I have had the pleasure of working at this Man
chester City Centre hotel on numerous occasions. The staff are fabulous and friendly and the The Midland in Manchester is an iconic landmark in the heart of this cosmopolitan, vibrant city. Whether you are visiting the city on business or pleasure, The Midland has a reputation for outstanding, friendly service and an array of delightful stories stretching back over more than a century of history, not to mention a guest list that is the envy of the rest of the city.
The impressive Grade II listed venue boasts two award-winning restaurants, a spa well worthy of its impressive four-award victory at The Spa Traveller Awards 2015 and 312 richly furnished bedrooms which exude opulent, classical elegance.
For further details please see www.qhotels.co.uk or contact 01612 363 333
Thank you to Sara Porter Photography, a pleasure working with you again.
Harry Jon Hair and Makeup
Stop the press!! NEWSFLASH: Harry Jon has a home!!
2015 has been one hellova year here at HJ! With hundreds of gorgeous Harry Jon brides walking down the aisle over the last twelve months, this autumn, our very own Clare joined them in marrying the love of her life in front of their gorgeous two daughters, loving family and favourite friends, on a day we won’t be forgetting in a hurry! So with a fresh new start for the head of our gang, we can’t think of a better way to see in the new year, than with a brand new base on the high street!
By early spring 2016, we will be opening our doors to the brand new HJ HQ here in Middlewich, East Cheshire. We are bursting with excitement and ready to invite all of our clients with a very special welcome to our new home!
But not only that….there’s more!!
For 7 years, we have been travelling the length and breadth of the UK to our brides-to-be. But of course, trying to reach everyone on one day becomes difficult and we have sadly had to turn many people down, due to time restrictions. So, not only do we now have an HQ as our base…but we are also launching the Glam Bar!
The Glam Bar will be for anyone looking for that extra special make up:
- A night out, big birthday, hunt ball or just an excuse to look fabulous – open exclusively on Fridays and Saturdays for all those who like to party!
- Bridal trials – without having to throw your fiance out for an hour so we can talk all things ‘wedding’ in private, now you can relax and we can work on your ideal look together!
- Training – we now offer workshops and courses for those wanting to learn how to self perfect that smokey eye, balance that unsymmetrical winged eyeliner or simply bring a bit of glam to your day look! We can’t wait to share our top secret hints and tips for quick makeup fixes and hair dilemmas!
Forget chasing after the kids with curlers in your hair, a fake eyelash stuck to your cheek and a half attempt at full evening make up because you ran out of time…no, no! Bringing a chic and swanky new setting to Cheshire for all clients to relax and enjoy with a glass of bubbly, join Harry Jon at the Glam Bar for your unique glam-up experience!
AND it doesn’t end there! We want your feedback to help us make your experience the absolute very best it can be. We appreciate your thoughts and we want to hear from you! Any additional services or courses you’d like to be made available, please let us know so we can work on it.
We’re busy transforming the space already!
So there you have it, 2016 will be the year of Harry Jon! Make sure you join us on social media and pop in for a visit soon. Watch this space for news of the all exclusive Harry Jon launch party!
Christmas Party Makeup Ideas
Christmas Party Glam – Sorted
Christmas party season is now upon us – but for many women choosing the ‘perfect’ party look is a nightmare. Magazines are filled with inspiration and plugs for seasonal products – but we all have different tastes and preferences which can make matching your make-up with your outfit and the occasion perfectly more than a little tricky. If this sounds like you, then don’t worry – let us take the torturous out of this yearly task with our bumper party post. Simply take a look at our top tips for the Christmas party season below – complete with plenty of inspiration no matter what your favourite look may be.
Glitz and glam
Christmas is the perfect time of year to crack out the shine and glitter. Go big with plump, sexy, glossy lips and dramatic eye make-up with a hint of shimmer (or a ton of glitter!) If you like to go ‘all out’ then this is certainly the time and the place to do so – with plenty of scope to be daring and different ensuring that you really stand out from the crowd when you’re out on the tiles. If you’re a fan of a bold lip, Buxom glosses by Bare Minerals amplify and add shine to your pout whilst moisturising all night long.
Buxom Glosses at Sephora
The smokey eye is a party mainstay all year round – but you can really vamp it up for the Christmas party or add a new twist to it to keep it subtle, sexy and a little different. How about trying browns and nudes instead of traditional grey and black – or introducing a subtle pop of colour like deep purple, royal blue or bright copper? Whatever your preference may be, the Louise Young Smokey Eye Palette has got it sorted with a range of gorgeous tones with make constructing the perfect smokey simple – from dusky greys to sultry chocolates. You can team the smokey with a pale lip or a glossy nude for something a little different.
Keep it simple
Although this is the perfect time of year to go ‘all out’, sometimes less is more. You might always feel too ‘done’ for parties (especially at a work do) – but with glitz and glamour the focus of seasonal editorials you feel as though you may fade into the background without a bold lip and dramatic eye. If this sounds familiar then don’t worry – simple, classic make-up really can be stunning and holds as much ‘wow factor’ as more daring looks traditionally synonymous with seasonal soirees. The sexy, subtle hues contained within Naked’s range of professional palettes are perfect for this look – with soft browns and sumptuous shimmers combined with barely-there greys and slightly darker shades for added drama. A good blending brush is also essential for a subtle eye – so invest in a thick, soft eye blender like Bobbi Brown’s Eye Sweep.
Urban Decay – Naked Palletes
Our favourite make-up brands always come up with some tantalising goodies at this time of year – so don’t wait to see what lands in your stocking come Christmas day when the party’s over – treat yourself now! This year YSL’s offering involves lots of striking, vibrant pinks and reds reminiscent of the eighties, coupled with soft shimmery shadows for a more naked eye to perfectly compliment a bold lip. We love the fun Lulu Guinness-inspired packaging too – in luxurious gold of course! Over at Dior decadent precious metals are the key components, with sparkling pale pink, gold and bronze shadows and highlighters perfect for day and night-time glam. Whichever floats your boat, limited-edition palettes are ideal for creating a versatile party look time and again with their range of colours and textures designed to complement each other perfectly.
Keep following the blog for more party inspiration and product reviews.
Choosing the right foundation
Foundation: Many women won’t leave the house without it on – but we all like a different texture, consistency and finish to our foundations – and have specific requirements which differ as our skin changes and as we get older. For most of us, it is a huge booster for our confidence – the ultimate skin enhancer and imperfection smoother.
If you’re anything like me, you have a few foundations for different occasions, coverages and moods – or mix them to get your perfect finish. Many women I’ve come into contact with know exactly what they want from their foundation, but find it hard to find a dream product which covers all bases (pun intended!) So with this in mind, choosing the ‘perfect’ foundation can be quite a challenge – even if you know what you want. Here’s the low-down on the latest in skin-perfecting tints …
You might not have heard of Airbase yet – but it’s likely you will be reading a lot of gushing reviews about this stuff over the next few months. Airbase is a unique foundation featuring a blend of vitamins A and E – improving the overall tone and elasticity of the skin easily smoothing over fine lines. For this reason, this is a fab choice for anybody concerned about ageing skin which is often difficult to match to a foundation as by nature, many tend to dry the skin and emphasise lines rather than conceal them. This foundation is specially designed to be used with an airbrush machine – but you can also use traditional methods such as a brush to smooth it onto your face.
Versatile mineral foundation has seen a rise in popularity with an increasing number of people concerned over the various toxins and chemicals they are putting on their face on a daily basis. It also offers a simple, quick application and natural finish – both of which are popular with younger and older markets alike. It can also be used over a liquid to set if dusted lightly. The likes of Bare Minerals have always dominated the market with Mineral, with cosmetics heavyweights such as MAC and Bobbi muscling in with their own versions. Now however there’s a serious competitor on the scene – as Sheer Cover Studio releases a range of products including a comprehensive kit which allows you to cover imperfections and smooth skin without clogging pores with toxins and chemicals.
Renowned professional make-up artistry house Illamasqua are the masters of the luminescent, rich-coverage skin-finish foundations famed for their smooth, luxurious finish. Liquid foundation is the most popular type of coverage, closely followed by powders – and this is something they excel at in both areas. Illamasqua’s latest liquid foundations have garnered plenty of positive reviews in the press – particularly attributed to their luminescent, ‘natural look and feel’ qualities. The Powder Foundation compact (which features in their fab ‘Skin Trinity’ set) with micro-fine particles to offer a velvety matte finish, is ideal on its own for lazy Sundays and on top of make-up as a setting agent. Skin Base is also a fantastic choice for everyday and for bridal make-up alike – with a fresh, dewy finish promising long-lasting, all day (and night) coverage.
New MAC waterproof
MAC are arguably still the industry favourites for women of all ages when it comes to cosmetics – yet many still remain divided over their foundation range. When you mention MAC make-up to women, all are excited, but when you start to talk about foundations, differing opinions arise. I’ve met a lot of women over the years who have complained that MAC foundations are too heavy for them, are drying, and that they also find it difficult to find the right colour. Having worked on counters myself a fair few years ago, I reckon this is more down to the person matching than an issue with any of their products. Professional make-up artists use MAC extensively for photo-shoots, weddings and other special occasions – so with that in mind, it’s more down to the foundation you choose and the person who helps you choose it. MAC’’s new waterproof offering is simply incredible – offering the seemingly impossible with moisturising and shine diffusing qualities rolled into one, making it suitable for both oily and dry skin. All this, and it’s waterproof too.
Wedding skin care – preparation is key
It’s likely you already know that however good your foundation and MUA may be, the healthier your skin is underneath, the better your makeup will look. Many brides realise this, but forget about it in the midst of other things until just a few weeks before the wedding- way too late to actually make a difference in time for the day itself. If timing isn’t on your side, you could find your impurities coming to a head (quite literally) on the very morning of your big day.
So why is this?
To be able to combat this and ensure a fresh, clear complexion, you firstly need to understand the simple science of skin. Like our hair, skin has a natural cycle which in essence involves production and shedding. Your skin is made up of complex layers less than one cell thick. It is ‘built’ in the base layer and slowly moves up to the external layer (the dermis, the layer we can see) where it is shed. This process is continual. The tricky thing is that this takes time – so if you start too late with the ‘flushing’ process, you’ll end up with a full-on skin emergency right when you don’t need it.
For this reason, it’s simply no good starting to drink enough water to ‘flush’ out impurities just one or two weeks before your wedding day.
Drink it Up
Yes, water is fabulous for skin – and indeed, for your whole body. You know that really, you should be drinking plenty of water (around 1.5 litres a day including water from food) all year round – not just prior to your wedding day. But with busy lifestyles and a taste for tea, coffee and fizzy drinks, our skin suffers as it is exposed to toxins and starved of what it needs to look beautiful.
Avoid diuretics such as coffee and alcohol, as these could thwart your efforts – and don’t forget that sugary drinks can cause spots and premature ageing. Drinking enough water has plenty of benefits for your body – so once you get in the habit, try and stick to it even after the wedding – your skin will thank you.
Whilst hydration from the inside out is key, remember to hydrate topically too with a good moisturiser suited well to your skin type. Unfortunately, our skin is the last part of our body to receive the water we drink – so even if you are drinking enough, it may need a helping hand to top up its moisture levels to keep it looking plumped, smooth and supple. Try to add moisturiser or facial oil when the skin is still damp – as you want to ‘lock in’ the moisture provided by water with your moisturiser, which won’ t actually provide any extra water for the skin (no matter what it may say on the bottle).
What else can I do?
The health and appearance of our skin is determined by a great number of factors. Hormones, stress and age all play a part – so what else can you do?
Although I can clearly hear collective snorts of incredulity, bear with me here. Yes, the build-up to your wedding day is one of the most stressful periods in your life (the pressure to look perfect, the endless cake-tasting, the huge expenditure, the irrational panic that everything will ‘go wrong’) – but invest in some yoga, meditation or whatever works for you in order to relieve stress as this can upset the skin’s balance and is a common culprit behind acne and eczema.
The importance of proper cleansing cannot be stressed enough. Make sure you choose a product which works well for you and your skin – cleansing in the evening especially to remove any dirt and make-up which will have built up during the day. This will reduce the likelihood of pores clogging and spots developing. Clean make-up brushes regularly too as these can harbour acne-causing bacteria if left dirty, and don’t forget to change your pillowcase regularly (even if you don’t change the whole bed) as the build-up of dead skin and dirt can be disastrous for skin.
Whilst you’re drinking plenty of water, make a healthy effort with what you are eating too. Recent research showed that remarkably, eating a specific mix of coloured fruit and vegetables gives the skin an inimitable ‘glow from within’ – a beautiful tone which could not be achieved by real or fake tan or cosmetic products.
Last-minute skin saviours
This one’s for all of you reading this a few weeks before the big day with no prep done in a state of skincare-induced panic. There are a few things you can do prior to the wedding (prep or no prep) which can tone and condition the skin and sort out a few disaster zones. Natural remedies rule when it comes to obtaining fast results –so for pure hydration and soft skin, try anti-bacterial coconut oil – it’ll fight spots whilst keeping dryness at bay. Mix together pure tea tree oil and lemon juice for a potent spot-buster – just dab a little onto the offending article with a cotton bud. Food facials are also excellent to improve skin condition – moisturising and removing impurities all at once. Egg, honey, yoghurt, cocoa and avocado are all fab ingredients packing a skin-loving punch of nourishing nutrients and minerals.
Hopefully some handy top tips for a relaxed wedding morning
You’ve spent months, some of you, years…and now the big day has finally arrived!
I have witnessed many morning flusters and many more last minute panics on the morning of a wedding day. So I thought I would write a short hints and tips guide, to help you prepare and retain it stress free.
Nerves do funny things to brides (AND bridesmaids), so you never really know just how you are going to be during the run up to it – never mind the actual day. The big picture is that you’ve got all your favourite people coming together for the best ever celebration, with your favourite suppliers from the wedding industry hired to help it run smoothly…
So the wedding day is here, sit back, relax, drink bubbly, make sure you eat something and take it all in.
The Week Before Your Wedding
It’s the last run up to the wedding, so be organized! Anything like stationary, music, gifts etc that can be done in advance – get them done! Keep yourself a storage box on wedding bits to keep them safe and ready all together for the big day.
With regards to table plans, don’t panic if somebody can no longer come. In fact, most weddings have a last minute guest cancellation – which is annoying because you still have to pay for them and their name is all ready perfectly printed on your wedding plan. But let it go over your head, it’s just a name! Yes, you want everything to be perfect but worst case scenario, you now have a spare chair! If you do manage to find a last minute friend you can now invite to the wedding breakfast, then I’m sure they won’t mind being referred to a Aunty Flo for a couple of hours!
Write your list to keep your mind relaxed and organised and get checking it off so the last week is all minimal bits n bobs and enjoying a pamper.
The Night Before Your Wedding
Full swing celebrations are on! It’s the night before and there is nothing more you can do to change things. So, some time spent with the girls, relaxing and getting excited with them, is great for unwinding and keeping the nerves at bay…but watch the bubbly! Hungover brides have happened and will always happen, but they always regret it the day after. There will be plenty more where that came from on your wedding day!
Nails, lash extensions & tan should all be done by now – don’t leave it until the wedding day! It goes extremely fast and things like this need time and patience you don’t want to be running around frantic over patchy tan on your wedding morning.
Try and sleep. Keep a pen and paper at the side of your bed, then anything on your mind you can jot down and relax your mind.
The Wedding Morning
Hair & Makeup
The morning will go fast! Before you know it, you’re putting on your dress, the registrar is arriving and your bridesmaids are running around you like loonies.
A hair and makeup artist can really take the pressure off. All you have to do is get up, get showered and then wait in your cute PJ’s for them to arrive. Remember, no bra straps or socks if you can see these areas when you’re dressed! You don’t want to have an ugly underwear line shown in a beautiful strapless gown! Also remember that your makeup artist will need pictures from your trial and/or inspiration pictures that you have found for you and your bridal party in advance.
If you are going DIY on your wedding morning then make sure you have done a couple of trial runs beforehand and make sure you start earlier than you think you will need to on the actual morning. Most brides want to be ready before they are due to go downstairs, but from experience, once you are ready you’ll relax more. If you’re ready early then you have time for changes if something’s not right. Don’t forget you need time to get into your dress too!
Your photographer quite often takes pictures of your gown, accessories and anything else special you have bought. So it’s good to have everything together and ready before he/she arrives.
Speak to your photographer and check if they like to shoot any staged pictures where you might have to pause preparations midway, or if they need you ready early to take pictures before you leave. All this takes time, so factor this in. Your makeup artist can leave cheeks, lips and fitting your hair accessory until the photographer is ready, so your utilizing the time well.
When the photographer has finished taking pictures of your gown hung up, if you have a corset back it is wise to ask someone to get it un-laced and ready to be put on whilst you finish off doing your make up. Long corsets can take a while to undo and will save you time later. WARNING: whoever does this make sure they have clean hands and nails or they will leave marks!
Wedding Party Pains
I quite often hear of wedding party members causing havoc. If it’s hairstyles they’re unhappy with, then leave it to the hairdresser – maybe give her a heads up that someone’s quite particular about their look, but we’re used to it.
If it’s arguments over table plans, aka. Someone can’t be in the same room as someone else, in fact anything where they turn into a tantrum toddler – then let them deal with it and keep your self well clear. If they can’t behave like a grown up, then why are you paying £50 per head to have them there? A wise wedding supplier once told me “you have to be a little bit selfish on your wedding day because this day is for you, not them”.
Do i hear tantrums? Yes our children are gorgeous but we all know they like to play up for mum & dad. Even some of the most adorable might start to play up when they feel something is going on or different. So organise someone to look after them, burn off some steam, take a nap if they need one and be fed and watered before arriving with you ready to be dressed and leave. They easily get bored with your relaxed wedding preparations so enjoy your ‘you’ time.
Make sure your groomsmen and bridesmaids have all had fittings and tried everything on in advance! Short trousers, jackets that won’t fasten and bridesmaids in poorly fitting gowns are a wedding day nightmare. Be prepared and try them on – you’ll have time to change things and delegate a runner to the nearest outlet if not all has gone to plan. You personally don’t need that extra stress on your wedding morning, especially if your wedding venue is far away!
There is absolutely nothing you can do about Mother Nature – so plan for it. If you’ve a lot going on outside, then it’s good to purchase some cute wellies or boots just in case, also umbrellas and gazebos to keep you dry. Even think about hair and makeup. If your hair doesn’t like to curl and you are going for a hair down look with the risk of rain, it will drop a lot. If your hair doesn’t like humidity, you don’t want to end up looking like Monica Geller from Friends, so plan wisely!
I have had so many brides worry and stress about the rain and really there is nothing you can do about it. Looking back on your wedding day thinking you spent your morning worrying about the rain might be a funny story later on, but don’t stress, just go with it. The majority of the time the clouds part as you step outside, but there is nothing you can do about a storm so don’t sweat it! Photographers are used to it all and will have tricks to get perfect pictures, hair and makeup can be waterproof/water resistant – your suppliers have been dealing with things like this for years, so relax!
You’ve picked all your suppliers because you loved something about them and they are experienced. You’ve given them your vision in the meetings up to the wedding, so now is the time to just trust them.
If you get really worried, then wait until they’ve finished to see what they’ve done and them comment – sometimes the coming together doesn’t look quite right but the finished sight will be your vision again.
This is with the exception of hair – for me if you need extra adding, more height, or hair left out, then it really is best to know before you are glued into place for perfection. But for this reason I dress your hair in front of a mirror and then you can give the instructions as we go.
Relax, don’t over think and go with the flow of the wedding celebrations – hair and makeup, pictures, video, flowers arriving, getting ready, speaking to the registrar etc. It’s a whirlwind of a day so cherish EVERY moment without stress. Everyone will have some sort of anxiety butterflies as you put on your dress ready to walk down the aisle – just remember’ to enjoy every moment. There really is nothing to worry about, it’s just a massive party for YOU!
Give us a comment and share any stresses you might have had or are worried about… x
Advice for choosing the perfect hair for your wedding day!
SO, for some, you may have a pretty good idea of the perfect hair for your wedding day. But for other, you may have none at all!
I work with hundreds of brides-to-be (including some celebrity brides) but for each and every one, i urge them to research for inspiration. I’m known as a bit of a hair queen and i love seeing the look on a brides face when she’s blown away at her hair and makeup trial!
Pintrest is a great way to secretly save ideas and inspiration for your wedding. You can have both public and private board to pin your ideas as a collective mood board. I use it all the time to search and save all kinds of hair and makeup suggestions and i recommend it to all of my brides. Even if you think the styles you find might not be exactly right for your own wedding day, the yard an excellent representation of your style.
So get pinning that tiny drape of a fringe, that opulent drop of a curl and that luscious oomph of volume – it all helps me to know what you like!
Gathering all these cut outs and mood boards will start to show both you and i the type of styles you like. In fact, even pop some in that you hate so we can make sure we avoid it – every little helps! Then as you find your perfect wedding gown and what theme you want for your wedding you can start to put the pieces together so it works.
You’re a ‘hair down’ kind of bride but you have a gorgeous details lace back on your wedding dress. So you absolutely cannot pay all that money just to cover it up with your locks! But there is a solution… You can compromise and have a cascade to one side or a subtle draped ‘hair uo’, that is soft and delicate around your face.
You’re a ‘hair up’ kind of bride but your favourite gown is strapless so you feel the need to have it down. Okay, so then go for a half up- half down look, with a lot pinned up and lots of height to it, but enough hair to soften around your shoulders and face. If your hair is quite fine then i would advise you to buy some clip in hair extensions to help build up the areas where you need more hair whilst still keeping the height. Alternatively, you could also have your seamstress make you a jacket or strap to compliment you wedding.
Bear in mind; if your hair doesn’t like to curl or looks like something Monica in Friends might look like with ‘the humidity’ then its unlikely to change for a day. Unruly hair can be tames but it can’t be cured. Keep in mind the weather conditions and how you hair reacts. I promise to do my best (and I’m pretty confident in my abilities!) but i can’t perform miracles as much as id like to.
If you’re a bride suffering from a condition such as alopecia and struggling to find a suitable style, i can help. In these cases you have to choose your inspiration without regard for your circumstances – you only need an idea of the style that you like, then leave the rest to your stylist. In the past, i’ve used eyebrow cake or shadow similar to the hair colour to camouflage patches and then draped hair into a style to compliment the client. Don’t worry, we’ll sort it!
I get a lot of brides that disregard images because it features a fringe and they don’t have one, or the image is for thick hair and theirs is super fine. Well, my best advice it to save the image anyway because you love something about the look and you’d be surprised what we can muster up with a few styling tools! Fringe or no fringe it can be adapted. Fine hair – grab some extensions… no problem! Just remember the extensions MUST BE as close (not necessarily perfect) match to your colour and 100% human hair. Heat resistant or synthetic extensions and hair pieces just won’t work. They have a nasty shine in camera light and will look too fake. ITs a cost worth spending if you’re going to use them for your big day.
Basically, if you love it but you think you can’t achieve it… Let your stylist be the judge!
An Organised Bride!
I met Meryl a while back now but i remember her pamper like it was last week. She was such an organised bride, armed with inspiration images and ideas – even her bridesmaids were decisive! Their trial and the wedding day was a breeze; absolute pleasure to work with…
Lewis and I lived 5 doors away from each other at our parents homes for about 9 years. We went to different High Schools but we did have some friends in common & so our paths crossed many times over the years but we only really knew of each other.
Years later when we’d left school, got jobs etc… we were both single at the same time and one nosey neighbour (who was friends with both our parents) decided to set us up. Surprising myself (although I had always thought he was good looking & he says he always used to eye me up at functions hosted by our joint friends), I agreed for her to pass Lewis my number. He then contacted me and asked if I wanted to go for a drink – I said ‘yes’ and the rest is history.
We’d gone to London for the Weekend, the main reason was to go to the Harry Potter WB Studio Tour (I’m not embarrassed to admit – huge fan). We’d been living together for 5 years and he still hadn’t asked me to marry him – long story short – I’d pretty much given up on him asking. We had a lovely day round the Studio & headed back to the city – from there we went over to the London Eye. I know now that Lewis wanted to propose on the Eye but in true Lewis fashion he hadn’t executed his plan very well. My feet were killing from a long day of walking, we hadn’t booked the Eye and I was ready to go back to the Hotel. On our way back, we stopped for tea at a restaurant near the hotel then grabbed a bottle of wine to take back to our room. He eventually proposed on one knee in our room and the planning commenced… I’d waited long enough don’t you think?!
I didn’t want a long engagement but as we were paying for the Wedding ourselves we had to consider what we could afford without compromising too much on what I – I mean ‘we’ wanted – after all, you get 1 shot at it and don’t want regrets. First thing I did was write a rough guest list so we had numbers, as you will need this when picking your venue & budgeting.
I’m a very organised person and so did have ideas of what I would love our day to be already. A similarly organised colleague of mine had got married a few years before and they picked Crewe Hall – I remembered from conversations that she had been really pleased with the venue & they went back each year for their Anniversary. The staff are fantastic and really do help make your day run as smoothly as you have planned it. On the day, you can sit back and they will make sure it is executed how you planned. We booked an appointment with the Wedding Coordinator at Crewe Hall and as we drove up the drive and pulled up up front – we were sold on it.
Myself, 2 x bridesmaids, Mum & Dad all stayed at Crewe Hall the night before as we had a 12 o’clock wedding and it was less stressful being there already. As you can imagine, sleep eluded me most of the night and I was wide awake by 5am. My Bridesmaids made me order some toast at least to tide me over although the butterflies were kicking in and I didn’t feel like eating.
Recommendations are great, especially from someone who is as like minded as yourself. Your spending probably a lot of money and in most cases, you have never planned anything like this before so ‘tried & tested’ suppliers are useful.
Again, I was recommended ‘Precious Things Event Styling’, we have used them at my work place and a couple of my colleagues also used them for their weddings. They are a great team, really friendly and knowledgeable and best of all, they will help you achieve the impact you want with the budget you have – this sometimes means changing the type of flowers but with their expert advice the finished product is amazing. I was blown away with the centrepieces at our Wedding – it was exactly what I imagined. They also take all the stress of bringing the flowers to the venue, liaising with the venue and setting up to your plan made with Crewe Hall.
In the same vein, for our Photographer we chose David & Beverley Foster who are a recommended supplier at Crewe Hall and I liked their style of photography and editing. I felt more at ease selecting from the venues recommended photographers as Crewe Hall is quite a dark venue and as we can’t rely on the weather in England I knew they would know Crewe Hall like the back of their hands and know where the best shots were in or around the venue. They are a Husband and Wife Team and have a great rapport with each other – they are very professional and make sure they get you the best shots.
Its worth spending the money on a good photographer and having them create an album for you as it is the only thing you have to physically look back on and we all know, we have the intention to put an album together but never get round to it or you don’t do the photo’s justice.
You have to know yourself, what you’re comfy wearing and what best suits your shape. I always thought I would wear an ‘A-Line’ dress but in the end I went more figure hugging over the hips but not quite ‘Fishtail’. I wore a Maggie Sottero and purchased my dress from Maria Modes in Macclesfield. Every time I looked online at dresses, I always seemed to pick out Maggie Sottero designs and fortunately Maria Modes in Macclesfield, stock Maggie Sottero. The staff at the shop are great, it’s a really exciting experience and they help make it all the more special for you. They also have Suit Hire and so we used them for the Groom and Groomsmen suits – fortunately this was something I could ‘mainly’ relinquish control to Lewis to arrange (I have already mentioned he is not good at executing his plans).
Even though you are convinced you think you know what dress you want, still try other styles. Also, the dress shop will recommend a style for you – try it – they know what they’re doing. It’s all part of the experience.
Hair & Makeup
You’ve got the gorgeous dress so it would be rude not to have beautiful hair and makeup aswell. I searched the internet for local Hair & Makeup suppliers. No-one really had any recommendations but what I did know was that the further away the supplier is from your chosen venue, the more it will cost due to travel. If you are working to a budget – this is something to bear in mind. I decided to search the North West area and that’s where I came across (Clare) HarryJon – the Website just jumped out at me and the testimonials spoke for themselves. I booked in with Clare for a trial on myself, 2 x bridesmaids and my mum – my mantra was that I only plan to get married once so I am going to enjoy the planning. On the day Clare arrived – all smiles and calm and she set to making us all beautiful. I had brought photo’s with me of our trial so Clare knew what she was recreating.
I had many comments after the Wedding in fact even at the end of the night I still looked great – my hair & Makeup held and I didn’t have to touch up.
TOP TIP Trial recommended, it removes the chance of mis-communication of what you want on the day and you can discuss options/changes in advance.
After the Wedding we had 2 weeks off. Due to budget, we didn’t know what we could afford so had decided to see what we could get last minute while we were off. We’d discussed Venice and Rome and in the end we managed to get 3 nights in Venice and 3 nights in Rome. As it was a special occasion we went 5* and it was a fantastic – so romantic, and being the type of places they were, 6 days was just enough for us to soak it up and relax.
Even if you have no budget, try and get away just the two of you and relax. The run up to the Wedding is stressful and as amazing as your day is, it is tiring so a break before normal life starts again is well deserved.
TOP TOP TIP
Try not to get too drunk and make sure you take a few moments out – just the two of you to take it in and store it all to memory. The day goes so quickly and you are in high demand so can get distracted.
Whats YOUR top tip? Get in touch and share your DIY ideas, Stress saving or anything else… x
So this lovely lady is one of my closest friends!
I was so excited when she asked me to get her ready for her wedding day… and looking back i’m glad i was there to keep her relaxed – hair and makeup for my gorgeous friend and her mum and a quick rescue with hair for all the bridesmaids.
A completely gorgeous day… Take it away Claire
It was love at first sight!
I met James back in 2009, the timing was terrible! My parents had just separated and my whole belief in love, family and marriage was blown to pieces. After cancelling on him once I decided to bite the bullet and just go on the date….
Standing and waiting for him to arrive (for once I was early, ask James now and he will say it is the only time I have ever been early or on time in the whole time he has known me). A really hot guy walks past me, looks at me and smiles then realises he needs to do a 180 because I was the date!
Almost instantly I feel in love with this sweet, shy, generous and super hot figure of a man who can dance…oh yes he can dance! Every girl wants their own Patric Swayze and I now have one!
Within weeks James had managed to rebuild my trust and belief in relationships and love. Within 3 months we were living together and within a year and half he had proposed!
The proposal was lovely and so James! He is sweet and shy but his attention to detail is like nobody else’s I know, he managed to surprise me with a trip to London, a wonderful evening with friends that I had not seen in a long while and then the next day in a restaurant that I had always wanted to go to he presented me with an amazing ring and asked me to be his wife, I was in complete shock! But of course jumped at the chance to marry him!
Here is where is the fun begins…..Do you remember I mentioned James attention to detail! Yeah well at times that came in REALLY handy, he made our seating plan and individually glued all the gems on himself! We made all our own invites… Other times not so handy, trying to sneak on those extra canapes and confetti cones!
James and I rarely argued about what we’d like from our wedding day, we had pretty much the same view. He appreciated that I always wanted to get married in the same church as my sisters and I understood that if we were going to go back to Wales to get married we needed to provide transport his extended family to attend….extended family being the local Rugby club he captained at the time. So we knew it was also going to be a big event.
Keeping it true to us though we wanted suppliers and people that we trusted around us whilst it was a big day we still wanted it to be personal; from the venue that I already knew well The Grosvenor, Pulford , their amazing wedding planning team and hotel manager Maurice could not have been more accommodating. To the florist at Greens N Things who agreed to my strange request to have the flowers in champagne buckets – to my godfather who spoke at our wedding and James stepmum and one of my closest friends who also did a reading for us.
Finally, we come to the amazing Clare Ardern, Clare, you’ll all know owns HarryJon and she is one of my closest friends so I had to have her! She’s wasn’t just a makeup artist but my stylist, this woman is incredible, she can literally transform you from the person you are to the one you have always wanted to be on your wedding day! This for me was a regal feel, fairy tale meets Hollywood glamour. Clare worked with the theme of my day, dress, colour schemes and personality. Somebody who can do all of this is worth their weight in gold!
Her patience on the day was amazing, we had over 6 adults to get ready and a sneaky little flower girl also managed to use her expertise. (My niece Eleanor is a force to be reckoned with!) My wedding morning wasn’t as smooth as I wanted, I think it is important for all brides to put their foot down here, you need people around you that make you happy. Clare was calm and composed whilst I was having a mini breakdown! She handed me a glass of champagne and smiled, put me in my dress, a Maggie Sottero gown from the ladies at Aristocrats in Chester.
That moment was amazing! All set to travel to our family church in a stunning wedding car of Horgans. If it wasn’t for Clare I can whole heartedly guarantee that James would not have been half as impressed as he was when I met him at the alter.
As for the groom… Now my amazing husband I could not have been happier with what we achieved for our day and now we have photos that will last a lifetime to always remind us of our awesome day!
I met Jade whilst helping out at Dream Dress Bridal in Bredbury (an amazing experience if you have yet to find your ‘dream dress’) but i also found out a little later that i had worked with one of Jades bridesmaids too! This lady was super relaxed and super organised, a day filled with peaches & cream the wedding morning was full of atmosphere and enthusiastic bridesmaids – a perfect wedding day to remember… Here’s Jades trip down memory lane.
Alan and I met back in 2005 at the tender age of just 15 and 18. Although we were young I knew then he was the one for me. They say opposites attract and our case this is definitely so…
Alan’s quiet, less confident than I am although he is without doubt the most caring , hard working and loyal man I know. During the ten years weve been together I’ve always been the organised one, taking charge whenever necessary, Alan’s much more laid back. So when it came to the planning of the wedding I had very fixed ideas about how I wanted the day to be.
We got engaged on the beach in Egypt back in 2009. The plan was for a 2012 wedding. Although in 2010 a little surprise in the form of our daughter Isabella came along. Wedding plans went on hold.
After buying our house in January 2014 we felt the time was right to set a date for our wedding. We decided on a spring wedding in March 2015.
We set out looking for venues and fell in love with the first venue we went to visit. The Cottons hotel, knutsford. It was the perfect size , modern , quirky and set in the lovely Cheshire countryside. The staff were so helpful from day one and it just felt right for us to get married there.
I knew I wanted plenty of bridesmaids as we both have sisters and I couldn’t choose between my best friends so decided I’d have them all! 8 in total. Each of them were thrilled to be asked. Although with so many bridesmaids to clothe I knew finding a dress to suit everyone would be difficult. I found a local dress maker so that the girls could each choose a dress style they preferred and have it made exactely to their measurements. After much deliberating we finally agreed on the colour dusky pink, we wanted something that said spring wedding and also kept in with out vintage theme.
I set about looking for my dress. I knew straight away I wanted a fishtail style dress with a sweetheart neckline to enhance what little cleavage I had, much to my mother’s and sisters disapproval. They had envisioned I wore a big princess meringue style dress . Needless to say , their were plenty of disagreements before I found my dream dress ironically at dream dress bridal in Bredbury 5 minutes from where I live. I opted for a Diane Harbridge fishtail dress with sweetheart neckline and lace, just how I pictured it. It was there I met Clare. I’d already heard about Clare’s work and knew she was the woman I wanted doing my hair and make up on my big day.
We knew two sisters who had recently started up a venue decorating company called ‘I do‘ so got in touch with them to decorate our venue. Holly and Natalie of I do are so talented at what they do and could not do enough to help me in creating the vison I had of how I wanted the venue to look. We loved the photo booth idea so hired one of those from them too. It went down great with the guests.
After going to many weddings and having spent hours entertaining ourselves whilst the newly weds have their pictures taken we knew we wanted to invest most of our wedding budget into the entertainment for the day to keep all the guests happy and give them a day to remember. We hired a magician named Nick Rushton who was absolutely astonishing. We also had a roulette table to keep the boys happy , a DJ and a Robbie Williams tribute act as myself my sister and Mum are huge fans, a photographer of course, Adrian of Will Hey Photography . A sweet cart as anyone who knows Alan knows what a sweet tooth he has, and a nanny to see to the children for the day.
Everything was falling into place as the date became closer. I wanted very simple flowers and a very simple cake. I decided on ivory roses for my bridesmaids with the flower girls having a vintage pink rose Posey with an added butterfly detail and a mixture of ivory and vintage pink roses in my bouquet with added pearl detail. The cake I chose was again a simple 3 tier ivory design. Both the cake and flowers were made by suppliers who operated from home, keeping my costs down too .
On the eve of the wedding I stayed at the Cottons with two of my bridesmaids. I had a relaxing afternoon in the gym and spa before heading off for a drink with the first love of my life , my dad.
The morning of the wedding I woke around 6 and despite having a belly full of butterfly’s managed to consume some breakfast. Clare arrived around 9 along with my other bridesmaids. We all got ready in the bridal suite at the hotel, wearing pur personalised dressing gowns drinking champagne. Clare did five of the bridesmaids make up as well as my make up and hair. All the girs were so pleased with their looks and when it came to my turn it was as if Clare had read my mind. I wanted a very natural look but with big hair. She did me a big curly up do with extensions to extend the hair even more. It looked sensational , exactly as id imagined it. She was great at keeping me calm as the nerves started to kick in and put me into my dress before I left to make that very important walk down the aisle.
The day went without a hitch exactly as I had planned it . It goes so incredibly quick just as everyone had told me .
My advice to any bride now is to relax and enjoy your day taking in every detail.
We honeymooned in the Dominican Republic along with out daughter and then had a second mini moon a month later in Barcelona.
Everyone asks what married life is like ? My answer is always the same, its the same as it was before only now I know that I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have my husband my by side for the rest of my life , our perfect little family.