The Bride Guide: What To Ask Yourself Before You Say "I Do"by Victoria Thomas
Weddings seem to bring out the fantasy-gene in even the most otherwise rational gal. A woman who is sophisticated, sleek, and casually chic in real life may suddenly feel the need to be transformed into a sparkly, frilly, frou-frou-encrusted fairytale princess when she ties the knot.
Before embarking on a drastic wedding-day makeover, image-guru Sherrie Mathieson, nationally known style consultant and bestselling author of "Forever Cool" and "Steal This Style", recommends a long look in the mirror-and into your soul.
What to avoid, according to Mathieson, is anything that smacks of fantasy. This includes high-necked Victorian gowns, extreme period silhouettes, and rigid, helmet-like coifs. Matheison says, "You don't want to look like you're wearing a costume. Draw from your real-life best look. You should look your best on your wedding day, but this does not mean necessarily a far departure from your real self."
Mathieson's key words for how a bride should look: "Fresh, approachable and mode." Too much artifice, she explains, makes the bride uncomfortable, and often add years in terms of appearance. "Allow for spontaneity, and avoid a controlled stiffness," she says. "You'll look younger, prettier, and have a better time at your own party."
The downfall of many an otherwise chic bride is a tight, crispy updo that looks like it's been deep-fried. Giovanni Giuntoli, Tearsheet Artistic Director for REDKEN NYC, recommends that brides-to-be begin interviewing hairdressers at least three or four months before the wedding. "Choose a stylist with a great portfolio and a great personality. You have to feel comfortable with your stylist as a person-you need to click with the artist as well as like their work."
Giuntoli says that the direction of the bride's hair is driven largely by the gown, especially the neckline. He was against being too matchy-matchy-it's not necessary for everyone in the bridal party to have the same 'do!
And he has special advice for blondes: "Make sure that you color your hair close enough to the wedding to prevent regrowth from showing. I'd also add low-lights, for dimension."
KEEP YOUR LOOK TOUCHABLE AND WEARABLE
Many brides are tempted to try new procedures shortly before the big day. In a word-don't.
For instance, if you're planning a major skin care procedure, such as microdermabrasion, be sure to leave yourself a minimum of four weeks before the wedding to completely heal. And bear in mind that any kind of abrasive or invasive procedure-including waxing-means that you need to stay out of the sun for at least a day or two. Do NOT go for a Brazilian the night before you leave for your Barbados honeymoon!
Michelle Bouse, a skin care and makeup expert in Burbank, Califoia, often recommends a light airbrush tanning as part of the wedding glow. "A really light, professionally applied airbrush tan doesn't even look especially bronzed," she says. "It just evens out the skin tone and balances sallow and greenish tones." As with other aspects of wedding image planning, restraint is key: Bouse recommends just a slight, sunkissed glow versus trying to emulate a deep island tan. "I keep it realistic," she says. "I even create tan-lines for some clients."
Bouse also is a master at the application of faux lashes, which add instant dazzle to the eye. Applied individually, one false lash per natural lash, the effect may be customized from subtle to full-on Vegas powerglam. Best of all, Bouse's fakes last several weeks, endure sleeping, swimming and showering, and eliminate the need for mascara. But again, the experts advise caution.
"It's easy for a bride to get swept up into this idea of looking like a movie star," says Bouse. "But if you've never wo false lashes before, I don't recommend a full set for the wedding. You won't look like yourself. You'll wonder who that is in the wedding photos, posing with your husband! For the bride who is basically a natural girl, I might do a few discreet clusters. That's enough to make a big but believable difference."
Nail guru Roxanne Valinoti, trend forecaster and educator for CND / Creative Nail Design, agrees, but on one condition: "Your wedding should be an opportunity to have fun with every part of your beauty."
Valinoti says she's tired of the nude and French manicure nail as the bridal basic. "Of course, it's always proper and pretty," she says. "But I myself love a red nail on a bride." The hottest trend in matrimonial manis, she reports, is Old Hollywood glamour: a "new moon" manicure, based on the classic 1940s Cuban manicure, where the lunula or moon of the nail is exposed, or enameled in a light shade.
If the bride opts for a very discreet neutral nail, Valinoti slyly adds, "Well, at the very least, let's do something very sexy on the toes. I always say that the honeymoon starts when you kick off your shoes."
She agrees with Bouse on the premise that a wedding-and especially a honeymoon-are no time to try out a radical new procedure, or anything that will make you uncomfortable. "If you typically have short nails or no nails, you will be miserable if you go for a major set of enhancements for the wedding," she states flatly. "Sure, fabulous long nails will really draw attention to your hands, and the ring-but you won't be used to the feeling."
Even worse, she says, is the prospect of wearing conventional enhancements on the honeymoon. "The worst thing about conventional enhancements is that they do occasionally break, especially if you aren't used to wearing them. And if you're someplace rustic, forget it. There is no place to get a repair if you're on a remote tropical island. Even in lots of fabulous European cities, the technology just isn't there for a quick fix to a traditional enhanced nail."
The best news for bridal nails this spring: the new CND product called Shellac, which is applied like a polish in just a few minutes, and cured with UV light. "It's a hybrid, between a gel and a polish," she says. "It is not used to add length, so you won't get long, diva-almonds with Shellac. But it does protect the nail, and may be used to contour the shape so that you have perfect hands." Best of all, the new, zero-prep hybrid applies like polish, wraps the nail with flexible strength, and won't snap like an old-school acrylic-good news when you're sunning with your honey on a catamaran to paradise, many time-zones from the nearest nail parlour.