Beauty from head to toe

Photo copyright Just As You Are Photography

There’s more to your wedding-day vision than just the dress: It’s about the entire look.

And it’s easier than you might think to look and feel great for the Big Day.

Choose the dress that makes you feel great

Smart brides begin planning their wedding “look” as soon as they pair their wedding-day theme with an appropriate dress. For example, a beach wedding doesn’t pair well with a full ball gown. Instead, couples should decide on their ideal wedding location and “theme” before brides look at gowns.

The right gown will make the bride feel beautiful while enhancing her own natural beauty. A buxom woman may want to avoid strapless gowns and wear a neckline that will support her bosom by providing all day support.

A bridal salon staffer willl recommend that brides should also avoid bringing a large entourage to witness the dress trials: Too many opinions can overshadow a bride’s own opinion.

A good foundation

Laying the foundation for your wedding day look should be a fabulous pair of underwear. According to City Drawers owner Dee Bielenberg, located at 105 Main St. in Belfast, the time to start shopping for undergarments is as soon as the dress is found.

“A good fitting bra helps anybody look good,” Bielenberg said. “Once you know the dress, start getting busy with the rest of the look. What’s happening underneath should include three pieces: foundation, shapewear, and hosiery.”

For foundation pieces, Bielenberg recommends looking at a variety of bras. From bustiers, longline bras, to corsets with matching garters, the most important factor is the fit.

The next important factor for the underlook is shapewear. A popular brand of shapewear is Spanks, Bielenberg said. Shapewear helps smooth and “shape” the body to make clothing fit better, but it’s imperative that the underlook is chosen before fittings start so that proper measurements can be taken, she said.

Finally, Bielenberg recommended that brides be conscious of choosing undergarments that will flatter, but not stifle the wedding-day look. Don’t buy undergarments too small whil thinking that you will lose lots of weight before the Big Day. You might be left with uncomfortable underpinnings that will distract from and not enhance your Big Day look.

Beauty regimen

Once the dress is chosen and undergarments secured, the next piece of “the look” is to choose a hairstyle that will compliment the dress, theme, and feel of the wedding.

Here are some considerations:

• Holding your wedding outside in the August heat? Avoid tight curls and down-dos. Instead, look for an updo that will hold up to the heat.

• Heat will affect makeup as well. Consider airbrushed makeup for a flawless, melt-free finish. If you’re the weepy or emotional sort, waterproof mascara is a must.

• Choose your crowning accessories before a hairstyle. Veils, tiaras, and combs need to be accounted for in the wedding day do; before setting your sights on a do, decide what accessories you’ll say “I do” in. Then take them into your stylist along with a photo of the dress to brainstorm.

• Care for your skin. Skin care is essential to a radiant look. Newly engaged couples (yes, guys, too) should start a skin-care regimen early to ensure the best-looking glow possible. That means no more soap and water. Instead, cleanse, replenish, and moisturize. Have your last facial 30 days prior to the Big Day.

• Nail it. Consider a manicure and pedicure close to the wedding day to reduce the chance of chipping or smudging. Not only is it a treat, but it’ll help polish up your look. For an extra special treat, consider a french manicure or gel nails.

• Smile. Insecure about your smile? At-home teeth-whitening kits can help polish those pearly whites. Talk to your dental professional to get recommendations and start the treatment in plenty of time. Teeth whitening not for you? Keep up with good brushing and flossing for a flawless smile.

Nourish your body and mind

There’s no doubt that planning a wedding is stressful. From choosing vendors to negotiating family and friend dynamics to keeping on top of to-do lists, it’s enough to leave any person reeling.

That’s why the best thing to beat the stress is to establish a well-balanced diet and exercise routine. Not only will it reduce stress, but it’ll make you feel great. Set realistic goals and consider some stress-relieving activities like swimming, meditation, or yoga.

Even better, get your groom in on the routine. He’s probably stressed too with his to-do lists. By establishing good routines before the wedding, you will likely continue with them afterwards.

Choose shoes wisely

Ladies love their shoes, but sometimes sacrifice comfort for style. Be realistic about the style of shoe you’ll wear. Stilettos outside can be a painful and dangerous combination. Instead, consider stylish wedges or sandals for outside weddings and bring the heels to the reception for dazzling dancing.

Still planning on heels and having photos done outside? Check out SoleMakes high heel caps, online at Not only do they protect the end of heels that will sink into the ground, but they also preserve the heel and add stability.

Likewise, if you’re going to wear the heels at the ceremony and for photos, bring cute shoes to change into at the reception. Trust us, your feet will thank you!

Top it off with some bling

The dress, hairstyle, and wedding theme will dictate the best jewelry for the Big Day. Consider making your jewelry something borrowed or even something new. Hidden pins can add interest and honor family members. But be cautious not to add too much bling. After all, a cohesive look will have guests looking at your face, not your bling.

Brides today are also being reserved when it comes to what they wear. Instead of large amounts of jewelry, they’re opting for smaller pieces and an understated look.