Wight Wedding Blog

Wedding day Make up – Katie in bridal consultation hot seat

Make up by Isle of Wight Make Up and Face Paint

Photography by Neil Hunt Photography


I’ve never really been one for wearing make up all the time, this is mainly because I haven’t quite got to grips with what I’m doing when it comes to all the different products. There are so many options available and my skin never seems to know what’s best for it. There are times during the winter when I’ll develop noticeably dry skin; then, come the spring it’ll be oily and no make-up will be required during the summer months. Basically – I’m making excuses for being a bit lazy when it comes to making myself up.

Of course, there are people getting married out there who will have different commandments and routines when it comes to skin and body care. Some apply a minimal amount, some slather it on; some care for their skin daily and some only on special occasions, or when they have time. I know some people who are so up-to-date on make up brands and preparatory products that they are able to apply make up as beautifully as a professional. Sadly, unless I go for a talent transplant some time soon, I can only dream of ever being able to make myself look catwalk beautiful on my own.

If like me, you think you might like the help of a professional make-up artist on your wedding day and you want to know what to expect without paying for a demonstration, I went through it for you.

Jo Lofthouse of Isle of Wight Make up and Facepaint offered to help me to experience and understand what happens during a bridal consultation. Offering to give the full effect as she would with any bride or member of the bridal party, so I can give an insight into what the process would be (this blog post). Hopefully, this will help demonstrate the fantastic benefits of using a professional make up artist, especially for any future brides who have never had their make up done professionally.


As most of my friends will know, I understand very little about make up, but am keen to learn how to deal with the troublesome areas of my face – and no, surgery is not an option thank you very much. Two weeks ahead of the photo shoot I am frantically emailing Jo asking for advice on what I should do with my skin before the photo shoot – I’m keen to warn her about all of the parts of my face she might find difficult, for instance: my red cheeks will flush for any reason – I usually control this with a green ‘undercoat’, the little red marks starting to appear on my face as I get closer to 30, scars caused by my impatience with the odd spot, oh and let’s not forget the wrinkles. I’m starting to understand the stress experienced by some brides ahead of their wedding day, especially when I focus on the fact that Neil Hunt will be photographing the whole process for all you lovely wedding planners to see!

Jo gives me some advice on how to care for my skin as part of a long-term routine and is able to tell me what I can do to prepare ahead of the consultation. It turns out, a couple of the elements of the routine are things I should have been doing for years; cleanse tone and moisturise every day, and with 2 weeks to go I heed the good advice and start making the changes I can at this late stage. Jo advised that you should not make any drastic changes to your routine too close to the wedding day (in my case consultation). It seems that even if you’re happy with your normal skincare routine, there are lots of little changes a bride can make in the lead up to the big day which will create a good canvas for the wedding day make up. I’ll be blogging Jo’s full advice as a separate post after this one as there are some great useful tips in there. Reading this back I paint quite a bad picture of myself, so I’m glad I’ve got Jo to help paint a better one.




If you choose to use a professional make up artist on your wedding day then you have the choice of getting ready in your home or at the venue. More often than not you will have your bridesmaids, some family and your photographer with you. Most people ask their photographer to capture images of this time getting ready together and enjoying the morning preparations. Although I won’t be getting into a wedding dress today (I’m not engaged and wouldn’t want to tempt fate or scare anyone), the moment everyone sees the bride with her hair finished, make up done, accessories and wedding dress on, bouquet in hand, is usually one of the most magical and teary parts of the day. Neil Hunt has kindly offered to photograph today’s consultation at the lovely Weston Manor in Totland Bay to show how he would capture this part of the day, although there won’t be any tears today. Well only if I forget to take cake with me for everyone.

We arrive at Weston Manor (flapjack and chocolate brownies in hand) and it is a wee bit cold, but the heating soon kicks in and we start to warm up. Not that you can tell by the colour of my nose! They both have quite a bit of kit, but unsurprisingly it is Jo who has the most. I’ve never seen so many different products in one large bag on wheels. I’m sure she wouldn’t notice if.I.Just......she definitely would, and I wouldn’t make a quick escape with such a huge bag. So while they set up, I make myself useful and prepare tea for us all before Jo and I get settled on the sofa to talk skin and make up. I had been dreading it a little bit but to be honest it is hard not to feel comfortable and at ease in Jo’s presence.



First off Jo lets me know that to begin with when meeting a bride for the consultation the conversation will quite quickly turn to how wedding planning has been going up until that point, and she can find herself going over lots of the wedding details and feelings. This is great as Jo can get an idea of what the wedding is going to look like, how you are feeling about your wedding day and how your wedding day make up will fit in with that. All that information helps Jo form a picture of what type of make up might be best for you and your wedding day, she details this on her consultation form, along with the formalities like date of consultation and wedding, name and the people who plan to have professional make up the same day as you do. It’s surprising to talk about how many different details could affect the decision on which make up would be best for you. Anything from colour scheme, wedding theme, dress style and shape, hairstyle, bouquet and headpiece or veil. Most importantly, it will always be a look that you feel comfortable with and suits you. As I don’t have a wedding to plan I throw a few ideas around that are trends for this year – emerald green theme (BIG colour trend for 2013), I’d like to wear more make up as I am a moisturise, mascara and blusher kind of girl so a change would be nice and I’ll be wearing a flower garland hairpiece and my hair down.

After chatting to Jo I feel more than at ease and we start to talk about the problem areas/insecurities I have regarding my skin and applying make up. I mentioned a few earlier so I won’t bore you with them again, but Jo already starts to make suggestions on how you can make the space between your eye lid and eyebrow appear smaller and I find myself taking mental notes for my own future efforts. It starts to act as a learning experience.

After discussing as much detail as possible about the day, my skin type, my normal make up habits and what I think I want my wedding make up to be like, we make our way to where Jo has set up shop in good light for Neil to get some images of the action. Jo explains that although the black gown is what all brides will be covered with when applying their make up, the make up looks completely different when that comes off and you are wearing your wedding dress. It makes a huge difference. Now I came prepared with no make up on (brave aren’t I) but Jo will start by removing any make up you have on and any residual dirt. At this point I haven’t even noticed that Neil has been snapping away whilst we talked and got started on applying the make up. Just what you want at this point in your day when you have a lot whirring through your mind and are trying to relax whilst having your make up applied. I don’t know about you, but I find having my hair or make up done by someone else is very relaxing, and I can imagine it would be a nice treat the morning of your wedding when you can do nothing but sit and relax, with a glass of something.


Starting with basics, we go from a primer (never found its way into my make up bag) to which foundation shade will suit me. Jo starts with 6 different shades and tries to get it down to 2 potentials. Already I can see that Jo is very thorough and although there is a running discussion on what is happening now and next because I will be writing this post, this is something she will naturally be doing as you receive your consultation. By explaining each step I feel I am understanding why each product is used and what it will do for me. I’m starting to realise just how much knowledge Jo has, her passion for her work and also how much time is spent during a consultation getting every element right. In addition to that, she is also mindful that you’ll want to look your best in your photos so ensuring that you avoid highly reflective products or glittery effect make up and anything with a UV protection in, as the flash will bounce right off you and cause all sorts of additional work for your photographer before he sends you those images.

I’m a bit of a talker so I find myself, in between Jo and I nattering, asking Neil all about his photography work and how he captures this part of a wedding day where the bride has her make up done in what might seem like organised chaos, or not sometimes. Neil is very professional and comments how the start of a wedding day can be different every time and that he takes the house, room or hotel as he finds it whether it be calm and relaxed or a little busy with people, clothing and the general madness that can be going on while everyone gets ready. Neil tends to try and keep out of the way and let what is going on just happen. If dresses and make up and bags are in the background of the shots he wants, himself and his assistant will move them out of the way to make sure you get a lovely photo that doesn’t include any kind of ‘getting ready’ paraphernalia. As I am starting to experience, it takes time to apply the make up and then there is hair and getting dresses on and letting your dad/mum/brother or sister see you ready for the first time, so there are lots of great opportunities for Neil to take advantage of those moments for great images.


Now after discussing the colour ideas during the first part of the consultation and after spending a little time talking to Neil about how he works, I find we are at the point where Jo is applying my eye make-up. At different points I have to look in certain directions and sometimes I want to blink but Jo carries on despite my talking and fidgeting. Jo is being very meticulous in the way she applies the make up and there is a lot of throw away applicators, which I hadn’t thought of before. For hygiene purposes and to remove any sharing (I always tell my sisters they shouldn’t use my mascara!!) Jo uses disposable mascara brushes, all her brushes are separated into sets so she is always ready to go with a fresh clean set of brushes and applicators. I’m starting to see how much value there is in the price charged for the consultation and wedding day attendance as you see how much time, products and accessories go into it, before you talk about skills and training. Jo explains that a wedding consultation can be anything from 2 - 4 hours and that she will stay until a decision has been made and the bride and any others are completely happy with the finished look. The time spent on the consultation is essential to Jo being able to achieve the same exact look on your wedding in a shorter time frame, as she is conscious you have hair, dress, shoes, photos and a ceremony to get to. Jo says she will also find herself helping other members with their bridal make up as they get ready around you, and as she only takes on one wedding for any day she has no rush and is happy to help. Neil would be with you for most of this time and then he would head off to the ceremony venue to capture the arrival of the grooms and groomsmen and the guests they will be greeting. The way his pricing works is that you choose an amount of time you would like him to be at your wedding, and when he would start and finish would decide if he was their for the wedding preparations in the morning.

We are almost near the end of the consultation and I have found myself relaxed and quite enjoying myself, even as some individual false lashes are applied to the outer edge of my eye and Jo finishes off the colour for my lips. An added extra offered by Jo, is that she provides the bride or bridesmaid with a little emergency kit including a lip gloss in the right shade to touch up through the day, some blotting paper to rid of any shine that might be developing and a straw so a drink won't ruin your your lips for the perfect pictures. A lifesaver for some I expect. Jo also carries a toolkit of emergency essentials that might help you with more than your make up on the day. 



Jo gives me the first look at the result (I avoided the mirrors throughout to get a before and after experience) but assures me that there can be more blending, changing of colours used or even a complete removal of all make up if needed. Until the bride is happy Jo won’t stop. I really like the end result and of course I have gone from no make up and a slightly red cold nose and face to having a wedding day ready make up look, so the before and after is quite dramatic coupled with the fact I don’t normally wear a lot of make up. I really like it and can see where Jo has considered my insecurities or quests to do something a little different. I now understand how having my hair professionally styled and putting on a beautiful wedding dress would really bring everything together. However, I won’t be getting into a wedding dress today but did bring along some Dornellie headpieces to try on and be photographed in. I am by no stretch of the imagination a model and never in my wildest dreams will I ever be, but the chance to at least dress my hair slightly with such a beautiful hand made piece allows me to show the difference in wearing black or white and how it changes the way I look. The headpieces are something to talk about as beautiful bespoke handmade pieces, which could be tailored specifically to you and your wedding. I feel very privileged that Karen allowed me the use of them for the day.

The whole experience has made me understand how essential it is to feel comfortable with your make up on your wedding day, and to have met and perhaps even had an engagement shoot with your wedding photographer, to become better acquainted and feel more at ease with being in front of the camera. There is so much else to think about that if those two things aren’t a worry to you then you can take the rest on (or your bridesmaid can). Jo has spent about 2 and a half hours with me and if I wanted to change any part of my make up she would be happy to then do so (I don’t and I’m pleased with the final look, but maybe if it was my wedding day I would be trying other looks just to make sure). All of today and your wedding day make up (the essential day) for only £75. After experiencing the whole consultation, I can definitely say that I think it is well worth the money.


Neil has been great and after suffering some of the day listening to Jo and I rabbiting on about slightly more girly things, he has made the most of a great venue and the natural light available and through his direction has managed to make a rather stiff and self conscious subject (That’s me) look quite ok. I’ll never say I look good or imply I am modelling but I definitely got the bridal treatment from both and can safely say that I was excited but nervous to see the images. There are some I haven’t included, as it was rather windy that day and my hair did all sorts of crazy things. I really enjoyed myself and stepping into the shoes of a bride-to-be has given me insight into how essential your make up and photography are. I also hope this has offered you an understanding of how wedding make up will work for you and whether it is a service you would like to take up.

I want to thank Weston Manor for allowing us to use their venue for our consultation and shoot. It is a venue available for weddings and is licenced for civil ceremonies. Of course, Karen Robb of Dornellie for lending me the headpieces you see above. They are handmade unique pieces you can have made for your wedding day. 

Most importantly if you would like more information from Jo on prices, availability for this year and any other, which products she uses or any specific questions you have then contact Jo through the Isle of Wight Make up and Face Paint profile in the directory.

If you would like to know more about Neil’s prices, to view previous weddings he has photographed or find out if he is available for your wedding day, then do go to the Neil Hunt Photography profile in the directory. 

I really enjoyed the whole day and am really pleased with the photos from it. I hope you have found it a useful insight into having your make up professionally applied, I know I have.


Katie – Wight Wedding Days X X X




Oh go on then, here are the crazy pictures……..





(Not quite the pop video pose it could be.....)

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