The wedding day beauty timeline

Mar 6, 2013 at 8:00 a.m. ET

Brides, mark your calendars! With all the stress and chaos that goes into planning a wedding, we thought we’d do you a solid and just map out your entire bridal beauty schedule for you. From three months out to the day of, here’s how to score that gorgeous wedding glow you’ve always dreamed of.

Your countdown to "I do"
Bride looking in mirror

Several months before

The best way to prepare your skin for a beautiful wedding day glow is to start months in advance, points out makeup artist and skin care expert Josephine Fusco. "Sometime I tell my clients to begin six to 12 months prior with peels and a skin care regimen to really get their skin radiant. Ease into it with light chemical peels. One of my favorites is a Jessner’s Peel, which cleanses your skin of all its impurities, dries out pimples, exfoliates and helps rejuvenate skin, plumping up fine lines and wrinkles,” she notes. "This peel is ideal to do once a month and is excellent for all skin types. For women on a budget, try it eight weeks prior to your wedding just to be safe.”

Breakouts got you down? As that pre-wedding stress starts to kick in and your acne begins to flare, now’s the time to go ahead and schedule a visit with your dermatologist, advises board-certified dermatologist and founder of Art of Dermatology, Dr. Jessica Krant. "Don’t leave acne until the very last minute. It can take months (six to nine months even) to get serious breakouts fully cleared and behaving by wedding day.”

As for what to put on your skin, world-renowned board-certified dermatologist Dr. Ronald Moy recommends looking for products that are rich in DNA repair enzymes and epidermal growth factors. "These ingredients resurface, brighten and tighten the skin and results are noticeable in just a few weeks.” But remember: consistency is critical! If you’re not giving your skin care regimen the regularity it requires, it won’t work.

sugar scrubA month before

First and foremost, you need to get your diet on track. Dermatologist to the stars Dr. Harold Lancer of Lancer Dermatology says that proper nutrition is the key to kick starting "skin nutrition.” One month prior to your big day, eliminate all chemical sugar substitutes and dietary replacements. You should also increase whole foods/grains and drink pH balanced water, he adds.

If you haven’t started exfoliating your skin, now’s the time to begin. "Your esthetician should be able to suggest the best products for your specific skin type that you can use at home, but if you can afford to get a treatment done professionally, do so,” urges Maria De Simone, spa director at L'Auberge de Sedona in Arizona. Specifically, Dr. Lancer recommends microdermabrasion to slough off dead skin, remove debris and provide a clean canvas to treat with topicals for the next month.

A couple of weeks before

According to Pamela Jeschonik, licensed esthetician and founder of EyebrowMBA, waxing should be done no sooner than 7-10 days prior to your wedding. "Be sure you aren’t on any antibiotics, steroids, topicals (such as Retin-A) and that you aren’t sunburned. If by chance there is a mishap and skin comes off with the wax or you have a strange reaction to one of the products used, there will be enough time for your skin to heal a bit and recover," she notes. "Of course, this is most important for facial waxing due to all of the wedding pictures, but just as important for waxing below the belt. No one wants to ruin their honeymoon by having raw, irritated skin!”

A week before

In the week leading up to your nuptials, Tony Silla of Face Place recommends using a vitamin C serum at least once a day, which will help maintain a glowing, even skin tone. "Lie on the floor with your feet elevated on the edge of a couch or a coffee table for 5-10 minutes,” he suggests. “This will increase blood circulation to your facial tissues, nourishing the skin and giving it a glow. Drink a lot of water and minimize your intake of alcohol.”  

You should also schedule your spray tan a couple of days before the wedding. "Make sure to shower, exfoliate and don’t wear any lotions or deodorants for the session,” warns Manna Kadar, founder of Manna Kadar Cosmetics and Island Tan Salon & Spas in Southern California. "Let the spray tan set for eight to 12 hours before showering, and invest in prep and aftercare items.”


Score a gorgeous glow and enhance your tan by consuming five carrots a day, which will make your skin radiant after just one week, says Melissa Picoli, esthetician and founder of BijaBody health + beauty. "Plus, studies show it makes you even more attractive to the opposite sex!”

The day before

The day before the wedding, New York plastic surgeon Dr. Adam Schaffner advises cleaning your skin well and using moisturizer and sunblock. "Avoid any treatments that may irritate your skin or cause bruising or swelling, which may not resolve before you walk down the aisle.”

The day of

Yay, you made it! Now, just stay consistent with your skin care routine, and use the Clarisonic Sonic Skin Care System to gently exfoliate in the morning, says Dr. Michael Gold, founder and medical director of Gold Skin care Center in Nashville, Tennessee. "This will slough away any dead skin to reveal a brighter complexion, as well as a smooth, even surface for makeup to be applied to. If time allows, engaging in light exercise is also a great idea to get your blood flowing, plus it might help get rid of those wedding jitters!”

Discover more beauty tips & tricks

Hairstyles successful women wear
Can your makeup look influence people's perception of you?
The surprising beauty benefits of massage