the big day?

    A: Most brides plan their wedding day looking backward. They start with the wedding dress and then go into a salon with photos of hair and makeup that don’t match the style of the gown or wedding. So, before saying yes to that dress, a bride needs to love the hairstyles and makeup that go along with it. Also, it’s smart to choose two hair options for the wedding day—one for good weather and one for rain. Rain and humidity can drastically alter the foundation of a style, so it’s important to have a backup plan.


Q: What do you need from a bride? 

    A: We like to see a photo of the wedding dress. One person’s “Bohemian Chic” might be “Relaxed Casual” to someone else—and those are very different styles. The neckline of the dress will determine whether hair should be worn up or down. Beautiful details on the back bodice could be lost if a bride decides to wear her hair down. Complicated sequins and beading on the gown will be highlighted when hair, makeup and accessories are kept simple. A traditional gown with elegant lines requires polished makeup. But add smoky eye shadow and a cat eye, and the bride’s style morphs into a glamorous, red-carpet look. 

Q: What are the latest bridal trends?

    A: We see a lot of sexy, minimalist brides who wear sheer dresses and dainty accessories. Brides still want all the extras—editorial-style makeup and hair, highlighting, contouring and brow shaping, full lashes and extensions. When all the elements come together properly, they create a look that is flawless and effortless without appearing artificial and extreme. That’s the wedding-day look that the camera really likes.


Q: How is working with a salon different than hiring a freelancer?

    A: It’s important to go to a reputable salon that uses licensed professionals. While laws vary by states, there’s a big trend out there right now for hiring freelancers. But many aren’t licensed or insured. We’ve heard horror stories about freelancers canceling two days before the wedding or not showing up at all. If they’re not licensed, they might not know proper procedures for sanitization, sterilization or disinfecting tools and materials.  

Q: What tricks help keep hair and makeup looking fresh all day?

    A: Proper skincare is the key to fabulous makeup. And a bridal hairstyle should always begin with shampoo, conditioner and styling formulated specifically for each hair type. A plan should begin at least three months before the big day to ensure that hair color, facials, waxing and nail services will be scheduled at the optimal time. Wedding-day makeup must be camera-ready and water-resistant. Long-lasting lipstick should be creamy and lightweight, and must not stain or dry out lips. We recommend Lip Velvets by Tattoue in our exclusive, limited-edition bridal color.


Q: Any tips for dealing with frizzy hair during humidity?

Keratin is an easy, quick fix to eliminate summer frizz and curl due to humidity. However, keratin treatments are not a repairing treatment – they actually change the molecular structure of hair, which increases the possibility of damage, dehydration and/or breakage. We like to use raw, organic coconut oil on hair before washing it or going into the pool or ocean. This natural treatment can also be applied while enjoying the sun.

 Q: Why are hair extensions so popular with brides?

Extensions provide the hair we dream of. They are the best foundation for helping hair styles to last all day. Extensions can add fullness, texture and even color accents to any bride’s hair whether the hair is being worn up or down. However, extensions need to be properly prepared and applied by a certified professional to ensure precision of placement and a perfect color match. Clip-ins can be the perfect savior for the wedding day, while tape-in or fusion extensions are easy and fun for honeymoon hair.


Q: Are there any wedding-day looks a bride shouldn’t attempt?

    A: Most girls have a natural sense of their best colors and styles. Brides shouldn’t try anything that isn’t complementary to their own personal taste and sensibility. They should wear only hairstyles, makeup, clothing and accessories that make them feel absolutely beautiful and happy on their special day. 

Q: What about accessories to embellish a bride’s hair?

Coterie 17 always asks a bride if she will be wearing a veil. Sequined hair clips, fresh flowers, tiaras or a simple comb with an attached veil all have different appeal. It’s also important to know whether the bride will wear her veil all evening or if she will require a change in hairstyle after the ceremony.


Q: How can a bride be sure that all elements of her look will work together?

Start with expert advice. Choose a salon as carefully as one would choose a wedding venue. Pick a place that has a team of experts, then interview them to make sure they’re in tune with the overall wedding vision. In fact, brides should be wary of any salon that doesn’t ask a lot of questions before suggesting ideas for wedding-day hair and makeup.

Q: Final thoughts about honeymoon hair care?

A great salon will determine whether a bride’s current hair style, color and texture will support her wedding-day vision and make her dream style a reality. And a savvy bridal consultant will offer ideas for carrying that bridal beauty through for weeks after the wedding. Extensions, hairpieces, color and smoothing treatments are all things to explore for the wedding day, honeymoon and beyond.

Credits: Marissa Veronica Photography

Lead hair stylists: Bridget Prunetti and Tatiana Rivadeneira

Lead Makeup Artist: Angela Bitonti

Set design: Jaclyn Zefutie

Flowers: Petal Pushers Magnolia

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