With just a week left before your wedding, we're sure that you have a mile-long list of to-dos that you still need to check off before you walk down the aisle. But allow us to introduce you to your list of don'ts. Listen up brides, because there are some things to avoid the week before your wedding to ensure that you look and feel your very best on the big day. Luckily, we're here to break them all down.
The week before your wedding is the time to take care of all those last-minute details. Pull out your favorite nail polish, because you'll want to get a manicure a day or two before your rehearsal dinner. And don't forget to deliver the final headcount to your wedding venue. But what about the things to avoid the week before your wedding?
For starters, we know you've been taking top-notch care of your skin in the months leading up to your wedding date. But you won't want to make any changes to your tried-and-true skincare routine in the days before your nuptials, in case of a negative complexion reaction. And that pixie cut you've been considering? Save the chop for after the "I dos."
Ready for your full list of pre-wedding don'ts? From impromptu skin treatments to all-night movie marathons, here are 10 things to avoid the week before your wedding at all costs.
1. New Hair Color
"Even if your colorist is the absolute best, avoid making changes to your hair within a week of your wedding," says Paul Labrecque, hairstylist and owner of Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa in New York City. "You never know how the color could oxidize or how it will look with your skin tone." If you want to refresh your hue without endangering your look, ask your colorist to put a clear gloss on your strands. "This will add a lot of shine and sheen," says Labrecque. But if you do get mixed up with some bad color before the big day, you won't do too much damage to your hair by getting it recolored right away—as long as there weren't high levels of bleach involved in the process, says Labrecque.
2. Drastic Haircuts
"Wedding trials and consultations start about three months prior to the actual day, and you should keep the same hairstyle throughout the process," says Labrecque. "Not only will the texture and style of your hair change if you get it chopped, but keep in mind something drastic may not look right with your dress's neckline, veil, or wedding day jewelry." Stephanie Bork, senior stylist at the Josè Eber Salon, says, "No matter how well you plan ahead there seems to always be something left to the last minute—hair should not be one of them. The closer you get to the big day, the more stressed and emotional you'll be. You want to make all of these preparations and decisions while you're still clearheaded and calm."
For something you sip, alcohol carries a ton of extra calories, so you may want to cut back even earlier than the week before your wedding. As for immediate effects, alcohol can make you look and feel puffy due its sulfur-bearing gases and other qualities that weaken your digestive system. What's more, alcohol dilates your blood vessels, which can lead to wedding picture-compromising redness, says Debra Jaliman, author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist.
4. A New Workout
"Stick to the routine you've been doing," says Melissa Paris, a certified group exercise instructor and Lululemon ambassador. "Now is not the time for new moves." Pulled muscles can take weeks to heal and you definitely don't want to be too sore to get down on the dance floor. If your goal is to lose weight, make sure to start a new fitness program well before your dress fittings. And if you're just looking for an amazing way to relieve pre-wedding stress, grab a friend for a quick walk or run in the park. "There is something about being outside with a friend that is so helpful," says Paris.
5. Spray Tan Booths
"Spray tanning in a booth may be a budget-friendly option for a safe, sunless glow, but there's a good chance the color you get won't match your skin tone as well as other fake tanning alternatives," says Nina Patino, an aesthetician at Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa. Rather than stepping into a box—which can result in uneven color if you don't hold your body just so—it's best to have a specialist expertly apply the tanning solution so it's evenly distributed and complements your skin color, says Patino. And don't forget to lightly exfoliate beforehand. "The color will last longer and you'll literally glow as you walk down the aisle," says Patino.
6. Changing Up Your Makeup
"Sometimes brides panic at the last minute that they've got too much or too little makeup on," says Jodie Hazlewood, a London-based makeup artist who does more than 70 weddings a year and teaches professional bridal makeup artist courses at the Jemma Kidd Makeup School in Notting Hill. "That's why during the trial—when they're in a much more rational state of mind—I give brides a chance to try out different looks." At the end of the day, trust in your makeup artist, who takes your skin type, age, hairstyle, wedding color palette, and the time, location, and style of your day into consideration when designing your look. "Modern bridal makeup is a little like red carpet makeup," says Hazlewood. "It needs to look good on HD video cameras, professional cameras, personal camera phones, in bright light and candlelight, as well as last for hours."
How do you make sure your skin is the perfect canvas for your wedding day makeup? "Water, water, water! Sleep, sleep, sleep!" says Hazlewood. "Stay away from sun beds and major tanning. And don't worry too much about breakouts! They can be easily be covered by a good makeup artist—as long as you don't touch or pick at the blemishes."
7. Juice Cleanses
"I like to think of food as fuel," says Keri Gans, a registered dietitian and author of The Small Change Diet. "You need calories to keep you alert and help you get through your crazy, busy weekend. It's not the time to stop nourishing yourself." Juice cleanses are very low in calories, sapping your energy and making you irritable. And cleanses that include mostly fruit juices are high in sugar. "The week before you should be eating well-balanced meals with a focus on fruits and vegetables and drinking plenty of water—and don't skip any meals!" says Gans.
8. Peels and Microdermabrasion
A peel or microdermabrasion session promises silky-smooth skin in the future, but it's a total no-go the week before you wedding. "After receiving a chemical peel or microdermabrasion some people see their skin peel off repeatedly, which leaves dead skin on the surface that can ball up under makeup," says Patino. "Others see their skin get extremely red and irritated." And wearing makeup, which is the reason you went in for a skin smoothing and cleansing treatment in the first place, can only exasperate that irritation. "Schedule any appointments for a peel, microdermabrasion, or other treatments like Botox, at least two weeks before your wedding in case there is any redness or bruising," says Jaliman.
9. New-to-You Skincare Products
"Don't change your skincare regimen if you have fewer than two weeks to go before your wedding," says Jaliman. "You should change it months in advance." Swapping in a new product could lead to allergic reaction, dryness, oiliness, or a bevy of other side effects that take time to correct. "Be sure to see your dermatologist a few months ahead of time," says Rosemarie Ingleton, a board certified dermatologist in New York City. "Your doctor can give you a personalized pre-wedding skincare routine, which will address your specific concerns to make sure your skin is radiant for the big day. Your dermatologist should be up there on your to-do list with the dress fittings and flowers."
Up all night hand-embossing your ceremony programs? Find a dutiful friend to fill in and get some sleep! Sleep deprivation can actually affect your immune system. "You're more likely to get a viral infection if you haven't been getting enough sleep," says Dr. Frank Lipman, an integrative and functional medicine physician and founder of Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City. Logging enough shut-eye also improves your complexion, rids your eyes of dark circles, and—let's face it—makes you a happier, calmer bride. (Your bridal party will thank you.)