By Amy Zdunowski-Roeder
The word marriage is often associated with warm thoughts of happiness, commitment, and joyous celebration. Immediately following those impressions, the reality can hit: months and months of tiresome preparations await you before the reward. Endless hours of coordinating, planning, and conceptualizing can drain your energy. But when the big day finally arrives, don't let it show. Our wedding experts -- hairstylist Levi Peterson and makeup artist Amy Zdunowski-Roeder -- have compiled an easy, straightforward, and essential list of grooming "Dos and Don'ts" for both men and women looking to shine while walking down the aisle.
1. DO: Wear moisturizer and concealer. Some people are squeamish about makeup altogether, but these two products are amazing for both men and women. They can be applied without looking like you have anything on. Use them to hide under-eye darkness, red spots, and breakouts, even out skin tone, and enhance a natural, youthful complexion. Don't forget -- you're the star today, and there will likely be a photographer on hand, so you want to look as close to perfect as possible.
2. DO: Get a lot of sleep and drink a lot of water the week of your wedding (or even sooner, if possible). Make this a priority and you'll look fantastic and feel energized on your big day.
3. DON'T: Overdo the alcohol the day before your wedding. Alcohol dries your skin, eyelashes, and eyes, causes redness, and even dries out your hair. We're not saying to deprive yourself of a glass or two of Veuve, but moderation, moderation, moderation!
4. DON'T: Start any new regimens -- such as Proactive, Retin-A -- in the days before your wedding. Begin any new routines at least two months ahead of time. Give your skin enough time to adjust to the products, and, if you have any adverse reactions, enough time to rebound. Facials and microdermabrasion should happen at least three weeks prior in case of any bruising or inflammation.
5. DO: Be realistic with your hair and what you have to work with. For example, if you normally have super short hair, don't get Rapunzel extensions. Almost anything is possible, but once you stop feeling like yourself, it will affect your pictures, mood, and the day. You don't want to look back and regret any bold choices you made while wrapped up in the moment.
6. DON'T: Use glittery, frosty, or sparkly makeup on your face and body. You'll end up looking like a disco ball instead of a beautiful bride.
7. DO: Use a semi-permanent color if you are thinking about coloring your hair a new color. Apply it at least two months prior because demi-coloring lasts six to eight weeks. If you don't like it, it'll wash out by your wedding day.
8. DO: Get your hair cut two weeks prior to your wedding date to ensure it grows in just a bit and you are comfortable with its length.
9. DON'T: Under any circumstance, use gel as your wedding day styling product. Gels harden and dry into a hair "helmet," and if you or your significant other touches it, it can "break" apart and become dull, flakey, and fall like dandruff onto your clothing. Use a pomade instead'it makes for a manageable and touchable hold.
10. DO: Get a manicure and pedicure. You'll feel more complete.
11. DO: Ask your barber or your stylist to clean up your eyebrows if you have long, unruly hairs or a uni-brow. This is no time for pride -- be honest with yourself. You'll also want to ask the same for nose or ear hairs. It may be gross or embarrassing, but it's better to consult a professional than have it recorded forever in pictures.
12. DO: Relax (it's the most important thing!). Savor every minute of your big day. It took a lot of work to get here, so you'll want to enjoy the pay-off.