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Bridal Beauty Countdown

Your get-gorgeous guide: Must-have pre-wedding beauty treatments and when to have them.

Planning a wedding is no small feat; there are endless details to consider and even the most prepared bride can feel overwhelmed. It’s crucial to stay organized in the months leading up to your wedding, and that includes your pre-wedding beauty routine.

Every bride-to-be has a vision of how she’ll look on her wedding day, and the best way to achieve that flawless, radiant glow is to plan ahead. Read on for a list of must-have pre-wedding beauty treatments, and when to book them into your calendar.

12 months to go: Start with skin
Our experts agree—a year in advance is the best time to start a skin-care routine. The sooner you begin having facials on a regular basis (every four to six weeks), the better. With consistent care, you’ll be less likely to experience the dreaded pre-wedding breakout, and “you’ll stay rejuvenated throughout the wedding planning process,” says Mandy Multerer, marketing manager at the Ivy Spa Club in downtown Minneapolis. To give your skin a jump-start, try the Ivy’s Luminous C facial, which uses a vitamin C and seaweed complex to brighten and rejuvenate skin.

It’s best to establish a relationship with an esthetician early on. “They’ll come to know your skin, nails and hair and can recommend the best products for you to use up until the wedding day, and even afterwards,” Multerer says.

To complement your visits to a skin-care specialist, St. Paul-based makeup artist and stylist Julie Swenson recommends investing in a Clarisonic facial cleansing brush to get that bridal glow. The gentle massaging motion removes impurities better than traditional face washing, and it preps skin to better absorb moisturizers, serums and other treatment products.

Six months to go: Beauty and bookings

With six months to go, start collecting ideas about wedding-specific hair and makeup looks you like by pulling pages from magazines or creating a Pinterest account.

This is also the time to book your week-of and day-of beauty and nail services. Spas and salons book up quickly (particularly if your wedding is on a Saturday), so don’t wait to claim your appointments.

Six months ahead is also a good time to start regular waxing and brow shaping. “You’ll see more benefits the sooner you begin, and you’ll greatly reduce the amount of hair, any issues with ingrown hairs, and [avoid] skin irritation due to shaving” says Juut Salonspa esthetic director Jen Tousignant, who recommends waxing every three to six weeks depending on hair growth. Juut Salonspa offers extensive brow and body waxing services, including a customized brow design service for first-timers.

One to three months to go: Trial run
At three months out, you should have the haircut and color the way you want it for the wedding. Have your hair consultation during this time and do a trial run of your bridal ’do one month ahead, suggests Multerer.

This is the time to do a trial run of your wedding-day makeup, whether you’ve hired a pro or are planning to do it yourself. Swenson does makeup for countless brides and bridal parties each year, but she also recently opened a studio on Grand Avenue in St. Paul, which offers bridal DIY makeup classes. “You bring your own makeup and I teach you how to create a bridal look with what you have,” says Swenson, who also offers the studio space for bridal parties to use on the day of the wedding.

The Ivy Spa Club offers a bridal makeup application package as well, which includes a 60-minute practice session. Or try an airbrush makeup application at Jett Makeup in Edina for flawless, long-lasting results.

“Many brides choose to schedule their makeup trial to correspond with another event, such as a bachelorette party, so that they can leverage their beauty application and experience the longevity of the makeup application in advance of their wedding,” says Jett Makeup owner Amy Kelly.

If you’re considering eyelash extensions for the wedding (which will give you lush lashes that last through the honeymoon), book your appointment one month before the wedding. “This ensures that [brides] achieve their desired look well in advance,” says Kelly, who is also a lash extension pro. “Eyelash extensions are weightless and comfortable, and their customized appearance may range from natural to ultra-glamorous, depending on the preference of the bride.

One week to go: Finishing touches
The week before the wedding is the time for last-minute touch-ups. Get a few highlights, have your final brow shaping and any last waxing services. Schedule these services at least four or five days before the wedding, though—you don’t want to look “just done” on your wedding day. If you opt for lash extensions, Kelly recommends a maintenance fill a few days before the ceremony. 

Have your manicure and pedicure a day or two before the ceremony and be sure to purchase an extra bottle of your chosen hue for unforeseen chips. To avoid chips altogether, Multerer recommends a gel color polish application (offered at the Ivy Spa Club), which stays on for much longer than a regular manicure, lasting through the wedding day and the honeymoon.

Last few days: Just relax
Finally, our experts agree that the week before your big day is the perfect time for some much-needed relaxation. Swenson recommends splurging on a lengthy massage or body treatment a few days before the wedding. “It’s important for stress relief to treat yourself and take time to focus and find stillness,” she says. 

For a relaxing body treatment with positive skin effects to boot, try the Rejuvenating Still Water Mud Mask at the Ivy Spa Club, which includes a jojoba body scrub under a Vichy shower and a warm pine and mineral mud body mask. The treatment promises to relieve tension and stress and leave skin impossibly smooth and touchable—essential for every bride before her wedding day.

“The wedding planning process can be stressful and hectic,” admits Multerer, “so taking the time to take care of your skin, body and mind is very important.” Scheduling time for yourself during the busy months before your wedding will help you stay relaxed and stay gorgeous when the unexpected arises, and you’ll thank yourself for being prepared.

Places to get pampered

  • Ivy Spa Club, Minneapolis
    Full-service spa, salon and fitness facility
  • Julie Swenson Beauty, St. Paul
    Makeup, hair and eyelash services; group and individual makeup lessons
  • Jett Makeup, Edina
    Eyelash bar and airbrush makeup studio
  • Juut Salonspa, several Twin Cities locations, full-service Aveda salon and spa