Weddings are so surprising. (Which, I assume, is the bridal understatement of the century.) Obviously, things go wrong; people get upset; there truly are a million and one things to do. But what I found the most surprising in anticipation of my wedding was how quickly I became addicted to the prep. All that beauty and health and fitness—the bridal overdrive I see so many people jump into leading up to their big day—was never something that appealed to me…until it happened to me. For once, I didn’t feel guilty for making the time to work out or disappearing for hours to get my hair done. It’s the one time in your life that you feel like you’re “allowed” to put yourself first, and it’s so, so fun. I’ll be honest with you: It’s a lot of work. It’s tedious. It’s expensive. It’s a commitment. But I don’t have kids just yet and I feel lucky to be self-employed, which made it doable. I also understand if my wedding prep isn’t for you or your schedule. But that said, I can’t recommend it enough to take some time to spoil yourself. Here’s what I did.
For years I’ve seen Melanie Grant, whose clientele includes Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet, and basically any Australian celebrity you can think of. She’s a firm believer in treatments rather than injectables, so I just increased the frequency of my appointments instead of opting for anything new or drastic. I wanted my skin as hydrated, plump, even, and as glowing as possible, so about a month out, I committed to three treatments a week and saw results immediately.
My session involved:
- A once-monthly deep cleanse using sonophoresis that meticulously cleans the skin pore by pore and helps soften and liquefy sebum, dirt, and debris. This helps to treat any congestion I had on my forehead.
- Microdermabrasion to gently exfoliate, buff, and polish the skin using an ultrafine diamond tip to ensure no marks are left on the skin. Also once-monthly.
- Custom lactic acid and niacinamide or enzyme peels to further refine and descale the upper most layers of the skin on my face, neck, and décolletage.
- Vitamin infusions of a customized cocktail of actives (things like vitamin C, resveratrol, niacinamide, ferulic acid, squalene, hyaluronic acid, liquorice extract, AHAs) applied with ultrasound to penetrate 800 times deeper into the skin.
- Bioloqigue Recherche's BioMagic Mask or Masque VIP 02 to oxygenate and nourish the skin.
- Light therapy, combining red (633nm) and white light (850nm) to induce collagen and elastin, calm inflammation, and stimulate blood flow to promote radiance, clarity, and GLOW! These light treatments are a godsend. I always see instant results.
- A facial massage to stimulate blood flow.
The morning of my wedding, Melanie came over and we did a quick facial. This isn’t normal—and I don’t recommend it if you don’t know without a doubt what your results will be—but I felt radiant.
Trainer. I’ve always tried to go to the gym three times a week for a combination of cross fit, cardio, and weights. Four weeks before the wedding, I started working with my personal trainer Scott Madden of Body Movement to target specific areas. I wanted to tone arms, armpits, abs, and butt. I committed to three classes a week, plus two private sessions, focusing on lifting heavier weights.
Pilates. A month out I started private sessions with my Pilates teacher, Kirsten King at Fluidform in Waterloo. She is the real deal. Kirsten changed my alignment, posture, and life when I first started seeing her a few years ago due to lower back pain. I could only commit to two sessions per week, but if I lived closer to the studio I would have gone every day. I felt stronger and leaner after my second session.
Baths and massages. I had an Epsom salt bath once a week and a remedial massage once every two weeks to help relieve any muscle tightness from exercising so much. Both felt like luxuries but really, I should have been doing these regardless of my wedding.
Diet. I’ve been on a plant-based, caffeine-free diet for the past 2 years by choice. I’m also gluten-intolerant due to leaky gut syndrome and a parasite, so what I ate didn’t really change. That said, a month out, I cut out refined sugars, alcohol, and whole grains. I lived on a diet of plant-based protein, vegetables, some complex carbs, fruit, and natural fats.
Naturopath. They’re controversial, but I’m a firm believer. I see Anthia Koullouros
from Ovvio Organics in Sydney who made me some Chinese herbal tonics to help get my skin glowing. Miraculously, just before the wedding, my perioral dermatitis cleared after three months of taking prescription based probiotics (Metagenics Ultra Flora LGG and Mutaflor). I also started taking Glow Inner Beauty Powder by The Beauty Chef—it has 24 certified organic, bio-fermented, and probiotic superfoods—as well as my usual supplements of vitamin B and vegan fish oil.
Meditation. I did a weekly session of Vinyasa yoga or Bikram to help me decompress and center my thoughts.
Cut. Two weeks out, I got a fresh cut by Diane Gorgievski at Kodacutters in Bondi. I didn’t want to touch my hair so close to the wedding, but after my trial with my hairstylist Daren Borthwick, we decided I needed to cut more hair to frame my face. My friends freaked out when I told them I was getting it cut, and I get it, so I’d only suggest getting it cut that close to the wedding If you completely trust your hairdresser.
Lash Lift. My lashes are nearly non-existent. I’ve had eyelash extensions in the past, but they would last about a week before they started falling out. A friend told me about eyelash lifts, and after trying my first one I was hooked. My eyelashes looked twice as long even before I applied mascara. Best thing is it lasts until your eyelash naturally falls out. I get mine done at Smooth Waxing in Bondi.
Invisalign. Oddly, as soon as I got engaged, fixing my teeth was my first priority. My bottom teeth were overcrowded but I could never commit to Invisalign’s price tag (it’s mind-numbing) or treatment time due to work. I cut my treatment time in half by buying Acceledent, a small vibrating machine you wear with a mouth guard for 20 minutes every day that helps your teeth move faster. After 6 months I had perfect, straight teeth and I couldn’t be happier.
Whitening. I got a Philips Zoom in-chair treatment at my dentist. It was expensive, painful and I had sensitivity for days, but if you’re time-poor, this is the fastest way to get instant results.
I asked my friend, Victoria Baron, to do my makeup for the wedding. My brief was luminous, dewy, and fresh looking skin, some definition to my cheekbones and eyes, with warm tones and hints of peach. I knew I’d be crying a lot, so she didn’t apply my usual winged eyeliner and used fake individual eyelashes to accentuate my eyes instead. Vic used Chanel Sheer Healthy Glow Tinted Moisturizer, Giorgio Armani Power Fabric Foundation, Chanel Rouge Coco Lip Blush #410 on the cheeks, Mecca Cosmetica Enlightened Powder for highlighter, Nars Duo Eyeshadow in St-Paul-de-Vence on the eyes with Dior Iconic Overcurl Mascara, and Chanel Rouge Coco in Daylight on the lips to achieve my wedding beauty look. For nails, I got a Shellac mani/pedi a few days before the wedding. One less thing to worry about, right?
Photos via the author.