Sunday, 10 January 2010

Sally Riceman of Stunning Brides

Continuing my series of favourite supplier profiles I was delighted to have the opportunity to chat to the fabulous Sally Riceman of Stunning Brides. Sally is everything you could want in a hair/make up/ beauty specialist. Experienced, super talented, friendly and great fun. It's always a joy when I turn up in the morning at the brides getting ready and Sally is there working her magic.

Tell us a little bit about Stunning Brides.
Having just come back from filming a Bond Movie, I could see how all the extras on the set were watching Halle Berry permanently being attended to by her various hair and make up artistes and I thought there and then…Every woman deserves this kind of attention and service, and what could be better than on her wedding day. But industry trained stylists are so busy taking care of professionals, they often aren’t available to the every day Goddess. So I decided to dedicate a large amount of my working time to bringing my skills to us…the girls at home! Stunning brides was born.

Where do you call home?
Crouch End, north London.

How long have you been doing Bridal Make Up?
When I trained, we covered every style of make up from photographic, tv, fashion, theatre, special effects…rather gory, and of course bridal. So to answer your question, about 20 years.

What inspired you to move into Bridal make up?
It wasn’t the make up but the women that inspired me. Women are so hard on themselves. For me, bridal make up can be anything that she requests, it’s the attention to her needs and leaving her feeling more beautiful and confident than she has ever felt. That’s what’s important. Great way to feel on your wedding day hey?

You work in TV & Fashion as well as bridal, what are the differences and how do you approach each one?
There are obvious technical rules and regs in TV…timing being one of them. I am normally given a brief as to what the show is looking for and off I go. Then its just a matter of keeping the look going, and keep continuity sometimes for days! Fashion is often driven by a brand, a designer or an art director. If I’m really lucky they let me create my own interpretation of their looks and designs. With brides, it’s always about her. She is THE most important client. I always take my time to get to know her and I do this with a trial. After all, I am going to be part of her special day and she has to have every confidence in me.

Do you have a favourite product?
Oooooooh YES…Amazing Cosmetics Concealer from America. It has changed my life. You can only get it on QVC in the UK at the moment. It has the best coverage EVER, it lasts up to 12 hours and it’s waterproof. So you can imagine, it’s perfect for weddings.

What’s been your most memorable wedding and why?

Oh there have been so many Elton, that’s a hard question. I recently did a wedding on Lake Orta in Italy. The service took place right on the waters edge in glorious sunshine and then we all took a boat to the other side of the lake to a stunning Moorish Palace. The wedding was so beautifully simple and the views were quite breathtaking! The bride organised everything. I was so impressed.

You see the brides on the mornings of their big days, what do you do or say to help ease any early morning nerves?

By the morning of the wedding, we’ve done the trial, talked on the phone…always more than once, got a plan, actually a timed schedule of beautifying, we are ready to go. I have been making women beautiful for years, and because I am so confident at what I do, I know that helps the bride to be confident too. So normally on the wedding day, I’m greeted with a great big hug and a “I’m sooooooo excited”! If there’s one thing I can do well (other than hair and make up), it’s relax, reassure and get a girl excited about walking down the aisle.

If you hadn’t been a make up artist what would you have wanted to do?
I always loved singing and performing, and I still have my hand in musical comedy.

What’s the best part about your job?

This is ALWAYS the same answer…Making women feel great!

Does the bridezilla exist and how do you deal with her if she does?
Ahhh I think that is such a harsh term, but I have met with a few very stressed brides to be and their families. Bridezilla comes from when a woman is at her whits end. She will have done a lot of the organising while she has a full time job, running a home and the list goes on. Sometimes weddings can throw up family rows and it can be a very testing time for some people.

A stressed bride needs time, a peaceful environment, a good ear and some kindness. In my job I get told everything and I am used to all the challenges that getting married can bring about. Just talking to someone who knows the ropes and understands can be just what they need.

Through the looking glass where do you see yourself in five years?
I would like to think that I will be able to reach more woman and have an even bigger impact on how they feel, look and live. I am currently writing a TV show based on my knowledge and experience. A real beauty show, where the viewer at home will actually learn some great techniques and useful skills, not only in hair and make up but how to get more from her life. It’s going to be a lot of fun.

Three words your friends or family would use to describe you?

Funny, honest and kind.

Favourite place to get away from it all?

Ahhhhhh The Lakes in New England America.

Something that changed your life?
Meeting the love of my life

Finally, what advice would you give any brides reading this on how to get the perfect bridal make up experience?
Take care yourself leading up to the wedding as this can be a stressful time especially if you are busy. Drink loads of water, eat lots of fresh raw fruit and veg and get regular facials and exercise. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and needs lots of care. Suppliments can be good too. Multi vits, Vit C and a good antioxidant to name a few and don’t forget your essential fats. No not Cadbury’s, but raw oils.

Don’t leave it to the last minute to find someone. Always get a trial, and make sure you like them, because you are going to see them on your wedding day.

If you would like to learn more about Stunning Brides or contact Sally to chat about your wedding, you can visit her website at

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