July 29th, 2015 | Rachel Parry
Last time we caught up with Jane Witherspoon, our real life bride & celebrity columnist, she’d been thinking about how to impress guests with her flower, food and entertainment choices for her upcoming wedding while getting some top tips from newlywed wed actress Michelle Keegan.
Fast-forward a month and Jane’s thoughts have turned to her own appearance on the big day, and in particular what style of hair and makeup she might have for her moment in the spotlight.
Luckily Jane’s job as a celebrity reporter has once again put her in touch with an A-lister (of the beauty world) who can help. Hair and makeup artist to the rich and famous Ciona Johnson-King, whose clients include Cameron Diaz and Keira Knitghley, has styled Jane on many occasions for glittering events at which she has been reporting.
So as her wedding day approaches, Jane has called upon Ciona to give her some expert advice on her bridal beauty regime. And rather than keeping it all to herself, the generous bride-to-be is sharing all the details with you here on the blog today. What a star!
jane says: It’s hard to keep on top of a good beauty regime at the best of times let alone when you’re finalising plans for a wedding. I’m not doing too well at trying to eat healthier and drink lots of water. In fact, the busier I get the more I seem to consume! And as for this growing my hair malarkey, generally I’m feeling a bit of a mess. I’m sure it will all be worth it come October though.
For the big day itself, I’m thinking of eeping my hair and makeup quite simple and classic, inspired by Princess Grace of Monaco.
Luckily when it comes to bridal beauty I’ve got a trump card in the form of Ciona Johnson-King. Ciona is the make-up artist to the stars and I’m so lucky and proud to be able to call her my friend. Cameron Diaz, Audrey Tautou, Liv Tyler, Gwyneth Paltorw and Keira Knightley are just a few of the names she’s worked with.
With this in mind I’m handing over this month’s blog post to Cio to give you some amazing pre-wedding beauty tips, and accompanying the post are some of my favourite Ciona creations – now what style to choose?
ciona says: If you’re reading this, the chances are you or someone dear to you is about to get married. Congratulations! It’s the most magical day of your life. I thoroughly recommend it! To help you prepare, here are few of my top wedding tips…
1. Practice beforehand, using daylight when available. Your hairstyle needs to work from the sides and back as well as the front. Make sure your skin tone is the same from the face to all body parts. It’s important to be completely comfortable on the big day so don’t go too far out of your comfort zone with your hair and makeup. It’s not the time to try the latest catwalk trend. Take photos from different angles so you can see how your hair and makeup will look.
2. Take care sunbathing in the run up to the wedding as suntan marks are very tricky to disguise. If fake tanning, build up light layers over a few days or weeks rather than going for a strong spray tan just before your wedding. Find the brand and level of tan that works best on your skin well in advance. It’s all part of the research!
3. Gently exfoliating the skin really does help with radiance. This is the time to treat yourself to some good serum and moisturiser to nourish the skin too.
4. Eat healthily, drink water, exercise, sleep well and avoid stress. Basically -look after yourself!
5. On the day, allocate plenty of preparation time. Listen to your favourite playlist to help relax you. I usually ask the bride’s best friend to help keep our zone free of too many interruptions. You’d be surprised how many people pop in to say ‘hi’! The last thing you want is someone bringing in their last minute drama whilst the bride’s getting ready. Don’t forget to eat either, as fainting at the aisle isn’t a good look (as a make-up artist, I’m likely to be the one force-feeding the bride).
Here Ciona shares three of her beauty videos to help brides-to-be achieve that perfect wedding day look: Golden, Hollywood and Romantic.
Next month Jane will be bringing us all the gossip from her hen do. She and the gals are off to a friend’s 18th Century farmhouse in France. Sounds fabulous!
Follow Ciona Johnson-King at @CionaJK or for more information visit www.ciona.co.
Follow Jane, at @Janeyspoon.
June 9th, 2015 | Julia Braime
As we continue to look to wedded stars for inspiration for bridal wear, hair and makeup, we’re delighted to be putting the gorgeous fearne cotton in the spotlight today – one of our top celebrity crushes here at Brides Up North HQ.
Whether she’s snapped on the way to the Radio 1 offices, presenting on TV or gracing the red carpet, style setter Fearne seems to get it right time and time again.
Cool, quirky and individual in her look, we all knew Miss Cotton was unlikely to wear a traditional wedding dress when she tied the knot to her long-term partner Jesse Wood last summer. And we were right as Fearne dazzled in an ankle-length Pucci gown, complete with sparkling headband, heels and bag. Pure perfection!
So let’s explore how you can steal classy Cotton’s big day look…
Though individual Fearne’s dress appears to take inspiration from a variety of sources. The cute tea-length with wide neck gives the gown a classy vintage edge and is reminiscent of the likes of Audrey Hepburn’s 1950s wedding dress. Meanwhile the soft pleated bodice and floaty tulle skirt have a somewhat Grecian feel about them, but then Fearne’s overall look, with soft hair and makeup, also says boho bride.
So the choice is yours. You can choose to replicate Fearne’s attire throughout or pick just one or two elements as inspiration. So for example you might love the cute length and capped sleeves of Fearne’s dress but not like the sparkle. In which case interest can instead be added with lace detail, a sash or romantic floral corsages. Alternatively you might prefer a fuller skirt than Fearne’s or a strapless or sleeveless design.
For fans of detail there are dresses with sparkle and embellishment along the neckline, sleeves or bodice that create a similar look to Miss Cotton and give brides varying levels of glitz to choose from.
If however you feel a carbon copy is the only way to go, top designer Jenny Packham produced an identical dress called Gemma in her 2014 collection with beautiful intricate detailing across the neckline which gives the illusion of an off-the-shoulder dress, just as Fearne’s did.
Clockwise from top left: image source| image source, photography by Chantal Andre Photography| image source| image source, photography by Karen Wise Photography| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Birds of a Feather.
If there’s one thing females envy Fearne for (apart from her amazing career) it’s her voluminous, golden glossy hair that seems to suit any do imaginable.
Ahead of the pack as always Fearne’s been rocking the lob (long bob) for quite some time now, even though the rest of us have only just caught on to the style. So keeping true to the relaxed look she’s become admired for, Fearne shunned a structured bridal up do in favour of wearing her gorgeous shoulder-length locks down with a cool, effortless wave.
The great news is the look is easy to achieve and works on most hair types and lengths (just those with cropped dos that will miss out on this one). Brides can tighten up the wave slightly to create more of a curl for the ceremony if they so wish and then allow to drop throughout the day for a more boho appearance come the evening celebrations.
Fearne finishes off her look with a sparkling silver headband to pick out the detail on her dress, again an easy look to copy, with numerous stunning vintage-style headpieces available to brides that like a little bling.
Clockwise from top left: image source, photography by Long Distance Loving| image source| image source| image source, photography by Bryce Covey| image source| image source, photography by Getty, Joanna Kustra| image source| image source| image source| image source, photography by Codrean Photography & Films.
We’ve seen Fearne work a variety of makeup looks over the years though she often returns to the safety of her signature style – lined eyes and a slick of lippy. Though slightly toned down, Fearne fell back on this look once again for her wedding day.
A great option for brides wanting fairly natural makeup, the finish is soft and pretty. Whether hiring a professional or going it alone ladies will want a flawless dewy base on which to begin, created using a light foundation and concealer and finished with a dusting of powder.
For a healthy boho glow Fearne’s cheekbones have been defined with bronzer and then a highlighter has been added to the cheeks and nose to reflect the light.
Eyes are kept simple with a sweeping of light, shimmering eyeshadow, that famous flick of eyeliner and a couple of coats of mascara.
Finally the main focal point of Fearne’s look, the lips. Lips should be lined for definition and staying power and then filed in with a warm pink hue for a glamourous yet girlie look.
April 24th, 2015 | Julia Braime
Today on Brides Up North its all about the aesthetics, as we argue the case for keeping things natural or giving the beauty gods a helping hand. We ask: wedding day beauty – what to do? No added effort or bring in the experts?
rachel says: keep it natural
While I do enjoy a good Mac makeover now and again I have to say I’m more a fan of the au natural look than I am an obvious made up look, especially when it comes to weddings.
I’ve first-hand double-taken brides arriving on the aisle, not because I’m dazzled by their radiance but because I barely recognise them. Who is this Barbie-like bride and what have you done with my friend?
Many ladies can think they have to look a certain way for their big day, often adding false nails, eyelashes and fake tan to their pre-wedding beauty regime that they wouldn’t usually entertain. But to me the most important thing is to look like you – a flippin’ good version of you, but you all the same.
I’m pretty certain the majority of grooms out there would also much rather lift a veil to find a bride that they actually recognise rather than someone who could give Amy Childs a run for her money at the cosmetics counter.
And that’s not the only problem, if you go for an on-trend fashionable look chances are you will regret it when look back on your wedding photos, perhaps within a few months, never mind years.
So I say keep it natural ladies, just like our celebrity bride yesterday, Ms Palermo. This doesn’t mean you can’t enhance your makeup a little by adding a bolder lip colour or subtle, smoky eyes but just be sure not to go OTT, which should result in a look that’s more wowie than it is TOWIE.
julia says: go all-out
Ooh, I love a good makeover.
Girls, hear me! This is your wedding day for crissakes. If there was ever a time to step it up, that time is now.
Yes, he loves you just as you are, and yes, you don’t want him to wonder who the make-up caked stranger advancing down the aisle might be, but really – he bought you a diamond – an all-out effort on the most important day of your life really is the least you can do.
First and foremost, when will you get the chance for such unashamed pampering again? Take it from this working mum, not when you’re changing nappies at 5am or catching up on emails at midnight. If I were you, I’d revel in the chance for a bit of spa-time and shopping. Full body massages, regular manicures, raiding the Charlotte Tilbury counter of a Saturday afternoon – the wedding budget can cover that!
Secondly, upping the beauty ante prior to the big day shouldn’t leave you looking like Franken-bride – just choose carefully. In the weeks pre-wedding, I’d leave the chemical peel and spray tan appointments free, but carefully placed individual eyelashes or pretty highlights and even a light swoosh of airbrush makeup will leave you looking flawless and fresh.
Often, the cheapest changes are the most effective. Prior to my own wedding way back in 2010 (when we barely even knew what a wedding blog was), I upped the ante on my regular runs, pencilled in lots more shut eye, ditched the vino and glugged lots of water instead. I treated myself to lots of lovely beauty products and more regular trims to keep my crowning glory in ship-shape. On the day itself, I brought in the experts: my nails were buffed and polished to perfection, hair casually coiffed and make-up beautifully done. The result: tons of confidence and a set of wedding pictures that I’m really proud of.
Did I still look like myself?
Nope. I looked better.
what you said
Kim: “I definitely plan to go glam on my wedding day, this is my chance to look like a princess and I fully intend to make the most of it!”
Melissa: “I’m keeping things natural. My partner hates heavy make up and I don’t want to scare him off!”
Julie: “I’ve heard horror stories about fake tan going wrong, so I plan to let my natural beauty shine through.”
Kate: “Part of my hen party involves a spa day so the bridesmaid and I are going to do lots of pre-wedding pampering!”
We’d love to hear what you’re planning for your big day beauty look?
December 31st, 2014 | Julia Braime
Merry Christmas! Its holiday season here on the blog, and as the editorial team take a break for the festive season, we’ll be leaving you with a reduced blogging schedule so that you still get your daily dose of wedding lovely.
Usual service will recommence on Monday 5th January 2015 (with some big news!) but in the meantime watch out for recaps of our favourite Real Weddings so far this year. Drop in every day for the very prettiest, most unique wedding inspiration and – if you are a Brides Up North bride – to see if your Real Wedding was one of our top picks for 2014.
Turns out that our talented Brides Up North Sponsors make the very prettiest of brides. Today’s absolutely beautiful wedding at Eshott Hall, starring our own Natalie Power, is a lovely lesson in romantic pastels and pretty detailing. I’ve saved this to share with you for a special start to the week, Pinterest fingers at the ready…
With images by Helen Russell Photography.
natalie says: We got engaged in November 2008, it was my birthday and Warren had surprised me with a trip to Barcelona. If that wasn’t surprise enough, he proposed, I could not believe it, it was so unexpected but perfect!
We were married on Saturday 31st May 2014, at Eshott Hall, Northumberland.
After looking at other possible venues we were becoming a little disheartened but then we arrived at Eshott Hall and as soon as we drove up the tree lined gravel driveway and past the manicured lawns we both knew this would be the venue. We wanted to have exclusive use of the venue for the weekend, stunning scenery and not be constrained by minimum numbers: Eshott Hall ticked all those boxes.
We didn’t have a ‘theme’ as such, we just felt everything fell into place; it was little mix of modern classic with a country edge. We chose a soft colour scheme of creams, pinks and peaches. We wanted to keep things pretty neutral and unstructured.
I wore a fitted Vera Wang wedding dress, which is completely the opposite of what I thought I wanted when I started looking. I had been pinning like crazy on the best wedding tool ever and had my heart set on a Jenny Packham dress. After trying it on I was very disappointed, it just didn’t feel like it was my ‘wedding’ dress so I was back to square one. It wasn’t until my Mum suggested I try on something completely different that I came across the dress, I tried it on once and fell in love. To complete the look I wore Jimmy Choo Crown heels in Nude, a gift from my husband
Make-up was provided by Jo Leversuch of Make-up by Jo, she did a super job and was even able to fit in an extra person on the day – nothing was too much for her, I would definitely recommend Jo. She was able to create a look for each of the bridesmaid that was unique to them, not a carbon copy of one another.
Warren wore a navy double-breasted jacket from Hugo Boss with a crisp white shirt from The Kooples. His cream trousers were also from Hugo Boss and completed his look with a set of braces from Bromleys. His shoes were brown double monk straps from Magnanni.
My bridesmaids wore Dessy dresses, style no. 2909 in Cameo to compliment the soft neutral colouring.
The groomsmen wore their own suits in navy to tie in with the Groom’s suit jacket; they all wore matching pink bowties and pocket squares from Etsy.
My bouquet was a selection of garden roses, spray roses, hydrangeas, soft grey foliage and brunia berries – all very loose and effortless. All of the flowers throughout the day were in the same style as my bouquet, provided by Helen of Bels Flowers. She is fabulous and I would highly recommend her.
Helen Russell was our photographer, we would definitely recommend Helen, she is so lovely and captured the atmosphere of the day perfectly.
As well as creating my own wedding invitations (my daytime job – see Natalie Power’s website) I also made the signage, table numbers and seating plan. Of course, my husband was on hand with his trusty saw and drill.
The food and drink was provided by Eshott Hall, it was beautifully presented and tasted just as good, everyone commented on how tasty it was.
We had a selection of cakes, a dessert table provided by the amazingly talented Bernadette of Dreamworld Cakes. The wedding cake itself was chocolate baileys flavour, victoria sponge cupcakes, mini cakes were chocolate orange flavour, macaroons in both rose and pistachio flavours, cake pops and artisan meringues.
During the ceremony, canapés and wedding breakfast the wonderful Aurora Strings entertained us; they played a selection of classical and pop music, which was perfect.
Our evening entertainment was provided by an amazingly talented band, The Noise, that I found through Warble Entertainment. They did an amazing job and were very enthusiastic, I highly recommend them.
We would highly recommend Eshott Hall. The venue itself is perfect if you are looking for somewhere you can use exclusively, it has beautifully manicured grounds to compliment your photography and décor that will not dictate your colour scheme.
For our honeymoon we decided on a US adventure taking in as many locations as we could. Our first stop was San Diego, from there we moved onto Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Morro Bay, Carmel, San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Mammoth Lakes, Death Valley before our last stop in Las Vegas. There were so many highlights from the trip from whale watching in Morro Bay, the tour in San Francisco, a Grand Canyon helicopter flight and watching Cirque Du Soleil ‘O’, it was all amazing! We loved the fact that we got to explore so many different places along with amazing weather and ever changing scenery.
My top tip for other Brides Up North would be when things get on top of you or don’t go to plan remember the reason you’re doing this. To marry the love of your life, that’s what’s important, everything else will fall into place.
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January 23rd, 2014 | Julia Braime
This morning we are bringing vintage styling up to date with a modern beauty twist as we join a collective of North West wedding industry suppliers for a last wedding breakfast at a Lancashire landmark venue.
Alison McMath will be just one of our fabulous suppliers at our Brides Up North Luxury & Vintage Bridal Exhibitions in the North West this Spring, make sure to put the date in your diary and pre-register now!
But back to today’s action first. Cat of CT Images says: We are an all female wedding industry team in the Lancashire area and we wanted to play around with concepts of ‘vintage’ and bringing the past up-to-date.
The shoot took place as the last pictures ever to be taken at Pickerings Country Hotel in Garstang, which has been the setting for numerous weddings over the years. The overgrown English country and apple-laden garden became the backdrop for the autumn shoot.
We wanted to demonstrate that contemporary hair and makeup styling can give vintage bridal gowns a new lease of life, freeing them of any constraints. The hairstyles took inspiration from different past eras and were all linked together with a more contemporary and daring bridal makeup style. Definitely more adventurous but still in keeping with beauty and romance, which is what every bride desires on her wedding day.
January 20th, 2014 | Julia Braime
Boudoir photography has a bad name, and this is no-one’s fault but it’s own. All to often, boudoir photography is tacky, hard, artificial, awkward and the absolute opposite of soft and and sensual. Would I book a boudoir shoot? Absolutely not.
But what about a Sweet Reveal shoot? Handled in an entirely different way at the hands of our wonderful Featured Supplier Cat of Cat Hepple Photography and her team of creatives, these shoots are less of a present for his bottom drawer, and more of a present to yourself – for your armoire or bedroom window seat. Affirming, confidence building, celebratory and oh soooo sexy, would I book a Sweet Reveal shoot? Well, maybe I already have…
That’s for me to know, but for now, here’s Cat and her team (watch out for Brides Up North Featured Suppliers Victoria Farr and Story Of Your Day Wedding Films too) to ease you into this very good idea, as they present their “Winter Boudoir” shoot.
Cat says: Sweet Reveal shoots are stylish boudoir shoots with an editorial feel- they look like something from a glossy magazine. I created this style of boudoir for my brides who often asked for a boudoir shoot but with a more subtle and romantic feel than typical images you’d expect from a lingerie shoot.
I always work around a theme, a styled look for each shoot, carefully crafted around the woman I’m going to be working with. Recent shoots included a Bond Girl influence, a boho look, and a Carrie Bradshaw styled look. It’s an individual as the woman.
For this shoot, I wanted to use ballet as our inspiration, we weren’t looking to recreate a ballet scene, but to use elements of dance to soften the feel and give it a fashion edge. Firstly the lingerie choices were so important, soft laces, high waisted knickers, tulle skirts, body stockings, all gave a nod to the world of ballet. I brought in the expert help of Jayne Winn from Sheer Bliss lingerie boutique, who sourced the beautiful lingerie pieces used in the shoot. Added to that we sprinkled a little extra glamour using gorgeous necklaces and hair decorations. These pieces added that all important editorial feel to the finished look.
I asked Charlotte Miller from Eden and Eve to style the shoot for me. Charlotte has a lot of experience at styling and understands how to bring a concept to life. She added warm sumptuous fur throws and ballet ribbon to our scenes and suggested one necklace be worn as a headpiece to go with some beautiful sleepwear in the softest blush rose pink. The key for this shoot was not to make it look too cutesy. Women having a boudoir shoot want to look sultry, sassy, sexy and chic. So we didn’t want the look to become too fluffy. This is where Victoria Farr our hair and make up artist became so important. She created hairstyles which you wouldn’t expect to see in the ballet room, so keeping the look more edgy and fashion conscious. The whole mix works so well together.
Many women are scared of boudoir shoots, feeling that everything will have to be on show and that they can be completely unforgiving to most women, but this simply is not true. These carefully crafted shoots are about exploiting the best parts of a woman, and giving her confidence to feel and look amazing. The transformation between a woman who arrives for the shoot feeling nervous and when they leave looking and feeling radiant and confident, is one of the best things for me about The Sweet Reveal. It’s amazing to do that for someone.
The Sweet reveal shoots make a great Valentines day gift. Imagine surprising your partner with the most beautiful little album filled with gorgeous shots of you. Currently if you book for Valentines, hair and make up is included in the price too, making it a great way to do something amazing for someone very special.
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