It’s your big day, but you still need to think about the ladies who’ll be walking beside you. We ask the experts about the logistics of bridal party makeup
I recently turned up bare-faced to a pre-drinks, psyched to get ready with my girls. It was the first time we were all going to be together in almost six months, and I walked into my friend’s house armed with clothes, makeup and glitter, prepared to sip wine while we shared stories and made ourselves up like the good old days.
Except when I got in, seven freshly contoured faces, complete with perfectly blended eyeshadow, looked back at me. Turns out I had missed the memo that said we were to arrive painted to the nines, and so I retreated to the bathroom, shamed but also sad to have missed out on the superlative bonding experience that is getting beautified with your buds.
That’s why I’m so intrigued by the prospect of the wedding morning, and the opportunity for the bride to spend a couple of hours being pampered with her besties – I’m sure that getting hitched to the love of your life is great and all, but does it really top a couple of hours hanging out with your closest pals and a bottle of fizz? I’m sceptical.
As fabulous as it sounds, there’s undoubtedly a lot to think about when it comes to co-ordinating a morning of makeup for yourself and your bridal party, so I decided to find out exactly what you need to take into consideration during the planning process.
As the leading lady, you’ll probably be looking forward to a trial run with your beautician, but should you also open this up to your ’maids? “Not always,” cautions Ayrshire-based artist Georgina Kane.
“In fact, I’d say only if there’s a member of the party with sensitive skin or who’s very particular about the way she wants her appearance. If the bride desires a specific makeup style for her bridesmaids, I’d recommend trying it out on just one of the girls, which will help to keep costs down.”
If you’ve got no idea how you want your posse to look, don’t fear: your chosen professional will be able to guide you. “I like to get the girls to choose a colour palette to base their look on – then everyone can have their own personalised version of it,” explains Glasgow’s Leigh Blaney. “Sometimes it’s nice to let them all be individuals, especially if the theme is a relaxed look, and as long as the bride remains the focus.”
Keeping you as the centre of attention might sound easier said than done, but the experts have more than a few tricks up their sleeve. “I always spend longer on the bride,” promises Hania McIntyre, owner of Makeup by Hania. “I like to take more time ensuring her skin is well prepped, and I’ll use a different type of highlighter or bronzer to guarantee she’ll stand out.”
It’s likely that you and your gang will all have different daily facial routines: some might prefer the natural look provided by a spot of concealer and a slick of mascara; others might commit 20 minutes every morning to perfecting their eyeliner flick. Whatever the situation, your artist can make it work.
“If anyone is worried, I’ll listen to her concerns and make her up in a way she’ll be comfortable with,” Georgina offers. “Some people have asked me to use cosmetics from their own beauty bag. I’m there to make everyone feel at ease in their own skin.”
Of course, your bridal party won’t just be the girls you’ve grown up with and known forever: chances are it will cover both ends of the age spectrum, and it’s best to be prepared when it comes to the other ladies in your life. “For flower girls or young children, I only apply a bit of liquid or cream blush, some sparkly cream eyeshadow and a lip gloss,” says Hania. “Even then, I always check their parents are happy with what I’m doing.”
And what about women of a certain age? “I do mums from both sides of the family, sometimes aunts and grans too,” Leigh says. “I tend to do exactly what they ask of me – quite a lot of older ladies are scared of being too made up. I like to enhance their features, bring out the eyes, make their skin look and feel amazing, and match their look with their personality.”
This part of your day should be all about fun, so keep it that way by ironing out any kinks well before your wedding morning arrives. If your bridal party is big, experienced specialists like Leigh will bring a squad of highly trained artists to get everyone suitably made up.
And what about the question of payment? “I think more often than not the bride takes care of it, but I couldn’t be sure that’s always the case,” Georgina shares. “I tend not to ask how it’s dealt with.”
If budget’s a worry, there’s the option of asking your homies to DIY it, but this can have mixed results. “If the bride prefers her ’maids to do their own makeup, that’s totally fine by me,” says Hania. “I do point out, though, that if everyone’s look is completely different it can sometimes show in the professional pictures.”
When it comes to the most common mistakes that are made, all our experts have the same word in mind: timing. “Some brides prepare a schedule for the morning, which is great; but things can run slightly faster or slower, and that can stress people out,” Georgina says. “My advice is not to worry: it will all come together in the end. Leave it to us and just enjoy the process.”
Any final pearls of wisdom? “Get the emotional gift-giving done the night before,” Leigh advises. “We want chilled vibes, not sobbing. If you’re feeling teary, take some Piriton or other allergy tablet to dry your eyes up. And don’t get hammered on the bubbles too early!”