You've purchased the perfect dress and veil, and you've booked the venue and a photographer. Of course, you've also found the lucky guy you're going to spend the rest of your life with. Now all that's left on your wedding day checklist is your beauty regimen, and it could be simple or intense, depending on your style. Here are some suggestions on how to achieve a blissful glow. After all, the photos that document this once-in-a-lifetime affair will be around for many decades to come, so why not look your absolute best?
First, consider your tresses. Cut your hair -- if necessary -- a month in advance of the wedding. Don't make the mistake of booking a last-minute hair appointment with your stylist -- if your hair is cut too short or the style is wrong, it won't have time to grow or be restyled before the big day. Similarly, highlight or color your hair several days before the wedding -- if your hairdresser makes any mistakes, she'll have plenty of time to correct them. Finally, schedule a trial run with your stylist to test various 'dos at least three months before the the big day. Come prepared with inspiring magazine photos and a picture of your dress, and bring your veil and any other hair accessories you plan to use so the practice run goes as smoothly as possible. Snap a few pictures of the finished hairstyle, and have them handy for your stylist to reference the day of the wedding.
Next, pull out a hand mirror and examine your skin. Are your pores in tip-top shape? If the answer is "no," you might want to consult a dermatologist for skincare advice -- ideally six to nine months before you say "I do." Medication may be prescribed to treat acne or other skin ailments, helping your complexion reach its full potential. Once your skin is healthy and blemish-free, meet with a makeup artist to choose lipstick, blush, eye shadow and a foundation that matches your skin tone. Most makeup professionals offer free makeovers -- the perfect chance to meet with an expert one-on-one to discuss your wedding day beauty regimen. Take this time to try as many styles and shades as you wish, but never leave a makeover without purchasing a few products first -- it's in poor taste to book a free consultation and leave the store empty-handed.
A Healthy Bride is a Happy Bride
Having tanned skin may be an important item on your pre-wedding beauty checklist, but there are several ways to achieve a sun-kissed glow, and some are healthier than others. Tanning beds and sunbathing are very bad for your skin -- not only can ultraviolet rays cause skin cancer, but they can badly damage skin cells, leaving burns and blisters all over your body.
No one wants to look like a boiled lobster in their wedding portrait, so if you must have a tan on your big day, try a spray tan instead. Spray tans are achieved without exposure to the sun's harmful rays, so they're considered a healthy alternative to tanning beds and sunbathing. However, schedule a trial appointment at least a month in advance of your wedding to make sure you like the results -- if spray tanning isn't right for you, your color will return to normal long before your wedding day arrives.
When all else fails, consider trying a self-tanner -- but approach these lotions with caution. You may find it difficult to find a hue that works well with your exact skin tone, and lotions can be hard to apply evenly, so they may leave unwanted streaks and spots behind. Above all, don't apply a bronzer lotion the day of the wedding -- it could accidentally stain your pristine white dress.
You also need to take your health and well-being seriously in the months leading up to your big day. Doing so will help you cope with the unavoidable stress that comes with planning a wedding. Exercise regularly, and choose a workout regimen that's convenient to your schedule. You don't necessarily have to purchase an expensive gym membership in order to exercise -- run or walk outdoors, embark on weekend hikes or take up bicycling -- just don't overdo it! While it might sound fun to sign up for the mud run that's happening the weekend before your wedding, you don't want to walk down the aisle with a big white cast and crutches.
When dieting, don't starve yourself or succumb to any weight-loss fads. Eat a well-balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, and if you eat meat, choose lean cuts of chicken and beef. Limit your intake of sweets and starches, nix soda and other drinks high in sodium and sugar and drink water instead. When your mind and body are healthy and in sync, you're guaranteed to look (and feel) your absolute best.
- Knot, the. "Bridal Beauty: Countdown to Gorgeous." Dec. 13, 2011. (May 9, 2012) http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-beauty-tips/bridal-beauty-secrets/articles/bridal-beauty-countdown-to-gorgeous.aspx
- 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