Monday 22 January 2018

Bridal Beauty Timeline: From 18 months to one week, exactly when and what to do before your wedding

Kate Middleton at the royal wedding in 2011
Kate Middleton at the royal wedding in 2011
Close up of woman receiving Botox injection in lips. Stock picture
Cara Delevingne's brows are famous
Dermalogica skin mapping
Amanda Byram/Facebook
Rosanna Davison wed long-term love Wesley Quirke in three different June ceremonies
Amy Huberman wedding
Aoife Cogan with her groom Gordon D'Arcy on their wedding day in 2012
Manicure detail
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West at their wedding in Florence, Italy. Photo: E! News

Sarah Kiely

Every bride wants to look and feel her best on their wedding day.

It’s one thing knowing what treatments you want/need ahead of tying the knot- it’s as important to know when to schedule them in, in order to achieve the best results.

We’ve put together your essential timeline for all your hair, beauty and fitness needs, complete with expert tips from Ireland’s health and beauty elite.

18 months

A young bride getting her hair done before the wedding

Hair: You’ve ample opportunity to start developing your hair in line with your wedding theme and dress style. Use the time wisely to build a good relationship with your hairstylist. They will be a God send and give you great practical advice at this stage regarding suitability, hair plan, colour plan and what will suit the time of year and the destination for your wedding. It’s also a good time to begin taking a good supplement like biotin and fish oils, to improve the overall condition of the hair.

Beauty: 18 months is a great time to assess your current routine and get some expert advice. Dermalogica do a great Skin Mapping service, which can pin point the best products for you. This way, you can build a good foundation of skin care over time and become regiment in your routine. If prone to flare-ups and breakouts, keeping a food journal could save you serious cash before shelling out for expensive products and treatments too.

Avoid lasers for pigmentation too far ahead of your date. Instead, try focusing on correcting the pigment itself with daily maintenance and treatments with a medical grade product, such as the ZO Skin Health range which is FDA approved.

Dermalogica skin mapping

If you’ve over-plucked your brows as a teen and are longing for luxuriant length, start by combing some Castor Oil through the brows at night. You should see some improvement when combined with Biotin supplements. This will allow you time to grow out a badly shaped brow, so an expert has something to work with in the months ahead.

Body: You should be focusing on the low hanging fruits: sleep, water and routine.

According to Sean Behan owner of SB Fitness, most people fall at the first hurdle, by constantly being in a state of dehydration, which can mask itself as hunger a lot of the time.

"You should be aiming to drink around 1 litre of water for every 25kg of bodyweight. So if you weight 60kg (9.5 stone) then look to get roughly 2 litres a day.’’ He points out that getting the basics of a good water intake, sleep pattern and exercise solid, before beginning any extensive training will increase your chances of success significantly and keep you motivated.

12 months

Danielle prefers to work front to back.

Hair: Award winning stylist from House of Colour, Sinead Berrigan, gives us her expert tips on achieving perfect tresses: "By this stage all colour should be moving along slowly towards our target shade. Your stylist will have at least three different ideas for your hair to choose from. We use iPad in salon for this consultation, as it is such a big event and you will want to look at those photographs the rest of your life, so your hair must be perfect.’’ Don’t be afraid to share ideas or Pinned images with your stylist, they will be honest about expectations vs reality, so use the 12 months to achieve results steadily to avoid any disappointment.

Laser hair removal

Beauty: It’s now a good time to look into treatments that require down-time after a session. Laser hair removal is a great treatment for body-hair conscious brides and yields great results on darker hair. You will need 6 weeks between treatments and must avoid sun on the areas both pre and post treatment. Other treatments that require time to get the best results are IPL for broken veins and pigmentation.

Body: 12 months is when you can start to ramp things up with your nutrition and training. I’m told a general rule of thumb for women is: Your plate should have one palm-sized portion of lean protein, one cupped handful of carbs and a thumb-sized portion of fats, with as many vegetables as you like.

Amanda Byram/Facebook

Sean recommends using these months to get into the habit of prepping food for the week. "I've found that prepping twice a week on a Sunday and Wednesday on top of training three times per week, is ideal for people who can't devote their lives to this stuff.’’ It’s about changing habits gradually and steadily to avoid crash dieting in the final months towards your big day.


6 months


Hair: It’s all about condition and length at this stage. Use the next 6 months to nourish your hair and give yourself weekly in-shower treatments at home. Your bridal party will also get in on the act Sinead explains: "At this point we would have all of the bridesmaids in for a trial run along with the mother of the bride. Your hair is the only fashion accessory you cannot take off so it is vital everybody looks amazing.’’

Beauty: Botox and fillers are a popular choice for modern brides. Dr Paul Munsanje of Amara Clinic gives his advice to those considering injectables: "If it is your first time getting either of these treatments- ideally 6 months would be the minimum amount of time needed.

Close up of woman receiving Botox injection in lips. Stock picture

"On average Botox lasts 4 months so you would be on your second treatment by the day of the wedding; by this time the doctor will know exactly what strength you will need for it to have the desired effect. Juvederm dermal filler lasts from 12 – 18 months and by doing the treatment 6 months before your big day, you can make sure that you are completely happy with the results.’"

Around the SIX month mark is a good time to research make-up artists and check that they are available for your date. Very well-known names will be in high demand. Be open to a few looks and remember less is more. One of the biggest pains for MUA’s is the requests for Kim K make-up. Venue, time of year and your own personal style can conflict with one set look. Arrange make-up trials for three months before and pre-agree with your artist that the bridal party will be included in the rate.

Kim Kardashian's makeup

It is also a good time to visit a brow specialist to discuss your eyebrows and work on framing your face beautifully for the big day. Preen, Elysian Brows and The Brow Artist are all super choices in Dublin, while Up to My to My Eyes in Greystones are feted for their Embrowdery treatments.

Body: Six months is a great time to really ramp up the fitness regime and start concentrating on the key areas you want to improve. Mark Comiskey, of King of Kings Personal Training, gives us his tips on creating your ideal silhouette: "Brides generally want nice arms, shoulders and back to look good in the style of dress they’ve chosen. Extra arm work like curls and dips will help out there and the rows and overhead presses will help with the shoulders. Use these exercises after your main compound movements will help burn more calories towards the end of your workout’’.


3 months

Aoife Cogan with her groom Gordon D'Arcy on their wedding day in 2012

Hair: Sinead tells us the last three months are the final push to really tie down the end look. "The final two trials and colour are dedicated to get you to target shade. We also recommend a this stage opting for our dust cut and split end treatment program; a guaranteed 1.5 inches extra of growth in final 3 months with our exclusive dust cut." Ideal for ladies whose hair takes a long time to grow and might be anxious about a trim with three months to go.

Beauty: Your hands will be on show a lot on your wedding day. Nail pro and Director of Mink salon in Ballsbridge, Kate Verling, offers us her essential guide to perfect wedding nails: ‘’We recommend that brides to be start prep work on the hands and feet, up to three months before the big day. If your nails are very weak and brittle, take good care of them with regular manicures/pedicure beginning with a strengthening treatment to get them back to their best.  Even if you are opting for enhancements for your wedding day, the better the condition of your nails the better the enhancements will look. Apply cuticle oil daily to dry, brittle nails too.’’

Manicure detail

If you’re set on getting eyelash extensions, it’s a good idea to trial them a few months ahead. Some contact wearers may find them uncomfortable and it will allow your make-up artist time to trial your look with the lashes too. For lightweight and natural looking lashes ‘Give it A Lash’ on Gordon Street, Dublin 2, specialise in Mink lashes that are gentle on your own natural lash to avoid damage.

Body: The final 3 months should be the easiest in terms of actually getting up and doing it, because you've spent the last year developing these health eating and exercise habits.

Chances are yor hen will around these final months and lots of fun nights in with your bridal party can lead to overindulgence. Sean recommends prepping your food for the next day or two will save you from a lost weekend of pizza and sweets to nurse a hangover. He reminds us: ‘’Wedding photos are a big motivator and something you're going to look back on forever, simple changes ahead of the big day will achieve your goals without any last minute panic’’.


One month

Holly Carpenter getting her teeth whitened.

Beauty: If you are opting for enhancements (Gel or Acrylic) have a full set applied about three weeks before. This will give you a chance to see how they feel/work and will look more natural when refills are done the week of the wedding. 

About a month before is a good time to get your teeth whitened. You can top up the treatment at home with whitening strips and toothpaste and it will allow time for you to adjust to your new shade of pearly whites.

Dr Paul Munsanje recommends your last skin treatment at this time. "Closer to the event our most popular treatment is the Hydra-facial. It’s called the red carpet facial as it can be done with no down time, but it's half the cost of Botox and pain free. It rehydrates and smooths out fine lines and wrinkles. We prefer to call it Hydra-dermabrasion as the machine is similar in action to microdermabrasion rather than a facial as the name suggests.’’

Body: By now you should hopefully have most of the hard work behind you and be feeling excited about slipping into your dream dress. However, all is not lost if you’ve fallen off the wagon due to stress and found comfort carbs. By cutting out sugar completely, you can get results fast. Just be sure to stay well hydrated and add some natural energy-boosting foods like Bee Pollen and sugar-free nut butters to fight cravings.


One week

Face mask

Hair: Your hair colour and cut at this stage, is as it will be on the day. Avoid any excess pressure on the hair, no ponytails the day before and avoid over styling.

Beauty: Any waxing/hair removal should be completed at least two days in advance, this will allow the skin to settle ahead of any tanning treatments. 

Tanning guru and co-founder of luxury tanning line, Bellamianta, Linda McNamee, gives her best bronzing tips for a flawless tan: "It is important to wax 48 hours or shave 24 hours before tanning to allow skin to recover and pores to close. Next, exfoliate using a gentle exfoliate scrub and mitt and be sure to exfoliate thoroughly 24 hours before tanning. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells from the skins outermost layer to help ensure even coverage on application. Afterwards, be sure to moisturise your skin.’’

Another great pre-tanning secret Linda reveals: "Shower 30 minutes before application. This will enable your skin to return to its natural PH balance and allow time for your pores to close. Do not apply body lotion or deodorant before tanning. Make sure your underarms are deodorant free and avoid using any oil based products, as they can leave traces on the skin that can cause streaking.’’

Applying spray tan

Linda recommends getting a spray tan two days before the wedding and to ensure all body lotions are thoroughly absorbed to prevent any transfer or staining onto your dress.

By now you should have booked your pedicure two days before the wedding and no more than two days for natural nails to prevent any chipping.

Body: Keeping your body well and hydrated will be key in the run up to your wedding day, Vitamin C and early nights will all help prevent you becoming run down in the build-up. Avoiding sugar, alcohol and processed foods will all help your complexion and well-being in the craziness ahead.

The night before: R e l a x, have a glass or two of bubbly and giggle with your closest friends and family. The party has only just begun…

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