Between the dress, the shoes, the bouquet and deciding on the right hairstyle, a bride's checklist can become incredibly long very quickly. With the pressure to look your best on one of the most momentous occasions of your life, shopping for the perfect white dress and shoes can be overwhelming, and keeping up with a beauty regimen often adds to wedding-related stress. However, planning your big day doesn't have to be so taxing -- simply prioritize your tasks, and the rest will seem like a breeze.
Before you say "yes" to the dress, there are a few big items that need to be crossed of your wedding to-do list. First, decide what time of year your wedding will take place, then sign off on a venue. The season and location will determine the style of your dress: formal, semiformal or informal. After that's been decided, you can start looking for a dress. It takes at least four months for a gown to be made and shipped to your front door, so don't wait until the last minute to go shopping. Start hunting several months in advance to prevent shelling out extra cash for rush fees. You'll find the extra time makes shopping a much more fun, relaxed experience.
Also, don't feel pressured to buy all your accessories the same day you buy your dress. Have fun and take your time. Schedule a separate appointment with a boutique to try on veils, tiaras, jewelry and any other add-ons that'll make your dress special and unique. Shop for shoes that match the style and formality of your gown, and be sure to choose a comfortable pair! You'll be on your feet for several hours on your wedding day, and you want shoes that won't leave your pedicured feet with cuts and blisters by the end of the night. No matter which accessories you choose, remember to bring them to your first dress fitting -- the alterations specialist will need them in order to ensure your dress is perfectly tailored for your big day.
Choosing flowers can be a difficult task for brides -- since there are so many to choose from, how will you know which stems are right for you? Try to simplify the process by selecting blooms that make an impression on you. Meet with a florist about six months in advance of your nuptials, and discuss which flowers will be in season when your wedding takes place. Be flexible, and if your budget is tight, it's OK to think past traditional red roses and white lilies. Carry a bouquet of carefully crafted paper flowers, or attach several collected brooches and create a bouquet unlike any other on the market!
Hair and Makeup
After you've selected your dress, accessories and bouquet, consider your tresses. Experts suggest first meeting with your hair stylist several months in advance of your wedding -- up to nine months if possible. Do you want to grow your hair long or try a short 'do? Your stylist will help you devise a long-term hair plan, involving cuts, color and treatments to make sure your locks look their best. If you're not one for dramatic hairstyle changes or already know the kind of look you want to sport on your big day, you should still book an appointment with a stylist at least one or two months before your nuptials to try variations of your preferred 'do. Choose a winning look that flatters the shape of your face and matches the style of your dress.
Next, examine your complexion in the mirror -- do your pores need extra care? Experts suggest meeting with a dermatologist six to nine months in advance of the wedding, especially if you're prone to breakouts. A dermatologist will provide valuable advice on how to care for your skin and prescribe any medications you might need.
Once your skin is in tip-top shape, schedule an appointment with a makeup artist. These professionals will select a color palette that'll flatter your skin tone and offer advice regarding other beauty enhancements, like false eyelashes. Finally, don't forget to shape your eyebrows to frame your face, and consult your makeup artist if you need help sculpting them in the months leading up to the big day. To allow time for redness and swelling to disappear before the wedding, get them waxed and shaped two days before you say "I do."
Tips for Coordinating Your Total Wedding Look
Planning a wedding requires significant time and consideration, and beautifying yourself head to toe in the months leading up to this once-in-a-lifetime occasion is no exception. Here are some tips on how to coordinate your look to ensure your wedding day goes exactly as planned.
First, take dress and accessory shopping seriously. Never drop in to a dress boutique unannounced, and don't attempt to try on gowns during your lunch hour. Book an appointment in advance, and bring your mother or maid of honor for added support. Experts advise leaving the rest of the bridal party at home -- too many opinions can distract you from finding a dress that you truly love. Bring photos of dresses you like to show your consultant, and be open to different styles she recommends you try -- after all, she's the ultimate expert in knowing what will flatter your figure and complexion. Finally, make sure you can sit down and walk comfortably in the dress you choose -- and don't forget to lift your arms and spin around to see how it'll hold up on the dance floor.
Next, remember that practice makes perfect. Trial runs are important -- they'll help everything go more smoothly on your big day. Come to dress, makeup, hair and floral consultations prepared. Bring magazine photos that inspire you as well as a photo of your gown. This will give professionals an idea of how formal or informal the affair will be, and the gown will likely dictate the formality of your hair, makeup and bouquet, too. When you schedule a dress rehearsal with your hairstylist, bring your veil, jewelry, tiara and any other hair accessories that you plan to wear the day of the wedding so the final look is as accurate as possible.
When the big day finally arrives, pack a small bag of beauty emergency essentials in case anything goes awry. Include moisturizer to help diminish swelling or redness, and pack extra bobby pins in case a tendril or two fall over the course of the evening. Have clear lip gloss handy for dry lips -- forgo the bright red lipstick (or be really careful), as it could accidentally leave an ugly mark on your white dress. Finally, come to the ceremony prepared with a few breath mints to ensure your first kiss as husband and wife is everything you hoped it would be.
- Knot, the. "Bridal Beauty: Your Wedding Day Beauty Kit." (May 14, 2012) http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-beauty-tips/bridal-beauty-secrets/articles/your-wedding-day-bridal-beauty-kit.aspx#ixzz1vSP9KHk8
- Martha Stewart Weddings. "How to Choose Your Wedding Dress." (May 14, 2012) http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/229940/how-choose-your-wedding-dress/@center/272419/youre-engaged
- Martha Stewart Weddings. "Your Wedding-Day Beauty Countdown." (May 9, 2012) http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/228994/your-wedding-day-beauty-countdown/@center/272465/get-wedding-ready-guide