Here it is! Wedding season! I'm not kidding when I say I've been averaging about 5 weddings a year since my mid-twenties, and there's no sign of it slowing down any time soon. Not so great for my bank account, but so great for my darling friends. And after all these weddings, as both guest and bridesmaid, I've become quite an expert on wedding beauty, if I do say so myself! Both for the day of the event and leading up to it. And since long-term skincare is what really gets me going, that's what we are gonna talk about today. Here's a beauty timeline for the months leading up to your big day!
6 months before wedding:
If you plan on having any work* done, you want to give yourself plenty of healing time so your skin has regained some natural elasticity. After any kind of nips or tucks, however large or small, you want to have as much time as possible to heal and let your skin settle.
3-4 months before wedding:
If you are planning to get any Botox or chemical peels** before your special day, now is the time to do it. You want plenty of time for your skin to heal, get some natural movement back, allow natural oils to regenerate, as well as giving yourself time to see where your skin has settled and what kind of products you will be needing to keep it healthy. Both Botox and chemical peels have effects lasting up to almost a year, so I highly recommend getting it done with plenty of time before your wedding so you don't look perma-surprised in your photos. You know the look.
2-3 months before the wedding:
Book a makeup artist and hair stylist if you want them on the day of your wedding. During the spring and summer months, makeup artists and hair stylists book up FAST, and the sooner you get the appointment made, the better. In general, your makeup and hair team can come to you, and always inquire what their travel prices are, both for yourself, your family, and wedding party. Very often they offer a group rate and bring an assistant if there is a large party. Ask lots of questions before you commit and if you like what you hear, then book it ASAP!
If you are going to be spray tanning or self-tanning before the wedding, go in for a test run now. You want to make sure your skin does not have an adverse reaction to any of the chemicals, know what shade you will be getting, and how long it will last. Make sure you write these details down so you don't forget them. Also, if you are doing it yourself, you are going to want to practice applying it ahead of time just in case it turns out that you suck at it.
1 month before the wedding:
Book a facial. Facials are a gift from the heavens above and if I was a wealthy woman I would get one every week. Alas, I get them when someone in my life feels pity for me and throws a gift certificate my way. But this is your wedding day, dammit, and a facial will make your skin glowy, dewy, fresh, and extra kissable. I recommend giving yourself a month in case you get any adverse reactions, or if you have any slight breakouts due to extractions. Look for facial key words such as Vitamin C, collagen serums, AHA treatments, and/or antioxidants. A light exfoliation or a few extractions are fine, but don't go too crazy. This should be more about the health and appearance of your skin and less about digging around or lasering yourself too much.
If you want to whiten your teeth with Whitestrips, now is the time! Pop them in while you Netflix and you're all set. I love these as opposed to professional bleaching at the dentist because they look more natural and are super effective. I don't know about you, but I'm totally over the blindingly white teeth thing. Crest Whitestrips are more than enough to have a special sparkle and not look like you just got veneers on all your teeth.
2 weeks before the wedding:
Hair and makeup trial run. You don't want to have your team show up on the day of the wedding and just wing it and see what goes down. That is a disaster waiting to happen. If you do this I will be very upset with you, because now I know that you know better. You want to make sure you are all on the same page about what you want, and make sure that you are speaking the same language. You know that feeling when you are describing to your hairdresser what kind of cut you want, but what they are repeating back to you isn't exactly what you pictured in your head? It's really common to have that disconnect simply because people have different words to describe different things, personal style ideas, and past experiences. If you don't like what you are hearing, do not settle. Better yet, bring pictures of both hairstyles and makeup that you like. Lots of pictures. This is where sites like Pinterest are lifesavers. You will NEVER see me walk into a hair salon without an arsenal of pictures loaded up on my phone and ready to go. In general, I try to find hair stylists and makeup artists whose own personal style is similar to my own. It makes finding a common language much easier! Also, if you will be getting a haircut or color, now is the time. It will give any wonky bangs a little time to grow and the color to settle.
Week of wedding:
Get your final facial about 5 days before the wedding. It should be the same or similar to the last one, so you will be familiar with the results.
If you are planning to use a self-tanner, now is the time to apply. You don't want to be too freshly orange on your big day. And as mentioned before, you better have tried this out in advance. Apply AT LEAST four days before the wedding.
Mask it up! It goes without saying that you should be masking a couple times a week to keep your skin soft, moisturized, and exfoliated. This is not the time to be trying out new and funky masks. Go with something your skin is familiar with. Pick one that will suck up blackheads and exfoliate your skin about three days before wedding, and another that is hydrating on the day before you walk down the aisle.
1 Day before wedding:
Get a mani-pedi. Not only will it have the most staying power if you get it the day before, but it will be a really nice and relaxing activity during a time that will most likely be a bit stressful. It can be a really lovely escape with your mom, sister, and bridesmaids. Personally, i think it's a good idea to go for a gel manicure because the results will last much longer and you won't have chipped nails on your honeymoon! It's definitely worth the extra price. Conversely, a regular pedicure should hold up just fine, and you probably don't need to splurge on gels for your toes. That seems a bit excessive. Unless you are going on a month-long honeymoon, in which case, I congratulate and also hate you.
If you have the time and can spare the expense, the day before the wedding would also be a good time to get a lovely couples massage with your partner. You'll be able to relax together and get out all those chunky knots in your back (just me?) before you walk down the aisle. It'll be romantic!
Try to cut back on salt, sugar, and alcohol the day before so you don't wake up looking like a puffy bag of sand. Nothing ruins wedding photos like alcohol bloat. And HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE. Sidenote: Every time I go to a wedding, I vow to not eat salt or drink alcohol the night before, and I always do. So take it with a grain of salt. That said, I'm not the damn bride.
Wash your hair! You're hair will hold better in whatever style you pick if it is slightly dirty. The night before should do the trick. Freshly clean hair is very slippery and won't hold a style as well. If you are worried about greasy bangs, you can dry shampoo them or, like my mom and sister do, put on a shower cap, pull out your bangs, and just wash your bangs the morning of the wedding!
For the love of god, don't forget to eat something. Avocado toast, chicken salad, eggs and tomatoes, a nice green smoothie, or whatever it is that makes you feel satisfied, energized and happy. You don't want to get drunk off that one glass of champagne (or shot of tequila) you have with your bridesmaids just because you were too nervous to eat.
Give yourself more than enough time to get your hair and makeup done, leaving a bit of room for error, and time for you to relax and enjoy the process! Find a robe you love that you can lounge in while you get pampered, spritz on your signature scent, and have your bridesmaids stash some extra kleenex for you. Try not to get hung up on little things that may go wrong, and for the love of all that is holy, HYDRATE!
*I personally recommend looking as close to your natural self as possible on your wedding day and find extreme measures to be unnecessary. I do not personally advocate getting plastic surgery for your wedding day. The pressure put on women to look "perfect" on this day are unreasonable, rooted in misogyny, and outdated. However, I respect and understand anyone's decision to alter or adjust their appearance before their big day so that they feel as confident as possible. You have no judgement from me on this one. If getting some work done makes you feel like your best self, then go for it, dude!