Article written by Pam Black, owner of Pam Black Weddings.
First published in Die Burger Leefstyle newspaper.
Every bride wants to look great on her special day, and by following some good old-fashioned advice, this can easily be achieved.
The stress factor
Did you know it has been calculated that it can take as many as 250 hours to plan a wedding?
Little wonder, then, that planning a wedding – and having a full-time job to cope with as well – causes the stress levels of many brides to reach dangerous heights before the big day! While stress is a part of everyday life for all, too much can be detrimental, and taking time out to just ‘chill’ before the wedding will go a long way towards ensuring that you look your best.
When is the best time to have a facial?
Whilst facials and massages are excellent forms of relaxation — and are wonderful for the circulation — if you are not used to having these treatments!2C it’s best to plan for them well in advance of the wedding day.
They can bring impurities in the skin nearer to the surface, which could result in spots on the day — obviously the last thing that you want! It is advisable, instead, to pay more regular visits to a beautician in the months leading up to your wedding, and to let her assess your skin and decide on the best time to have a facial.
Skip the diets
It goes without saying that plenty of sleep and regular exercise before the big day, along with healthy eating habits, will go a long way towards ensuring that your skin looks radiant. Now is definitely not the time to go on a crash diet to try and lose 5kg in a week. The 5kg may go, but in its place you might have a nervous, empty stomach, dry skin, dull hair and a lack of energy!
Looking your best in the photos
Many brides overlook the fact that their wedding is the one day in their life when they are going to be photographed a great deal and it is important to remember that inexpert make-up will show on the photographs. In fact, professional photographers often insist on brides using a make-up artist, so that they obtain the best results on the day.
When asking for a quote from a professional make-up artist, enquire if it includes a trial run. Trial runs are important, as they allow you to discuss in advance what your likes and dislikes are regarding the way in which your face is made up. Even if you use very little make-up, a good make-up artist should be able to enhance your features with a light application that doesn’t make you unrecognisable!
If it is your intention to display a bronzed look on your wedding day, and your skin is not used to the harsh African sun, it is important to ensure that you allow sufficient time to achieve this and, more importantly, that you cover yourself with a high-protection sunscreen while doing so. I’ve heard many stories from photographers about brides who hadn’t heeded this warning and who, instead of arriving at their wedding sporting a silky golden tan, displayed very sunburnt arms and faces instead!
A lovely, age-old tradition
While doing research for my book, ‘The Really Useful WEDDING BOOK for South Africa’, I was fascinated to discover the wonderful Indian Hindu tradition called Nelangu, which is one of the ceremonies leading up to the wedding day.
At these women-only events, the bride is pampered by having her body beautified with the use of pastes and oils. And it is not only the bride who is given this special treatment — the groom is also prepared for his wedding day in a separate ceremony.
Your crowning glory
I have often joked that the length of an engagement tends to coincide with the time it takes a bride to grow her hair long enough to wear it in an ‘up’ style! On many occasions I have noticed with amusement that the newly-married bride, having grown her hair long for the wedding, reverts to a short style straight after the honeymoon.
Your hairstyle should complement your dress, and regular treatments and cutting prior to the event will ensure that it is shiny and manageable on the day.
Points to bear in mind:
- Never let anyone talk you into wearing a style that makes you feel the least bit uncomfortable.
- While an up-style might sound glamorous, it is not a good option if you are unaccustomed to wearing your hair this way, and will feel ill at ease.
- A trial run with your hairdresser is important. (If you plan to wear a veil, take it with you so you can get an idea of the overall look.)
- Discuss with your hairdresser the best time for any hair treatments and colouring you might want, as it is preferable to have these well in advance of the wedding.
- Allow plenty of time for your hairstylist to work his or her magic on the day. Running late is not a good idea, as the stress will show.
- One of the best ways to achieve more ‘me’ time before the big day is to learn to delegate – instead of trying to do it all yourself, accept offers of help from friends and family.
- A make-up artist once told me that she has found that the skin of many South Africans is dehydrated. A good practice to follow, and without a doubt a tried and tested way of ensuring that your skin looks healthy and refreshed, is to drink six to eight glasses of water a day.
- Don’t neglect your feet in your beauty routine — you are going to be on them for a long time on your wedding day. Planning to wear new shoes? Try and wear them in around the house beforehand. If your feet are killing you, it is guaranteed to show on your face, and, having spent so much time and effort on looking beautiful, that’s not what you want.
- From the minute you get engaged, your nails are going to be on display and regular manicures are a must for anyone who is newly engaged. It’s also best to try and get out of the nail-biting habit now, to ensure that your nails are in good shape when your wedding ring is placed on your finger.
- Choose the perfume you wear on your wedding day with care. If you are planning to use a new brand, try it out in advance to see whether the fragrance lasts. The wonderful thing about the perfume you choose for your special celebration is that whenever you smell it in later years, memories of the day will come flooding back.