Brides Up North Wedding Fairs

the big debate. wedding day beauty: all out effort or keep it natural?

April 24th, 2015 | Julia Braime

Found on, photography by Heather Elizabeth Photography

image source, photography by Heather Elizabeth Photography

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?

Found on

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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.

Found on

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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.

Found on

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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?

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The Vintage Garden. A Contemporary Styled Bridal Shoot In Lancashire

January 23rd, 2014 | Julia Braime

CT Images

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! 

Cheshire 2014

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.

CT Images

CT Images

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.

CT Images

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.

CT Images

CT Images

CT Images

CT Images

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The Winter Boudoir. A Sweet Reveal shoot by Cat Hepple Photography

January 20th, 2014 | Julia Braime

Cat Hepple Photography

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…

Cat Hepple Photography

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 Hepple Photography

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.

The Winter Boudoir from Story of Your Day on Vimeo.

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.

Cat Hepple Photography

Cat Hepple Photography

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.

Cat Hepple Photography

Cat Hepple Photography

Cat Hepple Photography

Cat Hepple Photography

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.

Cat Hepple Photography

Cat Hepple Photography

Cat Hepple Photography

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.

Cat Hepple Photography

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Flawless. Supplier Showcase: Claire Hartley Make Up Artist

December 4th, 2013 | Julia Braime

Claire Hartley Make Up Artist

This afternoon we welcome Brides Up North Featured Supplier Claire Hartley Make Up Artist to the blog.  Claire shares my passion for the Northern Revolution and is encouraging all her clients to think local when planning their big day.  Today, we find out how she can help to make your big day beautiful. 

How and when did you become a make up artist?  

I have been in the cosmetics industry for many years working as an Account Manager for top make up and skincare houses Clarins, Clinique and Estee Lauder. I have been trained to the highest standards with all of these brands and achieved Accredited Consultant status with Clinique. Most recently I have been professionally trained by ‘Airbase’ using their High Definition Airbrush Make Up and I am fully appointed in the theory and practical application of Airbase make up. I have also completed a BABTEC and Beauty Guild accredited course in Advanced Make Up Techniques as well as accredited courses in Threading, Facial Therapy, a party Lashes and Spray Tanning. I am committed to continually updating my knowledge and skills to provide an exceptional service to all of my clients.

What service do you offer for brides to be?

I offer a full bridal package that is inclusive of a full consultation, a trial 4 -6 weeks before the big day, skin prep and make up application on the day. Every bride is different and I work closely with them to create the perfect look that is unique to them, reflects their personality and ties in perfectly with the theme of the wedding, the dress, hair and accessories. I build a relationship with the bride that will give her confidence, keep her relaxed and feel comfortable having me there on the morning of the wedding. I can adapt my services to match exactly what the bride would like whether it may be several trials, a make up lesson teaching her skills for future use or even teaching her how to apply her own wedding day make up. I also offer beauty services to my brides and can provide bespoke packages that include monthly facials, spray tanning, threading and more.

Claire Hartley Make Up Artist

Why should a bride have her make up professionally applied?

I think having your wedding make up professionally applied takes away a lot of stress and worry on the day. Bridal preparations are an amazing part of your wedding day and to relax and enjoy them without any pressure makes them even more special.

Professionally applied make up will look flawless, will last all day and enhance your natural beauty. Professionals use their knowledge and skills to create a perfect look that looks amazing on camera as well as in ‘real life’.

Do you do a make up trial? Why would you recommend this?

Yes, I include a make up trial in all my bridal and wedding make up services. This is an opportunity to get to know the bride and her bridal party and to find out about the wedding from the dress and colour theme to flowers and accessories and the timings of the day.

It gives me us the opportunity to create the perfect look, match the perfect colours and to choose the perfect products!

It also gives the opportunity to find out about the clients skin type and ensure the correct products are used for each individual. Any allergies can be taken into account and a make up plan is prepared for use on the day.

Claire Hartley Make Up Artist

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Paintbox. Supplier Showcase: AJ Edgar Make Up Artist

November 25th, 2013 | Julia Braime

AJ Edgar Make Up Artist

Today I’m proud to introduce you to a Brides Up North Featured Supplier who I can personally vouch has creativity and enthusiasm by the bucket load.  I was Art & Design classmates with AJ Edgar Make Up Artist back in the day and let me tell you, you should have see the size and scale (and talent behind) her fine art coursework.  We could barely fit it into the art room.  Getting the girl to double maths was another story…

I have no doubt that Alexandra will put her absolute all into making your wedding day both fun and beautiful.  Sign her up, girls. 

AJ Edgar Make Up Artist

How and when did you become a Make Up Artist?

Having worked in the cosmetics Industry for over a decade, I have spent the last six years based in a prestigious, multi- brand boutique in Newcastle City Centre. I have met and gained extensive training from the industry’s most talented names. I frequently travel to London and Edinburgh to remain avant garde with all the latest products and trends.

I love to paint and consider make up artistry as portraiture!  With my skill base and a love for design, AJ Edgar Make Up Artist  was born. I can now reach all of you brides to be and fulfil your wishes in creating a unique portrait of you, lit from within. I can’t wait to meet you all!

AJ Edgar Make Up Artist

What service do you offer Brides to Be?

My service to you is to create the very finest portrait of you and your bridal party.  You will look and feel extra special and photograph beautifully.

Why should a Bride to Be have her make up professionally applied?

With my experience I am well equipped at dealing with the fun, hustle and bustle of your wedding morning.  I am an artist who understands light and shadow. I create a special, unique, classic and timeless look for your special day.

Your bridal party will compliment you beautifully and the ladies wearing hats will be seen, not cast in shadow.

AJ Edgar Make Up Artist

Do you do a trial? Why would you recommend this?

Contact me to arrange your trial. Reassure yourself that you and your bridal party will look picture perfect. At this stage we can establish any skincare concerns and ensure your skin looks radiant.  A bridal trial costs £30 (£20 for other members of the bridal party).  This is exclusive of travelling costs.

Then relax, leave the rest to me!

AJ Edgar Make Up Artist

AJ Edgar Make Up Artist

What sets your business apart from your competitors?

I remain current with all the most innovative, leading brands.

I insist on using the finest products allowing me to create the most natural, glowing, polished portrait of you.

I endeavour to enhance your natural beauty and that of your bridal party.

I create classic, stunning and timeless make up looks.

I work to your requirements and style. I never want your photographs to date.

I am truly passionate about my artistry and service to you. I just love a wedding morning!

AJ Edgar Make Up Artist

What have been your professional highlights?

A real highlight was flying back to my old home The Bahamas to be bridesmaid for my dear friend Stephanie. She had arranged for a make up artist to fly in from Miami.

Imagine my excitement, what a treat; I was getting my make up professionally applied. As it transpired the other bridesmaids and I were horrified with the results. The thick mask of foundation did none of us any justice at all and was melting rapidly in the humidity.

Fortunately, I was doing Christine, the mother of the bride’s make up. I had a small amount of kit with me, so, after making Christine picture perfect I then turned my attention to us. The highlight was being told I “Saved the Day”, all the while keeping the bride separate from our concerns.

AJ Edgar Make Up Artist

We ended up all comfortable in our own skin and ready to rock the aisle and support Stephanie in her chic “Colonial Bahamian” Wedding Day.

In July this year I received an email from British Vogue. I was invited to feature in the September Issue under ‘Vogue’s Wedding Wishlist’. They said they really liked my website and beautiful wedding make up. I was absolutely honoured as you can imagine. So as of now you will find me recommended by Vogue!

AJ Edgar Make Up Artist

What are your favourite Wedding Make Up Looks?

I personally need all the help I can get to bring my face to life. Thank you make up, I quite love you.  I strongly recommend a classic, timeless and elegant look on your wedding day.  That doesn’t mean no colour. Colour is good, done tastefully is what I’m talking about.

What would be your Top 5 Make Up tips for a Bride to Be?

Less is More. 

Embrace a good cleansing routine. I recommend the Eve Lom Cleanser regarded by Vogue as “ Probably the Best Cleanser in the world”. 

Leave false lash application to me on the day. I would hate for the adhesive to be visible.

Have a professional eyebrow shape. It will open up the eyes and for a more mature lady; it will create a lift to the face.

Relax, have fun, it’s your wedding day! You have put a lot of work into your big day so enjoy every minute of it!

AJ Edgar Make Up Artist

What would be your Top 5 Wedding Make Up No No’s?

Embrace your pallor! Don’t get spray tans or apply fake tan prior to your big day if you’re not accustomed to it.

Don’t do anything drastic under the doctors’ needle.

Do not get sunburnt! I recommend Instituit Esthederm sun care.

Do not use any harsh, abrasive products that could potentially redden the skin or exasperate rsacea or sensitivity.

Don’t go changing too much; you are loved as you are!

AJ Edgar Make Up Artist

Who would be your dream client and why?

Andy Warhol: “If everyone’s not a beauty then no one is”. 

Are there any really memorable weddings you have worked on?

Every wedding morning is beautifully memorable, such a wonderful atmosphere, the time flies and it’s amazing to see my clients picture perfect in their dress. 

A particular stand out memory was when I was asked to cover a huge bruise on the forehead of a bride’s father. He was extremely conscious of the shiner ruining his daughters’ photographs.  As simple as a good mattifying primer and a slither of concealer and the gentleman was good to go. Oh, no one would ever know!

AJ Edgar Make Up Artist

Can you give Brides Up North an idea on price?

On appointment AJ Edgar Make Up Artist will Invoice you a “Save The Date” deposit of £30. Thereafter I charge £100 for bridal wedding make up and £50 for each member of the bridal party.

Where are you located and will you travel?

You will find me in the City Centre of Newcastle Upon Tyne where we can arrange a trial, alternatively I will travel to you. I will then travel to you on the morning of your wedding day.

AJ Edgar Make Up Artist

AJ Edgar Make Up Artist

Why do you read and like the Brides Up North blog?

I have read the blog for a long time and seen many familiar faces on their wedding day. Julia and I are classmates from our school days and it was lovely to see her artistic skills come to life and create such a beautiful blog. A client of mine described it as “the go to blog for Brides Up North” so I am very excited to be a Featured Supplier.

How can Brides Up North see examples of your work and find out more about you?

You will find photographs and testimonials of my work and can contact me at

Like my my Facebook page or follow AJ Edgar Make Up Artist on Twitter, this will allow you to learn pro tips and tricks and I will keep you updated with all the latest in skincare, hair care and the finest cosmetic innovations and the magical goings on in the art market.

You can contact me through the website or telephone me on 0753 007 5279 or alternatively email me at

I am truly excited to hearing from you and creating the most beautiful Brides Up North. 


Brides Up North UK Wedding Blog – Images © 2013 as supplied by AJ Edgar Make Up Artist

AJ Edgar Make Up Artist is a Brides Up North Featured Supplier

Contact Brides Up North to submit your business as a Featured Supplier

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Flaunt It Fabulously. A Styled Bridal Shoot In The North West

August 19th, 2013 | Julia Braime

This morning on the blog we are showing off – one amazing elite wedding venue and the work of some really rather fabulous Northern suppliers.  Because, well, if you’ve got it (and hell yes, we’ve got it up North!) why not flaunt it?

Early one sunny Monday morning in Spring, one of the most exclusive wedding venues in the UK quietly opened it’s doors for a secret bridal photo-shoot to celebrate 15 years of Jean Jackson Couture. The shoot was to be an artistic collaboration between one of the North West’s finest dress designers and a small collection of highly sought-after and award-winning wedding suppliers, including the lovely Phoebe of Brides Up North Featured Supplier Flossy & Leigh Make Up Artist Company.  And what beautiful results…

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