Bridal Beauty Guide: Skin Care

Who doesn’t want perfect skin on their wedding day? While I advocate making healthy changes that will be sustainable long after your wedding day, getting married is a great excuse to get these healthy changes started. Plus, planning a wedding can be extremely stressful, which can in turn wreak havoc on your skin, so I thought I would do a skin care guide to help you get your skin looking and feeling its best.

After struggling with everything from acne to dry skin to eczema from adolescence on, I have finally found a skincare routine that really works for me. I have combination skin that needs to be treated gently, but this routine works for oily skin and dry skin as well. Plus, it includes sun protection for long-term skin health. Note: this skin care routine does not include makeup (that’s coming up in a future post!). Because my skin care routine includes tinted moisturizer, however, I find that all I need is some lip balm and mascara for a quick, easy makeup look.

Morning: In the shower, I start by washing my face and body with classic Dove soap. Then, I use St. Ives Apricot Scrub on my face to exfoliate. It leaves my skin feeling soft and clean. Plus, it smells amazing and it’s inexpensive!

Bridal Beauty Guide: Skin Care

After I get out of the shower but before my face completely dries, I put on my Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20 in Nude. This is my favorite beauty product ever. It’s got the perfect amount of tint so that my skin tone looks even, but it makes my skin feel healthy and has sun protection in it. If you know me, you know that I am obsessed with protecting my skin from the sun. I swear by this product!

Bridal Beauty Guide: Skin Care

Evening: Before bed, I wash my face with Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub. Again, it’s an amazing product that really clears my skin, it smells incredible, and it’s inexpensive!

Bridal Beauty Guide: Skin Care

Once I get into bed, I use Neutrogena Ageless Essentials Continuous Hydration Night Creme on my face, elbows, and hands. It’s a product I started using recently, and I’ve found that I wake up looking fresh with my skin nice and moisturized. It’s also a relatively inexpensive product, and I love how it makes my skin feel.

Bridal Beauty Guide: Skin Care

So there you have it, my complete skin care routine for any skin type! If you have oilier skin, try leaving out the night creme (don’t skin the sun protection!), and if you have dry skin, you can replace the Neutrogena wash or Dove bar with something more gentle and less dehydrating like Cetaphil. I hope this helps you get your skin looking the best it can possibly look!


1. St. Ives  |  2. Laura Mercier via Sephora  |  3. Neutrogena  |  4. Neutrogena

 

Pronovias 2014 Bridal Pre-Collection

Pronovias has really mastered feminine details. Their 2014 Bridal Collection doesn’t do anything truly groundbreaking, but it does do classic bridal looks beautifully and incorporates details like lace, beading, and bows in a fresh way. I especially love the way they are using illusion necklines with lace. It just feels so perfectly romantic. Check out these highlights from the Pronovias 2014 Bridal Collection and see if anything tickles your fancy. All looks featured here and many, many more can be found on the Pronovias Bridal page.

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Nailing It

You have probably been dreaming about your bridal look since you were a little girl. The dress, the veil, maybe even the shoes, and you as the blushing bride making it all look good. You’re hair and makeup will be flawless, so why not have your nails be too? After all, they’ll be in plenty of pictures showing off your beautiful new wedding ring!

I love nail polish. I tend to gravite toward neutrals, but I’m also a sucker for some sparkle or the perfect shade of red. When I was in Paris, instead of buying tchotchkes as souvenirs I bought a bottle of Chanel Le Vernis in Fire. I still wear it to this day as a reminder of my trip.

Here are some of my favorite nail looks, straight from my collection. Each of these is given the Tulle and Twine stamp of approval for their color, wear, and ability to make your hands as pretty as can be on your wedding day, or any other day for that matter!

The Perfect Shade of Red- Red is the most classic nail polish color, and it works well for bridal nails, too. I love Chanel Le Vernis in Dragon.

Nailing It

Something Blue- My favorite nail trend right now is using your polish as your something blue. If you are looking for a deep navy blue, Dior Vernis in Blue Label is the perfect choice (and my favorite polish right now). If you are looking for something more subtle and feminine, try Sephora by OPI Nail Color in Havana Blue or Essie Borrowed and Blue.

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Neutrals and Pastels- Neutrals and pastels are my go-to for day-to-day wear, and they work perfectly as a subtle bridal look, too. I love all of the Ciaté London Paint Pots colors, but Twinset and Pearls is the perfect neutral. Essie’s Mint Candy Apple and China Glaze’s For Audrey polished are beautiful pastel shades.

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Wedding Invitation Etiquette

Your invitations will, in many ways, set the tone for your wedding day. You should aim for sending them out six to eight weeks before the wedding so that guests can have ample time to make travel arrangements. Destination weddings require more lead time (two to three months) as guests will need to make more elaborate travel plans and likely take more time off of work.

What to Include:

The Basics

Wedding invitations need to include the first and last names of you and your partner, as well as the date, location, and time of the wedding. It should also include the names of those hosting the event. This could be you and your partner, your parents, both of your parents, or anyone else hosting the event celebrating your marriage.

Your invitation should provide everything guests need to know about the when and where of the ceremony, reception, and rehearsal dinner or welcome party, if they are invited. If your ceremony and reception are not at the same place, if you have a lot of out-of-town guests, or if your guests are not all staying on-site, consider including maps for the convenience of out-of-town guests.

Accommodation and Travel Information

If you have reserved a block of hotel rooms, include information including the name and contact information of the hotel and deadlines for reserving rooms as an insert in your invitation suite.Also consider including other hotel options for guests looking for a luxurious stay or a budget-friendly option. These cards should also include nearby airports and rental car agencies.

Attire Information

Include information such as “black tie,” “black tie optional,” or “cocktail attire” for your guests information. This will guide them as to what to wear to your wedding while also setting the level of formality of the event.

Response and Meal Information

You will need to let guests know how and by when to RSVP. Many couples are opting to have guests electronically RSVP on their wedding websites, but if your guests are not all technologically savvy, this can lead to a frustrating time getting responses. Make it clear when guests should RSVP by. Typically you will want a final head count for your venue, caterer, and seating charts by three weeks before the wedding. This will give you plenty of time to track down missing RSVPs. Always include a stamped and addressed return envelope for your guests’ response cards.Also, include menu information only if your caterer requires you to submit a count of entree options prior to the wedding. Include the entree options on the reply card so you will have that information as RSVPs roll in.

Who is Invited

It is very important to make clear exactly who is invited. Guests should be listed by name (as opposed to “and guest”) on the envelope address so there is no confusion. If you are having an adults-only wedding, just address the invitation to the adults only. Only in the event that guests RSVP for children should you explain that the event is adults-only. If you would like, you can include this information on your wedding website, but word-of-mouth is always more appropriate.

Additionally, make it clear if you are giving guests a plus-one. It is not required, but it is appropriate to give a plus-one to guests in a serious relationship, as well as to invite all spouses. If a guest is single, you do not have to allow them a plus-one, though it is a nice gesture.

Website Information

It is perfectly acceptable to include your wedding website as an insert in your formal invitations, though it is more appropriate to include them on your save-the-dates. Something along the lines of, “For additional wedding details, please visit our website at www.jackandjill.com” will direct your guests in the right direction.

Childcare Information

If you are providing childcare during the reception, include an insert that informs parents that a nursery and/or babysitting will be provided. It is important for parents to know this information prior to making travel and childcare arrangements.

What to Exclude:

Registry information

Information about your registry should be spread through word-of-mouth through your wedding party and immediate family and friends, or through your wedding website. It is considered poor etiquette to display registry information directly on your invitation. Invitations should invite people to come celebrate with you, not inform guests of how to give you gifts.


In summary, when all is said and done, your invitations should give guests everything they need to know to come celebrate the beginning of your marriage without starting the conversation about your registry and how to give you gifts. Invitations should include a ceremony invitation, reception card (if your reception is in a different location than the ceremony), and information cards for other wedding events such as the rehearsal dinner for those you are inviting. It should also include accommodation and travel information along with maps so guests can make appropriate arrangements and get around the area with ease. You guest should know who is invited to the event, how and when to RSVP, and what to wear. Finally, you should include your wedding website information if you are choosing to include it in your invitation suite.

Bridal Beauty Guide: My Makeup Favorites

Hiring a professional makeup artist can easily set you back hundreds of dollars. Instead, try taking a cue from the gorgeous Kate Middleton and do your own makeup! As a bit of a makeup junkie, I’ve spent years searching for the best makeup products that are reliable and kind to your skin. Here are my all-time favorite makeup beauty products to guide you if you are opting to do you own makeup. Best of all, these products will last long after the wedding to keep you looking your best.

All-Over Makeup Palette

The Sephora Collection Smoky Studio 2 Palette ($25) is a relatively inexpensive choice with plenty of options. It has 16 eye shades and 15 lip shades. It will allow you to try lots of options before deciding on your wedding look to see what looks best. I find the colors to be nicely pigmented, and the glitter shades aren’t too gritty. I’ve been really happy with mine!

Bridal Beauty Guide: My Makeup Favorites

Face

I’ve gone into some of these products in my Skin Care Routine post, but they are staples in my makeup collection that will make your skin look stunning. They are on the pricey side, but I’ve never had luck with drugstore products working with my. I feel like if you are going to have something sitting on your face all day, it needs to work well and help keep your skin healthy.

These colors work with my skin tone (fair with yellow undertones), but you will need to find the perfect shade for you. I start with the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer SPF 15 ($52 for 1 oz, $18 for .33 oz). It makes my pores nonexistent and my skin feel balanced (not oily, not dry). Then I use Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 in Nude ($43). Finally, I love Make Up Forever HD Invisible Cover Foundation in 117 Marble ($42).

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Eyes and Brows

My favorite everyday eye palette is the very popular Stila In The Light Palette with Smudgestick Waterproof Eyeliner ($39). It is extremely versatile and does everything from natural eyes to smokey eyes really well. If you want a dramatic smokey eye, check out the Chanel Les 4 Ombres Quadra Eye Shadow in 20 Regard Perle ($59). I’ve used this one up because I love all of the colors in the palette.

Bridal Beauty Guide: My Makeup Favorites Bridal Beauty Guide: My Makeup Favorites

For mascara, bareMinerals Flawless Definition Mascara in Rich Black ($18) is amazing for a natural look. Lancome Definicils High Definition Mascara in Black ($27) gives amazing length. If you are looking for the perfect waterproof mascara, my all-time favorite mascara is Givenchy Phenomen’Eyes Waterproof Mascara in Black ($30). Don’t be afraid of the medieval torture device-like brush. It’s amazing and really gets the job done. Finally, for brows, I love the Sephora Collection Retractable Brow Pencil in Honey Blonde ($12).

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Lips

For lip moisturizers, basic Vaseline Lip Therapy Advanced Formula is super cheap, does a great job, and looks nice and glossy. I’ve been using the EOS Smooth Sphere Lip Balm in Pomegranate Raspberry ($3.29) day and night for several weeks, and I’m really liking it. It last a long time and smells and tastes amazing. Finally, I use Sephora Collection Color Reveal Lip Balm in Unique Pink ($12) when I was a little bit of color on my lips. It changes color depending on your individual skin! Mine comes out a nice mid-pink color.

Sephora Collection Glossy Gloss in 18 Rusted Rose ($10) is a nice, non-sticky gloss. Lancome L’Absolu Rough in Crushed Rose ($30) is a beautiful, flattering shade of reddish pink that looks great on many skin tones. Finally, my all-time favorite colored gloss is the Dior Addict Lip Glos in 363 Dormeuse ($30). The color lasts a really long time, which you’ll appreciate on your wedding day when you don’t have to constantly reapply it!

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Blush

Blush is an important part of your bridal makeup look because it will help you not look washed-out in photographs. I don’t always wear blush, but I do have two favorites, both by Clinique. They both apply easily, have beautiful pigmentation, and don’t wear off throughout the day. I love Clinique Blushing Blush Powder in Smoldering Plum ($21) and Clinique Soft-Pressed Powder Blush in Pink Blush ($21).

Bridal Beauty Guide: My Makeup Favorites Bridal Beauty Guide: My Makeup Favorites

Finally, I’d like to include my favorite brush set. The Sephora Collection Face and Eye Travel Tool Kit ($32) comes with four eye brushes and an awesome blush brush, all in a folding case. I’ve had mine for years, and it’s still in excellent condition. If you take care of the brushes and clean them when they need it with something gentle like Johnson and Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, they will last forever.

Bridal Beauty Guide: My Makeup Favorites

I hope this helps guide you if you are choosing to do you own makeup. For the cost of a makeup artist and a little bit of practice, you can buy the same makeup your makeup artist would use, some great brushes, and look gorgeous on your weddng day. The best part is that you will get to keep the makeup after the wedding so you can keep looking your very best!

Out of Town Bags: Contents

Once you have picked out the perfect welcome bag, it’s time to fill it up with things that will make your guests’ stay more comfortable. When coming up with the items you’d like to include, just put yourself in the position of your guests. What items would make your stay easier, more comfortable, and more fun?

Please keep in mind that this list is just meant as inspiration. You are by no means obligated to include all of this in your welcome bags. In fact, you don’t even need to have welcome bags at all! My hope is that this list will give you some ideas for your welcome bags should you choose to have them.

Suggested Items:

A welcome note- This is the most important item on this list. Your bags should include a note that welcomes your guests into town and expresses your gratitude for joining you on your happy day! I like these four from Etsy.
Water bottles- Hotel water bottles can be really pricey, so your guests will love having water waiting for them when they arrive. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to use customized water bottle labels!
Snacks- It’s always a good idea to include a couple of things for your guests to snack on in between wedding events. To make it more personal, try including items that show off the city you are getting married in. For example, salt water taffy is perfect if you are getting married in New Jersey, or Moon Pies if your wedding is in Tennessee. You can also feature food from cities that are significant to you as a couple along with a note explaining why.
A map of the area and local attractions- Your guests will more than likely have a little bit of down time around your wedding events. A map of the area, including your wedding location(s) and locations/descriptions of local attractions will make your guests’ stay easier and more fun. This one is my favorite right now.

A schedule of the weekend’s events and contact information- Sure, your guests received the invitation, but a complete itinerary of the events of the weekend will be much appreciated anyways! Also, be sure to include contact information if your guests have any questions. This person does NOT need to be you, and probably should not be you, because you will be too busy to answer phone calls. Ask a close friend or family member to be the point person for out-of-town guests.

Other ideas:

A cute “Do Not Disturb” sign- This sign can let hotel room service know to keep out while letting the world know that your guests are there for your big day! Etsy has so many cute options!
Alcohol- You can include mini bottles of wine, beer, or liquor if you want to get the party started early!
Mints
Hand wipes or Purrell
A postcard of the area
Travel packs of pain relievers and medicine such as Tylenol, Advil, Pepto, etc.- This might come in handy the morning after your wedding!
Chapstick
Tissues
A bag of popcorn
Mini cereal boxes
Mini sunscreen/lotion/shampoo/conditioner
Anything else specific to your event- For example, if you are having an outdoor rustic wedding, consider including bug spray!

Given Away, Given Away, Given Away Now

Weddings are full of crazy traditions. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of aspects of weddings that now seem antiquated and downright illogical that I somehow still allow myself to subscribe to (see: veils, the white dress, and bridal parties). But today I’d like to talk about a more controversial topic: “giving away” the bride.

Western weddings traditionally feature the father walking the bride down the aisle, followed by the following exchange:
Officiant: “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?”

Father: “I do.”

Now, we have fortunately progressed beyond the literal transfer of the woman from man to man in exchange for a dowry. We have subscribed to a more progressive alternative response of, “Her mother and I do.” We even accept brothers, close friends, or mentors to walk her down the aisle if the father is no longer alive, is absent from her life, or if he didn’t fill the role of the most important man in her life. While this default remains the norm, women are increasingly choosing alternative escorts or even forgoing an escort altogether and they take one of the most significant walks of their lives.

Marriage today doesn’t necessarily mean a departure from your family of birth. You can remain a part of your birth family while creating a new family with your partner on your wedding day. You don’t have to have the patriarch of your family send you off into your new life. You can present yourself as an independent unit.

My personal belief is that every woman deserves the respect of not being treated as property, either in symbol or in practice.  There are many alternatives to the practice of being “given away” that symbolize the significance of your birth family and the new baby family you are creating without implying that you are being given to one man by another.

Of course, it is 100% your decision whether your father, mother, second cousin, best friend, third grade teacher, or no one at all gives you away at your wedding. You might decide to follow tradition because it gives you a sentimental link to weddings past, or you might decide that you want to want to meet your future husband at the aisle simultaneously as two independent units joining together as one. It’s your call.

I urge your to reflect on yourself, your partner, and your partnership to decide how you want to come together in a way that is meaningful and affirming for both of you.

Now, we have fortunately progressed beyond the literal transfer of the woman from man to man in exchange for a dowry. We have subscribed to a more progressive alternative response of, “Her mother and I do.” We even accept brothers, close friends, or mentors to walk her down the aisle if the father is no longer alive, is absent from her life, or if he didn’t fill the role of the most important man in her life. While this default remains the norm, women are increasingly choosing alternative escorts or even forgoing an escort altogether and they take one of the most significant walks of their lives.