My Wedding Hair and Makeup-The Details!

 Pedro Bellido Photography

Pedro Bellido Photography

My first blog post as a wife, how strange it feels to type. I'd like to start by saying thank you for all the well wishes and kind messages, comments and posts I received in the run up to and following the wedding. To have such lovely words sent was so touching and I loved reading them all!  

The most requested blog I received over the last few weeks has been for a product breakdown of what I wore on my wedding day. I did my own makeup as I simply felt more comfortable doing so and had the incredibly talented Danielle Garner come over to Marbella from Dublin to do our hair. She was amazing from start to finish and I can't imagine having had anyone else with us on the day.  Such a perfectionist, a professional and a lovely girl she was perfect for the job. Liza Mayne was the makeup artist who did the makeup for my bridesmaids and mum, she is equally fabulous and they all looked stunning!

We did a couple of trials before the wedding to decide on the perfect hair style. I battled between wearing my hair up or down for months before the wedding, I feel more comfortable with it down but also wanted it up so I didn't just look like my usual self. We decided I would have it up in a low bun for the church to suit the veil and then take it down for the reception so I ended up with the best of both worlds! Danielle prepped my hair with a lot of products before curling it with the Babyliss Pro wand and pinning the curls up to cool. She then put it up in a low bun with a centre part leaving some hair down at the front to frame my face. This was then easy enough to take down and fix for the reception when I took the veil out. I wore it down and pinned behind my ears for the evening to keep it out of my face and still slightly formal. The curls lasted perfectly and I couldn't of been happier with how it turned out!

I took myself off to my room in peace and quiet to do my makeup. I knew in advance exactly what products I wanted to use but hadn't exactly practiced. I ended up doing a slightly heavier version of how I normally wear my makeup so that I still felt like myself, just slightly more radiant!

Skin; To begin I cleansed my face and then went in with my Pestle and Mortar Hyaluronic Serum. Under my eyes I used Kinvara's Eye Wow a light but hydrating fluid. After giving the serum a minute to settle I moisturised my face with Pestle and Mortar's Hydrate cream.

Base; I started by spraying my face with Skindinavia's Makeup Primer Spray, this is very effective at keeping makeup in place but it does contain alcohol so I wouldn't recommend using it daily as it may dry out the skin. The same goes for their setting spray I'll mention later. For my Foundation I mixed together my two holy grails, Armani Luminous Silk Foundation in shade 6.5 and YSL Le Teint Touche Eclait in shade BD60. I applied these using a damp Beauty Blender, I use my beauty blender for applying nearly all face products as it pushes the product into the skin and leaves a seamless finish. If you ever find using brushes to buff in your foundation makes your skin flake or accentuates dry patches a beauty blender will be your best friend. Buy the real deal, the copies don't compare.

I then went in with my concealer, Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in shade Ginger. I put this in a triangle under the eye, a little on the chin and a touch on the centre of my forehead to balance the brightness on the face. Again I bounced this all in with a damp beauty blender. 

To contour I used my Laura Mercier cream Contour palette, mixing the 3 shades to suit my skin tone. I then set this with a mix of my two favourite bronzers, Hourglass Bronzer in Radiant Light and Bobbi Brown matte bronzer in shade 4 Deep, do not use this unless you are tanned as it has a red undertone that wouldn't work for everyone. 

For Blusher I applied Charlotte Tilbury's blush in Ecstasy quite high on my cheek as that's the application that suits my face. 

To highlight I used Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector (fluid) in Opal and again applied that with my beauty blender. 

To set this I applied my RCMA translucent setting powder all over my face very lightly. I don't usually set my makeup but with the day that was in it I knew I'd be warm!

Eyes; On my brows I applied Cailyn Cosmetics Gelux Eyebrow in Mahogany (you can buy this in Claudine King's Salon) and then Anastasia's clear brow gel to set the hairs in place.

On the lid I applied MAC's Cork eyeshadow all over and underneath the eye too, blended up quite high and deep in towards my nose to almost contour my eye shape. I then went into the crease with MAC's Swiss Chocolate and Embark mixed together as a gentle cut crease. I blended this all out with a big fluffy brush using Bobbi Brown's Camel eyeshadow. To highlight my inner corner I used my Becca highlighter. I lined my eye with a soft flick using Kat Von D's Tattoo liner in Trooper. To soften the liner slightly I ever so carefully buffed a little MAC Carbon black shadow over the liner only along the lashes, keep the flick crisp. I applied Rimmel's Lash Accelerator to my bottom lashes and left my lash extensions mascara free on top. Inside my waterline I applied MAC's nude liner in NC25.

Lips; To line my lips I used Smashbox's Always Sharp liner in Medium 2. I blended it in slightly towards the centre of the lips and then went in with YSL's Rouge Volupte Matte in 218. I personally don't like the look of lip gloss so I left it at that. I highlighted my cupid's bow using the same Becca fluid. 

To set my face I sprayed it with Skindinavia's Makeup Setting Spray which took away any powdery residue left on the skin, I can't stand when you can see makeup sitting on top of skin so I like mine to look creamy and glowing!

On my body I applied Nivea's Express Hydration Body Lotion all over and then highlighted my collar bone, arms and shoulder blades using Charlotte Tilbury's Super Model Body-a must!

After that it was time to get dressed and head to the church! We were all sweating getting me into the dress so thank God for the powder! My dress was the Pronovias Primeal Dress, I changed the shape slightly to have it taper around my hips and my shoes were Tony Bianco. 

I had the most incredible weekend possible, I know it sounds cliche when people say their wedding day was the best day of their life but mine truly was. To any brides-to-be all I can say is enjoy every second you have left of the build up, planning and especially the big day. I'm so jealous of anyone who still has their wedding day to come. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat if we could! Having everyone you love and care for around you to celebrate is a feeling like none other. I can only think of one other feeling that comes close... 

And it may have something to do with this one! Speak to you all soon, Mrs M X

Wedding Beauty Prep and Giveaway!

It is officially a month to my wedding so I thought I'd share my list of favourites with you as I've been religious about skin care in the run up to the wedding. I went to Spain for my first dress fitting at the start of April so I luckily picked up a bit of a tan which always helps my skin. I put a post up a couple of months ago on my skincare routine and while I still dip in and out of it my favourites have definitely changed. 

Face

Pestle and Mortar Cosmetics have changed my life. No that's not an exaggeration. The company is Irish which I love and was developed by two sisters, one a model and one a biochemist which as a science geek I love even more! They first brought out their Hyaluronic Serum which I've been using since October. It targets fine lines, dullness and dehydration restoring a healthy glow, plumpness and radiance. I suffer from dehydrated skin that's prone to dry patches rather than breakouts so this speaks my language. When they brought out their moisturiser a few months later I was dying to try it after falling in love with the serum and it didn't disappoint. It's very lightweight which I love but if you like rich heavy creams this won't be for you. It absorbs very quickly and also acts as a fantastic makeup base thanks to its high glycerin content; one of the main ingredients in foundation primers that creates a tacky base. You can read more about them on their website www.pestleandmortarcosmetics.com but I truely can't reccomend them enough! They are the only serums and moisturisers I now use, full stop. 

Body

All I want to do is glow on my wedding day. I'm sure as they say I'll be "glowing from within" but whatever help I can get on the outside I'll take. My favorite body scrub is the Green Angel Sunrise Body Scrub; it smells incredible and is oil based so you come out of the shower hydrated but as smooth as a baby, I've never used a scrub like it! I often suffer from breakouts on my back so I've been over the top about trying to keep my skin clear, I use Dr Bronner's Tea Tree Shitaki body wash on a body brush every morning and find it has made a huge difference. I make sure I scrub my back with this after rinsing out my hair conditioner as I was finding the residue from heavy hair products was sticking to my skin and I think this was what was blocking my pores. It's made a huge difference and is now something I never skip. To moisturise dry skin I love Dr Hauschka's Lemon Body Milk, nothing smells better!

Tan

As I mentioned I was away so I have a little bit of a tan left however my legs never go as brown as the rest of me no matter how long I'm in the sun for. I think it's also down to shaving my legs which removes the top layer of skin and hence tan with it. For this reason I've been loving the This Works Gradual Tan, although it says it's for legs it can be used all over. This Works is an amazing brand that was developed by the health and beauty director of British Vogue, Kathy Phillips so she knows her stuff! She designed a line that does what it says on the tin, fast effective products that make a difference. The gradual tan is a realistic sunkissed colour that makes you look like you've been on holiday rather than tangoed. I always use my body scrub before applying it and it goes on like a dream, doesn't scale off and matches the rest of my body perfectly! 

Teeth

I finally finished my clear braces! I have always had relatively good teeth and never had braces as a teenager but I had noticed as I got older my front two teeth had started to move. The more it bothered me the more I considered getting Invisalign but for some reason put it off. I mentioned to my own dentist, Denis Hilary in Dun Laoghaire last year that I was considering getting them and he told me that he offered clear braces himself. He uses a system similar to Invisalign but half the price and only takes 5 months to correct in comparison to a minimum of 6 with Invisalign. I decided to have my top and bottom teeth corrected even though my top ones were the only ones that bothered me, strange considering my bottom teeth were actually worse. The system is called Simpli5 and is designed for people who only need minor adjustments. You receive a top and bottom brace that is replaced once a month for 5 months that you can remove for eating and drinking anything hot or coloured. It is virtually invisible and comfortable to wear after the initial day or two of getting used to. I finished my treatment this week and could not be happier with the results! In conjunction with the braces I've been whitening my teeth using Mr Blanc's whitening strips, they are peroxide free which appealed to me as I didn't want to damage or sensitise my teeth. They have made a huge difference and I'll continue to use them after the wedding too! They are available in select pharmacies nationwide and I got mine in Meaghers Pharmacy. 

And Finally... beauty sleep! I had been quite unwell towards the end of March and in April so between medication, going to Spain and my hen weekend I am feeling wrecked. I'm trying to get at least 8 hours a night but it's not always possible, tossing and turning over table plans doesn't help! I use the This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray on my sheets every night before bed, a blend essential oils of Lavender, Vetivert and Wild Camomile to soothe the body and mind. It calms me down and helps send me off along with burning their Deep Sleep candle. Even Will can't go to sleep without them now! 

The amount of effort my friends put into my hen weekend in Mount Juliet had me thinking I'd like to treat one of you guys and your best friend, my girls had me surprised from start to finish and spoilt rotten! I'm teaming up with Avoca to give you guys a chance to win a bundle from This Works for you and your best friend, sister or loved one! Head over to my Instagram to enter and win 2 This Works Gradual Tans, 2 Deep Sleep Pillow Sprays, 2 Deep Sleep Sleep Balms and 2 Shower Gels! One for each of you! 

I promise I'll try do a couple more wedding posts before the big day so let me know if there is anything you'd like to hear about! Happy Weekend! X

Saying "Yes" to the Dress!

 Paloma Blanca

Paloma Blanca

As many of you may have seen on Instagram, I recently went over to Spain to search for a wedding dress.... THE wedding dress! I thought I'd fill you in on how my search for the perfect gown went incase anyone is about to start the process themselves.  

I do think it's important that the dress suits your venue to a certain extent so my hunt didn't begin until I had our reception booked. In my opinion a massive ball gown for a barefoot beach ceremony or a lacey boho number for a castle wedding just wouldn't make sense. Your dress should reflect both your personal style along with the theme and tone of your wedding. 

 Pronovias  

Pronovias  

I have dreamed of a Pronovias wedding dress for as long as I can remember, they had a shop in Marbella we used to drive by every year and joke about me one day getting in there! On our annual girls weekend in Marbella back in April (engaged about a month at this stage) we finally had an excuse to go in. I had just asked the girls with me to be bridesmaids so it seemed fitting to all go, most of my bridesmaids now live abroad so we're rarely all together and it was something I wanted them there for with me. I tried on a few dresses, we shed a couple of tears and I did actually quite like one of them. As it was April however, the 2016 collection had not yet arrived in store so I knew I'd want to wait and come back in September with my mum as I couldn't commit without her! Over the summer I did visit a handful of bridal stores in Ireland but sadly nothing compared to the dresses I had seen. Part of the reason I went to Spain in October was to view collections and labels not available in Ireland. I had a distinct idea of what I was after and unfortunately I found the shops in Dublin weren't able to offer it. 

 Berta Bridal

Berta Bridal

The other reason I wanted to buy my dress in Spain was so that I could have it made there and not have to transport it back and fourth for the wedding. My mum, my aunty and one of my beautiful bridesmaids Holly came with me to the appointments. I think it's important to think wisely about who you want there as you try dresses on for the first time. Too many opinions can be overwhelming and remember that not everyone has the same taste. Make sure the ones you choose to have with you will be supportive, only offer opinion when it's appropriate and not bash something you may love, tainting your feelings towards a gown. I was lucky with my bunch as we were all on the same page and I couldn't have chosen without their help. I did find that getting organised before I went to appointments was key. Nearly every label now has an app or website that you can preview the dresses on and ear mark favourites. I had a list of about 6 gowns from each designer that I was booked in with that I wanted to try on. Going in blind would have been extremely over whelming, confusing and time consuming. Getting in and out of dress after dress is tiring so while the idea of trying on 100 may seem fun now, come number 10 the novelty has believe me worn off. 

 Aire Barcelona  

Aire Barcelona  

The other thing I should stress is in the beginning try being open to all shapes and styles. While I did start with an idea in mind I did end up choosing a gown slighly different to what I had imagined. Had I not tried other styles on I would never have known what worked for my body, I soon realised that the girls who work in these shops know their stuff and will guide you in the right direction. Lastly I know after watching ten thousand episodes of "Say Yes To The Dress" and "I Found The Gown" it seems like tears are a must have the second you put 'your' dress on but it doesn't always happen like that. I loved several of the dresses I tried on, cried in many and lived in torment for 24hours as I tried to decide between them before returning to the shop the next day to make a decision. Champagne was produced and we all cried with happiness, more over the fact that I'd finally made up my mind than over the dress but anyway... The dress I ended up choosing was the one I woke up thinking about and funnily enough the one my amazing assistant Florie announced "this is your dress" to as she zipped me in. The dress I know I will feel comfortable, myself and beautiful in, and the dress Will better be crying over as I walk down the aisle!

Good luck to any of you who are still on the look out, your dream dress awaits! X

 Liz Martinez

Liz Martinez

Where to Begin and How to Choose a Venue

  Sourced from Pinterest

Sourced from Pinterest

I'm not even sure where to start myself... Firstly if you are indeed engaged congratulations!! This is such an exciting time for not just you as a couple but also for your friends and family, relish in every moment of it. My better half Will, proposed to me in March on a trip to Rome, we had of course discussed getting married but the evening he did it was a complete surprise and one of the happiest moments of my life. After the initial period of celebration and engagement parties we began thinking about starting to plan the big day. Where does one begin...

If you have an older sister or close friend who's done this all before I imagine it would make life a lot easier. I however have no sisters and am the first out of my group of friends to get married. I was given a lovely planner by one of my friends Kerri, which had a rough timeline in it, as does the Pronovias App I've had downloaded on my iPad since the day I met Will (don't judge, I know you have one too). Something like this is great as it gives you an indication of what to do first. There are many of these planning guides online you can download and I recommend doing so. Setting a rough budget was our first step, something that has since been blown out the window but I'm thankful we had one to start with. 

Setting your budget isn't that complicated and really comes down to who's paying what. Traditionally the brides family will pay for or contribute towards the wedding and now days the grooms family often contribute too. I think traditionally the grooms parents host for the rehearsal dinner to be exact. If either of your parents are in a position to and have offered to help you financially, ask them for a set figure of what they would like to give you towards the wedding, then simply add up the sums and top it with whatever you as a couple are planning to spend. That's your budget. Whether you have €100,000, €10,000 or €1,000 to spend, with careful planning, budgeting and money saving tricks you can easily have the day of your dreams. Your venue and reception including food and drink will usually account for about 50% of your budget so that's why it's important to set a figure before you go looking at where to have it. My advice is to only view and research venues that are within budget, if you fall in love with somewhere and can't afford it you'll only end up upsetting yourself.

  Sourced from Pinterest

Sourced from Pinterest

Getting married in Ireland or England (Will is English) was never something we considered as we both knew we wanted to marry in the sun and have an outdoor reception, something we just couldn't bank on happening here. When we first got engaged we were both hell bent on getting married in Italy, we had chatted about it many times over the years and both attended weddings there that were beautiful. I think we spent a good month researching venues and getting quotes for different options. Although I found several stunning options in the end we decided against it. Unfortunately flights from Dublin to Italy don't cover as much of the country as they do from the UK. Every venue I loved was at least 2 hours from an airport and I started to realise it was unfair to ask people to travel again by bus or train after already flying to get there. In addition our marriage in a Catholic Church there would not have been legal meaning we would have needed to legally marry here first in a registry office. This may not be important to some people but when I walk down the aisle and say I do, I want it to be the real deal.

This led us to Marbella, Spain. My parents have a home there and I have been going since I was a child however I must admit it never appealed to me as somewhere I would want to have my wedding. I always associated it with Puerto Banus which while I love, doesn't scream garden party romance to me. Marbella Old Town and the surrounding areas are however stunning and as I began researching wedding venues I realised I could find somewhere just as beautiful as Tuscany with far less stress. Having a base to work out of and knowing the area so well is a definite help when planning a wedding abroad, I honestly now can't imagine how I would have managed to pull the wedding together in an area unfamiliar to me. I take my hat off to the brides who do it. Another bonus with marrying in Spain is the fact that the Catholic Church is still part of the spanish legal system meaning you do not need to have a civil ceremony prior to the church service, your wedding is legally bound. If you're not planning on having a religious ceremony then this won't matter to you, you'll just have to wed in your own country first. We have chosen the main church in Orange Square, Marbella Old Town. Somewhere I highly recommend viewing for anyone else looking to plan a wedding in the same area! It is literally breathtaking with its giant wooden doors and gold gilded altar.  

 The entrance to our church; Iglesia de Nuestra Senora  de la Encarnacion de Marbella

The entrance to our church; Iglesia de Nuestra Senora  de la Encarnacion de Marbella

As many of our guests and groomsmen are professional sportsmen we were restricted on the time of year we could get married and had about a 2 week window between when the seasons end and anyone heads off on tours. Because of this I was emailing venues constantly asking did they have the dates free and was surprised that many were already fully booked for the summer. We eventually found our perfect venue and as the last Saturday they had left was our ideal date we booked it right away without even viewing it in person! My advice is to book a venue as soon as you can to avoid disappointment. We booked within 2 months of our engagement and our wedding will take place on June 4th, 2016. We have decided to keep our venue under wraps so that it's a nice surprise for our guests as they hop off the bus from the church. I wanted to avoid anyone googling it and getting an impression of it from photos of weddings there that may not be in our taste. This is something you may wish to consider too and is a fun way to keep guests guessing!

Decide on a theme of your wedding and then research venues to fit that. Whether you want a lavish wedding in an ancient castle, a chilled beach club vibe or a chic garden party there are venues to suit your needs and budget. I spent a lot of time on Pinterest before I picked a theme and eventually decided something a little bit rustic but still chic suited us and our personalities perfectly. I feel it's important the day reflects you as a couple and that your guests can relate the venue and style to you guys. 

 Sourced from Pinterest

Sourced from Pinterest

To finish off here are my 5 top things to consider when choosing a venue!

  1. Cost. Is it within budget? If it's not, move on!

  2. Space. Is it the correct size for your estimated number of guests? You don't want to choose somewhere too small to hold your number or too large that it looks silly if you're having a small and intimate number.

  3. Privacy. Do you want  the exclusive use of the venue or are you happy with members of the public being in the same vicinity?

  4. Music and Entertainment. Is there space for you to dance and have a band? Is there a dance floor already or will you have to hire one? Are there noise restrictions on the time the music has to end? Is there a sound system already in place or will you need to hire one too? These are all little extras that can quickly add up!

  5. Your Theme. Does the venue fit your theme and colour pallet? If you are planning an all white wedding make sure your reception hall hasn't got red walls for example. Similarly if you've always dreamed of a rustic barn wedding don't choose a modern venue and have to try make it work!

Additionally if you are getting married abroad bear in mind not everyone will be able to take time off work to travel so aim for a weekend wedding if possible. On the flip side, if you're getting married at home a mid week wedding is often a great way to save money as venues will generally offer a reduction in price on those days. To me the venue is the most important part of the wedding, second to your dress of course. Take time, do your research and don't rush into anything. Your perfect day awaits!