The Ultimate Beauty Prep Timeline for Your Wedding Day

April 21, 2022
The Ultimate Beauty Prep Timeline for Your Wedding Day

We all want to achieve that ‘bridal glow’ and look our best on our wedding day, that’s why it’s so important to add things like ‘skincare routine’ onto your wedding planning checklist early on! Whether you’re looking for a more natural look or some extra glam, it’s all possible with a little planning. Colleen Conroy Makeup & Hair has over 15 years of experience in the beauty industry working as a makeup artist and hairstylist in British Columbia. She’s done hundreds of weddings and is here to share her best bridal beauty tips and tricks with all the bride-to-be’s!

“Starting a routine ahead of time can make all the difference in the world. When it comes to prepping your beauty routine, there are a few key items that can help you feel like a million bucks – while still maintaining your own natural essence. Getting on track with this routine is as much about the self-care and wellness aspect as it is about the physical. The two play hand in hand and at the end of the day, it’s all about choosing items that make you feel like your most confident and beautiful self.”

Don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, this timeline will help keep you on track. Colleen suggests you start developing your new plan about 1 year out from the wedding day.

1 Year: Research and Reach out to your Top Preferred Artist(s)

Photo credit left to right: Tulle & Tweed Photography, Logan Swayze Photography

“Check availability for artists you admire and book as soon as you can, as vendors tend to get scooped up a year or more in advance. Once you have that checked off, you can start to dive down the Pinterest rabbit hole or within your artist’s portfolio to pick out some images that best reflect your style and inspiration for the day. I always suggest seeking out photos that showcase the same hair color and skin tone as yourself, to best translate the look for you. A few other pictures your artist will love you for sending? A clear selfie of your gorgeous face, a photo that shows your hair’s length, color, natural texture and density, as well as any photos that paint the overall vibe of the look that you are after (think: photo of your dress, any hair accessories, veil, etc.).”

After researching and securing your hair and makeup artist, Colleen recommends meeting a dermatologist. “Creating a relationship with a skin specialist that you trust will make your bridal prep journey that much easier. At your skin consult you can do a full assessment to discuss your concerns and goals and set yourself up with a plan that’s tailored just for you (including both skincare and potential treatments).”

Colleen’s top two skin care treatments she recommends in your bridal prep journey? Dermaplaning and Hydrafacials! These will be more beneficial closer to the day, but it is advised to test them out ahead of time to see if you enjoy the results. 

So what are they?

Hydrafacials: “ A 3-in-1 ultra exfoliation treatment! A diamond head microdermabrasion tool exfoliates the skin, sucks out all the gunk, and infuses the skin with custom serums, leaving you with some serious ‘bridal glow’

Dermaplaning: “An exfoliation and de-fuzzing treatment! This is done with a very fine scalpel that is gently scraped across the skin, removing dead skin cells as well as any peach fuzz. It gives the skin a super smooth effect, making it a dream to apply makeup on top of!”

8 Months: Creating a Habitual Routine of Caring for your Skin

Photo credit left to right: Tara Lilly Photography, Taya Photography

“Creating a habitual routine of caring for your skin will not only make you feel amazing, but it will also set you up for the best day-of makeup application. Skin care is the very first factor when applying makeup, so creating that foundational love for your skin will translate beautifully for the wedding day later on.”

This is also an ideal time to test out any new beauty treatments you may be considering closer to the wedding day. “The last thing you want is to try lash extensions, for example, the week before the wedding and have your eyes swell up due to an allergic reaction (client’s true story!). Give yourself this extra space to dabble in some fun beauty services you have been thinking about, it will help you narrow down which ones you love and are going to be great closer to the date. If you are thinking about having your brows microbladed before the wedding, look into having your first appointment around this mark. It will allow for enough time to heal the first round, and have a touch up at least 6 weeks before your wedding.”

This is also the ideal mark for treatments such as laser hair removal which requires about six sessions (roughly four to eight weeks apart) in order to achieve effective results.

4-6 Months: Test Drive your Dream Hair

Photo credit left to right: Shari + Mike, Tara Lilly Photography

If you’re thinking about adding highlights to your hair or changing your cut, do it now! “Curious about trying a new hair color? Want to know what you would look like with some curtain bangs? It is recommended *not* to leave these to your last hair appointment before the wedding day! Give yourself a hair salon test run to make sure it is what you thought it would be. If it isn’t, then you have time to adjust before the big day. This would also be a good time to look into hair extensions and which type might be right for you in case you are hoping to add a bit of volume and/or length to your style.

2 MonthsHair and Makeup Trial + Groom Care

Photo credit left to right:  Shari + Mike, Taya Photography

Colleen believes this is the ideal time for your hair and makeup trial. By booking this too early, you’re likely to change your mind! “Having it closer to the date ensures you have a clearer picture of what you want and it allows for it to be fresher in your mind for when the actual day rolls up.”

*Tip for preparing for your trial run: Wear white! It will help you envision what it would look like on the day even further and not distract from your hair and makeup when looking back at the trial photos.

This is also the ideal time to start thinking about tanning if you’re hoping for that ‘sun kissed’ look. “I have had my fair share of witnessing tanning mishaps due to incorrect or accidental services at a salon. It doesn’t always happen, but when it does, it is far from ideal, and can cause a lot of stress for the bride. For this reason, I love to recommend trying a self tanner at home as opposed to getting a spray tan. Gradual tanning lotions allow so much forgiveness with application and build a beautiful tone without giving too big of a punch (or risks such as orange streaks and patchy knuckles). Test it out now, build to your desired level, and then use every 3-4 days to maintain.”

*Tanning tip as you get closer to the day: If you are in the summer months, be cautious of strappy shirts or swimsuits while outside! It is much easier to prevent tan lines as opposed to covering them up on the day. Plus, we always want the least amount of makeup close to the dress!

Photos courtesy left to right: Tulle & Tweed Photography, Erin Fraser Photography

We can’t forget about the Grooms! If they aren’t already on a self care routine, this is a great time for them to pick one up. “Something as minimal as a cleanser and moisturizer, brow grooming, and some lip conditioner can be a great place to start. Grooms can also have a trial run with their barber/stylist at this time to test out the hairstyle they are thinking of having  for the wedding.” Some things for the fella’s to have on hand while getting ready? Skin mattifier, no-shine lip balm, some clear brow gel, their preferred hair styling product, and hand lotion. Tip: I always like to recommend any significant grooming such as straight razor shaves and/or full haircuts to *not* happen on the day of the wedding. Sometimes it can be a little too risky as you don’t want to end up with any razor burn or hair shorter than you initially wanted. Fresh shaves are usually best done the day before, and haircuts 2-5 days before.


1 Month: Skin and Smile Touch Ups

Photo credit left to right: Erin Fraser Photography, Logan Swayze Photography

“Thinking of a little botox for extra smooth photos? 3-4 weeks pre-wedding is a great time to book in. Botox takes up to 2 weeks to fully settle and show its optimum results. Having it done ahead with a little padding time in between the big day will allow for any touch ups if needed.”

One month out is also a great time to start whitening your teeth, if you choose to do so. “You can have an appointment with your dentist to do professional grade whitening, or opt for the DIY version (like the classic Crest Whitestrips).”

2 Weeks: Play It Safe


Photo credit: Logan Swayze Photography

Don’t try anything new or attempt drastic skin changes during this period.

“Things to avoid during this time: any new treatments you haven’t tried before, deep or intense facials (because they tend to pull toxins out and can leave you with blemishes/breakouts), and strong retinol treatments (they can be harsh on the skin, creating pilling and peeling when applying makeup on the day).”

Two weeks out is the ideal time to give your hair a refresh. If you need a little bit of color touchup or a slight trim, do so now!

1 Week: Last Details

“As mentioned, dermaplaning is one of the best treatments out there to help your makeup application! It creates super smooth and soft skin by providing a deep exfoliation and removal of any peach fuzz that tends to show up in photos. Having this treatment done within the week before your wedding will allow your skin to not appear super slick, but instead be just the right amount of smooth.”

Photo credit left to right:  Shari + Mike, Tara Lilly Photography

Don’t forget to stay extra hydrated during this period. “Up your H20 intake now until the wedding to help with skin hydration and to give you that inner glow. Hydrafacials are also fantastic at this time, as the peak results last up to 7 days. If you have tried lash extensions in the past and are having them for the wedding day, head in for that last set. Final brow maintenance, lash lift and lash tint are also perfect within this timeframe.  Two days out is usually the best time to head to the nail salon for your mani-pedi or DIY at home.”

1 Day: Rest and Relax

Photo credit: Taya Photography

Be sure to get your full 8 hours of sleep before the big day (easier said than done, but try your best!). “Practice a couple stress reducers to bring your cortisol levels down. An evening self care routine (even as little as 20 minutes) will do wonders for you. Light a candle, play some of your favorite music, and allow yourself to zen out. Do your regular nighttime skin care with the addition of a lip exfoliation and deep lip treatment. It is also highly recommended to wash your hair the night before the wedding. Apply a light volume mousse and then blow dry smooth. This will help immensely to prep the hair for your day-of styling.”

Morning of: Happy Wedding Day!

Photo courtesy left to right: Logan Swayze Photography, Tara Lilly Photography

“I’ve had many clients that opt in for some kind of activity first thing in the morning to help keep them centered. Something gentle such as light stretching or yoga, which always has a way of balancing the mind/body. To wake up your skin for the day, try using ice globes or a gua sha tool with a bit of facial serum to promote circulation and finish off with a pair of hydrating eye mask patches.”

Photo courtesy of: Tara Lilly Photography

*Tip: Remind your bridal party to arrive at least 5-10 minutes before their getting ready time if they are not already planning to hang out for the whole duration. This will ensure a smooth run schedule for the entire getting ready process. “For the bride, always allow for 30-45 minutes *minimum* between completing your hair and makeup appointment and having to head out the door. You will want that stress-free time to snap photos with your gang, get into your outfit, and gather your items for the day. When in doubt, pad the timing!”

Photo credit: Jenna Hill Photography

Interested in learning more about wedding day skincare and beauty prepping for your big day? Visit Colleen’s website here for more details, and be sure to follow along on instagram @colleenconroymakeup.

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