From Bride Wars to Bridezillas, wives-to-be have gained a bad reputation. But the days, weeks, and months leading up to the big day can be stressful—we get it! To help you steer clear of the stereotype, we gathered the best tips for when to do what so that you can enjoy the time before “I do” instead of stressing about it. Follow the below plan to a tee, and you’ll ensure nothing gets overlooked while also remaining the calmest bride around.
Two weeks out: Put them on for one hour every other night when you're around your house, says Jaclyn Duffield, wedding coordinator and owner of Chicago-based JDetailed Events. Stay indoors, though, to keep them pristine.
10 days out: Start to transition to your desired color a few months before, suggests celebrity hair stylist Sascha Breuer. That way, you’ll have time to get comfortable with the shade and avoid any last-minute panic. Seven to 10 days before the wedding, head to the salon for one last treatment. And be sure to wait at least two days after highlights to wash your hair, advises Marcus Francis, a Suave Professionals celebrity stylist.
Seven days out: Scheduling your eyebrow appointment for a week before the wedding allows the skin around the brows to calm down, says makeup artist Kristina Marie Feyerherm. “Disrupted texture in this sensitive area is very difficult to conceal, so it’s best to err on the side of caution and go early,” she adds. If any stray hairs pop up in the days leading up to the wedding, ask your makeup helper to pluck them away.
One week out: “Starting to pack this far out ensures you don’t get sidetracked and forget to get it done,” Duffield says. This way, you’ll also have time to pick up the items you’ve forgotten, like earplugs for the flight. If you’re leaving for your honeymoon three or more days after the wedding, leave the suitcase packing for after you’ve made it through all of the wedding festivities. [Tweet this tip!]
One week out: If you’re wearing a custom dress, try it on as soon as it’s ready so any fixes can be made. Then one week before the wedding, try on your dress one last time. Many brides find a looser fit since they lose a few pounds of stress weight, Duffield says. By going a week in advance, your seamstress will have plenty of time to make sure it fits perfectly.
Three days out: The extra couple of days allows the product to settle into the skin and take on a natural look. One warning: Don’t get sprayed more than three days in advance, or the tan might start looking patchy where the color has started to wear off, Feyerherm advises. Try a few test runs in the months leading up to the wedding to find the ideal shade for your skin tone too.
The day before: If exercise helps you fight stress, sweat the day before the big day, but take the actually wedding day off. Reserve your wedding day for celebrating your marriage and all of the work you’ve put into training, says Molly Winter Stewart of Molly Winter Fitness. Plus dancing the night away counts as a serious calorie burner.
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The day before: With all of the chaos that the wedding day brings, it’s best to cross your manicure off the to-do list a day prior. Indulge in the experience and take the time for your digits to completely dry to stay worry-free about smudges, says Carla Kay, a manicurist for Cloutier Remix.
One hour after waking: “No one likes a hangry bride,” Winter says. Keep your stomach full and energized all day by eating a protein-packed breakfast. Then eat two or three small snacks, like an apple with peanut butter, raw nuts, or carrot sticks, in the hours leading up to putting on your dress.
Three and a half hours out: If you have your hair done too far in advance, it could look flat by the time you walk down the aisle. Three and a half hours before the ceremony is the sweet spot and gives you extra time to make adjustments, Francis says. Be sure to schedule at least one hair trial so there are no surprises on the day of, Breuer says. And plan to have your hair done before your makeup artist does his or her magic so the blow dryer doesn’t melt off your look, Duffield advises.
After traditional dances: The father-daughter and mother-son dances usually signal the end of bride and groom obligations, meaning you’re in the clear to ditch your heels. “Wear your shoes for the dances because you'll feel more dressed up and more formal,” Duffield says. Afterward, slip into a pair of flip-flops and hop onto the dance floor for the first time as married couple. [Tweet this tip!]