With so much to plan for your big day, it’s easy to overlook your beauty preparation. So, like a helpful online bridesmaid,Vogue Health & Beauty Editor Lauren Murdoch-Smith has broken down your beauty countdown starting ten months ahead
1. Ten months and counting… Hair
“The biggest mistake brides make is not being true to themselves. Keep it real and don't do something that you'll regret in years to come - remember you'll have those photos for ever!” says Adam Reed, who's coiffed many a celebrity bride. 'Work with your stylist to find something that suits you but still has an edge. If you wear your hair down every day, don’t be tempted to change drastically and scrap it back or wear huge curls. It needs to be practical, too. I suggest a ten-month plan so that you methodically work out your colour and cuts but have your last colour two weeks before the big day to allow enough time for it to settle for the perfect shade.”
Have your first practice eight weeks before the wedding: this leaves plenty of time to have more if you need to. By now you should be able to share images of your dress with your stylist, who can work out a look that goes with the detailing and accessories you'll be wearing on the big day.
“When it comes to hair accessories, keep it small and discreet, DO NOT GO TOO BIG! Otherwise you're in danger of being overshadowed in the pictures,” says Adam. You don't need to spend lots of money on a beautiful hair accessory: “Make your own - look for basic accessories and personalise them, that way you'll have something unique. I love Kleins in Soho, London and Macculloch and Wallis but department stores like John Lewis that have haberdashery departments are also great.”
2. Five months and counting... Hair Removal
Try to avoid shaving - no bride looks good with a shaving rash. With all sorts of waxing, threading and laser treatments out there, hair removal should take you through your honeymoon - and even beyond. Specialist hair removal salons like the Ministry of Waxing are not only experts in pain-free waxing (yes, this does exist) they have the latest IPL machine (the Power Pac 2.1!) to zap hair away for ever - but it does take some time and comes at a hefty price.
With a whole plethora of at home hair removal products, you can now wax to rival a pro - try Veet’s new EasyWax Electrical roll-on kit , £29.99 or invest in an at-home laser gadget like Philips Lumea IPL hair removal system , £450.
3. Three to six months to go... Facials
Uber facialist Sarah Chapman recommends having a facial every four to six weeks in order to reap the skin benefits. “I give my celebrity clients an HD facial, £140 for an hour (0207 589 9585) when they are preparing for a big event because it combines Omnilux LED light therapy with a bespoke facial to get the best out of their skin,” she says. “Two days before, give yourself an at-home facial, with deep massage, exfoliation and masks. My Instant Miracle Mask , £38.50 instantly lifts and firms.”
It’s unlikely you’ll get a good night’s sleep the night before so in the morning, Sarah suggests “lightly tapping your eye area to encourage drainage and leave cotton pads soaked in rose water overnight in the fridge to put on your eyes when you wake up.”
4. Six weeks and counting… Fitness
Don’t go on any crazy diets to fit into your dress, just eat sensibly and exercise and it’ll help you tone and relieve stress.
Lee Mullins, Director of Education at the A-Lister gym Bodyism says any bride can get in shape in just six weeks: “It's plenty of time and exercise is a great way to take your mind off the stress of planning.” Lee recommends focusing on postural exercises so you look tall and elegant when you're walking down the aisle and combine them with calming and stress relieving exercises like yoga.
“Think about the style of your dress. If it's strapless; make sure you build tricep dips into your routine to ensure toned arms and a week before,” Lee says. Eating “flat tummy foods” such as fresh fish and brightly coloured vegetables like peppers and beetroot will keep you fuller for longer, stopping any sugar cravings.
5. Two Months and Counting… Makeup
who gave the Duchess of Cambridge lessons before the royal
wedding, explains that “You have to like and trust your make-up artist because it’s a very emotional and intimate time that you spend together.” But there is good news if you can’t afford one: “I’ve never met a bride who isn't capable of doing a beautiful job on her own.” Arabella cites Bobbi Brown’s counter staff as “the best at bridal make-up, and the products are unrivalled. Our future queen wore Bobbi Brown's Sandwash Pink Lip Colour , £19.50 and Blush in Pale Pink , £19.
And keep it natural, advises bridal make-up heroine Rachel Singer-Clark . “Don't 'try a look that you've never attempted before like a red lip or smokey eye, it’s too much of a risk.” A matte powder is Rachel's bridal SOS. We love MAC’s Blot Powder Pressed , £20.50.
6. One month to go... Tanning
Not something you want to do the night before. Expert James Read recommends a trial tan run a month before the day to work out which brands suit your skintone. “It’s all about a subtle glow. Remember, when you wear white it’ll show up your tan more so a light tan works best - just make sure you wash off a spray tan six hours after application rather than 12.”
MORE GLOSS: The Gloss Report: fake tan
Choose the type of tanning product according to your skintone: “if you’re fair use a gradual tan, a spray for a medium skin tone and mousse or liquid for darker skin,” James says. When applying tan to your face “rub an ice cube over your face first to seal pores and use a moisturiser so that your tan is lighter, as it naturally would be. I always recommend tanning two days before the big day to give the tan time to settle down, and on the day, dust talcum powder around the tight areas of your dress to stop the tan transferring if you sweat.”
7. A week to go…. Skin prep
Make-up artist Ruby Hammer didn’t wear make up a month before her wedding so that when she walked down the aisle she looked like an enhanced version of herself. A week is easier for most of us to manage and will add instant radiance. Sarah Chapman suggests avoiding alcohol and salty foods because they can cause bloated, puffy skin.
8. Three days to go… Nails
“There are no rules when it comes to colour on your nails for the big day, but think about the shade of your dress, the theme and your flowers for inspiration,” says nail supremo David Barton. “Brides have been opting to wear red recently as it works well with white whereas if you’re wearing ivory, nude or soft pink are better.”
David warns traditional French manicures “can look harsh against ivory, but if you keep the white line very thin, it keeps it modern”.
To guarantee a chip-free day, go for a two-week manicure like the CND Shellac Power Polish treatment, from £25 (0113 217 3813) the day before: it’ll also last your honeymoon but if you chose polish, use cuticle oil daily on a dry nail and apply a top coat to keep colour fresh and sealed.
9. Two Days to go… Lashes
If you decide to have false lashes, consider individual lash inserts now. “Around 90% of my brides have some form of false lash,” says Arabella Preston. By opting for semi-permanent lash extensions your lashes will be instantly fuller and you won’t have to wear mascara. Try Sue Marsh , the lash queen for a variety of styles and advice, or Blink Brow bars , for a selection of lash options.
10. The Big Day
On the morning of the wedding, “Sip camomile tea while you’re getting ready to calm your nerves,” says Lee Mullins. Assign a Chief Beauty Bridesmaid who, just before you walk down the aisle, can apply your lipgloss and spritz Caudalie Beauty Elixir , £11.50, all over your face: to instantly refresh and energise tired skin.
Now you’re glossy enough to say “I Do”!