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Getting Ready – Wedding Tips

Hair & Make-up advice: Interview with Bridal Beauty NI

With all eyes on you, it’s no surprise that’ll you want to look and feel amazing on your wedding day. Having worked with Bridal Beauty NI for years, I know first hand how wonderful this company are, making them first choice for hair and make-up with brides across the country. Today, I caught up with Claire Gibson, hair and make-up artist at Bridal Beauty NI to discuss trends, best products, and the importance of booking professionals for your wedding day.

Claire, how long have you worked in the make-up & hairdressing industry?

Initially I trained in make-up when I wasn’t long out of school (at the age of 16), with the wife of my Church’s pastor. She had trained in make-up, colour analysis, light hair etc in New York after her modelling career and my mother thought that it would be good for me to train in make-up because I really hadn’t decided what I wanted to do and so she was getting a tad worried. Therefore in many ways, you could say make-up chose me! I wasn’t a girl who wore lots of make-up but I was intensely creative and had a real love for how the light fell and captured people’s features.

Hair came much later. I found when working with brides that I would often have to fix their hair. I was working at a time when a lot of hair stylists had just been trained through NVQ. which included little in the way of up-styling training. A lot of the hairstyles created weren’t built to last. They would have been perfect for a few hours on a night out, but a wedding demands an up-style that can last up to 16 hours. Seeing there was demand for this, I trained in session styling and up-styling because I found brides referring people to me and so I always had to tell them that I wasn’t a hairstylist. One of my previous brides said: “Well you need to go out and get a certificate because you re-did my hair in a way that was far superior to what I was given at the salon”. So I trained and that was around 7 years ago now. I have attended lots of different training since but first-hand experience has been the best training of all.

Tell us the history behind Bridal Beauty NI.

I moved to Belfast in 2006 and until then I had been living in my home town, Omagh. In Omagh I had always have been very quiet about doing make-up because I was in a town of people who knew me from my school days. I had worked in insurance while living there as well so make-up was only part time for the first while.

When I moved to Belfast, obviously no one knew the ‘dorky Claire’ from school (which was an advantage) but also no one knew I did make-up and I needed to start again. I was planning my own wedding at the time and it was really hard to actually get someone to come to the house to do my make-up as I didn’t want to do my own (every bride deserves to be pampered, right!?).  So I had the idea that I would set up a company based around bridal.

I bought the site and put up a few photos of bridal make-up looks that I had worked on. I also linked in with a stylist who did the hair while I did the make-up. A few years went by and the stylist became popular outside of Bridal Beauty NI and I was also working on my own more and more and I had trained in hair by this time. It became very clear to me that I needed others on board too when I started initially referring people to other artists and then the bride wouldn’t book them. I realised that instead of referring to the other artist I needed to take the booking and now I have lots of great freelancers too.

 

What sets you apart from other hair and make-up artists?

A lot of make-up artists do make-up because they love makeup, but I really see make-up as a means to an end. Don’t get me wrong, there are certain products I love because of what they do to transform your features, but for me it’s all about instilling confidence.

When I was first training many years ago, I fell in love with what make-up could do. When someone comes to you with little confidence, with their shoulders hunched forward and apologising for the face that they have been given, I see real beauty and use make-up to capture that beauty. Whenever they then look in the mirror and like what the see (perhaps for the first time in their lives) it fills me with a warm glow inside. I had very little confidence coming out of school when I was trained, having been bullied and I thought there was nothing uglier on this earth than me and so I meet versions of me every single day and get to transform not just their face, (because largely my make-up is very natural) but their self view.

What are your top 3-must have cosmetics

Cosmetics wise, there are products out there that are big because of Youtube/ Instagram influencers who have been paid to promote them and then there are products that are the unsung heroes and are often from companies that either disagree with that kind of marketing ethically or don’t have the budget for it.

My favourite powder by far is the RCMA No Colour Setting Powder. It looks white in the packaging but goes on completely transparent with no detection. It is finely milled and very little goes a long way.  My favourite highligher technically isn’t a highlighter; it is the Ambient Lighting Powder by Hourglass in Diffused Light. This is a brilliant product for any age, and offers a way of infusing light into the skin without drawing attention to fine lines and wrinkles. My favourite foundation is by Face Atelier and is the Ulta Foundation.  It is silicone based so it is a product that is very stable in cold and warm temperatures over hours and hours of wear. Also, it doesn’t need the same degree of powder to set as liquid or cream foundations will. What’s even better is the brand has adjusters so that I can adjust the tone of the foundation for a perfectly matched result.

What do you love most about bridal make-up?

Bridal make-up for me is about making women look their best possible self. In the make-up world there’s a lot of cut creases and intense contouring that has been borrowed from the drag artist world and made its way onto the mainstream faces of Kim Kardashian etc. But that’s not what my brides want. They want to look like the best version of themselves and not have their face transformed into something their spouse-to-be won’t recognise. So what I love is that time when you give the bride the mirror and she is almost in tears because she likes what she sees for the first time in her life.

What hair and trends are proving popular with brides this year?

This year I am seeing a little bit of a change in direction with a lot more brides going for the very undone look with soft waves/curls and up-styles that look loose (but obviously aren’t loose because they have to stay up. Braids are still there a little bit but are more pulled out and loose than the tightly braided crown braids etc of years gone by.

Are there any trends that you would love to see left behind?

Personally, I would love to see what I call the ‘slug brow’ left behind. Black product has no place in a blond person’s eyebrows and thick brows are lovely when natural but when they have been filled in to the point that the brow hair can’t even be seen, then it’s not a good look. Intense contouring also needs left behind. I have been contouring for years and it can be done in a very natural way, but if someone’s contour looks like they fell asleep on a Mars Bar then it isn’t going to fool anyone! Contouring is supposed to mimic natural shadow and natural shadow is something that is just naturally there – it isn’t obvious unless someone puts an intense light above someone’s head in a dark room.

What about bridesmaid looks? What do you recommend for a bride’s leading ladie

I absolutely love it when there is a common thread running through hair and make-up.  The bridesmaids shouldn’t really be attracting more attention than the bride so the looks very much depend on what the bride is having. I’m seeing a lot of requests for simple buns and chignons these days with brides taking the main statement style. Sometimes if the bride has requested a braid through hers then the only common thread needed is to incorporate braiding into the bridesmaids’, like with a braided chignon or a loose braid coming from front to back on one or both sides.

What pre-wedding skincare and hair advice do you recommend?

Pre-wedding skincare is very important. Exfoliation is key as it is usually dry skin that causes problems. I usually recommend having a microdermabrasion facial about a month before and then just once a week using a very fine exfoliator to keep on top of it. It’s important that the the exfoliator has fine bits because otherwise it could cause skin damage. If brides have been using the same skincare products for years without breakouts then don’t fix what isn’t broken. The brand of products isn’t really important but I try to stay away from anything with parabens that would irritate and so natural based products are great.

Why do you think it’s important for brides to choose a make-up artist, rather than a DIY approach?

A properly trained make-up artist will know things like what products will flash back (no one wants to look like a ghost in photos) and how to make the make-up last the duration of the day. I have had texts from brides the next day saying that they fell asleep in their make-up and it’s still going strong. If someone who isn’t a professional (either themselves or an artist that is self taught) does the makeup then it may look fabulous for a couple of hours and take a nose dive at the worst time (ie during photos). Your photos are the one thing that are a perfect momentum of your day and admired by future generations, even after you are gone, so it’s very important that your makeup lasts through your photos at least and my preference is long into the night, while you are greeting your evening guests as well.

How do you ensure a stress-free wedding morning?

I try to keep things really calm. When I’m setting up I try to angle for a place that has great light but is out of the way. If it’s a small house and it isn’t possible to be completely out of the way then I treat the bride like she is the only one in the room. I am a firm believer that if someone is being talked to like they are the only one in the room then they start to feel like they are and the chaos of the bridesmaids running around starts to feel more distant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on Bridal Beauty NI & to book their services for your day, check out their website here.

Top luxurious honeymoon destinations

One of the most exciting tasks on your wedding planning to-do list will no doubt be booking your honeymoon! Many couples take the opportunity to go all out and book a once in a lifetime trip and we say, why not! From sensational all inclusive resorts, to tropical islands, we’ve rounded up our favourite luxurious honeymoon destinations to ensure you kick off married life as you mean to go on… in style!

 

Bali, Indonesia

With a well-earned nickname of ‘Isle of the Gods’ it isn’t hard to see why. Acclaimed movie, Eat, Pray, Love may have brought this majestical island to many people’s attention but it has long been adored by romance seekers for its exceptional beauty. Take things to the next level with a trip to Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple, perched atop a cliff 200 feet above the Indian Ocean and soak up that sunset.

Harbour Island, Bahamas

With a celebrity fan base including Bill Gates, Elle Macpherson, Diane Von Furstenberg and Mick Jagger you can expect only the best from Harbour Island. Spend time unwinding on the postcard perfect Pink Sane Beach and bathe in three uninterrupted miles of turquoise water.

 

Santorini, Greece

Sensational sunsets and picture perfect villas await you on this idyllic volcanic island. With the superb mix of glorious beaches and adrenalin inducing activities, Santorini is fab for couples looking for that mix of relaxation and adventure.

 

 

Lough Eske Castle, Co. Donegal

For homebirds, a staycation might be an appealing option and thankfully you don’t have to skimp on luxury. Nestled in Donegal resides the picture perfect Georgian splendour of Lough Eske Castle. Unwind in the spacious and tranquil rooms, immerse yourself in luxury in the simply stunning spa and end your days with a sumptuous meal cooked to perfection in the hotel’s restaurant! Bliss!

 

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Fiji

The islands that form Fiji are enclosed by coral reefs resulting in warm lagoons and picturesque coral beaches. For a true taste of luxury, spend a night in an over-water thatched roof bungalow at Likuliku Lagoon Resort Fiji. Soak up the rich culture of this island by exploring its nature trails and ancient sites.

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Fiji – Suva Island

 

Hawaii

With a longstanding reputation for luxury, Hawaii remains a popular choice with honeymooners. With tropical sunsets, crystal clear waters and stretches of sandy beaches, Hawaii always appeals to hopeless romantics.

Waikiki Beach - Honolulu, Oahu Island
Waikiki Beach – Honolulu, Oahu Island

 

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Waikiki Beach – Sunset

St Tropez

Renowned as the playground for the rich, famous and fabulous, nowhere screams luxury quite like St Tropez. With beautiful people, notorious night life and parties on yachts, celebrity coupling fans include Victoria and David Beckham and Beyonce and Jay Z.

 

Morocco

Sex and the City showcased this country in all its glory. Meander a movie set of belly dancers, snake charmers and a maze of souks and soak up the glory of gorgeous Morocco.  The country has long been the inspiration for many a designer’s collection, including Yves Saint Laurent, whose former home is well worth a visit.

Tahiti

Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia and with miles of shoreline, amazing resorts, French cuisine to die for—Tahiti has all the traits of a luxurious honeymoon destination. Powder-soft sand, uninterrupted blue skies and a rainbow of coral and fish in sparkling azure lagoons are just a few of the reasons why this paradise is popular with honeymooners.

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Happy planning from us at the studio! If you chose a honeymoon destination not featured on here and want to tell us all about it, please comment below. We would love to hear from you.

 

Tips for having your wedding dress custom made

Considering having your wedding dress custom made? If you’re not sure where to begin or the thought terrifies you a little, I caught up with my sister Ruth who talks through the process and shares how one local designer ensured she ended up with the dress of her dreams.

Ruth, why did you decide to have your wedding dress custom made?

Initially, it wasn’t my intention. I started out by visiting many different bridal boutiques and what I quickly discovered was that I liked various elements of different dresses but I couldn’t find one dress which included them all. Because we were getting married in winter I had a distinct style in mind and finding it was proving difficult. It was my great aunt who suggested I have my dress made. I knew this was probably the only way I was going to get exactly what I wanted.


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Did you have a style in mind?

Yes, and I think this is ultimately what led me to having my dress made. Because of the season of our wedding, I envisioned a dress with long, lace sleeves and I wanted an A-line skirt, which didn’t flare out too much as I’m quite tall.


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Who made your dress and why?

Lizzie Agnew made my dress and as soon as I met her I knew she was perfect. She instantly knew what I wanted from my description and I just felt like she understood where I was coming from. Ultimately, she created a dress which I could change for the evening. It had a strapless bodice with a separate lace top overlay, which fitted on top. It had long sleeves and a high neck. It had just the right amount of flare and was finished with a beautiful belt.

In the end, I didn’t remove the lace feature of the dress in the evening. I loved the dress so much and it almost felt like I was downgrading it by removing such a lovely feature of it.


How would you describe your dress?

I would say that it was actually quite simple and classic. I really love nice fabric and having my dress custom made allowed me to choose exactly what I wanted. I was instantly drawn to lace when visiting boutiques. I felt it suited me and I knew I wanted it to be part of my dress. Lizzie showed me a few different options and I just felt that the lace I choose was a little bit different from anything else I had seen. It felt a bit more luxurious.

I’d also say that my dress was extremely comfortable, which is something I wasn’t expecting to say about it. Because it was made specifically for my body, it fitted perfectly and was effortless to wear.


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What was the process of having your dress made?

It actually took less time for my dress to be made than I thought it would. About 8 months before the wedding I met with Lizzie and we agreed on the style of my dress. She showed me features of different dresses which we could incorporate into mine. We had a really good chat about what I liked and didn’t. She talked me through the entire process and I left feeling confident about my dress.

It was only a couple of months before the wedding when Lizzie began making it so I would say the process isn’t for the faint hearted. However, I had total trust and confidence in Lizzie and I knew this was important. Lizzie started with the bodice, which was fitted on me and then worked from them. I attended about four or five fittings until the dress was finished. She was really accommodating with appointments meaning that I could come after work. The process was quick and easy and I was extremely pleased with the results.


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What advice would you give a bride considering having her dress made?

Firstly, I’d say research is key! Get reviews of a designer and take a look at dresses they have already made. Choose someone who understands you and your style. Meet up with them and have a really good chat about what you envision, bringing along pictures of styles that you like so that the designer can develop a good understand of what you have in mind.

Secondly, you need to trust them! My dress was made a few months before the wedding but I had total faith in Lizzie and understood the process. I knew that the dress was being made for my body so there wouldn’t be any massive alterations needed. And if you do change your mind about the design half way through, it’s easy for your designer to make some changes to bring it in line with your vision.

You can check out Lizzie’s website at http://www.lizzieagnew.co.uk

Dressing the reception room

Dressing the reception room

The reception room is where you’ll spend the majority of your wedding day so no doubt you’ll want it to leave a lasting impression on your guests. Whether your budget is big or small there are so many ways to add a splash of your personality and really set your tone for your day. Here’s just a few ways how…

 

Dressing the reception room

 

Blooming marvellous flowers 

The great news about flowers is that if you had any at your ceremony, these can be transported to your reception venue to ensure you get maximum use out of them. Flowers can be used as much or as little as you like from table centre pieces to full on backdrops (think Kimye) and instantly bring a room to life!

 

Quirky chair covers

Let’s face it, no one wants to look at ugly chairs on their wedding day, so we’re delighted that these classic focal points show no sign of going out of fashion. In recent years, chair covers have finally met the 21st century and have undergone a mini makeover, meaning they now come in a variety and styles, with something different for the bride and groom who seek an alternative. Flowers, bows, feathers and even trains really give chair covers a bit of personality so don’t be afraid to look for something different.

 

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Light it up

The perfect lighting really adds a real touch of romance to a room and nowadays the options are endless. Couples still favour fairy-light backdrops combined with delicate draping, while candles on tables add to the ambiance. Last year saw the LED letters trend really kick off, while dance floors came alive with lighting. We can’t wait to see where this year takes this trend!

 

Call in a favour

As well as being a gift to guests, favours can add to the vibe of your room and couples are getting more and more creative when it comes to these! Gone are the day of sugared almonds with many couples now choosing gifts that are unique to each individual and the perfect way to show your gratitude.

 

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Creative centrepieces

Candelabras and flower arrangements still remain a firm favourite when it comes to adding a focal point to tables while china cups, birdcages and jam jars adorned with lace are loved by couples with a penchant for vintage. If your reception room is small or has low ceilings, minimise the size of these to avoid them taking over the room.

 

Hanging low

Look up at any reception and be instantly met with a wave of colour in the form of bunting, balloons, paper lanterns and pom poms… just some of the ways that couples are choosing to jazz up the room. Hanging decorations are a fun way to enhance your theme by incorporating your wedding colours and instantly add the wow factor to any room!

 

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Seats please

Wedding stationery can really be used to play up to your theme and the options are endless. From table names, to place setting, guest books and table plans, we’re always so amazed at how creative couples get. The table plan is a fun way for couples to bring their personality to the (ahem) table with favourite movies, travel locations, band names or even favouite books offering a great topic of conversation between guests.

 

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The fun factor

If you’re looking to add something extra to your room, the classic candy cart is still loved by couples and guests alike. Likewise, photo-booths, popcorn machines and chocolate fountains will keep guests entertained while a kids’ corner complete with games will keep children amused!  

Top 10 ways to get inspired when wedding planning

Get inspired!

Feeling overwhelmed? Lacking in motivation or inspiration to just get things done for your wedding? Spending months upon months planning, coordinating and being fully immersed in a wedding frenzy may lead to bridal burnout. But hey, it’s okay to feel like this sometimes. To help you get back in the zone, check out our top 10 ways to get inspired when wedding planning.

Top 10 ways to get inspired when wedding planning

1) Let media inspire you!

If you literally have no idea where to start, stock up on bridal magazines, check out wedding blogs and get pinning on Pinterest. The ‘big wedding book’ might seem like a big old cliche but there is a reason so many brides swear by it! Cut out and print everything that catches your eye and stick it into your book or simply add to a mood board. Then, when you feel like you’ve hit a brick wall, delve in and take a look at all the things that have caught you eye, for an instant hit of inspiration!  

 

2) Talk to your family and friends

Having a good old chat with family and friends can really help you come up with some amazing ideas together, and the good news is that they’ll probably be more than happy to help. Sit down over a cuppa and list the things you’re struggling with and you’ll be amazed with what you can come up with together.

 

Get inspired

3) Let suppliers guide you

Remember, that the suppliers you’re working with are likely to have years of experience in the wedding industry and so have worked with some of the best in the business. Many venues work closely with different vendors so ask them for advice on who they would recommend.

 

4) Talk to your other half

If your other half is more than happy to be involved in the planning process, don’t dismiss their opinions. They may not be exactly what you want to hear but talking about an average idea can lead to an amazing one, so don’t rule out anything immediately.

 

5) Take at least one day a week off

Don’t get too bogged down by it all and take at least one day a week off from wedding planning. That means no talking about it, no list creating and definitely no emailing! Sometimes taking a day to clear your head is exactly what is needed to keep the ideas flowing.

 

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6) Spend a set time each day on planning

Having a full time job and planning a wedding can be hard work but it is amazing what can be achieved during an hour’s lunch break. Use this time to catch up emails or pop out to a quick appointment. Likewise, sometimes an hour in the evening is all that is needed to stay on top of things. Don’t fret if you don’t get around to replying to that email today – there is always tomorrow!

 

7) Make the experience fun

Don’t forget to have fun! Making the experience as fun as possible will help you stay inspired! Make a day out of dress shopping, cake tasting or venue hunting and enjoy the process together with your other half.

 

8) Delegate

If there is something you simply can’t handle and you know that a friend or family member would be better at it, delegate (if they’re willing, obviously!). They may come up with something truly spectacular and it’s one less thing for you to have to worry about.

 

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9) Hire an expert

And if you still feel like you don’t know where to start and are really struggling with envisioning how you want your day to flow, it’s time to call in the big guns – the wedding planner. If your budget allows, seek the help of a professional who will take all the stress out of planning and offer all the inspiration you need!

 

10) Focus on what’s important

Finally, don’t lose sight of why you are getting married. If it’s not important to you, don’t fret the small stuff and focus on those elements which you believe will help make your day special!

Improve your posture for your wedding day photos

Sorry brides and grooms but your mother was right! How many times were you told to stand or sit up straight? Turns out she was on to something…

 

Our resident blogger Aideen McCanny shares a few tips….

 

Improve your posture for your wedding day photos

 

Good posture packs a multitude of little known benefits such as making you look younger, slimmer, taller, more confident and photogenic. Not to mention, your clothes will look better! When designers begin creating clothes, they work with a dressmakers form, and of course their posture is perfect, so clothes are designed with perfect posture in mind.

 

It’s the most important wedding accessory of all and the one that’s often overlooked.

 

Poor posture, can quite simply ruin wedding photos but thankfully it can be fixed in a flash! Today, we share our top tips to improve your posture for your wedding day photos.

 

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Practice makes perfect

To ensure your posture is on-point, the easiest way to see improvements, is with a little practice. Practice standing up straight by holding a brush between your shoulder blades and pulling in your lower core muscles. Throughout the day when you’re standing, imagine that brush is still there and this will help pull your body into a more perfectly poised position.

 

 

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Find the right angles

It’s widely known that white is a little less forgiving than some other colours, which is why so many women favour black. To combat the ‘white effect’, avoid standing straight on with your arms at your side. Instead adopt a more flattering angled position. Create the perfect T-shape by standing at a three-quarter angle and putting the heel of your front foot in the arch of the back foot. This instantly gives the body shape and movement so it’s less static.

(EDITORS NOTE: if you are having Peter as your photographer don’t worry – he’ll give you lots of tips on the day 🙂 )

 

 

 

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And relax

You may have noticed that your favourite photos of yourself are those which were taken without your knowledge. Couples often come to us because they prefer our natural style of photography and when it comes to having your wedding photos taken, our top tip is to relax, breathe and drop your shoulders.

 

Avoid bouquet blocking

It’s highly likely that your wedding day will be the first time you’ll have posed with a bouquet. To avoid bouquet blocking, it’s best to think of it as a prop, so that it becomes part of your look, rather than taking over. You can hold your bouquet down by your side or in front at around belly-button height. Too high and you’ll look tense, not to mention block the delicate detailing of your dress, while too low can result in you looking round shouldered.

 

 

Try yoga

Ahead of the wedding, why not sign up for a yoga class? It’s the perfect way to improve body alignment, as well as strenghtening your core and upper back and spine. It’s also renowned as an amazing stress-buster so it’ll definitely help in the run up to the wedding.

 

 

 

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Get up and move

If you work in an environment where you spend on-hours at end at your desk, it’s vital to get up and walk around every couple of hours. Sitting slumped for hours plays havoc on our posture. Try to pay more attention to how you’re sitting with feet flat on the floor and shoulders in line with your hips to keep your spine in proper alignment.

 

Improve your posture for your wedding day photos

 

Most of all, don’t over think it and enjoy the experience!

 

 
MeAideen McCanny is our resident guest blogger, fashion and wedding guru. She has written for many of Ireland’s top fashion publications.

10 tips to beat the post-wedding blues

Post wedding blues

So, the wedding is over! You’re a newly-wed and you’re feeling on top of the world. Well, actually, this isn’t the happy picture for every bride (or groom) out there. Maybe you’ve been left with a void. You’ve spent the last year or two fully immersed in wedding planning… dealing with vendors, pouring over guest lists and seating plans, booking fittings, attending appointments, viewings and more.

With so much of your life focused on your one ‘big day’, it’s no surprise that many brides feel a little blue, sad or depressed even. Post-wedding blues are a real thing and its occurrence is on the rise. So what’s next?! Check out just a few tips to beat post-wedding blues and go from wistful to blissful.

Post wedding blues

1. Don’t dash off on honeymoon

It’s no surprise that you’re likely to be exhausted after what was a whirlwind of a wedding day and so it’s advisable to take a day or two to rest before jetting off on honeymoon. By allowing yourselves a couple of days, it will actually give you some time to look forward to it, as well as some much needed time to recover from the wedding.

 

2. Plan a mini-moon

If your honeymoon is later in the year, make sure you have something to look forward to sooner, by booking a mini-moon near home. Ireland boasts some amazing guest houses, lavish hotels and romantic cottages so take a trip and enjoy your first few blissful married days together.

 

3. Allow time before getting back to it

If possible, give yourself time before going back to work. Consider how many days you really need off prior to the wedding as it’s a good idea to save a few post-wedding so you don’t have to rush back to work.

 

4. Talk it out

Post-wedding blues isn’t a cute term for wanting to recreate your wedding day all over again. It’s a genuine comedown after experiencing such an extreme high. A problem shared is a problem halved so talk to your partner about how you are feeling. Remember, you married this person for a reason so talk it out. You might even discover they are feeling the same, or at the very least, they’ll endeavour to support you in anyway possible.

 

5. Plan ahead

Your wedding wasn’t just one day – it’s a major event in your life that probably required a couple of years to plan. With so much time devoted to it, it’s no surprise that you’ll have tonnes of spare time, so fill up your calendar. Start a new hobby, work out more and plan events, such as a spa day with your mum, or a catch up with friends. These mini-events will give you loads to look forward to and serves as the perfect distraction.

6. Write your thank-you notes

When it comes to writing your thank-you notes, get creative, put some thought into them and make them personal. It will mean so much more to the person receiving it. Writing these is also a great way to feel connected with the people who attended your wedding.

 

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7. Sort your wedding album

Many couples will admit that the thing they look forward to the most following the wedding is picking up their wedding album. Once your album has been finalised and is ready for collection, why not make an event of it? Get in a bottle of bubbly and sit with your partner as you look through it together at home. The photos will recall some wonderful memories of the day.

 

8. Plan date nights

It’s important to plan some date nights together, so make a point of having one date night together a week, if possible and take turns to organise it.

 

Post wedding blues

9. Get organised

In the run up to the wedding, your house has probably been (justifiably) neglected. Get spring cleaning and spend time clearing out and organising your wardrobe. File away all your momentos of your wedding such as swatches, samples, cards, invites and table numbers, have your dress dry cleaned and store it away and if you’re taking your partner’s surname, sort out any official documentation.

 

10. Relax

Relaxing is the perfect way to soothe the post wedding blues. Yes, take a trip, organise your house and write thank-you notes, but remember to sit back and relax too – it’ll help you gain a little perspective. Your wedding day is over but this isn’t the end. It’s just the beginning of your lives together and you have years ahead to create some amazing memories.

 

 
MeAideen McCanny is our resident guest blogger, fashion and wedding guru. She has written for many of Ireland’s top fashion publications.

If the shoe fits: A guide to choosing your wedding shoes

The title might read “If the shoe fits” but when it comes to choosing wedding shoes, it’s definitely much more than simply the fit. The fact is, many women are just as excited about choosing their wedding shoes as their dress and we can’t blame them! It’s the perfect opportunity to splash out guilt-free on a once in a lifetime pair of shoes. So where do you start? Fear not! Have your very own Cinderella moment with our guide to choosing those all-important wedding shoes.

 

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1. The size of the matter

Yes, when it comes to shoes, size does matter, and now more than ever! If you’ve been going through life as a size 7 in trainers and a 5 in heels, it’s time to get measured. Your wedding day isn’t the time to be wearing ill fitting shoes so head to a professional and find out your true size once and for all.

2. Avoid impulse purchases

With a million and one things to do the desire to impulse buy might be high but we say: “Don’t do it”. If a pair of shoes in a window catches your eye, chances are they will still be there tomorrow. You don’t want to look back and regret purchasing the first pair of shoes in sight so make sure you give the decision some thought. Look around a while before you settle on your perfect pair.

 

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3. Stick to what you’re used to

If you don’t normally wear 6 inch stilettos, your wedding day shouldn’t be the first time you try them out. You should already have a fair idea of what heel height you are most comfortable with so avoid the temptation to reach new heights – stick well within your comfort zone.

 

4. Wear them in

Often the most comfortable shoes are those which have been well and truly worn in. It might sound obvious but never has there been a more important time to wear in your wedding shoes. A couple of weeks prior to the wedding, get them on and wear them around the house. They’ll adapt to the shape of your feet, meaning that wearing them for 12 or more hours will be a breeze!

 

5. Consider your surroundings

A certain level of practically needs to be taken into consideration when finding the ones. Wooden floors, sandy beaches and cobblestones may call for a certain type of shoe. Some wedding venues impose rules when it comes to guests’ shoes but they will make you aware of this at the time of enquiry.

 

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6. Indulge… a little

Don’t feel you need to play it safe when it comes to the style of your shoes. Your wedding day offers you the chance to really push the boat out and indulge a little. Swap those safe, nice nude heels for what your heart really desires. Whether you’re craving colour, sparkle or bling, choose the most glamorous pair of shoes you could ever imagine! Just think of the endless photo opportunities.

 

7. Consider the style

While yes, it’s a good idea to indulge, you should still try to ensure these are carefully coordinated with your wedding dress. Your shoes and dress should work in harmony, perfectly flattering each other. So yes, choose your dress first but don’t forget the importance of finding the perfect shoes to match.

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8. Don’t be afraid of colour

One of the most lusted after bridal shoes are Carrie Bradshaw’s iconic blue broach encrusted Manola Blahnik heels, proving that wedding shoes don’t need to be white. If you aren’t afraid of colour and you want to inject oodles of your personality into your wedding day, an alternative pair of shoes will do just that.

 

9. Have flats handy

A bare foot bride on the dance floor screams accident waiting to happen. After 12 or so hours on your feet, no doubt they’ll be sore but don’t just ditch your heels… swap them for flats. Nowadays there are a wealth of gorgeous bridal flats available so grab a pair just in case. And don’t forget your guests. If your family and friends are floor fillers, a welcome favour is a basket of flip flops beside the dance floor. They’ll definitely thank you for it!

 

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10. Plan for the future

Why spend all that time choosing the perfect pair of shoes for one day? Find a pair which can be worn on special occasions. Or, why not consider a way to display them? They’re too pretty not to admire for years to come!

 

MeAideen McCanny is our resident guest blogger, fashion and wedding guru. She has written for many of Ireland’s top fashion publications.

Tips for choosing your bridal underwear

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Let’s face it – it’s a shared view among many women that what we wear underneath our clothes can instantly change our mood and so choosing the right lingerie for your wedding day is essential! Here, Aideen McCanny shares her tips for getting it just right!

You’ve found your dream dress so now it’s time to find your perfect bridal lingerie, but where to start? It is vital to wear comfortable and functional, well-fitted underwear that highlights all the right places, creating the perfect silhouette in your gorgeous gown.

Your chosen underwear and wedding dress should complement each other to create a stunning look! It’s important to have purchased your underwear before your final dress fitting so you’ll know exactly how you’ll look and feel on the day.

Size does matter

It’s alarming how many women in the UK are wearing the wrong size of underwear so a good place to start is to find out your exact measurements by seeking the advice of a professional. Many high street stores offer a free of charge fitting service. Alternatively, your bridal dress store should be able to advise you of your measurements.

Underneath it all

Let’s talk corsets, bustiers and basques! Remember, your underwear and dress should work in harmony. A corset or bustier is unlikely to suit a dress that already contains boning or if your dress has been altered to provide a more snug fit. Avoid these two options when it comes to lightweight fabric as lumps, bumps and boning will be visible.

Corsets and bustiers add support to the upper body, tightening the torso and adding definition to your figure. A corset contains boning to reduce the waistline and emphasise the bust and hips, resulting in a slender, hourglass figure. A bustier is a little less restrictive, but is still as effective in lifting the bust. Finally, a basque is even more flexible, which continues over the hips for added support. If you aren’t sure which option is best for you, talk to your bridal dress consultant who can offer advice.

A little support

If it is just your bust that needs support, a bra may be all you require. The style of bra you choose, again depends on your dress shape. The majority of dresses are strapless, so avoid ugly straps with a strapless bra. This also applies to halter-neck and one-shoulder gowns. There are several styles of bras and corsets designed specifically for wedding dresses. Consider where the seams of your bra will reside underneath your dress, especially if the fabric is light. Choose from luxurious fabrics in ivory, cream, nude, classic white or champagne.

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When it comes to knickers the options are endless – maxi or mini briefs, hipsters, high or low cut knickers or thongs. The guidance here is to stick to what you’re used to. So if you don’t normally wear thongs, you wedding day is not the time to try it out for the first time. The style you choose is mostly down to personal preference, as well as avoiding the dreaded VPL. If the underwear has lace detailing or embellishment of any kind, check this doesn’t show though, especially for more slinky silhouettes.

The finishing touches

Lastly, consider your wedding hosiery, stockings, hold-ups, suspenders and the traditional garter. Again, keep in mind that you will be wearing this all day so consider your comfort and match the colour to you dress.

 

 

MeAideen McCanny is our resident guest blogger, fashion and wedding guru. She has written for many of Ireland’s top fashion publications.

Top Tips For Planning a Winter Wedding

Winter can be a truly magical time of the year! Sparkly, twinkly lights, roaring open fires and lots of festive cheer combine to offer a wonderfully romantic atmosphere. If you are tying the knot during this sensational season, don’t miss our essential tips for a flawless winter wedding.

 

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Wedding decor

Red and green hues are particularly symbolic of the season but avoid overdoing this combo or your wedding may end up more festive than you intended. Remember to check with your venue what decorations will be on display. When adding your own touch of style, consider silver and white accents to add a touch of glamour to your big day. Fill your venue with fairy light backdrops and dramatic candelabras for a touch of romance.

 

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In bloom

Although there are fewer options when it comes to flowers in winter months, you won’t be limited by style! Flowers associated with the season include red roses, calla lilies and amaryllis but if you look a little further you’ll fine some more hidden gems for winter blooms! Fuller flowers such as white hydrangeas and ranunculuses are particularly beautiful. To truly set off your bouquet, finish with a little sparkle by wrapping the stems in ribbon, embellished with crystals. Or, if you’re really feeling festive, finish with winter berries and pine cones.

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Wrap it up

A chill in the air needs addressing when it comes to choosing that all important dress! If you don’t want to be your own something blue, consider slightly warmer materials such as lace, brocade and damask, beautiful yet perfectly reminiscent of the season. Thankfully, for fashion conscious brides there are a wealth of cover ups to enhance your look. From dramatic faux fur stoles and capes to elegant veils and cardis, the options are endless. For happy feet, boots can be a stylish yet practical alternative to peep toes and fitting for the season. Finally, don’t forget that your leading ladies too will feel the cold.

 

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Call in a favour

Winter weddings offer the perfect opportunity to get creative with wedding favours. Fun and tasty favours that your guests won’t forget include gingerbread men, decadent hot chocolate mix, mulled cider or roasted chestnuts. Wrap them up in your chosen wedding colours to complement your theme. Check out the Christmas bobble inspired place-settings below!

 

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Picture perfect

When it comes to photography, winter is a stunning time of year and will serve as the perfect backdrop to capture your wedding day memories. Aim for an early ceremony so there’s plenty of time for outdoor shots before the light fades and make sure you have something handy to wrap up in between shots. Alternative footwear such as wedding wellies are advisable for wet and snowy conditions and a fab prop for some funky wedding shots. Lastly, check out your venue to ensure it boasts plenty of indoor photo opportunities should the weather take a turn for the worst.

 

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Food, glorious food

Rife with seasonal flavours, winter dishes offer delicious combinations. While traditional dishes will always be welcome, consider adding a variety of seasonal options such as butternut squash or spiced pumpkin soup, while eggnog, mulled wine and hot spiced cider will always go down well with guests. And when it comes to your wedding cake, an all white iced cake, finished with delicate ribbon and glistening snowflakes will act as a classy centrepiece.

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