Monday, August 30, 2010

Wedding day make-up

At Clare Beckwith Weddings, Julia Camilleri is one of our favourite bridal make-up artists. She is not only talented at what she does, but we are reliably informed by one of our recent brides, that she is a complete scream too; putting brides at ease, calming nerves and keeping them in stitches while they are getting ready!

A freelance make-up artist carrying out bridal, fashion and photographic make-up in London and the South East, Julia has worked with leading model agencies and numerous magazines including Sugar, Elle, B, TV Hits and FHM Magazine to name but a few during her 14 years working as a make-up artist.

Make-up is a hot topic among the stylish brides that we work with and because your wedding day is the one day it just has to be perfect, we asked Julia some of the questions on your mind...

CBW: How do I decide what colours and style of make-up would really suit me on my wedding day?

Julia: I usually recommend using neutral colours and a neutral and classic application that won’t date and that will photograph well....there are different techniques I would use that would make the make-up photographic, but still look natural in the daylight.

CBW: I go really red and blotchy when I get anxious, especially on my chest area - is there anything I can do to stop this showing?

Julia - This is a common bridal problem especially when nerves hit on the day! I use a product called 'dermablend' as this a product that was originally devised to cover birth marks on the face.

CBW: How can I get my make-up to stay put all day, especially my lipstick?

Julia: I use predominately MAC products and in the 14 years of doing make-up I have tried and tested many products and find MAC the best for staying power. The lipstick inevitably comes off however I give my brides a pot of the colour I have used so that you can reapply throughout the day.

CBW: Should I go for false eyelashes on my wedding day?

Julia: I tend to use individual lashes as these give a natural look to enhance and open eyes. Of course these aren’t for everyone so that’s why I recommend a make-up trial before the wedding.

CBW: Do you have any tips for keeping my skin in tip top condition in the run up to my big day?

Julia: I would recommend monthly facials to clear and radiate your complexion.

CBW: Are there any tips you have for getting my make up to look good in the photos?

Julia: There are special techniques used to make the make-up photographic that you wouldn’t even notice. These help to enhance eyes, define lips and lift cheekbones.

CBW: Do you have any tips for someone who never usually wears make up?

Julia. Yes I do! Keep it natural, don’t ever be tempted look too different on your wedding day!! Just an improved version of yourself!

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Pretty vintage weddings

Imagine an English country setting, a glorious sunny day and a historical venue full of exquisite fine bone china, lace, pearls, sweet peas, peonies, roses, pastel colours, mirrors catching flickering candlelight, and glass sweet dishes displaying retro sweets from yesteryear and you have yourself a vintage-themed wedding.

As vintage style weddings are so popular nowadays, we wanted to offer you some style tips to get you thinking about a vintage theme for your special day so we asked Vintage expert Beth Morgan from Be Vintage for some ideas.

As a bride, it’s important to stand out from the crowd, so why not set the scene in a beautiful genuine vintage wedding dress. has a stunning collection of original vintage dresses starting from the 1900’s, right through to the 1970’s. All their dresses are beautifully cleaned and restored and can be tailored for you to a couture finish using their in-house specialist alteration service.

For new dresses that are created in a vintage style, take a look at

1930's style dress by Circa Brides

1970's style dress by Circa Brides

For a completely personal touch, Magpie Vintage is a company that makes bespoke jewellery using vintage pieces, so if you have an old brooch that belonged to your grandma they can incorporate that into a necklace for you.

Here are some other ideas to achieve the style you want:

1920’s style

If you favour a 1920’s feel, think:

• Flapper dresses with a low sash

• Pinstripe suits

• Long pearl necklaces

• Pretty beaded bags, feathers and stylish headpieces

• Arrive in a classic Regent convertible car!

• A jazz band for your guests to listen to during the drinks reception

Inside your venue, you could use feathers draped on tables, single glass candlesticks standing on mirrored bases with pearls intertwined everywhere, creating a simple but very effective vintage look. Pretty glass sweet dishes displaying pastel coloured sweets can be dotted around. Birdcages can be used to display simple flowers and draped pearls.

The Victorian era

For the Victorian era, the clothes and accessories comprise frock coats, capes, long lace gloves, parasols, and beaded bags. For a lovely collection of lace gloves, parasols, fans and vintage beaded bags available for hire, try

If you are having a Victorian themed wedding, why not arrive in a horse drawn carriage?

Your guests could drink tea from vintage bone china teacups and saucers and eat pretty cupcakes served from vintage cake stands whilst listening to a harpist or violinist playing in the background.

Inside your venue, the room could be full of pastel coloured roses, sweet peas and peonies displayed in cut glass rose bowls or single stem glass vases grouped together. In between the flowers could be glass and silver candlesticks draped in pearls providing a sophisticated romantic atmosphere.

You could also use teacups, saucers and teapots to display flowers for an unusual piece of vintage charm. You could also use perfume bottles, glass decanters and sweet dishes as displays on your tables. For all your glass vases, vintage china, candlesticks and lots of extra accessories available for hire see

Credits: Clare would like to thank Beth Morgan from Be Vintage for her thoughts and ideas on Vintage weddings

Photo credits:,

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Top Tips: Booking a band for your wedding

At Clare Beckwith Weddings, we’ve had a busy Summer 2010 wedding season and we’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing musicians this year. We’ve heard everything from opera singers, string duos, string quartets, saxophonists, harpists, live bands... the list goes on. If you are new to booking musicians though (as most brides are), it can be a minefield if you don’t know what to look out for. So we spoke to expert Susan Heaton-Wright of NSN Productions to see if she had any helpful hints for our brides...

Susan told us...

“When I attend meetings and tell people what I do, I am often greeted with “I wish we’d known about you” – and then they tell me about a wedding disaster involving musicians. In some cases the disaster occurred a number of years ago, and still upsets the bridal couple; yet these problems could have been easily avoided. Here are my top tips for choosing and booking a band; what questions to ask; what to avoid and what to include in any agreement:

1. Be clear about what type of music you want for the reception. You’d be amazed at what a journey of discovery this can be for a couple when you realise your fiancĂ© loves heavy metal and you prefer jazz! Ask bands for their play lists. Do they arrange ‘requests’? Is there a charge for this? How much notice do you need for requests?

2. Ask for references and if it is possible go to meet the band and listen to their sound samples.

3. When receiving a quote, check what it includes. Are there any hidden extras – including sound systems, travel, VAT, lighting etc. Make sure you receive a fee which includes everything before making a booking.

4. The band should have Public Liability Insurance certificates as well as having all electrical equipment PAT tested. The former is a requirement by many venues; the latter is mandatory.

5. Confirm everything that you agree in writing or write up a contract.

6. Some bridal couples engage friends of friends who play in bands to play at their weddings. Make sure everything is agreed in writing with clear cancellation clauses. It is not unknown for friends of friends’ bands to suddenly get a paid engagement, leaving the bridal couple in the lurch at the last minute.

7. Most bands will request a deposit to confirm a booking. Remember to ask for a receipt for this deposit and to ask the conditions of the deposit before parting with your money.

8. A band will normally be setting up early; performing and packing away – making a long evening’s work. They will get hungry and will perform better if they’ve been fed. They don’t need the meal you are serving your guests. Most venues will offer a ‘suppliers’ meal – either a pasta dish or substantial sandwiches which costs less. We recommend you also offer soft drinks but not alcohol.

9. Be clear about when they should set up and do their sound checks. You need to avoid them walking through the wedding breakfast with their equipment or doing “One, Two – Hello O2” whilst your speeches are in full flow. The venue will normally be able to advise you on a practical solution – including a discreet entrance for the band to use to set up. Likewise, consider how they will pack up after they have played, to avoid any disruption to the wedding.

10. Dress code; it is important to specify how you would like the band to dress – and put it in the contract. Some bands will coordinate their clothing to match your theme, others will not. It is also important to request that they are smartly dressed when they arrive and set up. There is nothing worse than scruffy jeans and t shirts being seen; they can wear smart t shirts and trousers to move equipment.

11. Noise levels. When we set up our company, we conducted a survey of 500 people of all ages. 97% said their biggest complaint about live music – and bands in particular were that they were too loud. There is a time and place for very loud music, and weddings, where there are usually a wide range of ages, and people that want to talk to each other – and be heard, isn’t one of them. If it is possible, have another room for people who want to talk. However we recommend you have someone in the wedding party (probably the Best Man) who liaises with the band; is involved in setting the sound levels and asks them to reduce the volume if necessary. Ensure it’s in the contract that the band should adjust volume levels if necessary.

12. We recommend you book a band via a music company or agency. As a professional third party, they can often resolve problematic situations, without causing the bride unnecessary anxiety.”

Our special thanks to Susan for her great advice.
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