I have had the pleasure of working at this Manchester 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.
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.
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
Harry Jon MUA
Hair & Makeup Artist
So, ALOMST every wedding trial I get asked about Harry Jon: Where i’ve work, when did i start as a hair and makeup artist (MUA)… Hence writing this post to give you a bit of background and what makes me tick.
I come from a family of hairdressers, so naturally my life began in hair travelling around with my Grandma, a mobile hairdresser, at the super young age of 4 to ‘pass up’ for her; travelling round in her robin reliant car… I guess it was her that unleashed the creative gene in me.
When i came to leave school i had no idea what i wanted to do but a close friend of mine was doing a Hairdressing and Beauty Therapy course and after some advice off mum: ‘Hair styling is a trade and even if you decide not to do it, you can always fall back in to it’ and thats exactly what i did.
Beauty Therapy wasn’t for me but i loved hair styling! I left college and worked in salon where i started to get a feel for all the party & wedding hair and i think that was it for me…
From there i had a change of path and went to work for Elizabeth Arden to explore the makeup work – 100% on the training course in London – YAY, I felt quite proud of myself back then because i felt useless at school.
Since, i’ve set up Harry Jon, (now 7 years ago) done a more in depth course with in makeup & skincare and then went on to the fab School of Makeup. If you are on the hunt for a school to train this place is great. All the tutors are out working still in the industry and are a mindful of info. I’ve returned since doing the media makeup to do a training course on wigs with Jo Anthony – the oracle of period hair and then back again for some prosthetics with the king of gore Darren Longthorne.
As well as that i went to London to work with the immense talent at Illamasqua. I did 2 courses back to back here over 3 days for more creative work – loved it and hoping to venture back for some more creative colour work.
I’ve a huge passion for what i do; my mind is always ticking thinking what i can do next. I don’t just work with brides in Wedding World either, i love photo-shoots be that for beauty work, fashion or avant grade. Ive worked on some music videos and promotional shoots with classical duo ‘Eden‘. I have my own little avant grade quirky corner i like to go back to when an idea pops in to my head.
But you ladies are here for your wedding day – Congratulations! My brides have asked for everything, lots of eras like 1920, 30,40,50’s – 70s chicks, boho brides, gothic brides, complete natural brides that don’t like the feel of makeup, i’ve even had a bride ask to look ‘plastic’ – each to their own.
There is no set looks for brides these days, you have what ever makes you feel comfortable! Natural makeup to some brides is to look like they are wearing nothing – to others this is a full face and lots of eyeliner. The most important thing is that you feel ‘You’ and your relax and have THE best day ever.
I’ve tonnes of inspiration and creativity and i’ve put this blog together to recommend the companies i work with on a regular basis and i know are fab plus i’m notorious for coming up with songs, table centre ideas, anything that helps really when you get wedding block. My hair and makeup work takes me everywhere; all over Cheshire, Shropshire, The Lakes, Lancashire and sometimes further. I use airbrush makeup and I regularly work with hair extensions, in fact i highly recommend them – they can turn a hair do in to a Wow do. Its often difficult to find an MUA that does hair well so I don’t mind saying Im a hair queen! I lurve hair!
So, get in touch and check your dates free, qet a quote and get booked in! Please don’t wait because unfortunately, there is only one of my and i’m always having to turn people down…