Even if you're a year or more out from your wedding day, it's never too early to start the beautifying process. (Just don't forget to add the occasional massage to your waxing, coloring, and cutting appointments—your future in-laws will stress you out at some point). To help keep you on the right track all year long, here's what beauty pros recommend you book, and when. Pull out your day planner, and keep reading!
A year out
Some brides wait till the last minute to book a makeup artist. Don't make this mistake. According to Julia Ice, an artist at Salon Gregorie's in Newport Beach: "Brides should schedule appointments anywhere from a year to six months out, especially if the wedding is during prime wedding months. I always suggest doing the trial bridal makeup when they have a special occasion or engagement photos. This way the bride can see how they like the makeup when photographed, and how it lasts throughout the day."
Kelly Sullivan, a hairstylist at the same salon, says that a year out is also the time to book a stylist and start consulting on the look you want for your wedding day. "Especially when it comes to color, it's important to discuss the goal as each person requires different timing and results."
Two to six months out
At this point, many brides already have their dresses picked out. "It's best to start gathering photos of hairstyles that you envision having, and start scheduling appointments to experiment with your up-do or styles," Sullivan says. Then, continue booking regular hair appointments for six to eight weeks to get your tresses tamed for show time.
Six months out
Michelle Schlekewey, the director of spa and fitness at Escondido, California's Golden Door, recommends kicking off your bridal skincare regimen with a peel six months out. "This will clear the slate for your best skin," she says. Then, "monthly facials with your aesthetician will help clear away most skin breakouts or congestion that needs correcting." This is also the time to start waxing legs and underarms, ladies.
"The hair grows in cycles, so you will have all of the hair cleared in time for the wedding. Waxing does need some growing out to start so that you can get all of the hair. You want to be smooth and hair-free for your honeymoon," Schlekewey says.
Three months out
Schlekewey also stresses the importance of conditioning treatments for your hair—starting right about now. The treatments will help your hair get in its best, softest shape, she says; and it's best start conditioning once a week from here until "I do." And, don't forget the rest of your body: "If you are wearing a backless or off-the-shoulder dress, you want that skin to be flawless," she says. "Work with your aesthetician to receive monthly back facials starting three months in advance. Full-body treatments with exfoliation and hydration will keep your skin soft and clear also."
A month out
With a few weeks to go, it's time to start focusing on your eyes. Ice recommends waxing eyebrows a week before the big day. And if you're getting eyelash extensions, "I recommend booking the appointment at least a month before—just in case brides have any allergic reactions," she says. Sullivan says that one to two months out is also the time you should be booking your final coloring sessions.
And, this is it! The time to start treating yourself to massages. "You can see stress in a person's eyes or on their face," Schlekewey warns. "Have a massage once a week leading up to the big day so that you look and feel rested and relaxed."
A Week Out
Schlekewey recommends getting an all-over gloss treatment one week before the wedding "so that your hair is smooth and glossy." She also recommends using this week to get a facial with a good mask that leave skin glowing. (Pro tip: the Golden Door's golden peel-a-way masque works for all skin types—plus, it's gold, which adds a hint of it's-your-big-day glam.)
The day before
Your task list will be long today, but washing your hair shouldn't be on the agenda. Many stylists prefer to work with "dirty hair," which tends to hold style better, says Sullivan.
The day of
Congratulations, it's your wedding day! Naturally, all the endorphins have you giddy and glowing—but there's some primping still to do. On the day of, Ice recommends sitting down with your makeup artist for at least 90 minutes. While she spends about 45 minutes beautifying each bridesmaid, "the extra time is for the bride," she says. "It's their big day and I never want to rush, or take away from their experience." Now, get out there and stun!