Glasgow-based make-up artist Craig-Alexander Wilson has been making Scottish brides look hot for over ten years. A self-confessed beauty junkie, he specialises in bridal make-up – through Create the Dream
– and also manages to fit in editorial work, and a regular beauty column. We caught up with him to talk beauty trends, public speaking and rare days off.
How did you become a make-up artist & magazine columnist?
I’ve always been creative and for a while thought about going to Art School. I enjoy meeting new people and also making people feel good about themselves. It’s been a kind of natural progression for me. I started out in retail, working with beauty brands in a promotional capacity and doing makeovers in store and product demonstrations, then got approached to do some editorial work. Photo shoots are great fun but equally as important for me is being able to teach and educate women. If they can put what I show them into practice everyday, then I get real job satisfaction. While doing make up for photo shoots for the Sunday Mail I was asked to write a beauty column and it’s grown from there. I now write my weekly column for the Sunday Mail and also Beauty Editor for my Beauty Blog at 5pm.co.uk.
What do you love most about it?
Meeting new people, trying new products, getting sneak previews from brands before they launch new collections and, in terms of bridal make up, well there’s nothing better than making someone’s dreams come true. That’s why I called my bridal website Create the Dream.
And what’s been the highlight so far?
As a make-up artist I have done everything from one to one lessons to group bookings and corporate events too. I did a job years ago at the NEC in Birmingham and had to perform in front of an audience of 6,000. You get nervous but feed off of the crowd. I still do it now at No29 in Glasgow as part of their StyleLab events. It’s great fun and audience participation is key.
Which new wedding trends are you seeing?
Gone are the days where less was more. Not just in make up but in gowns, veils, accessories and entertainment. I’d say couples getting married now are pulling out all the stops and Photobooths are a key trend in giving your guests something different. Birdcage head dresses are really popular as are vintage style dresses, and there is a lot of lace appearing too.
What’s your favourite thing about the Scottish wedding scene?
I love it because everyone knows each other. You turn up on a job and you are like “Hi, hi, how are you.” It’s nice to feel part of a time, and most of the time you already know the hairstylists and photographers and event staff.
What/who inspires you?
Making someone truly love what I create is my end goal. I take inspiration from lots of things but products fascinate me. I look for new formulations, must have items and creating bespoke beauty really gets me excited. I take a lot of inspiration from fashion and the campaigns we see in glossy magazines. It’s great when you meet a bride-to-be and after the consultation we are totally in sync.
If you weren’t a top make-up artist, you’d be?
I think I’d have a coffee shop. Somewhere to relax, unwind, but of course I’d need to have some beauty products on sale too. I couldn’t help myself! Grinding beans in one hand and applying mascara to a customer as she waits for her latte with the other.
On a rare day off we’ll find you where?
Usually washing my brushes with a cuppa.
Photographed by Claremont Photography
at Balbirnie House
A Georgian mansion house with beautiful grounds was the perfect setting for this stunning Scottish-Indian fusion wedding.
Love at first sight or gradual attraction?
Chris saw me first (which he won’t agree with) but as he was very shy it took him about a year to pluck up the courage to ask me out. Our first date was over seven years ago and Chris took me to Edinburgh Zoo, that is also where he proposed to me earlier this year.
FIRST DANCE. CHOREOGRAPHED ROUTINE OR SEDATE SHUFFLE?
Goo Goo Dolls – Iris. We don’t actually have a song so this was selected five minutes prior to our first dance. It was a shuffle and we probably could have done with practising something, but we never got round to it. The dance floor lit up with us on it, literally, and it was amazing as I had changed into my evening Indian ‘Swarovski’ encrusted outfit.
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR FUTURE BRIDES?
If you are getting your hair and makeup done by a professional have them come to you, that way you are not busy rushing around.
Find a room/area that nobody has access to and have a few minutes alone, just you and your new husband. The day goes by so quickly and before you know it the band is packing up, your guests are leaving and you haven’t had a moment to yourselves.
WHAT WAS THE ONE THING YOU’LL NEVER FORGET ABOUT YOUR BIG DAY?
There are so many things that we won’t forget, but the one that stands out is that of our family and friends, who all made it such a enjoyable day. It was so much fun getting ready in the morning with my bridesmaids and my mother – they were funny and kept me sane. My mother’s speech was simply amazing.
Chris is from Scotland and I have been in Scotland for 13 years, as the majority of our guests were from Scotland it seemed like the best place to hold our wedding.
We love all the bold colours and sparkly details, plus the big smiles, in this wedding – what’s your favourite thing?
One of the most wonderful things about the Scottish weather is its variety. Perfect for your wedding, where you can plan for rain and shine and get the chance to wear those wedding wellies you’ve already got stashed away in anticipation.
We love Weddingtons
. They are classy and elegant and will look perfect underneath your wedding dress.
And every Scottish girl’s friend – the self-coloured Hunter boot
. That baby blue pair could be your something blue.
For a touch of floral, how about these Joules
boots? The short wellies are perfect for slipping on quickly, for popping outside for photos between showers.
And if you’re after something short & bold, how about these striking Ilse Jacobson
If you’re never really truly happy without a heel, then the WedgeWelly
is for you. You may even recognise them from being featured on Dragon’s Den
How about you? Have you got your wedding wellies ordered already?
We’re In Love
Here’s what has caught our eye this week
This week we’re coveting the new Marilyn collection by MAC, brought to our attention by the top team at EyeCandy Professional Make-Up.
The line features lipsticks, dramatic false lashes, nail polishes and beauty powders, all lending a touch of Hollywood glamour.
We think that this Scarlet Ibis lipstick would help us channel our inner Marilyn very well indeed.
And while we’re talking about favourite red things…we love this Paisie Red Draped Coat from Pret a Portobello.
With its draped shape it’s figure flattering, and the belt and pocket details get the thumbs up from us too.
Perfect for adding a splash of colour to your winter wardrobe!
We are loving the new Newborn Photography website from Aberdeen-based photographer Carol Frost.
A mum to two little girls, Carol’s beautiful portraits of (mostly) sleeping babies are created at her purpose-made natural light newborn studio.
She has won a number of awards for her portrait and wedding photography, including Under 5s Photographer of the Year at this year’s Master Photographer Association Scottish Region Awards.
If you’re in Dundee or Edinburgh this weekend, and you love all things vintage and retro then head along to the Funk Fair.
The market features jewellery, accessories, clothing, collectables, gifts and more.
For more details click here.
Photographed by Susan Renee
Filmed by Aberdeen Wedding Films
at Drumtochty Castle
Little did she know while growing up that the boy next door would turn out to be the man of her dreams. Samantha & Kevin ditched tradition for a fairytale castle wedding full of modern Scottish style.
How was the question popped?
Kevin booked a surprise hot air balloon flight to pop the question, only to have it cancelled time after time due to bad weather. Not giving up, he took me on a picnic to Loch Morlich and on our way back we stopped at the Corgarff Castle viewing stone on the Lecht, where he popped the question. It was such a wonderful surprise! He spent all day hiding the ring box in his jacket, which he did well!
SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW, SOMETHING BORROWED, SOMETHING BLUE?
My Gran’s sapphire and diamond ring was my Old, Borrowed and Blue. My dress was my New.
HONEYMOON OR MINI-MOON?
As we were relocating to Dubai, we just booked a mini-moon in London. We did some sightseeing, saw a show and dined at the Ivy.
CLOSE YOUR EYES, THINK OF YOUR WEDDING DAY. NOW DESCRIBE IT IN THREE WORDS…
Best party ever!
So that all our friends and family could share our day.
FAVOURITE THING ABOUT BEING HITCHED?
Lots of things, but the commitment is so special.
There is so much to love about this wedding but if we had to choose one favourite it would be Samantha’s two stunning dresses. Okay, we cheated. What’s your favourite part?
Photographed by Archibald Photography
at Dunnottar Castle
A ruined medieval fortress, which inspired a location in Disney’s Brave, was the dramatic backdrop to Kirsty & Richard’s coastal engagement shoot.
SO, GO ON, SPILL THE BEANS ON YOUR ENGAGEMENT STORY…
We went on holiday for a week to the Isle of Skye in May 2010. We were staying in the gorgeous Aird Cottage
on the north/east of Skye in Trotterinsh, which had with the most stunning views. We went for long walks and cycles throughout the week which were great.
The day before we left we went on a costal walk not far from the cottage – after climbing down a rocky part of the mountain we were blown away with the most stunning views of the coastline and views out over the sea. We sat down to have lunch looking out over the water and spotted two whales. It was amazing to see and we watched them for some time.
It was then as we were getting ready to continue on our walk that Richard asked me to marry him. He was down on one knee packing the rucksack and said “Do you want to get married?”, I said “Yes, of course I do”, Richard said “To me?”, to which I replied “Of course to you!”. Richard then said “I’m asking you to marry me?”, to which I said “Are you taking the p**s?”. He said no, then the penny dropped so I asked him to ask me again, which he did and I promptly said yes!
It really was such a shock, I had joked throughout the holiday that there were some nice spots for Richard to propose but never thought he was actually thinking about doing it and had planned to propose when we were in Skye. He really did take me by surprise and I was on cloud nine. It was the most beautiful setting and gorgeous day of our holiday, so the Isle of Skye will always have a place in our hearts.
Why did you choose Dunnottar Castle for your engagement shoot?
We live in the country and love scenery and the countryside, so Stonehaven was a perfect location – with a mix of history, countryside, stunning views and a quaint harbour. Dunnottar Castle
and the surrounding areas were one of the first places Richard had taken me to for a walk when we got together.
I am originally from Glasgow, therefore had only seen a tiny percent of the beauty Aberdeenshire had to offer until I met Richard. Richard’s parents grew up in Stonehaven too so there was sentiment involved- we even had a picture taken outside of Richard’s grandparents home from some 60 years ago on Stonehaven Harbour!
Our engagement shoot with Archibald Photography
was so much fun, we had great weather, although windy but the images captured are truly unique for an engagement shoot and not just about us as a couple, but seeing us enjoy the things in life we love together.
Photographed by Q Photography
at Villa del Balbianello
An eighteenth century villa overlooking Lake Como was the stunning setting for a destination wedding full of Italian romance and Scottish style.
WE WERE INSPIRED BY…
We didn’t want a big wedding, we wanted a very personal wedding and everything we did was done exactly our way.
HOW DID YOU PERSONALISE YOUR WEDDING DAY?
David waited for me to arrive by boat and then we walked each other down the aisle. It gave us a chance to have a few minutes on our own.
By law an Italian wedding ceremony must be conducted in Italian. We had a Humanist service and our family back home were able to listen in to it live – they had a Champagne tea to celebrate. Our wedding planner, Federica read out a card from my grandparents during the ceremony.
David is a curler and we filled a quaich that he had won with rose Prosecco to sip from during the ceremony. He also plays piano and recorded the music that we walked down the aisle to.
WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES ALONG THE WAY?
I love shoes and David took me to New York in January to find my wedding shoes. I hunted everywhere and just couldn’t find the perfect pair. When I was back home I ended up seeing a pair that I loved, in Next, and bought those!
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR FUTURE BRIDES?
Plan your wedding as a couple and do what you want to do. Don’t cut the cost when it comes to photography. If you need to cut back, then do it elsewhere. You will have these photos to look back on for the rest of your life. We love Simon’s style and our photos are just perfect.
WHAT WAS THE ONE THING YOU’LL NEVER FORGET ABOUT YOUR BIG DAY?
Random strangers coming out to wish us well and everyone starting to clap as we walked back through the cobbled streets of Bellagio. Also David getting hijacked by Italian grannies, who loved seeing him in his kilt!
We got engaged when we were on holiday in Thailand and decided that we wanted to be married abroad and have a very personal wedding. We were tempted by Australia, where we have family, but wanted something closer to home. We looked for villas in France and Italy and when we found Villa del Balbianello on Lake Como, we thought it looked amazing. It has been in a few films, including Casino Royale and Star Wars Episode II.
We used an Italian wedding planner, Federica Nascimben who was so genuine and helpful, her service was brilliant. And we kept it Scottish as much as possible, bringing our photographer, hairdresser, dress, silk flowers and rings over with us.
We then had a second celebration, with a big party when we got home to Scotland.
What an incredible setting for a wedding! And we love the story about the Italian grannies! What did you love most?
Tartan for your Scottish Wedding
Tartan is the fabric of style for 2012. The groom may have his kilt in hand, but whether you’re part of the wedding party, or a guest, there are lots of ways to introduce a little bit of tartan to a Scottish wedding. Here are a few ideas…
And how about this gorgeous Alexander McQueen
tartan dress. Perfect, with a pair of heels (and a warm jacket!), for attending a winter wedding in Scotland. We think we may have spotted both Rhianna and Emma Watson sporting this little number.
If you’re attending an autumn or winter wedding in Scotland, you will have to think of your outergarments. We’re loving this stylish tartan coat from Anta
And for the chaps, this stylish Anta
tartan scarf, which would sit perfectly alongside a stylish suit and colourful buttonhole.
And for the informal wedding where the groom wants to chill it all down with a relaxed suit, or change for the evening entertainment… how about these from Christian Louboutin
How about these gorgeous little bags from Tattimole
? We think these bags could also add a tartan twist for your bridesmaid or your Mum…
And for accessories, for you, or as a gift, we’ve spotted this white tartan charm bracelet from Maffa