Tag Archives: Sarah-Lou Beauty

#NoFilter

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To say I was struggling to come up with a topic for my next blog post is a bit of an understatement. Usually at this time of year I’d be busy with weddings and would have loads to write about. Not this year though!

Girl smiling

Makeup by Sarah-Lou
#NoFilter

So I decided to do a quick Google search to give me some inspiration. I came across lots of different lists of hair and makeup blog ideas, and as I read through them, one particular subject caught my attention….. how to edit makeup pictures. My immediate response to that was ‘well I would never edit my makeup pictures’… So I decided this is what I’d write about – why I don’t edit my makeup pictures!

Nine times out of ten, when I arrive at a client’s house to do their makeup they show me a picture of what they’re looking for. However, nine times out of ten, the picture they show me will have been edited in some way, shape or form.

Girl smiling

Makeup by Sarah-Lou
#NoFilter

I do always encourage my clients to show me a picture of styles they like, as it’s a great starting point. But a starting point is all it is for me. I always make sure to let them know I can create a style ‘similar’ to the picture they’re showing me, because what they’re seeing in the picture isn’t real life.

And it’s for this reason that I never edit or filter my makeup pictures. It isn’t real life!

With so many young people following social media these days, it’s never been more important to keep things realistic. Social media is heavily criticised for being a major contributor to poor mental health in young people. Seeing so many airbrushed and filtered pictures can make people really insecure with their own looks and believe they aren’t good enough as they are. We’re often guilty of painting a ‘perfect’ picture on social media, and far too many of us are constantly striving to achieve that ‘perfect’ image.

Girl looking down

Makeup by Sarah-Lou
#NoFilter

But social media isn’t all bad. Think how much of a lifeline it’s been to a lot of people during the recent lockdown, myself included. I think it’s also a great way of getting young people interested in makeup in the first place. With so many different accounts to follow with tips and tricks, there’s an abundance of makeup advice out there.

But as a makeup artist, I think it’s my responsibility to keep it real and encourage people to show their natural beauty. And I don’t just mean not wearing any makeup at all (although it’s OK to do that too!). It’s great to get made up, and to wear makeup as bold, colourful or as natural as you like. But don’t edit your pictures…. let people see the real you. We don’t need to photoshop and filter beauty. We’re all beautiful in our own way, and the sooner we realise this, the better.

Makeup by Sarah-Lou
#NoFilter

Another reason I will never edit my pictures, is because I think it’s really important that when you’re looking at pictures on my website and social media, you can see what my work is really like. Whether you’re looking for wedding makeup, or makeup for a night out, I want to give you an accurate view of my work so you can make an informed choice. There’s really no point in me pretending to be something I’m not.

I’d love for people, especially young people, to be happy enough with their looks so they don’t feel like they have to filter their pictures all the time. And by keeping my pictures real I can hopefully set an example and encourage people to be comfortable with their looks.

Girl smiling

Makeup by Sarah-Lou
#NoFilter

Because in reality, we will never be happy until we’re comfortable in our own skin.

The last wedding before lockdown….

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It was a Friday morning back in March. I didn’t know it at the time, but this was the last bridal party I would be beautifying for a while.

I’m really missing wedding mornings and spending time with my gorgeous brides and bridesmaids, so I thought it would be nice to take a look back at my last wedding before lockdown.

Bride and groom at altar

Makeup by Sarah-Lou

I had a busy morning ahead of me with an early start. I was doing makeup for Claire (the bride), her 6 bridesmaids and mothers of the bride and groom.

The wedding was at the wonderful Sloans in Glasgow city centre, so the girls had rented an Air bnb in the Merchant City for the night before. This was where I was going to be doing their makeup.

I arrived bright and early and straight away got to work on the bridesmaids’ makeup. The early morning rise was quickly forgotten about as the girls all chatted and excitement grew for the day ahead.

Bride and bridesmaids standing in a group

Makeup by Sarah-Lou

The bridesmaids each chose their own makeup but they actually all ended up quite similar in style. Whether natural or a bit more full-on, the girls picked colours that would complement each other well, yet they still had their own personal style. This was also highlighted by the fact each of their dresses was slightly different in design. They all looked amazing dressed in black with red bouquets!

As usual for a wedding morning, time flew by and before I knew it, it was the bride’s turn to sit in the makeup chair. Claire had booked me to do her bridal makeup back at the start of 2019 (always a good idea to be organised and get booked in well in advance!) but it was another year before we actually met.  Claire had arranged her makeup trial for the end of January to coincide with the day she was going away on her hen weekend. The perfect opportunity to test out her makeup!

The bride-to-be opted for a classic winged eyeliner, soft natural smokey eyes, a subtle highlight and finished off with deep red lips. On the wedding day she also chose to add some strip lashes which really finished off the look….. simply stunning! And that gorgeous dress and red shoes just topped it all off!

Bridesmaid having makeup done

Makeup by Sarah-Lou

I had a lovely morning with Claire and her girls, and I can’t believe it’s already been 3 months since my last bridal party booking! I honestly can’t wait for weddings as we know them to be up and running again so I can be back at work doing what I do best.

I wonder when my first wedding after lockdown will be?……. I don’t have the answer to this yet, but I’m patiently waiting to find out!

Life in Lockdown

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Covid-19….. social distancing….. lockdown….. self-isolation….. key-workers. These are all words and phrases that we never, or very rarely used just a few months ago. But they’re now very much part of our everyday vocabulary.

Covid-19 is affecting us all in many different ways, so I really don’t think it would be right to go all the way through lockdown without writing about it in my blog!

Family standing beside pond

Enjoying a family walk during lockdown

This time last year, I was gearing up for another busy wedding season and pretty much going about business as usual. My days were taken up meeting brides for trials, dealing with a stream of enquiries, and travelling to the many lovely wedding venues that Scotland has to offer, to beautify my excited bridal parties.

If someone had said to me then, I would spend at least 3 or 4 (or potentially more!) of my busiest months of 2020 with no bookings, I would have laughed in their face. But back in March that scenario became reality. As social distancing measures were put in place, and then eventually lockdown, I panicked about what would happen to my business and could only watch in horror as every booking I had was wiped from my diary. Not only that, but I then had to deal with a mountain of admin as devastated brides were forced to rearrange weddings they’d spent months and years planning for. It was just awful for everyone involved.

Now I certainly don’t want to take away from the devastation Covid-19 has caused throughout the world, including the massive loss of life, front-line workers scared to go to work, people being separated from family and friends and businesses being forced to close. It’s something we’ve never experienced before, and hopefully never will again.

Girl standing in kitchen

Just back from an early morning run (excuse the red face!)

But what I do want to do is try and focus on some positives that have come out of this situation. First and foremost is I’m loving spending more time together with my family. Before this I was always rushing about, juggling work, running about after my kids and quite often my husband and I were like ships that passed in the night. Now we’re all home together, we all eat together at mealtimes, and we’re enjoying a bit more of a relaxed pace of life. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve all had our patience tested at times over the past few weeks, but we’re actually coping OK with our new normal.

Another massive positive is the fact I’ve really got to know some of the other lovely hair and makeup artists in the Scottish wedding industry. Over the years, I’ve found myself working alongside many other hair and makeup artists, and we would often have a chat, but now we’ve all got a bit closer. With so many weddings having to be rescheduled it was inevitable that at some point we were going to be booked on a bride’s new date. So we’ve all pulled together and are helping one another out to make sure no bride will have to go without a hair or makeup artist on her big day.  Not only that, we’ve all been keeping one another’s spirits up and have also jumped on the #passthechallenge bandwagon where we’ve created a video to showcase our hair/makeup work, passing combs/makeup brushes between us. Who knew it was so difficult to catch a comb?!

Girl standing to side with hand up

My hairstyle for #passthechallenge (just passed the comb to the next person!)

So, what does the future hold for weddings in Scotland? There’s been lots of speculation lately…. there’ll be no more weddings this year, weddings will re-start again in September, the only weddings this year will be with a very limited number of people.  Every day I read something new, and as much as we can second guess, no-one has the answer to this question yet. No-one knows exactly when weddings will be running again as normal, or what that normal might be!

But what I do know, is the last couple of months have taught me that I actually CAN cope with a nightmare work scenario being thrown at me, and there will be positives in every bad situation. This won’t last forever, but until then I’ll keep focusing on those positives and look forward to the day that weddings resume, and we can all get back to work.

An interview with…..

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For my latest blog post, I thought it was about time I featured another of my weddings….. and then I decided it would be nice to do it a bit differently this time! So rather than me telling the story, I’ve left it to my bride to tell her story in the form of an interview. I was thrilled to be part of Arielle’s wedding in July last year…. read on for the story…

So Arielle, tell us about how you met your fiancé…

bride with arms around groom

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou
Photography by Phil Gorry Photography

I met Craig at Ardgowan Hospice in Greenock where we both volunteered as kitchen assistants. It turned out we both attended the same high school, which had merged only a few months earlier! It wasn’t until we went to Strathclyde University and took the same bus together on the way there and back – often on purpose, even if that meant we had to wait a half hour or hour for the other person – that we became friends and finally boyfriend and girlfriend, as many of our family assumed we were already!

Where did you get married and who was in your wedding party?

We got married at the Gleddoch House Hotel in Langbank. As the vast majority of our guests come from Inverclyde, where we’re both from, it made the most sense to go somewhere local. Although we actually ended up loving the Gleddoch so much that if we had the chance to do it again, we’d happily choose this venue! We’ve been living in the Falkirk area for the last two years, so we did a lot of running back and forth between Inverclyde and Falkirk most weekends leading up to the wedding!!

bride fixing her earring

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou
Photography by Phil Gorry Photography

Sarah had her hands full with my wedding troop – along with my hair and makeup, Sarah did my aunt’s and bridesmaid’s hair, and hair and makeup for my two “honorary bridesmaids”, as I liked to refer to them! With the small army of people coming and going from the room, happening to coincide with when I was getting my hair and makeup done, Sarah didn’t falter and managed to get everybody looking fantastic in time for the ceremony!

How did you go about choosing your wedding hair and makeup artist?

A friend at work recommend Sarah so I had a look at her Facebook page and website and immediately saw a hairstyle that I loved. I also thought all of her hairstyles/makeup styles were really on point. I don’t wear much makeup on a daily basis but others in the wedding party do and I felt there were a great range of styles that would suit us all.

Tell us about your trial, and why you picked the hair and makeup styles that you did? 

Back of bride showing braided hairstyle

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou
Photography by Phil Gorry Photography

I had never had my hair or makeup professionally done before so I was a bit nervous. However, Sarah put me at ease with her friendly professional manner. I knew which hairstyle I wanted having looked on the gallery. However, I didn’t have the foggiest idea what I wanted for makeup apart from it being subtle and still looking like me. I asked Sarah to do what she thought was best and I think she absolutely nailed it!

Were you nervous on your wedding morning and during the bridal prep?

On the morning of the wedding I didn’t have enough time to be nervous as there was a whole host of people coming and going out of the room – videographer, photographer, florist, events coordinator and humanist to name but a few! Sarah was excellent the whole morning, even staying longer than necessary to adjust my veil and put fake eyelashes on for my bridesmaid.

Once my hair and makeup was done I hardly remember what happened next as I began getting nervous about the thought of walking down the aisle with lots of people looking at me – I’ve never been a fan of public speaking and it was daunting thinking of saying my vows in front of over 70 people! I don’t even remember or know if I managed to say bye to Sarah and thank her! (Don’t worry Arielle, you did :-))

Bride sitting in chair getting makeup done

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou
Photography by Phil Gorry Photography

And lastly, tell us about your favourite memory from your wedding day…. 

Apart from the obvious, I think one of my favourite memories was taking a moment sitting at the top table to look around at my family and friends sharing our special day. Another favourite moment was the surprise wedding singers I had organised. I had managed to keep it a secret from all wedding guests – even my husband! – and the surprise on their faces was worth a year of keeping it hush!

 

Thanks so much Arielle for letting me interview you. It was a pleasure to be part of your big day and I had a lovely morning getting you all ready. Hopefully I’ll see you again soon for the next special occasion!

My skincare routine….

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One thing I’m always banging on about to my clients is the importance of a good skincare routine. Never underestimate how much your skin will benefit from being properly looked after and taken care of.  So I thought it was about time I dedicated a blog to this particular subject!

Woman Washing Her Face With WaterA bit of an obvious point to make, but I want to begin by pointing out that everyone’s skin is different! Some people have dry skin, some have oily skin, some combination ….. and your skin will also change as you get older and even in response to your hormones, so there really is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to skincare products.  You are the best person to decide which particular products and ranges work best for your skin, and it may take a bit of trial and error. But once you find a range you like, there’s really no excuse not to look after your skin.

By sharing my own skincare routine and some of the high street products that I love and work great for me, I hope you’ll be able to see how easy it is to get into a good routine.  I’ve really noticed a change in my skin since I hit the big 4-0 a couple of years ago. I used to find my skin to be quite oily, however I’ve definitely noticed it’s a bit drier now, especially in the colder weather when I can feel it screaming to be moisturised sometimes. Anti-ageing products have definitely been on my radar recently!

Cleanse, tone and moisturise

As a minimum, we should be doing this at least once a day (at night-time) to wash away the dirt and impurities that have built up on your face (not to mention removing your makeup). If your skin is really oily, you may also wish to do this in the morning too, but if you have very dry skin then just stick with evening only.

I cleanse my face morning and night with Simple moisturising facial wash. It doesn’t make my skin feel dry afterwards but doesn’t make my skin oily either which is just what I need. I don’t wear too much make-up day to day so I don’t normally use a separate eye-makeup remover, but when I do, my favourite high-street brand would be the Garnier 2 in 1 eyemakeup remover as it literally gets rid of everything! It’s a bit oily, but that disappears after cleansing.

Natural Ingredients for SkincareOne of my favourite high street brands for toner is the Clinique Clarifying Lotion. While it’s a bit more expensive than other brands I love how it’s gentle on your skin and they also have different formulas to suit different skin types.

To moisturise, I have recently come across the Body Shop Drops of Youth range, which I really like. As I mentioned before, being over 40 I’ve found my skin to be more in need of moisture. What I really love about this product is how it feels so light yet still moisturises my skin well without leaving it feeling oily. The eye cream is great too!

Exfoliate

If you don’t exfoliate your skin, it will lead to a build up of dead skin cells, resulting in a dull/uneven skin tone and clogged pores. As with everything else, how often you exfoliate will depend on your own skin type, but as a rule, you should aim for once or twice a week. Any more and you risk stripping the skin of its natural oils. I regularly use the Body Shop Drops of Youth Liquid Peel to exfoliate. My skin feels so soft afterwards.

Face Mask

Who doesn’t love relaxing with a face mask, but how often do we get the time? Regular face masks help with hydrating the skin, deep cleansing and also improving the appearance of pores. There’s so many different face masks to choose from these days, from one off sachets to recipes for making your own! I really like the Olay Clay Stick Mask. It looks almost like a stick of deodorant which you just roll on to your face, leave to set and then rinse off.

And not forgetting….

Lastly, two things that I cannot stress enough how important they are for good skin:

Clear Glass Pitcher Pouring Water on Clear Drinking GlassSunscreen; using sunscreen will almost certainly help protect your skin against premature ageing. Many moisturisers, BB creams and foundations contain a certain amount of SPF (check the labels for full info), but if you’re going to be in the sun for prolonged periods it’s really important to wear a sunscreen of at least SPF 50. We all want to keep those wrinkles at bay for as long as we can, but more importantly this will help protect against skin cancer.

Drink water; we all know that drinking at least 2 litres of water a day has many benefits for your body. But not everyone knows of the benefits it has for skin. It helps flush out toxins, which in turn will improve complexion and give you a healthy glowing skin.

The benefits of a good skincare routine really can’t be denied, so why not get started today!?

What about the bridesmaids?

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Every bride knows just how important bridesmaids are. From planning the hen celebrations, to helping source suppliers, or even just a shoulder to cry on if wedding stresses are getting a bit too much, we all need a bridesmaid or two on hand while we prepare to say ‘I do’ to the love of our life.

bridesmaids with hair and makeup

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou

But when it comes to the all important hair and makeup for your bridesmaids, how on earth do you choose? Whether you have 1, 2 or 10 bridesmaids, the chances are you will have to decide upon styles to suit not only your bridesmaids, but possibly your colour scheme and theme too…. and the wedding morning is definitely not the time to be doing that!

A bride will usually have a trial before the big day so will know exactly how she’s having her hair and makeup. However when it comes to bridesmaids, they don’t always have a trial so it’s important to be prepared and plan in advance.

Bridesmaids can be dotted all over the country (or world!), so logistically it may be difficult to get everyone together for trials beforehand. Cost is another very important factor when it comes to trials. I would always recommend a bride factors in a hair and makeup trial for herself in her budget, but with the average UK wedding costing in the region of £25,000, bridesmaid hair and makeup trials are understandably not always possible.

Bride and bridesmaids hugging

Hair by Sarah-Lou

If you don’t plan to have trials for your bridesmaids, it’s definitely a good idea to get everyone together before the big day to discuss likes and dislikes, even if it’s on the phone or in a group message chat. That way you all have a good idea of what the bride’s expectations are when it comes to hair and makeup, what will work with colour schemes and themes, and what everyone else likes or doesn’t like.

The more bridesmaids you have, the harder it’s likely to be to have everyone with the same hair and makeup style. Hair lengths, thicknesses and types vary greatly, as do skin types and tones and face shapes, and what suits one person may not necessarily suit another. But don’t worry if you have your heart set on a uniform look for all of your bridesmaids, as it’s not impossible to achieve a consistent style.

Bridesmaids hairstyles

Hair by Sarah-Lou

Sometimes it just takes a small tweak to make a particular hairstyle work for someone, or you could incorporate something like a braid or a certain hair clip or comb across different styles to tie everything in together. For makeup, similar colours can often be used, but perhaps slightly heavier or lighter, depending on how each of your bridesmaids usually wears their own makeup. Or go with a certain style to tie in with your theme, but vary it slightly to suit each bridesmaid.

It’s often also the case that a bride is happy for her bridesmaids to choose their own hair and makeup, and this too looks lovely so there really is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing bridesmaid hair and makeup. A lot of it is down to personal preference.

Bridesmaids hair and makeup

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou

The best advice I can give though, is to plan in advance, whether you’re having trials or not! Talk to one another and choose styles that everyone is happy with (especially the bride!), and feel free to ask your hair and makeup artist as many questions as you like before the big day, as an expert opinion is always good to have.  A bit of preparation before the wedding morning means happy bridesmaids, and most importantly a happy bride!

2019…. over in a flash!

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It’s been another busy and very quick year in the life of Sarah-Lou Beauty. 2019 has brought many more weddings, prom bookings, occasion hair and makeup, as well as my regular beauty clients and a nomination for Best Makeup Artist in the VOWS Awards.  So I thought it would be a nice idea to look back on some of my wedding bookings throughout the year.

Bride with hair and makeup

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou

Annmarie – February 2019
One of my first weddings of the year was gorgeous bride Annmarie. I first met Annmarie a couple of years ago when I did her hair and makeup as a bridesmaid, so was delighted when she booked me for her own wedding. Annmarie opted for a gorgeous updo and natural makeup.

Bride with hair and makeup

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou

Claire – March 2019
Claire got married at The Busby Hotel. It was an early start to do hair and makeup for Claire, her 3 bridesmaids and mum.  Claire looked gorgeous with her hair in a half up/half down style and subtle yet glam makeup.

Marie-Alix – May 2019
I think this was probably the furthest I travelled for a wedding this year, but it was worth it! Marie-Alix got married at the stunning Crear Weddings and I had a lovely morning getting her and her bridesmaids ready. Marie-Alix chose a simple yet elegant updo and very subtle makeup.

Kate – June 2019
Kate literally sailed in on a cruise ship to get married at the amazing Cromlix Hotel back in June! Kate lives in Alaska and had travelled here with close family members for her wedding. They were in the middle of a cruise and chose Cromlix for the wedding. I love the braided hair style that Kate chose.

Bride getting hair and makeup done

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou
Photography by Phil Gorry Photography

Arielle – July 2019
Arielle got married at the Gleddoch House Hotel and I spent the morning with her and her bridal party beautifying them for the big day. Arielle also chose a braided hair style which looked amazing with her choice of tiara.

Hanlen – August 2019
I was thrilled to be asked to do Hanlen’s hair and makeup. My family were guests at the wedding at the Tontine Hotel in Greenock, so it was extra special to involved in the preparations as well. It was an amazing day and the bride and bridesmaids looked absolutely stunning.

Bride with hair and makeup

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou

Naomi – October 2019
I first met Naomi earlier this year after she contacted me to enquire about bridal hair and makeup. Naomi suffers from very sensitive skin, so we had a couple of trials before the big day to make sure she wasn’t going to react in any way. Fortunately her skin cooperated and Naomi looked gorgeous in the soft updo and makeup she chose.

Ashley – November 2019
One of my last weddings of the year was gorgeous bride Ashley. An extremely early start, as the wedding was at 1pm and there were 5 hair and makeups to do! By the time we had finished no-one looked as though they’d been up from 6am. All the girls looked gorgeous!

I’ve met many more lovely brides during 2019 and have loved every minute of my work throughout the year. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2020 brings, and looking at my diary, it’s already shaping up to be another busy year….. Bring on the 2020 brides!

A summer wedding….

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It’s time for another blog post, and this time I thought it would be nice to feature one of my weddings from this summer, since I’ve not done one of these posts for a while.

I’ve been running Sarah-Lou Beauty now since 2012, and these days I often find a lot of my new clients are recommended to me from previous brides. This is exactly what happened with Gemma; I did bridal hair and makeup for one of her bridesmaids a couple of years back and she recommended me.

Bridal hair and makeup

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou Beauty
Photography by Cara Frew Photography

Gemma was a super organised bride and booked me to do her bridal hair and makeup a year and a half before her wedding! This was definitely a good idea as it’s not unusual for my diary to fill up well in advance, especially for weekend dates in the summer months.

I first met Gemma later that year, when she booked me to do her hair and makeup for a family wedding. It was great to meet her and get to know her and her hair and makeup likes and dislikes before the main trial. On this occasion she went for a simple but elegant updo and some gorgeous glam makeup.

Bride and mother of the bride hair and makeup

Bride and mother of the bride hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou Beauty
Photography by Cara Frew Photography

Fast forward another 6+ months and I did hair and makeup trials for Gemma and her mum, Michelle. Gemma wasn’t sure if she wanted her hair up or down for the wedding, so we tried a couple of styles. Gemma was fortunate enough to already have her dress home at this stage, so she was able to try it on with each hairstyle and take some pics to look back on and make the final decision!

On the wedding morning, I went to the venue to get Gemma and her girls ready; the fabulous Waterside Hotel in West Kilbride. Such a lovely location right on the beach, and an amazing honeymoon suite!

Bride and bridesmaids hair and makeup

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou Beauty
Photography by Cara Frew Photography

It was an early start, and the weather wasn’t the best (even though it was July!) but that definitely didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. It was great to have a giggle with the girls while I got everyone ready. It was also great catching up with Gemma’s bridesmaid Laura, who I did bridal hair and makeup for a couple of years earlier, and meeting Gemma’s other bridesmaid Rebecca, for the first time.

On the day, Gemma decided to have her hair up, and went for a gorgeous, soft and relaxed updo with lots of loose strands. Makeup was nice and natural with some shimmer and strip lashes – just perfect!

Bridal hair and makeup

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou
Photography by Cara Frew Photography

The bridesmaids chose their own hair and makeup styles, with Laura opting to have her hair down with some soft curls and Rebecca choosing loose waves pinned round to one side. Both girls went for a natural makeup look to complement the bride. Mother of the bride went for a lovely soft updo with subtle makeup. All four girls looked stunning!

Gemma’s photographer, Cara Frew Photography, captured some fantastic getting ready shots! It was the first time I’d actually met Cara, but strangely enough we were both working at the same wedding the following day.

What an amazing morning getting Gemma and her girls ready and I’m so happy to have been a part of it!