One year to go
You have a full year ahead of you, so there’s no better time to access your health and fitness goals and start working towards them.
Whether you want to lose weight, add muscle bulk, or just get that cardio glow, it’s a great idea to book in a session with a personal trainer now, so they can draw up a personalised plan for you. Even if you’re not looking to make any major physical changes between now and the wedding, it’s worth heading into a yoga class to help de-stress from days spent agonising over the guest list. Plus, the gained extra flexibility will come in handy on the day, as anyone who has had to use the bathroom while wearing a seven-layered tulle and chiffon wedding dress can attest to!
Schedule in a date with a dermatologist to address any specific skin issues that might be concerning you. From adult acne and lingering blemish scarring, to dryness and fine lines, they will be able to prescribe a skincare routine for you to follow up until the big day.
Six months to go
Dubai-based make-up artist Hannah Lisa (hannahlisamakeup.com) recommends researching and booking your hair and make-up as soon as you’ve set your date.
“I personally am booked up months in advance, so for something as important as your wedding day you want to get in as early as possible to avoid disappointment,” she suggests. “You may have to have a few trials to find your perfect look, so allow time for this as well.”
She says that at least one trial is important to make sure the products agree with your skin, to ensure you like the overall makeup look, the colours and finishes, and also to get a rough idea of how long it’ll take on the day. Tee up your hair stylist for a trial on the same day to see how your chosen hairstyle will look paired with your make-up look, and to decide on any changes so you’re not left feeling flustered making snap decisions on the morning of your big day.
It’s also time to try out a spray tan if you want a little glow on your big day. Laura Woodard, spray tan technician for Bronzed Dubai (WhatsApp 052 989 7163) says that it’s important to have a tanning trial or two as faux tans come in a variety of intensities and undertones, each resulting in a different colour on your skin. “I use Ms. Lova, it’s an Australian brand that is 100% organic, vegan, paraben and cruelty free,” recommends Woodard. “It is super kind to the skin and enriched with macadamia and coconut oils and aloe vera extracts.”
Woodard also says to be mindful of how your make-up will look on a darker complexion. “It is a good idea to line your tanning up with your make up trial to make sure the colour matches, so you are getting the same look for your wedding day,” she points out.
Brands like Ms. Lova can be rinsed off once after two hours, but continues developing on the skin, so it’s important to get your tan the day before your hair and make-up trials for the true colour.
The six months mark gets even busier, with Catherine Hawkes, Artistic Director for Marquee salon (marquee.ae), suggesting that the half-way point is also a good time to decide on your hair colour. “Depending on what you want, I’d allow six months if you have the time,” she says. “Make sure you consult with an expert who can put you on the right track, as you may need that time to change the colour whilst also keeping the hair as healthy as possible.”
Your hairdresser can also direct you on the best products to use in the lead-up, in the salon and at home.
“If you start consulting with a stylist six months in advance, then they can put you on the right plan for you,” advises Cat. “I would ideally have a hydrating deep treatment every month. Start by having a mineral removal to cleanse any build up followed by a deep masque or strengthening treatment. You will also be advised to maintain at home with weekly home care treatments.”
Three months to go
Considering trying out layers, a lob, or perhaps even a pixie cut for your wedding? Hawkes says that three months is the magic time-frame if you’re considering shaking up your style or cutting in a new length. “It gives you time to get used to it and make sure you’re completely happy,” she points out.
Moving on to a different kind of hair, it’s now time to decide on a hair removal technique, if that’s your preference. Never use a new-to-you hair removal technique for the first time just before your wedding. If you’ve always shaved your legs and intimate areas, but are interested in waxing, about six months out is the perfect time to try it out.
Two months to go
Curious about having your eyebrows perfected? Bal Samrai, operations manager for Browz (browz.ae), an eyebrow and eyelash dedicated salon in Dubai’s The Mall, says that any semi-permanent procedure, like micro-blading or semi-permanent make-up should occur two months before the event.
“The reason for this is because a retouch session is involved and takes place four to six weeks after your initial procedure, and for the first week after your retouch, your brows may appear slightly darker,” she says. “Giving them some time to heal and settle to their natural colour is advisable, leaving you with the perfect, camera ready brows!”
Fans of lip fillers should also make an appointment six to eight weeks before their wedding. This will give the filler time to settle, any puffiness to subside, and for your doctor to tweak the shape if needed. Botox should also be dosed in this same period to give your face time to adjust.
See your dentist for a round or two of teeth brightening, so your pearly-whites can really shine during your vows. Dr Anton De Waal of ConfiDent Dubai (dubaiconfident.com) says a single appointment is enough to get most smiles up to scratch. Your dentist can also have a quick check for potential dental mishaps in the making – a toothache during your wedding ceremony is best avoided – and patch up any small holes.
Two weeks to go
Hawke says that a fortnight away is the right time to head to your hairdresser for a final trim to keep your style in place. “This keeps the hair fresh and healthy but still gives it time for the cut to settle,” she says. If you need a relaxing type of hair treatment such as a Brazilian blow-out or hair botox, have this done too. “Your hair can seem a little flat straight after a treatment so I’d give yourself a couple of weeks to see the best results,” reminds Hawke.
Don’t forget your skin – book in for a brightening peel facial for glowy skin. Have it sooner, and the effects won’t be as apparent, but leave it too late, and you could risk having lingering dry skin flakes affect your make-up.
One week to go
We’re only a few days away from the big event, and it’s time to start getting into the nitty-gritty. First up, is eyelashes. Kate Duffy, head beauty educator at Kozma & Kozma salon (kozmaandkozma.com) says that there’s a wide range of lashes option available for brides-to-be, a step up from the mascara or falsies days.
For natural lashes, Duffy recommends a LVL Lash Lift, which tints and curls the lashes for a wide-awake look. She says that LVL should be done ahead of time as as the treatment needs 24 hours to cure and cannot get wet in this time. Regular lash tinting can be done two to three days ahead, but a patch test must always be done ahead of time to ensure there’s no day-ruining allergic reactions.
For a more intense look, you can also consider lash extensions. “Nouveau Lashes SVS offer a glamorous, more dramatic look,” says Duffy. “These can be applied two days in advance and shouldn’t be worn with mascara as they offer a fluffy, textured look that can become clogged and ruined by it.”
If you’re having bridal henna, book your artist three to four days ahead to give the stain ample time to sink in. Remember to not exfoliate beforehand – the dye needs as many layers of skin as possible for a long-lasting design.
48 hours to go
Samraifrom Browz says that any threading, plucking or waxing for the face should happen two full days before the wedding, especially so if you experience redness or irritation after threading or waxing. “This will allow the skin to soothe and return to its natural condition,” she points out. “Two to three days before is ideal as facial hair begins to re-grow quite rapidly even after only seven days,” adds Duffy. “Waxing can cause mild irritation and skin to dry out slightly so is is best to give this time to settle before applying make-up.”
As for that tan, “a bride’s wedding tan is best applied two days before the wedding day,” says Bronzed’s Woodard. “Although your spray tan is washed off two to eight hours after application, it can continue to develop for another 12 hours. You have to make sure that any excess tan is washed off thoroughly to ensure it doesn’t rub off onto your dress!” She says that preparing for a tan is just as important as the application itself.
“The client must exfoliate the night before their tan to remove dead skin and provide a new, smooth surface for their tan - exfoliating helps to ensure even coverage and lengthens the duration of the tan,” she instructs. “It is also important to have any waxing and shaving done the day before the tan to give time for their pores to close up.”
Got a spare hour? Book into your salon for a last minute hydrating hair mask. This will make sure your hair look beautifully refreshed, and looking as glossy and perfect as it can be, says Hawke.
The day before
If you haven’t used a spray tan, today you can remove any body hair you wish. Make sure to use an exfoilating scrub before shaving to remove dead skin cells and to help the blade get a close shave. Waxers can swipe a medicated ingrown hair prevention pad over freshly-waxed areas to prevent any redness or irritation.
The big day
Manicure and pedicure
Leave your manicure and pedicure to the morning of you wedding, to ensure that your nails are shiny and chip-free. Choose a gel polish, and they will likely last through your honeymoon too. While your nails are being attended to, slip on a hydrating sheet masque to plump-up and smooth your skin.
The only thing left to do? Say I do! It’s time to strut down that aisle and enjoy your beautiful wedding day.