Six months prior to the wedding is the ideal time to begin focusing on overall health and well-being. Your appearance reflects the state of your body, and getting bogged down in wedding planning stress can backfire. Instead, the key is to practice healthy beauty habits with an eye toward overall health and well-being.
- If you want to lose weight prior to your wedding, now is the time to start doing it. Crash diets can make you miserable on your wedding day, so stick to a healthy, long-term weight-loss plan instead. Your local gym is a great spot to find a personal trainer, and numerous websites are available to help you track your goals.
- Start taking natural supplements to help keep your hair, skin, and nails healthy. This ensures that, no matter what style you go for, you’ll have smooth nails, shiny hair, and glowing skin.
- Consider starting an exercise routine even if you don’t want to lose weight. Exercise can help you beat wedding planning stress and gives you an opportunity to make new friends. Yoga, Pilates, dance and aerobics classes are all excellent options.
- If you want to try a new cut and color, now is the time to do it. Hair grows, on average, between 1/2 and 1 inch a month, so avoid haircuts that require you to grow out your hair more than a few inches before the big day.
- Now is the time to break any habits that wreck your look. If you’re a smoker, quit now so that you can enjoy your wedding day smoke-free (and get the inevitable crankiness that comes with it out of the way).
- Organise a consultation with your dermatologist if you have any skincare concerns. Now is the time to get laser treatments or have dark spots removed.
3 Months Before the Wedding
Now is the time to nail down all the vital details of your wedding day and to do a few test runs to ensure everything will work out as you hope. If something goes wrong, you still have plenty of time to fix it before you say, “I do.”
- If you’re planning to use a makeup artist, find the artist, plan your look, and in the coming weeks, schedule a makeup test run.
- Choose your photographer and, if you’re having engagement photos taken, do your makeup the way you plan to do it on the wedding day. This gives you the chance to see what you look like in photos and correct anything you don’t like, as well as keeping your wedding look consistent.
- Start a healthy skincare routine. Vitamin E can help your skin look youthful, and is a must if you have dry skin. Stick to a few basic products such as a gentle cleansing wash, toner, and moisturizer. If you have oily skin, try an oil-free moisturizer. Exfoliate your skin once a week to get rid of dead skin cells and eliminate dullness in your complexion.
- Get a facial. You’ll get another one right before your wedding day, but your three-month facial is a test run. If you have a bad reaction, then you know to steer clear of facials prior to the big day!
1 Month Before the Wedding
The countdown has begun! A month before the wedding, you’ll have to be careful about scheduling. If you get your hair colored, make sure that you schedule your appointment no more than two weeks before the wedding. If there’s anything you’re itching to try, such as a spray tan, try it now so you know if it will work before the wedding.
- Have your teeth whitened, either by a professional or using an at-home kit. There’s no substitute for glistening white teeth in wedding photos!
- Steer clear of any new skincare regimens. By now, you’ve perfected your skincare routine, so the key is to stick with what works rather than be taken by the latest gimmick. It can take weeks to reverse the effects of an allergic reaction or peely skin created by a bad product, so don’t take the risk!
- If you’re interested in microdermabrasion and other involved facial treatments, now is the time to have them done- with plenty of recovery time.
1 Week Before the Wedding
You’re almost there! The key now is to stick with what’s working and do your last-minute beauty ablutions. Now is not the time for dramatic changes or last-minute crash diets. Instead, take some time for yourself and enjoy the final countdown to your wedding.
- Confirm the final details of your makeup routine with your makeup artist, and gather any supplies you’ll need to take with you on the big day.
- Have any facial hair removal services, including brow waxing, done a few days before the wedding. This gives your skin time to heal but doesn’t allow hair time to grow back.
- Consider getting eyelash extensions for lush eyelashes sans mascara.
- Get a spray tan if you want to glow on your wedding day.
- Have your nails and toenails done. Gel manicures and pedicures last longer, and will ensure your nails look stunning through the honeymoon.
- Stay hydrated. A parched body means parched, dry skin.
Ward off breakouts by putting a salicylic acid solution on any zits. Keep your makeup minimal this week to avoid clogging pores. If you develop a truly awful zit, call a dermatologist. He may be able to inject cortisone to reduce the size of the pimple.
The problem with bad habits is that they come in all shapes, sizes, nuances and strains. And all too often, we’re not even aware of when we’re committing these cardinal beauty sins. But once you recognise exactly what you’re doing wrong, it becomes infinitely easier to address the problems and better your practices (or as I like to think of it, “admitting it is the first step”). So when you make the giant leap from Ms to Mrs, use this life-changing moment to toss out your rotten routines and replace them with constructive ones.
We’ve put our heads together to come up with a list of the commonest hair and makeup no-nos- including those we know we probably shouldn’t do, and those many have no idea are actually counterproductive. So if you find yourself nodding your head in silent agreement to any of these issues, consider it time for a beauty revolution.
Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow
We all know what it feels like to wake up with bed hair (the unsexy version), where the only way you’ll face the day is by wearing a hat. Or a headscarf. Or 26 bobby pins and a can of hairspray. Say goodbye to tousled tresses and hello to luscious locks with these easy tips.
Washing hair with heated water
– The problem: Hot water removes natural oils which then leaves hair dehydrated and prone to frizzing.
– The solution: Use lukewarm water and (perhaps only in summer!) finish with cool or cold water as this closes hair cuticles, seals in moisture and makes your hair shine.
Manhandling wet hair
– The problem: Just-washed hair is weak and strands can break easily.
– The solution: Use a wide tooth comb – not a brush – and work from the ends up. Don’t rub vigorously with a towel- pat it instead, and let hair dry loose instead of tying it up.
Over applying products
– The problem: Continually using sprays, serums, gels and mousse can weigh down your hair, making it dull and oily.
– The solution: Ease up on products so you can avoid a build-up and let your locks breathe! If you absolutely must use a certain amount, use it where it’s needed only- generally the ends of your hair are the most dry, damaged and in sorest need of a bit of TLC.
– The problem: Using hot tools everyday depletes the moisture and strips away protective oils which results in dry, frizzy hair and breakages.
– The solution: Give your hair the day off at least once a week and use a deep conditioning treatment to replace essential nutrients. Turn down the heat on tools and don’t forget to use heat protection products.
Using a dirty brush
– The problem: A brush matted with hair looks unsightly but what you don’t see is the oil and product build-up which is a happy breeding ground for bacteria.
– The solution: Give your brush a monthly bath in warm water and baking soda.
An occasion skin sin is excusable but if your slip-ups are becoming the norm rather than the exception, it’s time to re-evaluate your rituals. Here are a few beauty regime pointers that you might have forgotten about.
Going to bed with makeup on
– The problem: You’re too tired or tipsy to remove your makeup. This clogs pores which can lead to dreaded breakouts, while your eye makeup can irritate your eyes and weaken lashes.
– The solution: Force yourself to spend a few minutes following your normal washing routine but if you really, really can’t then facial wipes literally take seconds to use.
Using old makeup
– The problem: All makeup has a shelf life and old products can contain bacteria which you’re then (innocently but liberally) applying to your face.
– The solution: Replace mascara every 3-6 months and other products within 1-2 years at the most.
Dirty makeup brushes
– The problem: Brushes accumulate bacteria and dirt which is then (you guessed it…) transferred onto your skin.
– The solution: Clean brushes once a week using mild shampoo and then allow to air dry.
– The problem: Excessive scrubbing can make skin sensitive, cause broken capillaries and can leave you with very unwanted whiteheads.
– The solution: Use a gentle product and restrict your exfoliation to once a week only.
Breasts come in an extraordinary array of shapes, sizes, colour, texture, bounciness, etc (you get our drift). But the one thing that most boobs have in common is that they’re all too often housed inside the wrong bra. In fact, recent studies estimate that 80-85% of ladies are wearing the wrong size- which exposes a staggering number of women who are committing these regular acts of mammary madness.
Why is it so important to get the right fit? Not only does it help your clothes fit better, alleviate back and neck pains and prevent premature sagging, but it can immediately make you look like you’ve lost weight, and balances your body proportions out (and who doesn’t want that?). Whether your cup runneth over or it’s only half full, here are a few suggestions to help you become breast friends with your bra.
Ask a Professional
The easy solution is to go to a department store and get help from an underwear expert. You might feel apprehensive about standing topless in front of a stranger, with your assets on display, but this is their job and you should walk out with a well-fitted bra that lifts and supports you. If you’re particularly uncomfortable, however, these professionals (especially those situation in teams at department stores) can often just as easily size you whilst you’re wearing the bra you came in with.
Sizing Up the Situation
If the idea of baring your breasts makes you break out into a cold sweat, or you simply like to be prepared as possible, you can of start by ‘going it alone’. The most useful place to start is with your own measurements. This is the time to be completely honest about the numbers, because only you can see your bra size, whereas everyone else can see how it fits.
The two features you’ll need to measure are the band and the cup size. To be accurate, you must remove your shirt AND bra and, if possible, let someone else take the measurements.
- Band size – Flatten the tape measure against your ribcage, directly below your breasts and parallel to the floor and let it be snug but not tight. If it’s an even number (in inches) that’s your size, while an odd number is rounded up.
- Cup size – Keep your arms at your sides and measure around your torso over the fullest part of your bust (usually along the horizontal line where your nipple sits). Subtract the band size from the cup measurement and the difference gives you the cup size. If your band is 34 and your cup is 35 the difference is one inch and so your cup size is A. Two inches is a B, three inches is a C, four inches is a D, five inches is a DD (or E), etc.
Get the Right Fit
Bras are like shoes – they all feel a little different, even with the same brand or style. It sounds pretty obvious but the more bras you try on the easier it is to recognise when something fits you properly and flatters your body shape.
- Band – This provides 90% of the support so it must be firm, but comfortable, and you should be able to slide two fingers between the band and your skin. It also needs to lie flat against your back, in a straight line, below your shoulder blades.
- Cup – You want your breasts inside, and not spilling over the top, underneath or around your underarms. The point at which your cup meets your bust should be a smooth transition, not put you in mind of a chest’s equivalent of severe muffin-top.
- Straps – These will level the bra, so loosen or tighten them to make the bra fit without leaving strap marks.
- Centre Panel – This portion of the band is between the cups and it should be flat against your chest between your breasts.
- Underwire – These are comfortably positioned underneath your breasts, not digging into your chest or underarms.
How to Wear a Bra
You’ve been wearing a bra for years and you know how to put it on, right? Wrong. Put your arms through the straps and lean forward, letting your breasts fall into the cups and then fasten the bra. For each side, slip your hand into the cup and scoop your breast towards the centre so that it’s securely and comfortably in the bra. Breast tissue goes all the way to the underarm so this trick of the trade ensures everything is where it ought to be. Once you’ve found the right bra, it’s just as important to wear it properly.
If you know your size but you’re having no luck finding lingerie, there’s a cheat sheet known as ‘sister sizing’. Because the cup size is relative to the band size, both your cup and band size will slide along the sizing scale together. If, for example, you’re normally a 34 B, in theory you should fit into a 32C or a 36 A. When adjusting your size, don’t let you vanity get the better of you! The perfect bra is about the fit – not the numbers.
What further complicates the already complicated world of bras is that you wear different types depending on the occasion. T-shirt bras are used every day, convertible bras are for strapless tops, cleavage bras come out to play when you wear your special occasion outfit and a bridal bra is for your wedding dress. As underwear provides the foundation for your silhouette, to look your best you need to have a variety of different styles in your underwear drawer.
Many like to get the task of buying the couple’s gift out of the way as soon as possible- especially those living overseas, are particularly busy, or whom might want to spoil you with a naughty extra gift(!). This means that you’ll need to begin putting together you registry list early on. If you’re having an engagement party or bridal shower, try to have at least a few items specified a month beforehand. This list doesn’t need to be at all comprehensive- many, if fact, prefer to add and edit as they go. If this is your sort of style, do make sure that there’s a wide disparity in price range for the gifts listed, so as not to make your guests feel financially pressured.
A long list won’t look self indulgent to your guests- in fact, it gives your guests flexibility and room to play around with your potential gifts. You should include at least as many items as there are guests, to show that there’s no significant time or financial pressure to buy your gifts. That being said, don’t include items for the sake of bulking up the list- this will simply mean time wasted returning the gifts. If worst comes to worst, your guests simply won’t buy the items you’ve specified. And who doesnt love a surprise now and again?
All in the Details
When including items on the registry, be sure to be specific about which item you’re referring to. To play it safe, it’s worth including:
- The brand name
- The model number or name
- The colour
- The size
- The quantity required
- And if necessary, where it can be found
However if you aren’t too fussed on the brand or model you can help the guests by being a little more descriptive. Instead of putting ‘toaster’ why not put ‘toaster – 4 slice’. This’ll allow your guests to insert a bit of their own personality within the parameters you’ve set, allow them to pay exactly what they’d like for it, and you’ll be more likely to think of the gift- giver whenever you use the item.
Make a Personal Appearance
Organising your wedding registry is incredibly convenient, and today the most common method of putting your list together. Be sure, however, to visit the shop at which you’re registered in person, and have an inspection of the store’ s goods. Look closely at the quality, craftmanship, and if all copies of the one piece are consistent. Physically checking the items may influence adding some pieces on to your list that you previously disregarded, or even taking some items that you’re not satisfied with off.
Keep an eye the wares you’ve chosen. If you find that they’ve been sold out or discontinued, replace them with a similar item, or register for the original item elsewhere.
Where to Set Up Camp
Try to pick out two to three stores that have a wide variety of items you love. A great idea is to include at least one department store, so that your friends and family will be able to access one of the stores irrespective of where they are in the country. Department stores often also have advanced online systems, so even if they don’t live in the country, they should be able to hop online and buy the selected as easily.
Another great idea is to set up a registry at a specialty shop, such as an antiques store. If they don’t have a registry system in place, try speaking to the manager. More shops than not are willing and able to accommodate your needs, and it never hurts to enquire.
For Those Lucky Few Who Have It Made
If, however, you’re pretty much set for all your homeware needs (as increasingly, couples are living together and setting up house before they’re married), there are several alternatives.
- A honeymoon registry. Many online websites let you itemise honeymoon costs and rebrand them as ‘potential gifts- part of your airfare, tourist activites, a night in a deluxe hotel- you name it!
- A charity registry. Pick one or a few charities close to you and your partner’s hearts. A great option for the couple who has everything.
- A homebuyer’s registry. Like the honeymoon registry, you can divide up itsems needed to create or decorate your dream home. A great way to ensure price disparity, as installing a new cat flap, for example, will cost far less than a new window.
- A foodie registry. Have you got a miniture foodie snob inside you, dying to get out and experimental, but lack the funds? Well, you’ve just been introduced to that snob’s lifesaver.
- A local lifestyle registry. This is perfect for the couple who’d like to get out and experience more day to day culture- where that includes learning a new language, taking a cooking course, or whatever else strikes your fancy.
- A wishing well. Although it’s still considered taboo to ask outright for money, a wishing well is a perfectly acceptable way to ask for gift donations. Usually, an elaborate box in the shape of a wishing well is placed, and cheques or cash are placed into it. This can be done either anonymously, or one may include an envelope with a card in addition to the money.
Making Use Of the Grapevine
Modern wedding etiquette discourages one from including their registry details on one’s invitations, but it is an increasingly common trend to include this information anyway. The Emily Post approved method, however, is to simply spread the information via word of mouth. Use your family and closest friends to pass on this information (somewhat) discreetly to the rest of your guests. If someone asks you outright where you’re registered, feel free to tell them!
As per the wedding registry’s rich history, the bride’s family would contribute a dowry of homemaking items (linens, china, and silverware) for a groom’s family’s piece of land. Today, registries can be created at one or multiple stores, can be managed online, and can even be dedicated to one specific theme, such as the newlyweds’ honeymoon. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your wedding registry.
The Perks of a Wedding Registry
- The newlyweds get what they want/need – the couple can rest easy knowing they will receive at least some of what they’ve suggested. The core advantage of using a registry is that it allows for the exact item and quantity to be displayed for all. Guests will see when all necessary gifts in a certain category have been bought, and choose accordingly.
- It showcases the couple’s style – perhaps a guest, maybe an extended family member, hasn’t seen the couple in years. A registry is a quick way of expressing who the couple is, and what they desire. Even those not buying from the registry will have an easier time discovering items fit for the couple’s style.
- It saves time for guests – not everyone has the time to create a hand-crafted wonder for the newlyweds, and lots of guests will have multiple weddings to attend during wedding season. A registry, in its simplest form, is a list of gifts for guests to grab, wrap, and deliver.
- It’s optional – guests can choose the tea towels to match your kitchen décor, or give you that heirloom quilt they’ve been working on for months. The registry is a suggestion, not a requirement.
- Prevents double-gifting – save traveling guests from hauling, or non-attending guests from shipping large, expensive items that have already been bought by other guests.
There’s no one right item to put on your registry, but there are certainly guidelines in helping your wedding gifting experience run smoothly. Below are some simple ways to ask for what you want, without any unnecessary stress!
- Plan and present the registry early – start by speaking with your spouse-to-be and create an as-you-go list. Then, decide which stores to register with, and create your official registry. Then, include your registry information on all wedding-related stationary including save-the-dates and invitations, and your website if you’ve got one.
- Make sure guests know it’s optional – a simple way to diffuse the “I have to buy WHAT? From WHERE?” issue is to inform all guests that the registry is optional. These are suggested gifts that you selected but are not guaranteed.
- Provide both larger and smaller ticket items – being mindful of the guests’ budgets is vital. Make sure you have gifts of various price points in your registry. I personally love to buy lots of less expensive items on the list, some items not on the list, and then personalize the wrapping.
- Include some traditional items – even if you are a modern couple with a registry full of camping gear or tech-savvy gadgets, including some traditional items like fine dinnerware, bed linens, and cooking accessories will pay homage to the dowry-style registries of the past, and acknowledge older or less-contemporary guests.
- Choose around three stores – most big box stores will have everything you need and then some, and choosing a small number will save you from confusion. On the flip side, choosing a variety of stores should ensure that no matter what the guests’ budget, they can participate in buying a gift from the registry. Consider the ways in which guests can purchase and deliver items, such as in store, online, or by phone.
- Update the registry – have some items in various price ranges hidden on your registry until right before the wedding. When you see that guests are purchasing gifts, “replenish” the list so that later-buyers have more options to choose from!
- When in doubt, ask for gift cards – It is considered almost vulgar to ask for money right-out, so don’t do it! Instead, choose some restaurants or stores and ask for gift cards!
Some may claim the registry to be tacky or too old fashioned for a young couple to use, but with the number of registry gift options available, you’ll be well on your way to a perfectly balanced registry in no time at all.
Trends in Wedding Registries
- Honeymoon Registry – lots of couples these days have already been living comfortably together, and don’t need homeware- related gifts. Certain online registries even let you itemise your honeymoon registry so guests can contribute for your hotel stay, airfare, and newlywed experiences like surfing lessons or romantic dinners.
- Homebuyers Registry – similar to the honeymoon registry; couples looking to save for a new house, but not ask for money right out, can assign monetary amounts to different aspects of their new home. A few dollars for a welcome mat, a few hundred for a window, and so on and so forth.
- Local Lifestyle Registry – always wanted to learn a foreign language but never had the spare cash to do it? A local lifestyle registry can help with some unique newlywed experiences. Go on a wine tasting tour, learn how to play an instrument, or enjoy other local attractions with your new spouse!
- Foodie Registry – delicious gourmet food for free! This registry is dedicated to the experimental eaters who want a taste of the best things in life.
- Charity Registry – for the benevolent couple, using a portion or all of your registry gift funds for a charitable donation is certainly a welcomed option.
Don’t Forget the Thank You Cards!
Save your wedding invitation address list, and if choosing an online registry, make sure there is a clearly-defined method to identify who purchased which item or experience. You will want to send personalised, handwritten thank you cards within 3 months of your wedding date at the latest to each person who presented a gift. Having everything on file will save you the headache of tracking down addresses. Now start thinking of what kind of registry fits your future.
There should be a disclaimer with hair removal techniques, stating that they don’t permanently remove hair, but rather permanently reduce it. Two of the most popular and effective methods are laser and IPL – Intense Pulse Light. They’re often regarded as the same procedure, and while they both use energy to disrupt hair growth, they are different treatments.
– Laser uses one wavelength of light that’s extremely concentrated, and treatment is slower because the light source is highly targeted.
– IPL uses the full spectrum and delivers a wider range of wavelengths to the skin. Treatment is quicker because the scattered light covers a larger area.
How Does It Work?
Both processes send intense light energy down the hair follicle. This light converts to heat, which targets the melanin (or colour) in the follicle and this prevents hair growth. Your hair also grows in cycles, but not the same cycle, so when you have laser or IPL, only the hair in the active growth stage is targeted. For this reason you need more than one session to treat a single area.
Who Can Have Laser or IPL?
Not everyone is a good candidate and it depends on hair colour and skin type. Dark hair is the easiest to treat as it has the most pigmentation and so absorbs the most light. Medium coloured hair is more challenging but light, grey or red hair is almost impossible as there is little or no pigmentation, and without light, the follicle can’t be destroyed. Skin tone works in the opposite way, so a light skin is better than a medium toned skin, which in turn is better than a dark skin. Because laser picks up the contrast between hair and skin pigment, the ideal candidate has light skin and dark, course hair. Of course there have been improvements in technology, which allow most people to have treatments with reasonable success.
People who should not consider laser or IPL without first getting medical consent are:
– Anyone hypersensitive to light
– People who are epileptic or diabetic
– A person on photosensitizing medication or antibiotics
– Pregnant women
– Someone with herpes 1 & 2
Is it Painful?
Pain is subjective and so it depends on the individual’s threshold, but it’s often compared to the feeling of having someone snap an elastic band on your skin. Most patients easily tolerate the discomfort.
Is it Safe?
Both treatments are considered safe when done by a professional, in a regulated environment, but it can be dangerous for some people, or leave lasting side effects. The complication is that skin also has melanin, so dark skin is more likely to absorb laser light which could leave blisters or burns. A trained technician should analyse your skin and hair, and create a personal treatment plan to avoid any skin damage. Reschedule if you have spotty, broken, irritated or sunburnt skin, and avoid going over areas with tattoos or permanent makeup as the laser can alter the colours.
What’s the Process?
Find a reputable specialist and get medical approval if needed. For six weeks before your first session you need to avoid the sun and any self-tan products, and stop all waxing, plucking and electrolysis. A tanned skin makes hair removal less effective and it can lead to complications, while you need the hair root to be present to successfully obliterate it! During your session the technician will shave the area to be treated before using the laser or IPL. With each treatment your hair growth is reduced, but in between your sessions it’s recommended (your fiancé will thank us!) to shave. Most people will need a touch up 1-4 times a year to deal with those few resistant, stray hairs.
Is it Cost Effective?
You pay per session, so it depends on the size of the area being treated and how stubborn your hair is. Both techniques are initially expensive, but after your treatment is complete, you’ll no longer spend money on razors, wax or depilatory creams or spend hours in a salon or plucking rogue hairs in front of a mirror.
When Should I Start?
Brides looking at permanent hair reduction need to start the process up to a year before getting married. This is because you need to wait 4-6 weeks between each treatment, and you need on average 6-8 sessions. Some people see results after two, but others need as many as 12, it depends on the individual and how your hair responds. The ideal time to start is during winter, when your skin is pale and it’s easier to avoid the sun. The most important thing is to give yourself enough time to complete the process long before your wedding day.
Every couple experiences wedding stress and these suggestions will help you deal with it more effectively.
- Take a long bath by candlelight and soak stress away. Add 1-2 drops of essential oil for some well deserved aromatherapy. Alternatively, Radox is fabulous for tired, achy muscles, and bath bombs are just the ticket to help you feel pampered in a matter of seconds.
- Sit down and read or watch a movie. Take a break from wedding plans if you are feeling stressed out. A break will help you clear your mind and return to the task fresh and more focused.
- Get artsy. Whether this means creating an oil-painting masterpiece, colouring with pencils, or even trying out new looks with your makeup, this is a fantastic stress reliever. Engaging the creative side of your brain will allow you to simultaneously zone out and concentrate in a refreshing, different way than you do when making wedding plans. In other words, it creates the space to mentally detatch and get away from stressful planning- related thoughts.
- Turn on your radio and dance. Naked. But keep your curtains drawn.
- If you feel like you could just scream, do it- into a pillow. Yell, swear, and do what you’ve got to do to get your frustrations out! Bonus: nobody’s feelings get hurt.
- Laugh. Laughter helps to come to grips with how little the thing you’re worrying about matters in the grand scheme of things. Revel in how ridiculous wedding planning and stress can get, and think of how this’ll make for a great story down the road.
- Cry. Sometimes, you just need to get it all out. If (as strange as this sounds), you feel you’d really benefit from a good old sob- fest, but arent able to muster up those first few tears, put on something that’ll help the cause, so to speak. Sad music, movies, and books are great go- tos. One of the most fundamental truths about the relationship between our physiological, emotional and intellectual selves is that crying is just about guaranteed to make you feel better.
- Do something romantic for your fiancé or something nice for someone else. In a study by nonprofit leader and author Allan Luks, he terms this stress relief the ‘helper’s high’, and maintains that it is one of the fastest and longest lasting natural endorphin (the chemical your brain releases to make you feel great) you can trigger. This can be as simple as sharing your umbrella with a stranger, leaving a kind anonymous note to be found, or surprising a friend with flowers.
- Get your game face on. Video games, that is. Zone out for a few hours to recharge your batteries.
- Find a blog you like. It could be based on humour, fashion, travel, DIY, whatever! Get the giggles or get inspired.
- Take a vacation or road-trip with your fiancé. Spend time together and remember the reason you’re getting married. This also helps your relationship grow stronger.
- Endorphin releasing exercise! Hit the gym, the road, or a nature trail. Bring a friend to chat with or spend some time in solitude.
- On a related note, make some time for some Afternoon Delight (or anytime, really). Sex is not only fun, but also sends a wave of endorphins through both you and your partner. Additionally, some self- love has the same effects.
- Get outside and enjoy the outdoors. Whether you have a ride on a swing, build a snowman, or just potter around in the garden, this will give you a new appreciation for the simpler things and give you some perspective.
- Sleep. It sounds simple, but few of us get enough sleep. As a result, we end up feeling tired and listless, grouchy and overwhelmed. Sleep can help with your mood, energy and focus.
- Get all your suppliers’ service agreements in writing, in the form of a standard contract. Spell out exactly what you want and don’t want when you make the bookings. Don’t wait until the wedding day to make major changes. Having your details in writing will give you some peace of mind, and stop you going over and over the internal checklists you’ve created.
Every bride wants to look her absolute best on her big day. When you look good, you feel good, and your confidence and happiness are of course the most important factors on your wedding day. So often, this means starting out on a new diet/ exercise regimen. If you’re anything like me, you know three things about dieting:
1. The process itself can get pretty boring and a teensy bit hellish
2. It always takes WAY longer than you predict to see results
3. It is totally worth feeling ultimately fit, healthy, and confident
So, lets talk shaping-up methods:
- Managing your diet- obtain all the right nutrients and reduce unnecessary calories.
- Cardiovascular activities- to exercise your heart.
- Resistance Training- to burn fat and tone muscles.
- Getting enough rest and recovery time after workouts- to allow your body to adjust and heal, and therefore make the changes you want.
You can eat what you like, as long as youre going to burn it off, right? Well, it’s not quite that simple. Its generally accepted within the world of nutrition that weight loss comprises of 80% diet, and only 20% exercise. Seems strange, but is true. This is often due to our overestimation of the amount of calories we’re actually burning and the fact that actual nutrition (as opposed to strict calorie counting) has a huge effect on how our body reacts to the calories ingested. The vast majority of women, for example, know that eating 100 calories of veg is still advised above 100 calories of doughnut.
The wisdom of hardcore weight loss blogs seems to reaffirm this: “abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym”, and “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet”. So you should consequently aim not only to cut portion sizes, but to eat healthily as well. As any nutritionist will tell you, depriving your body of sufficient calories can actually kick it into ‘starvation mode’, where the body believes it’s being starved, and in response holds on to the calories you do consume, which can trigger extra fat storage. Eating anything below 1,200 calories a day is considered to be dangerous. And remember that how many calories you need depends on your age, size and current eating habits.
Often, we tend to eat poorly simply because we don’t really know what, and in what quantities, we should be eating. To take the guesswork out of your diet, its always a great idea to consult a nutritionist or dietician- they’ll be able to formulate an eating plan for you which will take into account what you like and don’t like as well as incorporating the necessary dietary components to complement your exercise program.
The weight-loss industry offers a variety of services with different approaches to weight-loss. Some offer classes and information about diet and exercise, while others deliver pre-prepared meals to your home. A structured service will take into account all of your nutritional requirements and do all the ‘calorie counting’ for you, whilst (hopefully) keeping the food delish. This is a great solution for time-poor, stressed out brides caught up in their wedding-planning process. But before signing up, consider the long-term effects of these diets- once you reach your goal weight, how well- equipped will you be to make all your food choices for yourself? Some services bridge this gap with built- in lessons or guides, which is great as it also functions as an educational course to serve you for the rest of your life. But be extremely wary of those services who do not offer such a program- it can be even more confusing to try and match your foods to the diet you received on the weight loss service’s plan.
If, for whatever reason, you choose to ‘go it alone’, there are some great free resources to make use of:
– the myfitnesspal app tracks your calories (both in food and exercise), and has a database with thousands of different food items listed (otherwise, plenty of similar apps will perform the same service)
– pinterest.com has thousands of links to healthy food recipes, diet tips and tricks, as well as motivating quotes, images, ideas etc (use the in-site search engine to find the particulars of what you’re looking for).
– tumblr.com also has thousands of weight-loss and fitness- centred blogs and sites. Again, these are easiest to find when you have a particular subject to investigate, such as ‘1500 calorie diet plan’, or ‘fitspo’ (short for ‘fitspiration’). These sites are often embedded with a chain of other similar sites, so its really just a matter of finding one quality site that can refer you to others. (I personally quite like ‘undressedskeleton.tumblr.com’ for inventive recipes, for example)
We’ve also compiled a list of some simple tweaks you can make to improve your diet and calorie intake, as well as some ever- useful ‘don’ts’’:
Little Diet Changes for a Huge Impact
Radical changes to your diet are not only hard on your body, but mentally difficult to sustain. If you usually eat unhealthily, you will find it almost impossible to ‘change your ways’ overnight. So resolve to make some key changes that you can incorporate into your current diet, for example:
- Switch to ‘low-fat’ groceries – particularly dairy products. Many of the products you currently buy will also be available in a ‘diet’ or ‘light’ version.
- Stick to whole natural foods – Fruits, Veges, whole grain breads and cereals
- Stay away from anything with preservatives – these chemicals are unatural to the body and if cannot be broken down, will be stored in fat cells.
- Stop drinking soft drinks and sweetened fruit juices and drink water or sugar-free diet drinks instead. Sugary drinks contain empty calories and do nothing to fill you up.
- Aim to eat more at the beginning of the day and less at night. This means a full, nutritious breakfast and less snacking after dinner.
- Change the way you prepare meals – this means less frying and roasting and more grilling, steaming and boiling.
- Snack on fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts instead of biscuits, chips, (or my personal favourite, those little japanese peanuts that are coated in crunchy deliciousness. GOOD GOD) etc.
- Consider walking or cycling to work and take the stairs instead of the lift!
- Try to incorporate high-fibre foods into your diet. Fibre helps ‘fill you up’ and will stop you snacking on junk food throughout the day.
Reduce your alcohol intake.
Just like choosing your wedding gown, lingerie should reflect your personality, your intimate relationship with your soon-to-be-spouse, and will require some time and planning to get it right. Start looking at wedding night lingerie at least two weeks prior to the wedding to ensure you look and feel your absolute sexiest on your special night.
Consider two different lingerie options – one to wear while donning your dress, and another for after dress-drop. This way, you can focus on practicality and comfort in the gown, then goddess-worthy seduction when the dress comes off.
Traditionally, bridal lingerie came in white, ivory, or cream. For your wedding lingerie, stick with white or nude for the ceremony, and enjoy playing with color for your wedding night! Pastel colors are perfect for the sweet, conservative, or traditional-style bride, but red, black, navy, and other bold color options offer vibrant, seductive brides a powerful punch.
Styles and Details
Bridal lingerie buying can be tricky without knowledge of common lingerie styles and details. Here’s a quick guide to common pieces you’ll find in your hunt for flawless undergarments.
It is as it seems, and yet very different. Bras in the bridal lingerie category vary quite a bit from traditional, supportive bras. Lingerie bras may have ruffled chiffon, colorful ribbons and bows, or even half cups for a stunning reveal.
Providing more body coverage than a bra, but less support, a teddy is a semi-loose fitting sleeveless tank top, which stops at the waist or hip. Unless you are going for shock-effect, the teddy is worn with some style of bottoms.
Similar to the teddy, the babydoll adds additional coverage by extending over, and just covering the bride’s bottom, and is usually worn with knickers. Demure brides may choose a satin or silk, but bold brides’ babydolls can be found in see-through fabrics like lace or mesh.
For the most coverage, the chemise stays secure with spaghetti straps or thicker tank-top straps, starts at the top of the bosom and sits at the mid-thigh. It can be worn with or without a bra beneath and provides more of a modest, but still sexy, “nightie” look, thus offering minimal support.
Corsets and Bustiers:
Both corsets and bustiers lace, button, and snap closed to emphasize a woman’s small waist. Traditionally corsets were work in the Victorian era to create a seamless line from waist to bosom, without any focus (or room) for the bosom. As the name implies, bustiers also work to enhance a bride’s curves by squeezing in the waist, but create extra enhancement by pushing up the bosom.
Nowadays these two pieces are often interchangeable, providing extra cinching to the waist, and extra boost to the bust. Corsets and bustiers can be found in almost any color or style, with a variety of closure options as mentioned above and may or may not contain shaping boning. The perfect fit for this body-hugging top may be found by ordering a custom piece online, using your exact measurements.
As the name implies, these tight “female boxers,” hug curves, cover your bum, and are comfortable and fun. Consider boy shorts with added lace, mesh, ruffles or peepholes to create a more seductive ensemble.• Thong: The thong is the be-all, end-all of sexy underwear. Without any coverage of your rear, and minimal coverage in the front, these knickers beg for attention. Some women find thongs most uncomfortable, so seek out seamless or cotton thongs for extra comfort.
Not to be confused with the garter belt that rests on the bride’s thigh and is thrown to the next eligible bachelor, the garter belt wraps around the upper hips, above the knickers, and attaches to the tops of sexy stockings with clips. Garter belts can be found in a variety of colors and styles, but all serve the purpose of holding up stockings, and adding a little extra for your spouse-to-be to see, only once the wedding dress is removed.
When it comes to your wedding and honeymoon, you want every aspect of your beautification regimen to be -if not absolutely perfect- in its place and looking great. For nails- the oft-forgotten cousin to those notoriously glamorous twins, hair and makeup- they need to not only look great, but last for as long as possible. So how exactly do you keep your manicure looking as fresh and untarnished as possible right from the ceremony all the way to your post-honeymoon homecoming?
Prep In the Weeks Ahead
First thing’s first: basic maintenance several weeks before the time, as well as during, is of the utmost importance. Start consciously caring for your nails as soon as possible before the wedding. If you know you’ll forget/ won’t be quite *that* bothered, 8 weeks of prep should significantly improve your nail and nail bed quality. Bonus: the sooner you do, the better your hands will look when you’re showing off that gorgeous engagement ring.
So, what exactly is the best way to go about this prep?
– Here’s an obvious one to start with – no biting, chewing, or peeling. Your nails can’t possibly grow to their strongest if you’re constantly picking them apart. To help you break the habit, and to start improving your nails right away, begin by creating a regular nail care regimen for yourself. If you bite them, and aren’t planning on wearing falsies for your wedding, grab an over-the counter nail- polish that discourages nail biting. These are designed to taste so awful that one prefers to leave their nails alone over enduring the taste of the polish.
– Nail experts recommend using hand and nail moisturiser twice a day as well as applying cuticle oil at bedtime. This keeps your nails and surrounding skin from drying out, making both your nails and your skin more supple and less susceptible to cracks and breakages. Don’t let yourself slack off once you begin to see results – as ever, the key to lasting results is maintenance. Keep this regimen going even throughout your honeymoon and you’ll see that not only the condition of your nails themselves stay in tip-top shape for longer, but so does your manicure.
Maintaining that Mani
As for that all-important manicure, remember this: whether it’s DIY or professional, real nails or artificial, the same basic principles apply.
Some Top- Notch Manicure Secrets for the DIY Girls
-Prep for your manicure by applying either nail remover (acetone-free) or vodka to your nails. This will remove any dirt, dust, and oils, providing a good surface for your polish to grip to.
-Begin your manicure by applying a good quality base coat. Base coats are specially formulated to adhere to your nail’s surface and fill out any ridges. Once this has dried completely, apply your chosen colour.
-Rather than painting fewer coats with a thick texture, paint more thin coats layered on top of one another, making sure once again that each coat is bone dry before the next coat is applied. When you’ve achieved the desired level of nail colour opacity, apply a clear top coat to seal in your hard work.
– Investing in a good top coat is key for protection against nicks and chips. Take along this top coat and your nail colour to your wedding and honeymoon to fix up any mishaps that may occur.
For those who’ve Gone the Professional Route
Thankfully, you have a whole lot less to worry about when it comes to application- that’s your salon’s job. Your job, then, is careful maintenance.
– Before leaving the salon, be sure to purchase a bottle of the nail colour used on your manicure for those essential touch-ups just mentioned.
– Brides using artificial nails should be armed with spares and nail glue.
– Making the right decisions prior to your manicure can make things easier, too. Avoid rhinestones, glitter, sequins, and pretty much anything that has the potential to fall off on contact. Because- trust this writer who has experienced many a flubbed manicure- if it can, it will.
– Also try to pick a subtle colour, possibly with a bit of shimmer in it. This has three main benefits: first, shimmery colours tend to last longer on nails (they actually have a reputation as being rather tricky to remove, even when it’s on purpose), second, a subtle shade will allow your dress and face to take centre stage, and third, any minor damages sustained by the manicure will be less noticeable.
Some General Tips for Making Sure Those Babies Last
-Throughout your wedding day and honeymoon, be careful with your nails around water. If they are soaked or left wet for long periods of time, the shape of your nail will likely bend – only slightly, but enough to cause some damage to your manicure. After washing your hands or taking a shower, carefully pat your hands with a fluffy towel until they are completely dry.
Avoid using harsh soaps or chemical products on your hands for the same reason. In particular, any product containing alcohol will eat away at your topcoat and cause your nail colour to fade. So, nix the waterless hand sanitiser and be wary of fragranced products, as these too usually contain alcohol.
The ‘bridal glow’ is an incredibly popular phrase that’s become synonymous not just with health, but happiness (and great photos!). But this glow certainly doesn’t come au naturale- it takes planning, time, and preparation. If you’re staring at an unsightly spot on your cheek, thinking that a flawless complexion is a thing of dreams (and Hollywood makeup artists), then think again. You too can have a face that looks picture perfect.
The guideline below really is, well, a guideline. You may have less time to prepare, believe waxing is sheer torture and consider all faux tan shades to be closer to citrus than honey,, but if you want to be the belle of the ball, you’ll need to stick to a beauty routine. Follow what applies to you and skip what doesn’t but make sure you have a skin care schedule so you radiate from the inside to the outside.
1 Year to Go
• Your first priority is to visit your dermatologist because the better your skin looks, the more relaxed you’ll feel. You can treat acne, broken blood vessels, dark spots and scars but it can take months to see results.
• Regular exercise is important as it makes you look good, feel healthy and it boosts your circulation. Find something that you really enjoy (pilates, hiking, walking the dog) but it must be sustainable. Set some realistic goals and then make the commitment.
• Visit a salon to experiment with hair styles and colours so that if you have a dye-saster there’s plenty of time to fix it.
• Consider laser hair removal (budget dependant of course!)
• Get serious about your skin and have a simple face cleansing plan, along with regular facials. Also, while your skin has time to heal consider other treatments that you think may be beneficial- like chemical peels and microdermabrasion. Wear sunblock when you leave home to prevent sun damage and keep unsightly tan lines to a minimum.
• If you haven’t been exercising regularly now is the time to start, and if you have then keep up the good work! The reward is youthful and toned skin – and who wouldn’t want that?
• Find a way to remove stress, whether it’s knitting or kickboxing.
• Like a Cheshire cat you’ll be beaming on your wedding day, so have your teeth whitened to show off your dazzling smile. Switch from red wine to white and if you’re a regular tea or coffee drinker, consider cutting down as these stain your pearly whites.
• What you eat in private, you wear in public, so do your best to follow a healthy, varied diet. This should include fruit and veggies, crunchy greens and lean proteins. Cut down on sugars, carbs, fat, salt and dairy and load your plate with healthy fats (avocados, oily fish and olive oil), omega 3 (flaxseeds and salmon) and antioxidants (berries).
• Hydrate from the inside by drinking loads of water to flush out toxins and impurities – leaving your skin radiant.
• Exfoliate once a week from your head to your toes to improve circulation and rid your body of dead skin cells. Remember your neck and décolletage, particularly if your dress is strapless or low cut, and don’t forget your lips. There’ll be lots of kissing to be done so exfoliate and hydrate so you have the perfect pout on W-day.
• Visit a beautician so that your eyebrows can be perfectly plucked to suit the shape of your face.
• Have a dry run with your makeup artist and if you’re doing it on your own, experiment with colours and different looks.