Since March 2020, 320,000 weddings have had to be postponed – including my own. Between 2020 and 2021 (when I finally got married), I had not one but four wedding dates. At least my now husband and I can’t really get upset if we can’t remember our anniversary each year! As long as we get it in the right month, I think we’ll be okay. And all of those wedding date changes meant lots of coordination: ensuring that the hotel, the photographer, the florist, the makeup artist, the hairdresser, the bakery, and so many more vendors all had the new date available.
Then, there was rescheduling the nail appointments, the spray tan, the facials, the teeth whitening, and so forth. There was the issue of the wedding party children growing too big for outfits and when was the right time to buy if we had to reschedule again? There was the seasonality of the flowers, the changing guest numbers, the worry over which restrictions were going to be in place, and so many other considerations.
Anyone who has ever planned a wedding will have experienced the enormity of the task; it really is a full-on project with its numerous complexities and moving parts. Wedding planning often adds stress and anxiety to what already seems a mammoth undertaking. So much time can be spent on perfecting special little touches, which can sometimes (frustratingly) go unnoticed by wedding guests. But every tiny detail is of the utmost importance to you as you arranged it, prepared it, practised it, paid for it, or organised it.
Thankfully, even with the Omicron variant of Covid-19, weddings seem to be going ahead without restrictions now, so that gives couples a little more peace of mind when planning their big day.
2022 and 2023 are already gearing up to be busy wedding seasons and with brides and grooms preparing for their upcoming nuptials. Of course, in addition to planning the actual event, you also kind of have to plan and work towards your desired look from head to toe – that’s hair, makeup, nails, physique, and an outfit for your special day.
We all know that a bride’s beauty regimen begins long before her big day. So let’s break it down: what are the bridal hair and beauty must-haves?
Maddie Farris Photography: A photograph of my bridesmaids – my two sisters, Jaelithe and Hannah; my cousin, Pamela; and my sister-in-law, Claire. I insisted on these matching dressing gowns and a posed “getting ready” photo. My older sister, Jae, as you can see on the left, was less than thrilled.
Whether you’re preparing for your big day or your engagement photo shoot – or both – you’ll want your skin to be glowing for the event. Unfortunately, the skin is impacted by stress so any skincare routine will need to include a de-stress plan, so whether your thing is long walks, long baths, face masks, yoga, or meditation and mindfulness, to have glowing skin, you’ll need to have a plan to keep your stress levels down.
Body and face brushing
We also wrote a blog about face and body brushing, so that might be something that can improve your skin as long as you follow up with a good moisturiser or serum to nourish and rehydrate. Body brushing helps with circulation and removing dead skin flakes.
Keep your body hydrated with plenty of water, keeping in mind that water is amazing for your body but can be bloating. And keep your skin glowing with a good moisturising cream or body butter. I recommend Tria’s Super Smooth Leg Kit. The fresh rose scented body butter is long-lasting, enriched with vitamin E, and smells divine.
It’s important to try out new skin routines a few months before your big day. You do not want to start these routines the week before your wedding and have your skin flare-up.
Our Age-Defying Laser and finishing serum take only two weeks for you to see noticeable skin-rejuvenating and refreshing results. You can see a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles as well as an improvement in skin texture and clarity – most brides desire smooth, glowing skin that looks beautiful in their wedding album photos.
Under-eye and face masks
If you’re prone to undereye puffiness, eye masks are an important ingredient. Eye masks have various beneficial ingredients to target puffiness, brighten the eye area, hydrate, smooth the skin, and reduce the appearance of ageing.
When applying an eye mask, make sure you start on cleansed skin and don’t apply it too close to the eye. Finish up with an eye cream or serum to lock in the beneficial eye mask ingredients.
Although you may want to do an eye or face mask before your big day, as with any beauty products, trial the products well in advance (weeks if not months before) so that you won’t have any irritation the day of. Makeup can rescue a lot but you want your day to go smoothly and avoid any preventable mini-disasters.
For an inexpensive eye mask, I recommend this £3 product, Patchology Flash Patch Illuminating Eye Gels. For a slightly higher-end but more luxurious product, there’s this pack of six Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Eye Masks in lovely gold. The pack is £24 but with six masks in there, they work out at £4 a pop. Pixi also has these Pixi Detoxifeye Eye Patches that come in a little pot with thirty pairs for £22. You can follow up your night-before eye patches with some Glow Recipe Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask. I still use this Glow Recipe product now and it has a lovely texture that you apply under your eyes and rinses off in the morning. Although it does feel a little funny rubbing something green on your face and sleeping with it on.
If you want a full-on overnight face mask, I absolutely love my Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask. Confession: I don’t actually like the smell of artificial watermelon – and I don’t even like to eat watermelon – but this mask has a really lovely smell to it. It’s designed to soothe irritated and inflamed skin and has vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids, hydrating hyaluronic acid, and pore minimising alpha-hydroxy acids too. I love this product and always get good results with it – and I used it regularly before my wedding day.
We’ve all had that thing where we’re stressed and a spot pops up out of nowhere. It could be that painful, inflamed kind or one that is brimming at the surface. But spots don’t make good wedding photos. One of the best-kept beauty secrets I’ve learned about later in life is the miracle that is hydrocolloid patches.
They work by creating a protective seal and a clean healing environment for the skin. The patches themselves are like mini giant sponges, absorbing excess fluid like oil and pus. They flatten the spot and reduce inflammation and skin redness. Some spots might take a few patches to heal but for the smaller ones I’ve had many a spot “disappear” overnight.
You can get these clear little circle ones that you can pop on overnight and by morning your spot will have been reduced drastically or nearly almost fully gone. If you catch the spots a few days before your wedding, you can reduce the spot with one of these bad boys and conceal it away. What spot? You’ll say. Day saved!
You can get these big ones like the Revolution Skincare Blemish – Aid XL Hydrocolloid Patches that can cover larger areas like the nose or I love these lovely bright flowery jewelled ones from Squish Beauty – from body-positive model Charli Howard – Flower Acne Patches. You can get them from her website or from Liberty along with her cute undereye cherry eye masks. They bring out the inner child in me and I’ve accidentally worn them out of the house before.
I wish I’d had these patches in my teen years but since I seem to have more spots in my mid-30s than I ever had in my teens, I’m happy I discovered them now.
Once your spot crisis has been averted prior to your wedding, you can then have your makeup artist – or DIY – conceal the area with a quality concealer.
Since skin texture can show up in photos, these patches can heal the skin in places so you’ll have a more even skin tone – along with our other tips and tricks.
Your face is often the main event at a wedding so you’ll want a good base on which to apply your flawless makeup look – but don’t be fooled by social media as airbrushing isn’t real and skin texture is!
Maddie Farris Photography: As you can see, in my mid-30s, my skin is not as smooth as it once was and makeup, especially on a high definition camera up close is visible and is settling into the fine lines of my skin. That’s what unfiltered makeup does, but you can always opt for more retouching if you’d like.
For my wedding, I wanted a makeup artist to do my makeup and my bridal party’s makeup, including my niece. My amazing makeup artist, Eve, also managed to fit in the makeup for my mother, grandmother, and the mother of the groom too so she was busy doing nine people’s makeup.
I didn’t dictate what look everyone decided – except the usual don’t wear bright 80s blue eyeshadow sort of thing – and allowed people to choose their look but I wanted everyone to feel beautiful and to have a cohesive look for photos. That was my way of having a little “control” whilst allowing my bridesmaids to feel as stunning as they looked.
Some brides want their bridesmaids to have identical dresses, shoes, jewellery, hairstyles, makeup, the lot – and that is absolutely up to each bride. I was okay with my bridesmaids having matching dresses and earrings but choosing whatever they wanted for the other elements. I had some bridesmaids that liked flats over heels and others that didn’t like their hair up, etc.
Maddie Farris Photography: My groom didn’t want many groomsmen and chose only to have a best man, his cousin. In this picture, you can see that my bridesmaids were able to choose their own hairstyles – two bridesmaids wore heels and two wore flats! (My baby sister – second in from the right – who is the tallest was wearing flats!)
I knew that my older sister and future sister-in-law were really great at makeup and could’ve done an excellent job but my cousin and baby sister never did full makeup looks and my makeup skills are passable but not professional, which is why I wanted a makeup artist for all of us. I feel my skills are okay for a night out but I didn’t want the pressure of the big day. What if I overdrew my eyeliner or my foundation started to flake? What if my contour (which I rarely do) looked like a bruise? Of course, there are many women who are just really talented at makeup and wouldn’t want or need a professional but I certainly recommend having one – if not simply for their knowledge of how to make makeup last.
The downside of professional hair and makeup plus several women (and sometimes children) getting ready at once is having to get up early. We had to start around 6 am to fit everyone in before my 1 pm ceremony. If I’d just been doing my own, I could’ve woken up, perhaps, a few hours later, so that’s also something to consider – unless you have a “team” of experts whisking in and out, which can add up. But we enjoyed room service and Buck’s Fizz through bleary eyes and the morning was hectic, yet fun.
Maddie Farris Photography: My sister-in-law, Claire, and her two sons, our nephews, Oliver and Alex. Oliver was our ring bearer.
I had four makeup trials with my makeup artist to arrive at the right look and she absolutely nailed it on the day. My now-husband said something along the lines of that “you looked in real life what a filter looks like on social media” (laugh emoji – or is the skull emoji the thing now?).
Some brides only want one makeup trial but since my wedding was postponed with the pandemic several times I had the luxury of lots and lots of time for the details (perhaps too much time).
With wedding makeup, you’ll want to decide if you want a natural look, a celebrity look, a full-on glam look, and so forth. Do you want the same look in the day as at night? I simply went from pink-nude lipstick in the day to red at night and from heels to flat wedding-themed Toms. Some people want a complete transformation of makeup and outfit.
The most important element is ensuring your makeup lasts all day or you can touch it up when needed. I purchased my lipstick options so I could reapply but since I’d trialled my makeup several times I knew that my makeup would last – and it did.
I wanted makeup that would photograph well and also not look too garish in person. Stage makeup and makeup in professional photoshoots is heavily applied so that it looks absolutely flawless on the lens but that can be too heavy if you want someone to see you from two feet away.
There are so many online resources on how to do wedding makeup and how to get flawless eyeshadow, brows, cheeks, contouring, lips, and the perfect fresh-looking foundation. This Brides article gives you the low-down from choosing matte products to investing in a setting spray and this piece gives you tips on the different inspirational looks for brides.
Maddie Farris Photography: My groom, Michael, on the left and his best man, Andrew, on the right.
Eyelashes deserve their own section because there are so many options!
My makeup artist used false eyelashes but since I already have naturally long eyelashes and I didn’t want crazy long lashes, she went for a more natural, shorter pair of lashes.
Maddie Farris Photography: I opted for a “shorter” pair of false lashes but there are many, many lash options for your big day.
The easiest most inexpensive option is false lashes that are glued on but there are options such as tinting, perming, extensions, lash serum, or even just good old waterproof mascara.
Lash extensions are attached to your real lashes individually with an adhesive by a professional lash artist. Lashes have a natural shedding process just like all other body hair so they have to be re-filled regularly and they’re pricier but they could be a good “treat” option for your wedding day if you like the look.
Lash lifts are like “hair perms” where your lashes are placed over silicone tubes and a chemical solution is put on the lashes by a professional. The lashes then obtain a “natural” curl and some salons tint and darken the lashes so that you get the look of wearing mascara with nothing on. For safety, it’s never recommended to use an at-home kit for this process.
I felt that really big false eyelashes “weighed” down my eye so I wasn’t a fan which is why I went with the lighter, more natural option but there are some stunning ladies who opt for big falsies regularly and that’s right for them. For others, they don’t want to worry about bringing the lash glue so extensions work better or a lash lift with a few swipes of mascara. As with any beauty regime, trial out these treatments before your wedding to see what’s right for you.
Maddie Farris Photography: The best man, Andrew, gave the funniest speech and he’s presenting Michael with his very own set of boxing gloves – and telling everyone that when they were growing up they had to share a pair between them and “box” with each other, except Andrew took the advantage each time taking the right glove.
Back in the nineties and noughties, thin eyebrows were the in thing. For those of us who followed those trends – guilty – over plucked eyebrows have often left us out of the new thicker brow trend. Thankfully my brows did recover and grow back and I enjoy thick eyebrows now but I know many whose brows will remain 20s style pencil-thin. Brows frame the face and eyebrows are the “in” thing this year.
Like just about anything, there are many brow options from tinting, high-definition, brow lamination, threading, waxing, tweezing, microblading, brow extensions, brow henna, etc.
I go to a professional brow person, Steph. She does high-definition brows every six weeks for me which involves several techniques including tweezing, waxing, threading, and tinting my brows. She works with me to maintain a shape that suits my face. She draws lines from various points on my face before removing hair from outside the “shape.”
Before my wedding, she consulted me about the desired look I wanted and we worked on growing my brows and shaping them into the desired look. My brows look amazing once this treatment has been done and Steph recommended I have my brow treatment three days before my wedding in case of redness.
I don’t usually have redness from brow shaping but many react to waxing and threading, so make sure you test it out weeks before your big day and work with your brow professional to see when you should have your treatment pre-wedding day. You don’t want red, bumpy, dry, sore, or swollen patches around your eyebrows on the day.
Of course, there are longer-lasting treatments like lamination, microblading, and extensions if that’s more your thing. For all of these treatments, always get advice from a professional you trust or one that comes highly recommended. We’ve all seen bad microblading where the technician cuts too deeply and that’s presumably not the look you want for your wedding. Wedding beauty certainly can be expensive!
Maddie Farris Photography: I absolutely loved how my photographer captured the little details of the day that were important to me!
Along the lines of skincare, many brides, grooms, and those in the wedding party opt for spray tans instead of the more harmful cousin: the sunbed. For a spray tan to look great, you’ll want to exfoliate and moisturise your skin for a few weeks before your big day.
Be sure to get a spray tan “trial” done once or twice a few months before your wedding, so you’re not leaving anything to chance because
- you may not like how the tan tone looks on your skin
- it’s a good idea to check how much (if any) of the colour transfers to your clothes and bedding – especially considering that most bridal gowns are ivory or white
- the spray tan could react with your body heat/sweat, as weddings often take place during warmer months
The last thing you want is a spray tan that elevates any complexion blemishes, transfers on to your expensive satin shoes and runs in streaks down your cleavage when you get a little “glowly.” Even with the most detailed planning, these kinds of things may still happen, and you’ll laugh about it in time, but this is one potential bridal beauty mishap that is easily avoided.
There are absolutely amazing spray tans out there that last through anything and look natural and glowing but you’ll want to find a salon near you that gives you those results – or find a self-applied one that works for you.
Read about how to bronze at home safely in our summer legs blog.
Maddie Farris Photography: My sister-in-law, Claire, and maternal grandmother, Dolores.
Many brides opt for neutral or natural coloured nails on their wedding day but others opt for more daring colours and nail art. I had hand-painted roses and foliage on my ring and middle fingers to match my bouquet and opted for pink nails with a glittery sheen. Other brides may have disliked that look entirely and gone for a French polish and others may opt for striking red (festive weddings) but whatever your nail theme, it’s your personal choice.
Like with spray tans and skincare, it’s a good idea to have a couple of nail design trials to see what will suit you on the day. For example, I usually keep my nails short because I use my keyboard often as a writer, but I tried out acrylic nails before my wedding because I thought the more “fashionable” almond-shaped nail looked lovely on others. I quickly learned that for my day-to-day, I was not the kind of woman who could function with long acrylic nails and, wedding or not, I would not survive until my wedding date with acrylic nails so I opted for gel overlay nails and grew out my nails with my nail technician, Claire, over a six-week period so that I had my nails longer than I’d normally have them day-to-day, but not long enough not to be functional.
Maddie Farris Photography: The obligatory “signing the register” photograph. It’s actually just a piece of paper now instead of a big book!
If you want natural nails on the day or to prepare your nails to look the best for their close up – since the “wedding ring” shot is often one your photographer will capture, you may want to use options like nail strengthener before the day and keep your hands hydrated with hand cream and cuticle oil.
Even though many brides opt for a long dress, they often want a pedicure to enjoy on their honeymoon. I had pointed-toe Betsey Johnson heels with a blue sole and switched to my wedding Toms for the evening, but I wanted my toes to match my nails so I opted for gel polish. But there are many pedicure options like having gems, nail art, French polish, acrylic, nail foils, and more. I don’t know about you but I absolutely love having a fresh pedicure and I feel that my feet are more dainty (even if they aren’t technically) and soft post-treatment.
Deciding on your fingernail and toenail looks is yet another consideration of the day but people always look smart with a good mani-pedi.
Maddie Farris Photography: Jay doing my maternal grandmother’s hair. My Grammy was thrilled to have hair and makeup done on the day.
Whether you opt for keratin treatments (a treatment that smooths and straightens the hair), conditioning hair masks, or a new shampoo routine, you’ll want your wedding hair to look fabulous and in great condition for your special day. You’ll want to decide in advance how you’re having your hair and the options are endless:
- Jewel-encrusted clips, tiaras, headbands, slides, grips, and pins
- Clip-in fake/real hair extensions
- Glued in/taped/micro ring real hair extensions
- Updos, boho, elegant, half-up half-down, and so on
And this list doesn’t include colours and combinations like balayage and highlights. Of course, you can always just opt for styling your natural hair too. Here’s Hitched’s list of fifty-two hair options.
Maddie Farris Photography: My hairstylist, Jay, pre-curled my hair in sections, before placing pieces around the crown of my head and curling the remaining hair before styling it in a semi half-up-half-down style.
My hairstylist, Jay, advised that I washed my hair the night before the wedding – I just had a body shower the day of – so that my hair wouldn’t be too “slippery” when styling. I chose clip-in hair since it could be reused or resold and my stylist pre-curled it at my wedding hair trial so that we’d save time on the day.
Again, it’s advisable to look at all of the style options and decide what you want for your big day. Many brides opt for up-dos because they don’t get messy and the hair is out of your face and off your neck.
My groom also opted for our hairstylist to get involved with his wedding hair too, perfectly blow drying it and styling it on the day – and cutting it beforehand. Jay ended up doing lots of hair on the day from the bride and groom to all the bridesmaids, flower girls, mother of the bride, grandmother of the bride, and mother of the groom; she was amazing and very busy. So, these are all considerations to keep in mind – since timings on wedding mornings can be a little hectic.
Maddie Farris Photography: An image of my older sister’s daughter and my niece, Caroline, who was our flower girl. She opted for a plaited hairstyle.
Maddie Farris Photography: My cousin’s son, Harry, was our page boy.
Maddie Farris Photography: My cousin, Pamela, and her daughter Eva who was a flower girl alongside my niece.
One of the best decisions I made before getting married was removing my body hair permanently. You can opt to go to a salon to have treatments or use something like Tria’s 4X laser, which was the first FDA-cleared diode laser technology for home use.
A little about the Tria process: it takes three months of using the Tria 4X device every two weeks to permanently rid yourself of unwanted hair. This is because body hair grows in cycles and there are three stages of hair growth.
All of these hair growth stages occur within a twenty-eight day period, but not at the same time. Our Tria diode laser targets the hair during the active or growth stage. If we treat the area every two weeks, we will inevitably treat every follicle in its appropriate “growing” stage and deactivate the follicle for permanent hair removal results.
I can tell you that it was wonderful on my wedding day having smooth legs, underarms, unmentionables, and even my face (gasp!) that didn’t need “hair control” or “hair removal.” I did not spend the night before my wedding lathered up with shaving cream and carefully trying to ensure that I didn’t knick my knees or the back of my legs or have those painful calf cuts that bleed like mad. With Tria’s hair removal technology, the razor can be a thing of the past (which is way more eco-friendly).
Maddie Farris Photography: I was thrilled with these sleeves that I bought from Etsy, but I’d advise any ladies with a larger bust to have hidden heavy-duty straps (if you’re transforming a sleeveless dress) as my dress – to my dismay – started to venture south during the course of the day with the weight of it. I’ve also heard (a little too late) that you can tape the dress to your body too to secure it. So, if you want your dress to stay up: corset underpinnings (which I didn’t have), tape (and more tape), and heavy-duty straps for strapless dresses where the straps will be hidden. If I were to do it again, I’d buy a different dress but that’s another matter!
With women spending an average of 72 days of their life shaving, it’s an investment in time worth making. Even if removing your hair patch by patch is time-consuming, once you’ve removed the hair, you’re done.
Permanent hair removal was one of the best choices I’ve made because there are so many times I’ve said myself or heard from other women, “Oh! Don’t look at my legs, I haven’t shaved.” So many of us can feel irritated by unwanted body hair, believing we need to apologise for it or explain it away when we don’t feel like waxing, epilating, or grabbing the razor, but diode laser hair removal can eliminate those uneasy conversations and that stress (and expense) from our lives.
My mum snapped this photo and it’s a little blurry but captured the joy of the day. We finally got married and even though it turned out to be a small wedding, it was perfect for us.
Whether you’ve had to reschedule your pandemic wedding a could of time, multiple times (just like mine), or you’re newly engaged and planning a wedding for next year, these beauty considerations are going to pop up in your mind. Begin thinking about the little details of the day around how you want to look! But also remember that the most important part of the big day is just marrying the person you love and when you’re there listening to wedding speeches, dancing your first dance, and saying your vows, you’re not really going to sweat the small details.
Let us know on social media your wedding beauty hacks and ideas. Which of these categories (skincare, haircare, spray tans, nail care, hair removal, etc) are of the biggest importance to you on your big day?
*All but one of the photographs featured are from wedding photographer Maddie Farris Photography.
Maddie Farris Photography: This picture was us actually “preparing” for a shot and is one of those candid moments that turned out to be one of my favourite wedding photos. Michael’s just “fixing” my dress for me so it’ll photograph well.