Michelle Keegan showing off her golden glow in the Garnier campaign courtesy of celebrity tanner James Harknett

Expert Tanning Tips To Get A Wedding Day Glow

Dubbed the Tom Ford of tanning, James Harknett is the man responsible for giving the likes of Michelle Keegan, Ashley Roberts, Emma Willis and Fearne Cotton their golden glows. Based at the luxe

Michelle Keegan showing off her Garnier tan by tan James Harknett Michelle Keegan showing off her golden glow in the Garnier campaign courtesy of celebrity tanner James Harknett


W Hotel in London, he also happens to be the most in-demand wedding tanner, bronzing over 200 brides a year. In fact, James is such an expert at achieving the perfect golden glow for your big day, he’s even developed an exclusive Wedding Tanning Menu using Sienna X products. Yep, to ensure you have the right tan to complement your dress, you can choose from three different finishes – Cashmere and Cream, Ivory and Lace and Silk and Taffeta.

Ivory and lace adds a hint of colour to pale skin with Sienna X Touche de Soleil, making it the perfect option for newbie tanning brides. Ivory and Lace gives a butterscotch hue that will work against ivory and off-white dresses and Silk and Taffeta is a toffee-toned tan with a rich radian finish that looks amazing against purse white gowns.  

Fashion News Editor Gemma Gow – who James will be giving a golden glow for her upcoming wedding – got the lowdown on the ultimate tips to perfect your wedding day tan from the man himself…

1. Decide on the application. At home or at a salon? A professional application of your tan is highly recommended. Look for a recommendation and go for at least 2 trial sprays first. 

2. The consultation. When meeting your tanning therapist it’s a good idea to have a picture of the dress. Show them how much skin you are showing and explain the ideal look you would like to have for your big day. Start with a lighter finish first. One coat can just give a natural glow of radiance and no-one need know you are faking it. 

3. Gage the colour daily in the mirror and  take picture of the tan in daylight. See how the colour looks on the skin day to day. Most brides have their tan applied 48 hours before the wedding. This gives the colour time to settle and look its most natural. Have the make up tail during this time too. A warm dusting of tan to the face is a perfect base for your wedding make up.

4. Skin preparation is key for the perfect finish. Any waxing should be completed 48 hours before the tan and have a gentle exfoliation on the morning of the treatment. I recommend Ren Moroccan Rose Scrub. It leaves the skin smooth and rejuvenated, and a clear canvas for the tan to cling to. Avoid any oil-based products on the skin during the days leading up to the tan as they can leave a residue on the skin that patches the spray tan.

5. Problem areas! Ensure you keep feet and hands dry after application. These areas are on show at all times and need to look flawless. Make sure your therapist has applied barrier cream to the hands, wrists, ankles and feet. This will stop the tan from going too dark and helps the colour fade naturally to the hands and feet. 

6. Tanning at home. If you are a tanning pro and feel confident to DIY I recommend a gradual tanner. Sisley self-tan hydrating cream is a gorgeous at home product. Application is smooth and easy. Also, Sienna X Gradual Glowing Tan is a beautiful build up tan. After applying 2 evenings in a row the colour looks warm and natural. 

7. When applying a gradual tan always apply to clean exfoliated skin. Give yourself time and space and wash your hands in-between sections of the body to avoid staining. Ensure coverage is even and relax in loose dark clothing after application.

8. Upkeep of your wedding tan is key. Avoid hot baths and keep showers warm as hot water can be killer on fake tan. Moisturise generously every day.  Keihls Creme De Corps body lotion locks in the colour whist hydrating the skin.

9. On the big day you can give the tan a smooth gleam by applying Sienna X Moisturising Body Balm. This easy to apply balm adds a slight radiance without sparkle, whilst keeping the skin hydrated and the skin supple and nourished. 

10. The top tip for tanned brides is don’t over apply to the face and neck. Remember your make up can always be darker on the day so avoid a strong fake tan on the face. For contoured cheeks try Laura Mercier powder bronzer. This product adds depth to tanned skin and stays looking flawless all day!

Check out Michelle Keegan, one of James’ many celeb clients, revealing her must-have beauty buys to LOOK…