Who better to create your bridal manicure than beauty guru Alessandra Steinherr? The influencer partnered with Brides for an exclusive reveal of her new bridal nail designs with top London salon Dryby. Check out some of the stunning menu of hand-drawn designs (think pearls, flowers, glitter, metallics and colour). They're perfect for anyone who wants the most beautiful wedding manicure there is!
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Alessandra looking lovely - with a seriously pretty manicure, of course!
Maid Of Honour
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Alex says: 'My favourite! Inspired by Audrey Hepburn's wedding dress, this has a nudey-pink base with a white heart and a pearl on the ring finger. It's pared down but totally chic.'
The Bridal Bouquet
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Alex says: 'This combines three shades of pink with little flowers and glitter dots. I wanted something related to the blooms from the day. It's sweet, fun and works for the bride, maids or guests.'
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Alex says: 'Simple and so effective. Rose-gold foil is my fave, so it's a no-brainer to use it in the collection. The nail tips are delicately covered in foil as a nod to the traditional French manicure - and to mix it up, some cuticles have foil, too. This design goes with everything, so it's great for everyone.'
To Have And To Hold
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Alex says: 'It's bright, daring and perfect for the non-traditional bride or even guest. Both ring fingers have a heart design - the idea is that they're the mirror image of each other.'
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Alex says: 'This is a super-fun look - some of the nails feature pretty lace accents as a reference to your bridal lingerie, making it a little bit sexy.'
The Wedding Band
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Alex says: 'This is chic, elegant and elevated - on the ring finger, you have gold leaf with glitter tones to set it apart, whilst the other nails have fleshy nuder undertones and plain bands.'
Christian Pignatta is the Senior Stylist at Neville Hair & Beauty and a Session Stylist with Elsl Management. With plenty of experience both in salon and at fashion shows, we quizzed him on all of our bridal hair questions.
What trends did you take away from Fashion Week that transcend into bridal?
Natural-looking texture which is created by bending the hair around the curling iron as opposed to being wrapped around one. The combination of smooth and curly is modern and versatile.
Talk to us about hair care ahead of the big day...
Second day hair always looks best in my opinion. I recommend washing and blowdrying your hair the day before the ceremony and make sure to use volumising lotion or styling mousse before the blow-dry. This will ensure your hair remains intact on your big day.
Hair up vs Hair down?
I like both. My advice, when helping any bride to make the decision is to focus on two main questions; first, what compliments the dress? And secondly, what the bride is most comfortable with?
A bride should always walk down the aisle feeling comfortable and looking her absolute best.
How do you style short hair on your big day?
I love styling short hair for a wedding. There are endless combinations, like using hair products that give texture and separation. Working with the natural hair texture is key and then you can choose to add hair pieces, and accessories to complete the look.
When should you cut your hair before your wedding?
I recommend cutting the hair 2 weeks before the wedding.
How should you prep your hair before your wedding?
Visiting the same hairstylist regularly until the big day, will enable them to achieve the desired shape and style. Sometimes it can take several months to achieve the desired, length colour and style so it's important to have great communication with your stylist. There is nothing more rewarding for us than to hear we met all the brides expectations.
How do you see Meghan Markle's hair being styled on the big day?
I hope to see Megan walk down the aisle with a loose / soft up-do, and a natural shiny smooth texture.
What's your favourite part of your job?
It's the creativity and the opportunity to meet interesting people. To experience different cultures and religions, which helps me to have an open mind and to appreciate different points of view.
Deciding on a bridal beauty look to wear on your big day is the easy part, finding someone to help you achieve it is a little trickier. One of the key things to do when searching for the right makeup artist is to have a bridal makeup trial. To help you prepare and get the most out of your bridal makeup trial, we went to Sophie McMullan, specialist bridal makeup artist and owner of Beautisserie to answer all of our makeup trial questions.
What is a bridal makeup trial like?
It's the very important first opportunity for you to meet your makeup artist and go through some beauty looks. At the trial you'll spend a couple of hours together, talk through ideas and try them out on your face. So it's quality time for you to get to know one another and bounce ideas around whilst having some fun with makeup. I always want my clients to enjoy the process and almost think of it like a treat, especially for such an exciting upcoming occasion.
Where does a bridal makeup trial usually take place?
I travel to all my client's homes for their appointments. I work 7 days so try to be super flexible to their busy schedules. What's also important is I like to request that our trial happens in the daytime so we can utilise any natural daylight available to us as best we can.
When in the wedding planning process should someone book a wedding makeup trial?
Well this does tend to vary. Recently I've had brides booking me for trials a year in advance, which is very organised! On average though, I'd say they happen 4 to 6 months ahead of your wedding date. It's important not only to ensure you have your dream look created but also that you get on with your makeup artist because it's a very personal relationship. I'm there on email, phone and Whatsapp at every stage, day and night! Once you're happy after the trial, confirming your makeup artist for your date is another thing you can check off your list. This is usually done with a deposit to secure things from both ends.
Is there anything that the bride-to-be should bring to the trial?
I ask several things before meeting my clients.
Firstly that their skin be cleansed and makeup free. I can then assess their skin, determine any concerns and apply what's needed whilst giving advice.
Secondly, if she has any makeup images that she likes ready for me to see, that's always useful. Whether it be bridal inspirational ones or simply a celebrity that they admire. I can then assess and say how that might be able to be translated to her face.
Thirdly, I like to see as many elements of their wedding as possible. Obviously the dress is the key starting point (images, swatches etc), but also details like the flowers, colour scheme, bridesmaids dresses and general personality of the wedding. Once I've had a look at the bride's skintone, eye colour and hair shade, all of this will tie up perfectly into the makeup look we create together.
What should the bride-to-be wear?
Something comfortable. We will be spending a couple of hours together where she'll be mainly sitting, so something she will feel at ease in. Also, a white top is always useful. Whether it be a t-shirt, collared shirt or sweater, it's amazing what wearing white will do for your face and in turn, how the makeup look comes across.
How long does a trial usually take? And how much, on average, does it cost?
I always ask my clients to allow for us to spend two hours together. Sometimes it's less and sometimes it's more but that's usually the right amount of time for us to thoroughly go through things. Cost will depend on the skill level of the makeup artist you choose but expect to spend between £70 to £150.
Should the bride-to-be bring someone with them to the trial?
I don't mind at all. It's always interesting to get other people's opinions, this can be from friends/sisters/bridesmaids, to mums and even the groom. I'd say perhaps one or two people is fine, otherwise it can get a bit 'too many cooks'.
Also perhaps they might want to come towards the middle to end as it's a process that they don't necessarily need to sit through completely. I also like to bond with my client initially. It's quite an intimate thing having someone touch your face and with me doing facial massage at the beginning, I like it to be a peaceful start.
Do you advise on products and skincare?
Absolutely. Once we've had a chat through ideas, I give the skin a thorough analysis. From there I can see what from my kit I'll need to apply, pre-makeup application. I spend time on this stage, with different treatments and cocktail together layers of skincare that is tailored to the bride's skin type and concerns.
I then start the facial massage, this allows the products to be delivered into the skin efficiently, the blood flow is stimulated and therefore collagen is promoted too (and it's all rather relaxing).
Afterwards I can explain what the bride could be doing and using in order to get her skin in top condition for the big day. Post makeup, I can also advise what makeup products she might like to have with her on the day as well as generally for life.
The good thing about bridal makeup is a lot of it you'd totally wear again, utilise your makeup artist and their advice as much as you can! I also offer a sort of 'personal makeup/skincare shopping' service where I go and get all the products for my clients and deliver it to them, useful for those who find the beauty world somewhat daunting!
What tips do you have for brides to get the best out of their trial?
I'd say to generally be open and prepared. I believe it's a truly collaborative process. You need to tell your makeup artist what you'd like to achieve, show them as much as you can, as well as trusting their input and opinions. Therefore you will talk, try and arrive at a result that you're both really happy with and you'll look like the best version of yourself. Remember that it's just makeup though, a trial is about trying things, it can be removed, lightened, intensified, altered etc, so be prepared to see what the power of makeup can do.
I always say to clients too, post-trial, take lots of photos. Use your phone camera or a 'proper' camera, use flash, non-flash, go outside in natural daylight, go next to artificial light, take more in the evening too. All of these shots will show you how the makeup photographs. Then too, especially if you get your trial in the daytime, you'll see how it will all last and wear on your face.
What do you wish clients would know?
It sounds strange but sometimes the makeup can look 'worse before it gets better'. By that, I mean that a makeup artist will normally start with your base. So they will be evening-out your complexion and creating a blank canvas. From there, light and shade, colour and texture will come into play.
It's a process so be patient with your artist. Trust is very important and if they are sensitive to your needs, they'll show you at each stage what is happening. Remember too, that for most ladies, this is the most makeup that you'll perhaps ever be wearing. Not that it's heavy, but that it's light layering of various products. You need to realise that on your wedding day, you're going to be photographed like crazy. You need to find a happy medium between what you're comfortable with, and how it will come across beautifully on camera. Hence why I said earlier to take loads of photos yourself after the trial, to see the evidence!
Don't be afraid to be honest either, if you don't like something or want to try something else, just ask. You are the client, it's your trial and this is where you want to iron out any details and requests, it's your time to get exactly what you want.