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Bridal Beauty 101

Your head-to-toe guide to big-day beauty prep.
Hannah Fox

Photos courtesy of: Meghan Monahan. Photos by: Jessica Bedore photography

Planning your glam for your wedding is all fun and games—until you have 2,000 pins on your inspiration boards and you’ve looked at so many hairstyles that you think your head may explode. Allow us to steer you back to sanity and help prepare you to look your very best for the big day, from head to toe.

Updo or Up-don’t?
The hairstyle you choose for the special day is one of the first things that gets noticed as you walk down the aisle. There’s a lot to consider. From the style itself to the length to highlights or color, the choices add up. Kelly Peterson of Hair & Makeup by Kelly suggests coming to your first appointment with pins aplenty. Platforms like Pinterest are a great way for brides to communicate what they envision.

“That being said, Pinterest is a double-edged sword,” says Peterson. “It allows us to find a lot of inspiration; however, it can set unrealistic expectations due to the things like the style in a different hair color, or if there were extensions added.”

Peterson strongly encourages brides to have at least one trial run, one to three months before the wedding, so the stylist and the bride can establish a connection and run through every detail. Her favorite part of doing wedding hair? “The look on a bride’s face when everything’s done,” Peterson says. “She looks in the mirror and takes a deep breath and you just know she feels beautiful.”

Beat the Blemish Blues
We see it in the movies all the time. The bride wakes up on what is supposed to be the best day of her life—and there’s a zit on her nose. Luckily, there are a few ways to overcome this bump in the road (pun intended). Rochelle Rae of Rae Cosmetics has a tip or two to prevent this.

The first: Build a relationship with an esthetician early on. “The earlier the better,” says Rae. “You don’t want to start treatments right before your wedding, since a lot of these facials and other treatments begin by bringing impurities out to the surface of your skin.”

With all the craziness leading up to your wedding, it’s the unfortunate truth that stress can lead to blemishes. If your skin decides to grace you with a breakout on the big day, there are ways to work around it. One thing you can do is go to a dermatologist and have a cortisone shot injected into the blemish, Rae says. This can clear up your skin almost instantly.

For those who don’t have a doctor on speed-dial, no worries. Rae recommends the classic hot compress, which can fight redness and swelling. Natural remedies like witch hazel and tea tree oil can also help. And, if all else fails, be thankful for concealer.

All Made Up
Makeup trends come and go. So as much fun as it might seem to follow the latest fad, 20 years down the road you might regret that bright blue eyeshadow. Neon eyes or not, what’s most important about your wedding makeup is that you feel comfortable and beautiful in it, whether it’s classic glam or trend du jour.

Rochelle Rae strongly recommends brides do a makeup trial run before the big day. Rae notes that much as they do with their hairstyles, brides usually come prepared with a plethora of inspiration photos. The process begins with one of the most important parts: the conversation. She encourages brides to walk her through not only their vision for their wedding, but how they wear their everyday makeup.

Through the entire process, Rae notes that a bride feeling gorgeous doesn’t necessarily mean stepping out of her comfort zone. Though some brides are willing to let their makeup artists go crazy, Rae stresses that like most things wedding, the bride is the boss. “One of my biggest pieces of advice is don’t be afraid to tell your makeup artist ‘No, that’s not what I want,’ ” she says.

Rae’s favorite part of wedding makeup is the pure excitement of the day, and the bride when she sees the finished look. “She’s so happy,” says Rae. “She’s throwing the biggest party of her life, and I get to be part of it.”

Get the Glow
If you plan on getting a spray tan before the big day, there are a few things to consider. Rae suggests rather than using a spray tan booth, have a specialist airbrush you. This way, a person—not a machine—can see any missed spots and ensure 100 percent even coverage. When using a tanning booth, shades can be limited and one-size-fits-all. Rather than risk looking more orange than bronzed, tanning specialists can mix a shade that’s just right.

As for prep, go in with clean skin and don’t forget to exfoliate before your appointment. This allows the skin to absorb better and makes it last longer. Again, play it safe and do a trial run. “Everyone’s skin is different, so it will wear a spray tan differently,” she says. “It all depends on the product and your skin.”

Nailed It
From the day your groom puts a ring on it, attention will be on your hands; that’s why it’s so important your nails look pristine. Ditch the hangnails and chipped polish for a gel or dip powder manicure.

Both gel and dip powder manicures last from two weeks up to a month (though that’s pushing it), and provide an effortless glossy look. Getting them done professionally ensures you’ll feel confident showing off that ring finger from engagement to wedding day.

For brides who like to play it safe, a nude or ballet-slipper pink is the way to go. For the more daring, a red or a bright pink are go-to’s for a pop of color. Have an edgier aesthetic? Consider lending your nails to the “something blue” statement, for a nod to tradition.

Check the Forecast
We asked the experts for the big trends they see this season.

On the hair radar, Kelly Peterson of Hair & Makeup by Kelly expects to see more soft, romantic and “undone” looks—think waves and minimal pinning. If hair is worn up, Peterson says loose strands left around the face will soften features and create a more natural look.

A trend that’s stuck around longer than Peterson expected is incorporating braids, whether hair is worn up or down. She says braids have been consistently popular for the past five years or so, and they just might be here to stay.

Makeup this season, according to Rochelle Rae of Rae Cosmetics, is all about that glow. Rae predicts highlighting to the max on the cheekbones and nose to create a dewy, healthy glow. Though in the past brides opted for nudes or a matte lip, we’re going to see a lot more color, from “bombshell red” to “Barbie pink.”

Another trend that was huge on the runway over the past year is cat-eye eyeliner. Big, bold lines command attention and complement the colored lip.

“Brides are stepping away from the traditional look,” says Rae. For years there was a go-to “bridal look,” and now brides are deciding what their own unique look should be. “It’s whatever you want it to be. Now it’s more about letting your personality shine through.”

Photo courtesy of: Rae Cosmetics

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