When you’re planning your wedding, your to-do list is likely a mile long. There are numerous things to spend your time and money on while preparing for the big day. You have to find and book a venue. Then you need a caterer, photographer, wedding planner, florist, and an officiant. You have to figure out where to get a cake. You’ll have to decide whether you want a DJ or a band. And you’ll probably need to buy invitations, figure out plans for your rehearsal dinner, and create a timeline for the ceremony and your wedding day overall.
As if that weren’t enough, you’ll also want to look your best on your wedding day. Whether you’ve been dreaming about your wedding dress for years or didn’t have a clue what you wanted until you started shopping, the dress (or jumpsuit or bridal separates) is a big part of your look. Another critical piece? Your hair and makeup. You can go minimal, all-out, or pick something in between.
But however you want to look on your wedding day, you undoubtedly want to be your most gorgeous self. There’s no better way to do that than to get your skin and hair into the best possible shape. Want a perfect complexion? A bright smile? Gorgeous hair? You can achieve all of those with just a little bit of prep. And because the process of planning a wedding is pretty stressful, you may want to schedule a relaxing spa treatment or two. What could be better than getting beautiful and getting pampered at the same time?
Let’s be clear: nobody needs to spend lots of time and money to look beautiful on their wedding day. (Spending the event being incredibly happy and marrying the love of your life will definitely take care of that for you!) But if you want to prepare ahead of time, it’s a good idea to know which pre-wedding beauty treatments and tips are worth it, and which ones aren’t. Read on to check out the most effective ways to prepare your skin, hair, lips, and body.
1. Schedule an appointment with your dermatologist
Vogue recommends that four to six months prior to your wedding day, you see your dermatologist. At that point, there’s still time for him or her to prescribe an effective course of treatment for things like acne, uneven pigmentation, or any other issues that have been bothering you. Medications and topical treatments are an effective option. Or you can opt for resurfacing treatments, including lasers, light peels, or microdermabrasion to get your complexion in tip-top shape.
You should get on your dermatologist’s schedule for follow-up appointments to make sure that your regimen is working and giving you the best results possible. And Allure recommends scheduling an appointment with your dermatologist for the day before your wedding, just to know that “an acne-killing cortisone shot is on the calendar if you need it.”
2. Figure out what you’re doing with your brows
Next on Vogue’s list? Head to your brow groomer of choice about three months prior to the wedding to settle on the shape and tint you like best. If you’re trying to figure it out ahead of time, keep in mind the most flattering brows are typically as full and natural as possible. Which means you should probably put down the tweezers and cancel your waxing appointments. In fact, if you’re planning to get your brows tinted, it’s probably a good idea to forego hair removal efforts to get your brows as full as possible.
3. Get some advice on your diet and your exercise regimen
Allure recommends visiting a personal trainer and a nutritionist six months before your wedding to make sure that your diet and your exercise regimen are on track. Try to make healthy choices more often than not when you’re grocery shopping or dining out. And make sure you find an exercise routine you like — preferably one that will help you de-stress during the process of wedding planning.
4. Do a test run with your makeup artist and hair stylist
The Knot recommends that three months prior to your wedding, you schedule a trial with your makeup artist. This is a great way to experiment with the look that you think you want, and to make sure you and the professional are on the same page about what a light application of blush looks like or how much eye shadow you really want.
You can even have your wedding photographer, or a friend who owns a camera, take a few photos of you to make sure that you like the way the photographs look. Allure recommends scheduling a trial with your hair stylist on the same day as your test run with your makeup artist. That way, you’ll be able to see how the looks work together. Make sure to take plenty of reference images to both appointments.
5. If you want a tan, start experimenting
There’s something to be said for embracing pale skin. And for the record, if you’re tanning either in the sun or in a tanning bed, now is the time to consider the risks and stop. But if you still want a tan for you wedding day, there’s a safer alternative. Vogue recommends experimenting with self-tanners two months prior to your wedding day so that you can find the right shade.
If you’re getting a professional spray tan, schedule a series of appointments with your technician and book your final session three days prior to your wedding day. If you’re using a self-tanner at home, Vogue advises exfoliating before each session and then every two to three days afterward to avoid streaking. Complete a final application two days before your wedding.
6. If you’re worried about frizzy hair, get a keratin treatment
For brides-to-be worried about frizzy or unruly hair, Vogue recommends getting a keratin treatment a month before the wedding. The results of a keratin treatment aren’t permanent, so you don’t want to get it done too far ahead of time. But on the other hand, freshly treated hair often looks more flat than you’ll likely want your locks to be on your big day. So, it makes sense to get the texture under control a month in advance of the wedding.
7. Consider eyelash extensions
Many brides are worried about tears ruining their wedding day makeup. (Though you’ll be happy to learn there’s a reason why Into the Gloss named Diorshow the de facto wedding day mascara.) If you want to make it even easier to get the perfect lashes on the big day, Vogue recommends trying lash extensions a month before the wedding. The glue is waterproof, so the extensions won’t rub off if you cry. Getting them done a month ahead of time will give you the chance to perfect the length and volume. Schedule a touch-up appointment a few days before the wedding.
8. Keep your skin care regimen gentle
A month before your wedding day isn’t the right time to try out anything aggressive, either at home or at your dermatologist’s office. But it’s a great idea to add some gentle maintenance to your routine. A light peel or mild laser treatment will help gently exfoliate to ensure your skin is at its best on the big day. Keep things on track by remembering to wear sunscreen daily, exfoliate regularly, and moisturize often. You can also consider booking a series of micro-current facials. They can help you look well-rested even when you aren’t.
9. Care for your body
For the sake of staying in shape and saving your sanity, it’s a good idea to work out regularly. (Though it’s never wise to put pressure on yourself to lose weight ahead of your wedding.) But you should also pay attention to the skin on your body, especially if your dress is showing off your neck, décolletage, back, or arms. Exfoliate gently and regularly with a scrub or loofah. Make sure that if you shave your legs, you apply a moisturizer afterward, while your skin is still damp. And scrub away dry, cracked skin on your feet each day, and slather them in moisturizer each night to get smooth feet that are less likely to blister in new shoes.
10. Make sure your smile is at its brightest
Vogue recommends seeing your dentist for a cleaning a month before your wedding. You can also consult your dentist for options on in-office teeth whitening treatments, which are fast and effective. If you’d prefer to handle your teeth whitening regimen on your own, or just to maintain the effects of an in-office treatment, over-the-counter whitening strips are a great option.
11. Tackle your dark circles and under-eye puffiness
Almost no bride-to-be is getting enough sleep every night. But if you find yourself reaching for concealer to cover your under-eye circles, The Knot recommends applying eye cream every night, plus using a cool compress once or twice a week to reduce puffiness. It’s also a good idea to cut back on salty foods, and even wine, which can make your eyes look puffier than they otherwise would.
12. Take care of your lips
Your spouse-to-be may not have an opinion on most of the beauty treatments you use to prepare for your wedding day, but one thing that he or she will appreciate is any prep you take to get your lips in tip-top condition. The Knot notes that you should exfoliate your lips once a week with a clean toothbrush. Also, regularly apply sunscreen, and use a good lip balm, or even a vitamin E stick, to combat chapping, cracks, and creases.
13. Perfect your hair
If you’re wearing your hair down on your wedding day, Vogue recommends heading to the salon for a deep-conditioning treatment two weeks prior to the big day. If you’re wearing it up, skip the extra conditioning, since the texture will make it easier for your stylist to work with.
Also at the two-week mark, you should get your roots touched up or add subtle highlights. But this isn’t the time to try anything drastic or new, since you should only be coloring your hair if you’ve worked out your ideal shade far, far in advance of your wedding day. A week before your wedding, get a trusted stylist to trim your ends and bangs.
14. Wax at the right time
If you’re planning to get a bikini wax before your wedding, it’s important to nail the timing. (Which can get tricky, especially if you opted for a destination wedding.) Vogue advises that you get waxed no later than 72 hours before your wedding day. And you’ll want to be proactive about applying a calming cream that will reduce redness and swelling right after the hair is removed.
15. Get a manicure and a pedicure for picture-perfect hands and feet
Between your gorgeous rings and your adorable shoes, chances are good that your hands and feet are going to be featured in at least a few close-up photos. So, a couple of days before the wedding, find the time to relax and get a professional manicure and pedicure. Gel polish is the longest-lasting option. But regular polish is fine, too, as long as you have the bottle on hand to deal with any last-minute chips.
16. Drink lots of water
Drinking tons of water is a great (and free) way to make sure your skin looks its best on your wedding day. Ideally, you should drink lots of water all the time. But place a special emphasis on it in the days prior to your wedding, so that you look radiant and stay hydrated when you get married.