Eight beauty experts talk us through their own big day looks

The Scottish MUAs and hair stylists tell Nicole Conner about the looks they sported to tie the knot – and whether they’d do anything differently now

Beauty blast from the past feature - Makeup by Leigh Blaney
Leigh Blaney’s makeup lasted throughout her big day in New York City (Photo: Eloping is Fun)

Leigh Blaney and husband Bryan eloped to New York City in April 2022

Leigh knew she wanted her makeup look to do two things. First, it had to look good for tying the knot in the Big Apple and for the rest of the day spent in Central Park. Second, it had to last until the evening’s dancing.

“I went for nude lips, smoky rose-gold and browns on the eyes, and warm peach tones on the cheeks, and I spent about an hour doing my makeup,” she recalls. “When Bryan announced the taxi was coming in 45 minutes, that’s when the shakes started – I couldn’t get my lashes on! So, in hindsight, I should’ve got lash extensions done before I set off for America.”

The makeup artist’s hero products were a Smashbox primer for her T-zone, Urban Decay’s All Nighter setting spray, and the Max Factor Facefinity Powder Compact for top-ups (she actually only needed one, after dinner). The day before the wedding, Leigh had popped into beauty haven Sephora and purchased mini versions of these products. “That was a game-changer,” she declares. “It saved me so much space carrying them around with me on the day.”

If, like Leigh, you’re doing your own makeup, her top tip is to start early before any inevitable nerves kick in.

“If I could’ve had anyone with me to help, it would have been my hairdresser, Jane Lindsay. I took so much time trying to do my hair that I could have had my makeup done twice!” she laughs. “Now, I would’ve used the body glow I keep in my kit – it looks so good on the skin. But, apart from that, I was happy with my makeup as it lasted the day.”

Colleen Davidson took matters into her own hands for her big day on Arran in July 2012

Beauty blast from the past feature - Colleen Davidson Makeup
Colleen Davidson Artistry opted for a classic bridal look (Photo: Tandem Photo)

Although Colleen Davidson didn’t start formally training to be a makeup artist until a few years after she married, she felt confident enough to tackle her own makeup herself. “I was fortunate that our wedding was a relaxed day and that my bridesmaids and I were happy to paint our own faces,” she recalls. “That said, if I were getting married now, I would prefer to book the services of a pro.” Her reason is simply that it would alleviate any stress in the morning and guarantee that everything would go smoothly.

Colleen opted for a classic bridal look, and many of the products she used to achieve it remain part of her kit today, most notably Sheer Glow foundation by Nars and wispy false lashes. “The tools I used to keep my makeup lasting all day are the ones I still recommend to brides now: a great setting spray spritzed both during and after makeup application, and a pressed powder and blotting papers in a clutch bag for touch-ups later.”

Although her personal style hasn’t changed too much over the past decade, Colleen admits she would probably wear more makeup if she was getting married today. Her knowledge and experience, coupled with the huge range of products available nowadays, mean she’d possibly go a little bolder with her look.

“There is also a lot more access to inspiration now, thanks to Pinterest and Instagram,” she adds. “But that can actually make things quite overwhelming for today’s brides without the help of a professional.”

Jasmin French went for natural, timeless bridal glam when she married Ryan last September at Gleneagles

Beauty blast from the past feature - Jasmin French
Jasmin French went for a glowing makeup look (Photo: Stacey Clarke Photo)

Being the owner of a top Edinburgh beauty salon means that there was no shortage of expert help to get Jasmin French glowing for her big day at Gleneagles. Her colleagues at the salon did all her prep beforehand, then Alice Dickson Makeup worked her magic on her face and Bridal Hair by Georgia Peters gave her a style to remember.

Hyaluronic acid and Barbara Strum’s Glow Drops kept the bride looking gorgeous all day long, and she made sure to have her hero product, Charlotte Tilbury’s Airbrush Flawless setting spray, on hand to keep everything in place.

“If I could change anything I’d tweak my makeup slightly,” says Jasmin. “I thought I didn’t want to wear flash eyelashes, but now, when I look back at the pictures, I feel I could have had a lovely subtle fluffy pair to complete the look.”

Lyndsey Love at Love Hair Glasgow eloped to Las Vegas in 2014, where she did her own hair and makeup

Beauty blast from the past feature - Love Hair Glasgow
Lyndsey at Love Hair Glasgow did her own hair and makeup

Lyndsey’s low-key wedding in Sin City sounds impressively understated. The bride wore a lace tea dress from ASOS and worked on her hair and makeup herself. “We got married in the Little White Chapel and then took a limo to the Las Vegas sign for pictures – it was very laid-back. I did my own hair and makeup, but I’d probably book someone to do it for me if I was getting married now – it would feel a bit more pampered and special,” she adds.

Lyndsey had her hair in loose waves, but says she’d switch this up to more of a Hollywood style today, giving it a suitably polished look for the special occasion.

And she’d make full use of her hero product to counteract the Nevada heat: “I love the Color Wow Dream Coat anti-humidity hair treatment – I wish I’d had it back in 2014 as it was so hot!”

For her 2019 nuptials at Òran Mor, Megan Doherty did her own makeup

Beauty blast from the past feature - MD Makeup Design
Megan at MD Makeup Design went for a winning blend of natural and glam (Photo: Murray Mcmillan Photography)

Megan Doherty was happy to paint her own face when she married in Glasgow a few years ago. “I loved the fact that it was a very natural look that was still glam – I felt it just made me look like a flawless version of myself,” she explains.

One key element was a smoky eye (with a little shimmer to make her blue irises pop), which she achieved using browns from her favourite Urban Decay Naked Palette, along with some wispy Tatti Lashes. This was paired with bold lipstick (“I cannot be without a red lip!”). She sported this with a brick-red liner to keep things demure for the ceremony, switching to a brighter liner for the evening.

Megan’s tips for wedding makeup are simple: a good skincare routine in the lead-up, skin well prepped on the day, and a hydrating setting spray to keep it all in place. “Dermaplaning two weeks before was a game-changer for me. My foundation went on flawlessly.”

Would she do anything differently today? “I don’t think so. I might use a more glowy foundation, because that’s more my thing nowadays, but that would be all. My look would only change if my dress changed, and I still love my dress. I was aiming for a timeless look that was very me. I wanted to be able go back in ten years’ time and say I still love it.”

Makeup artist Jenny Gray enlisted help when she tied the knot at Meldrum House Hotel in October 2015

Beauty blast from the past feature - Jenny Gray Studios
Jenny Gray liked her makeup, but wishes she had went heavier with it (Photo: Paul Mackie Photography)

Jenny Gray brought in a proper glam squad to get her looking aisle-ready as she didn’t want the pressure of doing it herself. But it was actually this experience as a bride that spurred her on to retrain as a makeup artist.

She had believed the whole process would be a collaboration between bride and MUA, but it didn’t really turn out that way: “I remember requesting dark eyes and fuller coverage but was told it wasn’t ‘bridal’ and was persuaded away from what I wanted,” she recalls. “I do still love my makeup look; I would maybe just have gone a bit further with it.” This experience has shaped her own business: “I’d tell brides to enlist the help of someone who listens to their vision.”

Jenny says that “a lot has changed in the realms of makeup” since she wed in 2015, and she would even do her makeup differently today compared to a year ago, especially now there is such an emphasis on the skin: “I would always opt for a healthy, full-coverage, skin-like finish with a bit of contour and blush as well as winged-out lashes and more earthy tones on the eyes,” she says. Her hero products for this are Charlotte Tilbury’s contour stick and liquid blush because of how seamlessly they blend out.

Another bit of advice from Jenny is to focus on skincare: start visiting a facialist at least 12 months prior to the big day to get your skin in top condition. “Not only will this benefit you in the long run, it will mean your makeup is flawless on the day. The night before, enjoy a relaxing, hydrating facemask, and pass any last-minute tasks to the groomsmen!”

Makeup artist Nic Denham of Honey and Violet went for ‘grunge glam’ when she married at Killearn Village Hall in September 2017

Beauty blast from the past feature - Nic Denham at Honey and Violet Makeup
Nic Denham’s makeup stayed put all day (Photo: Corona Photographic)

“I loved my wedding look – I really wouldn’t change much about it,” smiles Nic Denham of Honey and Violet Weddings. “Trends come and go all the time with hair and makeup, but this look is time-stamped to a particular moment in my life. You want to look and feel your best on your wedding, no matter what is ‘in’.”

The MUA did her own maquillage, as well as that of two of her bridesmaids: she believes it helped her to relax and put her in the right frame of mind for tying the knot.

Nic confesses to loving a grungy vibe, and used rich dark browns on her eyes and a dark lipstick (Hex by Urban Decay) to achieve this. “My business partner Lisa did my hair in a high bun but we couldn’t decide on the headpiece. In the end we took my cake topper and used it in my hair! It worked at treat. My best piece of advice to other brides is just to enjoy yourself. The day is over before you know it.”

Lee Hanna asked her best friend to help her get w-day ready in 2014

Beauty blast from the past feature - The Blushed Bride
Lee at The Blushed Bride wanted a natural look for her wedding (Photo: Daniela Majic Photography)

For her summer nuptials, The Blushed Bride’s Lee Hanna wanted something natural that tied into the vintage theme and soft blush-and-cream colour scheme she’d put together for her wedding. She enlisted the help of her best friend, Adria Di Maggio, who gave her a fresh-faced look for the outdoor reception using products like Smashbox’s Photo Finish primer and Estée Lauder Double Wear foundation (to stand up to the summer heat).

Lee notes that if she were doing her own makeup now, she’d switch to Charlotte Tilbury products. “I just love them – they’re perfection! I often use the Beautiful Skin foundation and Eyes to Mesmerise cream eyeshadow.”

If she was able to redo things, she admits she’d pay more attention to her skin prep in the run-up to the wedding. “I’d have a proper skincare regime with hyaluronic acid, vitamin C and some gentle exfoliation,” she explains, pointing out that great skin is essential if your makeup is to look its best.