The Ultimate Wedding Beauty Timeline

SIGNATURE BRIDE's wedding beauty timeline works to keep brides on track to the aisle.

You’re engaged and wedding planning is underway. It might seem like you have all the time in the world, but when you’re planning a wedding, time flies faster than you might expect. We put together the ultimate wedding beauty timeline that works to keep you on track to the aisle.

No matter what your concern is—dental, dermatological or plastic surgery—the truth is that timing is everything when it comes to your wedding beauty timeline. Waiting until the last minute, especially for more intensive routines, means you may not have sufficient time to either undergo that treatment or to reap the benefits for a glowing complexion or svelte physique when you walk down the aisle. Our wedding beauty timeline guides you on when to get procedures and treatments ahead of your Big Day.

Eight to 12 Months Before

Fitness Routines
If you want to lose weight, target a timeline that gives you at least eight to 12 months to adopt a workout and healthy eating plan. It takes time to lose weight safely, and you’ll want to avoid fad diets that attempt to lose too much weight too quickly.

Teeth Straightening
Once upon a time, the only option for straightening your teeth was braces. If you didn’t go through the awkward teen braces stage, the prospect of wearing braces as an adult is less than appealing. The average timeline for teeth straightening with braces is 24 months, but this is usually designed to treat not just crooked teeth but a misaligned bite if necessary. These days, invisible aligners are a fan favorite as you can discreetly straighten your teeth.

Still, even with popular programs like SmileDirectClub or Byte, don’t be surprised if your treatment plan still averages between six to 12 months. While the brands often promote teeth straightening in as little as six months, this is for cases with minimal crowding or gaping. More serious cases will be closer to 10 months or more. Also, note that teledentistry teeth straightening usually doesn’t correct a misaligned bite. For this, you’ll need a traditional orthodontist who might combine invisible aligners with what’s called buttons and bands.

Plastic Surgery
Depending on the procedure you’re having, you’ll want to plan accordingly with your wedding beauty timeline. With plastic surgery, final results can take months to appear. For example, if you’re considering breast implants ahead of your wedding day, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons notes that “drop and fluff”—the phenomenon where your implants finish settling into their final position—can take as long as three to six months.

Change Your Hairstyle
If you plan to wear your hair rather than leverage extensions, this is the time to take the plunge on a new style. At eight months out, you have plenty of time to make adjustments if you dye your hair and hate it or cut your hair and regret it. If you decide to dye your hair back to its original color (or another color), you have plenty of time to do so safely without risking your tresses.

Six Months Before

Skincare Routines
If you don’t already have a skincare routine that’s yielding the results you want, now’s the time to talk with a dermatologist or aesthetician to figure out a regimen that works. Aesthetic Nurse Specialist Taylor Bagby, R.N., of SkinSpirit recommends working with a specialist at least six months before the Big Day. “This ensures that your skin has time to adapt to the products, as well as be aware of any breakouts or sensitivities,” she says.

Note she also recommends incorporating facials around three months before your wedding day. Again, the goal is to find the right combination of products that don’t irritate but rather bring out your glow. Also, consider having one more facial roughly a month before your wedding to again give your skin time to adapt to the treatment and reveal a gorgeous bridal glow.

Body Contouring
Noninvasive procedures like body contouring might seem quicker, but the body still needs time to heal and adjust to the techniques. CoolSculpting shouldn’t be put off. Experts recommend planning to get this procedure at least six months ahead of your wedding but ideally within the six to 12-month timeframe. While advertisements for CoolSculpting might promise fast results, the truth is it can take three months to see final results. Also keep in mind that depending on the areas being targeted and the amount of fat you’re trying to eliminate, you might need multiple sessions.

By contrast, Emsculpt is slightly faster with a recommendation for sessions at least three months before your wedding day. Expect at least four to six sessions that are spaced three to four days apart with results appearing roughly two to four weeks afterward.

Skin Resurfacing
Similar to general skincare routines, more intensive treatments like laser skin resurfacing should be planned when you’re roughly six months ahead of your Big Day. Husband and wife team Dr. Kenya Lee and Dr. Marvin Lee of PureLee Redefined medical aesthetics spa in Colorado Springs, Colorado, note that treatments like Kybella or even microneedling can require up to six sessions that need to be performed a month apart.

Laser Hair Removal
Few people can get away with a single laser hair removal session. Similar to other routines, this is a process where you want to give yourself time. Bagby recommends beginning your sessions roughly six to eight months before the wedding. Most people won’t see measurable results until their eighth or 10th session. Realize that sessions are spaced out every four to 12 weeks.

However, you’ll want to stop treatments a month before your wedding to minimize the risk of your skin showing any irritation. Also remember that for darker skin tones, be sure that the aesthetician or dermatologist performing the treatment has the correct laser that’s calibrated to effectively target dark hair against darker skin tones.

Dermal Filler
Not to be confused with injectables, like BOTOX, dermal fillers are used to plump the skin or areas of the body. Although they can have the same effects as injectables, they’re not the same and have a different timeline. Both Bagby and Kenya Lee recommend planning for these treatments three to six months before your wedding day. They often take two to four weeks for the effects to be seen. Likewise, if adjustments are needed, you may have to wait as much as a month for additional treatments to be performed.

Book Your Hair and Makeup Team
Now is the time to secure your hair and makeup team. At six months out, you should have your venue secured, your wedding dress purchased, and know the theme. This will help you choose a makeup look or hairstyle that complements those core aspects. Also be specific on whether your stylist or MUA will need to manage your entire wedding party, a handful of people or just you.

Three Months Before

Professional Exfoliation
While both microdermabrasion and dermaplaning fall under the category of facials, both still should be performed by licensed professionals. It is recommended to have these procedures done no later than three months before your wedding day. The procedures can aid in minimizing the appearance of blemishes and removing peach fuzz for a smoother texture.

Makeup Trial Run
Don’t wait until the week of, or day before, to perform a trial run with your makeup. Three to six months prior to your wedding is a good time to meet with your MUA to have a dry run. This is where you can make adjustments as needed and get a better idea of whether what you envisioned in your head or what you have on your Pinterest board actually makes sense in real life and reflects the image you want to project.

Four to Six Weeks Before

Facial Peels
This is going to be one of the last milestones when you can reasonably incorporate a new treatment and expect to achieve results. If you’re going to attempt a chemical peel, this is the latest time to do it. You’ll still have enough time to reap the benefits or work with your dermatologist if additional aftercare is needed.

Hair Trial Run
Similar to the makeup trial run, you’ll want to have your stylist create the hairstyle you’ve been envisioning. If you’re wearing your hair, be sure that you don’t change it dramatically between now and your actual wedding day. If you plan to use extensions, ideally bring them with you if your stylist isn’t including them in the cost of the service. Also bring any accessories that you want to use. Again, the goal is to get a solid idea of how your hair will look on your wedding day.

Teeth Whitening
If you’re going the DIY route using whitening strips or gels, you want to give yourself some time. Around four to six weeks before your wedding, you’ll want to start your whitening routine—especially if you have to perform multiple treatments. For in-office routines, you can often plan closer to your wedding, depending on how many shades you’re trying to lift.

Two Weeks Before

Injectables are a great way to plump your lips and fill out fine lines. Options like BOTOX or Juvéderm can be performed roughly two weeks before a wedding since the results finalize within seven to 10 days.

However, Bagby cautions that if you’re a first-timer, you’ll want to book your initial session earlier—four to six months before. This way, if you need to make adjustments, you have the time to do so. Keep in mind that additional treatments are typically spaced out two weeks from the initial treatment.

One Week Before

At this point, you’ll only want to incorporate gentle facials and soothing treatments. Your facial should focus on simply cleansing and, at most, a microcurrent to stimulate the skin and boost your glow.

Tips for Planning Your Hair and Makeup Look

If you’re thinking of hiring a professional for hair and makeup, waiting until the last minute is not advised. Whether you’re booking a destination wedding or tying the knot locally, you want to give yourself time. Also keep in mind that if you’re getting married during the height of wedding season (April through October), you’ll want to plan ahead to book your preferred stylist or MUA. Also consider the following tips:

● Be Transparent: If you want your stylist or MUA to manage your entire wedding party, then be up-front about that. Along with ensuring that the day-of timeline is accurate, you can also avoid unexpected upcharges. Don’t wait until the day of your wedding to haggle with a vendor over how many people are being serviced.
● A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words: Everyone’s idea of “natural glam” or a “simple updo” is different. Thanks to platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, you don’t have to struggle to describe the look you’re trying to achieve. Use pictures to show your stylist or MUA the wedding-day look you want to achieve. This way, everyone is on the same page, and there’s a much smaller risk of miscommunication.
● Lock Down the Terms Early: Whether you expect an MUA to stay on-site for touch-ups or you want a hairstylist to supply hair extensions, those are details that need to be confirmed before you sign a contract and place a deposit. Waiting until the day before (or day of!) to verify these details is a recipe for disaster.
● Match Your Look to Your Venue, Dress and Wedding Theme: Yes, in theory, you can do whatever you want on your wedding day. But if you have a classic Cinderella ball gown, it usually doesn’t pair well with a more laid-back hairstyle or low-key makeup look. To get the best “bang for your buck” always make sure that your hair and makeup are in line with your dress, venue and wedding theme.