Looking beautiful and relaxed for your big day is among the highest priorities for most brides. And the more confidence you have in your looks, the better you'll feel. So don't wait until your wedding day to get started. Your beauty regimen should start weeks, even months before. There's hair coloring, skin treatments, nail care and, don't forget, massages to keep you fresh and de-stressed.
Let's start with your hair and the question of how to style it. Today's technology allows you to literally picture yourself wearing a variety of looks. There is a website where you can upload your photo, view ideas for your particular hair type and length and try on an assortment of styles. Print your favorites or e-mail them to your hairstylist who can help you choose the look that best suits you.
Erin Powers, hair stylist with The Source Salon and Spa, notices a trend in brides wearing their hair down in a looser, more romantic look, occasionally with clip-on hair pieces. Some like to add accessories, including real flowers, retro birdcage veils and feathers.
In the makeup department, she says, most brides stay pretty neutral. "They want to embellish their natural beauty. Once in a while brides will add a pop of color to their lips."
Treatments such as teeth whitening, skin aesthetic services and hair care should be started in advance. If you're going to have spray tanning done before the wedding, give it a test run a month or two prior so you know what to expect and how long the color will last.
Hair removal can go two ways - laser treatment or waxing. Talk to consultants and consider the pros and cons of each to decide if you want to take the plunge. Either way, you'll have one less burden to deal with in the days before your wedding.
According to Chelsea Klinke, vice president of national sales for American Laser Skincare (formerly American Laser Centers), laser hair removal involves a series of treatments. "If a bride is having the bikini area done for her honeymoon, we recommend six treatments spaced six weeks apart." The timing varies for different parts of the body, she adds.
ALS also offers skin care services such as microdermabrasion and photofacials, which are often combined in a series of five appointments starting five months out. "It's a great package for the bride before her bridal portrait," Klinke suggests.
Overall, the most important factor in a bride's beauty process, Powers believes, is advance planning. "Don't wait until the last minute," she emphasizes.
For other tips on making your beauty preparations run smoothly and surprise-free, see the accompanying checklist. Most of all — enjoy.