The New Face of the Big Day




Women have come a long way toward being appreciated for their inner beauty and intellect above all else. But let’s be honest: When a bride daydreams about her walk down the aisle, she just wants to take everyone’s breath away.

The good news is she can—for a pretty penny.

Since practically the beginning of time, brides have been cinched and painted, sprayed and starved, all in the name of looking good on the big day. Today’s bridal industry includes an entire sector  focused on beauty treatments and regimens aimed at ensuring the bride puts her best face (and hands, skin, teeth and body) forward. There’s teeth whitening, eyebrow tinting, spray tanning, hair extensions, and even false eyelashes glued one-by-one to your own individual lashes.

From their teased, tanned and blow-dried heads to painted and pedicured toes, Lowcountry brides have access to all sorts of beauty treatments right at their shellacked fingertips. Yes, you read that right: They’re not just painting nails anymore, they’re shellacking them.

“With the shellac, you walk out dry, and it lasts longer than a regular nail polish,” said Kimberly Fertonardo, wedding service coordinator at Le Spa in Sea Pines. Fertonardo says brides are opting for the latest four-coat nail coloring process because it all but guarantees they’ll stay chip-free for those close-up cake-cutting photos.


And speaking of close-ups, the latest in professional makeup application is airbrushed makeup, which gives the face a “flawless” look, Fertonardo said.

“Airbrushed makeup tends to stay on a little bit better than regular makeup, so you don’t sweat it off,” she said.

The airbrushed makeup is perhaps best applied over a facial-fresh face, and plenty of spas and salons here offer them. At All About Me in The Village Exchange, event coordinator Tiffany Galiza suggests a bride comes in for a facial about three days before her wedding day, to allow time for any redness to disappear.

Of course the key to that fresh, radiant face is a glowing tan, but more often brides are shunning the sun and saying hooray for the spray.

“Women are a little bit more conscious of sun damage and its effects on the skin, so a lot of women are using spray tanning to have that sun glow without the side effects,” said Alexis Sargo, general manger at Faces DaySpa. “They’re having the bridesmaids get tanned, too.”

Sargo recommends exfoliating the day before an application, wearing minimal clothing to the appointment, then avoiding the shower for about six hours. After that, the tan should last about a week, she said.

Beyond makeup and tans, what about the crash diets and cleanses many brides attempt in order to slim down quickly before squeezing into their wedding gowns. Meagan Donoghue, area director at LAVA 24 Fitness, said if a bride has the kind of time to fit in three workouts a day for two weeks before her wedding, more power to her. Everyone else, however, should start a little earlier if they want to ramp up their fitness routine to tone, firm and flatten.

“The earlier the better, because you can do a much more consistent, healthful program that’s easier on your body and system as opposed to a crash diet,” Donoghue said. While she’s sure some grooms probably slip into the gym to drop a few pounds or tone up before their wedding, it’s the brides who are vocal about it.

“The brides-to-be are very excited. They come in all, ‘I’m getting married! I need to tone up my arms!’” she said.

Toning the old-fashioned way is still the norm, but there is a developing trend, dubbed “bridalplasty,” that brings bridal party members under the knife for some nips and tucks before the wedding. Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian’s mother, underwent a $50,000 facelift before her daughter’s wedding last year. And in 2010, E! Entertainment Network debuted a reality show, “Bridalplasty,” where brides-to-be competed each week to “win” a cosmetic procedure from their pre-wedding wish lists. The winner was awarded a breast lift, liposuction and a “smile makeover” with tooth veneers, as well as a dream wedding at a California coastal estate. Plus she married the man of her dreams, which—and this is important ladies—she would have done anyway.

While plastic surgery sounds extreme, it is nice to be extra-confident on a day when all eyes are on you, Fertonardo said. “It’s your big day, you have all your friends and family there, so you want to look your best because you want to feel your best.”

Photo by Hunter McRae