self love: Pre-Wedding Bridal Beauty Guide

All photos in this post by the wonderful Katie Lovaas Photography!

I got married about eight months ago, in July of 2016. In the months leading up to the wedding, I was bombarded with articles and drawn-out plans in magazines and online about my “bridal beauty guide.” While many of these guides just discuss long-lasting makeup products for the big day, the articles that stuck with me the most were the ones that told you exactly how to live your life in the many months before your wedding. Things like: get a facial every two months, get your hair trimmed once a month, start teeth whitening a month before, start fake tanning 4 days before.

I was, of course, drawn to these articles because, just like going on some diet plan, it feels comforting to have someone tell you exactly what to do so you don’t mess everything up making life choices for yourself. (If you didn’t know, I am pretty vehemently against diet culture). Humans are strong and resilient and, in general, have a great sense of intuition. Once we become adults, we don’t need someone else to dictate our choices. I suppose I don’t actually know the science behind it, but I know that every time I’ve made a major life decision based on my intuition (often acting against what people close to me thought was the right decision) I’ve ended up truly changing my life for the better.

It took me a while, but I now see that it always makes me the happiest to make choices based on what feels good and what feels right, rather than making choices because of what everyone else says and thinks and does. A wedding should be no exception. I made it about a third of the way through a pack of teeth whitening strips before realizing that the whole thing was stupid. (It’s not stupid to whiten your teeth, it’s stupid to whiten your teeth if you don’t want to and just because you think you have to for other people).

Getting married is something that (hopefully) you only do once in your life, or that’s the idea anyway. Regardless of how many marriages you end up with, your wedding day is always going to be a special day. I think that this is a reason why you’d want to look the most like you, rather than doing everything you can to change your the color of your hair, your skin, and your teeth, and especially to change your body.


Here’s the thing: you CAN change your hair and do fun beauty stuff and wear false eyelashes and go all out with your makeup and everything for your wedding day. If it’s what YOU want and if it really makes YOU happy and not just because everyone says that’s what you’re suppose to do. Of COURSE there’s no problem with changing your appearance (within reason) for a big special event. The problem is when you change yourself to fit a standard manufactured by an industry that profits off of insecure women who are planning a wedding, when it doesn’t even feel right or make you happy.

So, if you’re getting married soon, and you’re obsessing over if your skin will be perfectly clear or if your teeth will be perfectly white or you think you have to eat nothing but carrots and hummus for 6 months to diet down to a magazine ad’s idea of perfect, here’s the other thing: you don’t. Turns out, you’re going to look freaking beautiful if you’re marrying the right person and you’re happy as can be about it. When you smile, you radiate positive energy that is contagious. And you already look perfect. You don’t have to change to look perfect, silly.


Without further ado, I present to you:

The Spencer’s Gap Year Bridal Beauty Guide

Starting one year (or more) before the big day: Go on evening walks with your spouse-to-be, and talk about all the things about being married that you’re most excited for. After all, a wedding is only one exciting day. The real fun comes when you wake up months or years down the road and you’re married to a super cool and fun person who loves you to bits.

Starting six months before your wedding day: Find a great tailor who has really positive Yelp reviews to help get your wedding dress to fit you really comfortably, so you don’t have to stress about it at all as your wedding day gets closer.*

*Super important tip: Don’t you ever think you have to change yourself to fit into a dress. That’s completely backwards. Always have your dress changed to fit you.  You’re going to look so fantastic.

Starting a month or two before: think about how you’d like to wear your hair and makeup for your wedding. I decided to do my own hair and makeup, and it was a lot of fun! I even made my flower crown from fake flowers from Michael’s. I showed a picture of it to the florist to make sure the flowers in my bouquet would match. I would definitely recommend some DIY projects like that!

Starting a few weeks before: Try to stay calm and get lots of sleep. Starting a night time ritual can really help. For example, I like drinking hot tea and eating cookies in the evening. Reading usually calms down my mind more than TV or Youtube videos since I have to focus more when I read.

The day of your wedding: Eat a filling breakfast and spend some quality time with your family or friends. Try to take everything in, because it’s a day you’re going to want to remember for a long time. And then most importantly, have so much fun and dance up a storm with your new spouse. It’s okay if you sweat all your makeup off. You’re still going to look so pretty in all the photos.


Lots of love and positive vibes,



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