Around the time I got engaged, I had only been at Brooklyn Herborium for around 4 months. I came into this loving community at a low point in my health. I had just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and was pretty run down emotionally and physically. I had a lot of healing to do. Because of this, “getting wedding ready” was secondary for a good part of the year leading up to the event. More than anything, I just wanted to feel better. It just so happened that the journey to healing myself was transformative for my skin and body as well. Here’s what worked for me.
Start Where You Are
Nourish, Nourish, Nourish. Make sure you are nourishing your body and your skin. You will look and feel much happier and healthier if you are meeting your needs instead of going on a restrictive diet (this includes keto, low-carb, intermittent fasting, detox diets, etc). Introducing extreme diets, especially ones that are hard to stick to, can set you off on a metabolic rollercoaster, leading to breakouts (what we call stress bumps) and all sorts of other issues. Stretching out the time between my meals or snacking throughout the day will always give me stress bumps on my chin or welty bumps on my jawline and low energy.
Getting off the Metabolic Rollercoaster is something I’m still working on. I have a tendency to not eat when I’m stressed out. Funny enough, not eating enough or snacking too much between meals will get you to the same place, I’ve found. If you are feeling pressure to lose weight or make drastic changes to how you look, remember that the person you are marrying is choosing to marry you, their already ideal partner right now, not some unrealistic image that the wedding industry tells you you need to look like on your wedding day. If you’re not sure what I mean by “nourish,” read our article on the Diet for Incredibly Good Skin and our article on Cellular Communication (all articles linked at the bottom). In general, eat 3 meals a day (4 if you have a long day), with about 3.5-4 hours in between, with no snacking. Eat a diverse menu, focusing on what’s local and seasonal, with plenty of good fats (animal fats, coconut oil, avoiding vegetable oils, etc.). Try to keep your meals to within a 12 hour window (you don’t need to push it shorter like some might recommend). I tend towards reactivity, so a large part of what helped me was making my food easier to digest.
If there is a skincare issue you’d like to work on, getting ready for your wedding might make you feel like you need to take drastic steps to fix it right now. In my experience, quick fixes don’t actually fix anything, rather, they mask symptoms, but the dysfunction continues underneath the surface. And usually, these products are suppressing a natural function of the body. For example: Stress Bumps are a function of the body eliminating metabolic waste and/or toxins, inflammation is a symptom of the body trying to heal itself.
Which brings me to the next piece of advice our Skincare Specialists give: If you are already using suppressive and controlling products (such as cortisone, retinoids, steroids, antibiotics) and are wanting to transition toward supportive skincare, we would recommend waiting until after your wedding to go off of them unless you have time to start far in advance. To quote co-owner, Emma, “Once you let go of control, things will go out of control.” That means breakouts that you’ve been drying up and keeping in will come out and redness you’ve been trying to calm will return. It takes one month for every year of suppression for your body to release what’s been under control. Nourish yourself and your skin first and then taper off slowly under the guidance of your doctor or dermatologist. When you’re ready, we recommend speaking with one of our Skincare Specialists to get at the root of the issue so control is no longer needed.
The same goes for trying NEW products or treatments before your wedding or any big event. The pressure to have the perfect, glowing skin along with our collective obsession with what’s new and trending can influence us to take drastic steps at a time when consistency is what our skin needs most.
Here’s a parable for you: A long, long time ago, I was working at a spa in Boston. We were often given samples of products, a lot of them organic and naturally derived, and I was given a sample of a tightening maple leaf extract eye cream (I was 23, I didn’t need a tightening eye cream). At the time, I also got cast as an extra in a period piece filming in the area. I put the cream on my eyes only once and woke up with raw, red puffy eyes the next day–which then turned into gross, crusty scales that stuck around through the film shoot. It was so bad that they couldn’t even apply makeup to the area. They put a big old floppy hat on my head to hide my eyes. If you’re thinking of adding a new active product or treatment right before a big event, this includes retinoids, peels, micro-planing, lasers, etc. just remember me. You don’t know how your skin may react.
If you’re reading this after trying a new active product and are dealing with a bad reaction, visit Good Sense for Sensitivity or book an Integrative Therapy for Redness & Reactivity to get hands-on help.
Get Yourself on a Consistent Regimen
In our Crafting Your Holistic Skincare Regimen, Emma goes over the Four Pathways that will “provide the quickest, most direct journey to topical equanimity.” Because of a previously stressful life and lifestyle, following bad advice, and generally not understanding how skin works, I had developed issues with all four. Getting on a consistent and gentle plan was the first step to finding vibrancy again.
Our recommendations are: AM facial bathing; gently splashing your face with warm water in the morning before applying your Moisture Duo and giving your skin a gentle massage.
In the evening, rotate your cleansers at night like NO EVIL, Sow Your Wild Oats, Integrity Biome Mask, and a clay mask once a week. When you can, try going to sleep without moisturizing to give your skin a chance to reset and produce its own oil. Mist your skin with a Mineral Mist and massage in before going to bed. A stronger exfoliation can be done twice per season in the Spring and Fall; in summer months cut back when you’ll be getting more sun exposure. I recommend reading over Crafting your Functional Skin Care Regimen for more information, or making an appointment with one of our skincare specialists who can help you figure out what is right for you.
Protect your skin from the sun by avoiding exposure (getting out of the sun, finding shade) during the peak hours of 10am-2pm. Wearing a hat, wearing long sleeved shirts and overall mindfulness about time spent in the sun is helpful.
Doing this will get you a long way on your journey to healthy, happy skin in general.
If you have the time and the budget to do facials, here’s what our aestheticians suggest:
At 6 Months: Start preparing with monthly facials and/or Integrative Therapy for Maintaining Radiance at least six months before your wedding.
At 2 Months: About two months before your wedding, book a Level 3 Facial – Which is a Functional Facial with an added integrative therapy (such as an alpha/beta peel and phototherapy) and Body-Mind Alignment (helpful for stress).
Afterward, notice how many days after the facial your skin got “the glow” —typically 2 weeks after. (Redness is common a few days after a peel). Use this timing info to determine how many weeks before the wedding to book a follow-up Level 3 Facial.
Don’t worry if you’re just reading this right before your wedding and don’t have time to follow our recommendations for skincare and facials. Eat well, stick to whatever regimen you are on, and you’ll be fine.
The Week Of
You might be stressed out right now and that might mean you’re getting stress bumps. Don’t pick or squeeze at them like I tend to do. We make Stress Bump Teas to help them go down. Spot treat with Perfection Clear Complexion clay to help draw them out.
If you have played with the Stress Bumps and they have broken open: Apply one drop of Cow Fart Juice over the wound or scab twice a day to help in the healing process.
While Seeds of Change is usually recommended for seasonal shifts, using it in place of Nourish & Replenish in your Moisture Duo a week or two before the wedding is a great way to give your skin a little extra oomph. Again, it’s best to not introduce anything new to your regimen right before your wedding so try it far in advance and see what results you get. We generally recommend using Seeds of Change up to three weeks at a time and then returning to your usual regimen. You’ll know it’s time to take a break if your skin starts to look dull.
This upcoming special occasion is the perfect time to utilize the gentle exfoliation of Rose Renewal Masque (Test it far in advance to see how your skin reacts, of course). The full glowing results should come to fruition about 4-6 days after use, so plan accordingly.
Common sense facts that didn’t cross my mind and I instead learned from working with awesome aestheticians: Don’t get a facial with extractions right before your wedding. If you book any services at all, make sure to let your aesthetician know ahead of time what day you’re getting married. They’ll know what will be best. Every aesthetician has a story about someone coming in for a facial and telling them they were getting married the next day AFTER the aesthetician had just done extractions.
The Night Before
In the months leading up to your wedding, find what form of exfoliation gives you your desired glow the next day. This is what you’ll use the night before your wedding. Examples: Sow Your Wild Oats, Integrity Biome Mask, Vita C Dry Serum, or even a gentle scrub with one of our cotton washcloths. If you’ve never done an intense exfoliation before, the night before is probably not the time to try it. Stick to something gentle that you’ve already been using.
My skin doesn’t like sudden weather changes, and unfortunately, the temperature dropped significantly overnight before my wedding. I have naturally dark circles under my eyes, and due to lack of sleep (and nervous tears), they were extra dark and puffy. But because I had been consistent and gentle with self-care up to this point, it bounced back for the most part with a little love in the morning. I flushed my skin with herbal tea (You can use a specific tea depending on what you’re wanting to accomplish. Forehead tea is a good option, because it smells amazing and calms your mind.) Steep enough for both your face and a mug to drink. I also made myself a cool herbal compress to bring down the puffiness before applying the Moisture Duo.
If you need it, a gentle exfoliation with our cotton birdseye washcloth dampened with warm water will be enough for most. Then apply your Moisture Duo. You can repeat with the same ratio if you feel you need a little more before applying makeup. We don’t recommend this for every day, but today is an appropriate time to use a few drops of oil after you apply your Moisture Duo. NO EVIL has a great consistency for this, allowing foundation to glide over more smoothly. Allow 10 minutes before putting on makeup. If you like the dewy look, place a few drops of NO EVIL on your fingers, rub your hands together, and then gently press onto your skin after you’ve applied makeup. Even misting with a Mineral Mist after you’ve applied makeup can give a nice finish. You can also use it later in the day to “refresh” your makeup if needed. There’s all sorts of ways to experiment with how to incorporate the products into your look for the day. If you end up using our products as part of your getting ready, we’d love to hear how you used them.
I seemed to have had the expectation that I needed to wear a full face of makeup for my wedding. I more than once found myself having a little panic about my skin in Sephora while clutching primer, foundation, bronzer, and fake eyelashes. I ended up putting everything back. If full makeup is your happy place, go for it! I didn’t feel I looked like myself with a ton on, so I had my friend do it and we kept it as minimal as possible.
For general body care, you want to treat your body like you would your face. That means gentle cleansing, periodic exfoliation, and moisturizing with a water/oil emulsion. I have an ongoing problem with hormonal back and chest breakouts because of the Metabolic Rollercoaster and the stress of planning a wedding made it worse. I’ve tried more suppressive products to control them in the past but never found something that really worked. Instead, I tried a little self-acceptance, weekly exfoliation with Ancient Secrets Salt Scrub, and a modest dress that mostly covered my back. To moisturize my body, I used Cow Fart Juice and Instant Alchemy. I was pretty happy with my skin on the day of the wedding. Emma has since developed teas for this particular issue that are available as part of a holistic self-care consultation at the Windsor Terrace shop.
A little RMS Beauty Luminizer (I used the Living Luminizer) on your shoulders gives your skin a nice glow.
Remember your self-worth. Existing insecurities can feel amplified when you’re getting married. They certainly were for me. This goes for both how your wedding ends up being and what you look like. (Just like the silly “bikini body,” every body is already a wedding body). The wedding industrial complex can be a little toxic. While it’s getting better, most of what we see represented in the mainstream media is still a sliver-thin example of beauty. Add to that the saturation of curated lives and the stealthy rise of “influencers” we come across as we casually scroll through social media. All of this can give us unreasonable expectations for ourselves and our weddings, even unconsciously. This ebbs and flows, but for the most part, making drastic life changes just for this one day is normalized in our society. Know that this mindset is not a contract you have to sign.
You Don't Have to Do Everything or Do Everything Yourself
Advice from a friend: You don’t have to include every wedding tradition or feel pressure to make this the most unique event ever. If it doesn’t feel right? Cross it out. Don’t have time? Too expensive? Nope. If it’s meaningful to you and not too hard to accomplish? Go for it.
It’s funny that this joyous occasion can also be a little isolating. I’ve heard that from many people getting married. It could be helpful to anchor yourself through the planning process. Maybe that can be through a community or reaching out to friends who are getting married/have gotten married. For me, it was a group text with friends also getting married the same year. It was great to have a supportive place to talk about my fears, frustrations, and excitement.
If you’re handling your own set up, reach out to your friends and family to see if anyone can help you (offering to supply lunch is one way to thank them). I felt like I was asking too much of our people but they were more than happy to help. We were blown away by our family and friends’ generosity, whether it was helping with setup, contributing their art, flower arrangements, photography, music, support, or all of the above. It was a reminder of how lucky we are to have such a loving community.
Go easy on yourself around the wedding. If you’re able to, maybe take a few days off before or have a few days after to decompress with your partner. In New York, we don’t know how NOT to do a million things all at once, all at the same time, so maybe this is common sense to the rest of you.
Self-Care on Your Wedding Day
The two bits of advice given by almost every married person I’ve talked to has been to make sure you eat and stay hydrated and to take moments to touch your partner or to step away with them to breathe together when you can.
There’s a reason getting married is on the list of most stressful life events. Planning a wedding is stressful. A joyful kind of stress, sure, but stress nonetheless. Whether or not you’re someone who has thought about this day your whole life or not very much at all (me), you’ll probably learn many things about yourself and your partner. In this way, the process of planning a wedding is an opportunity for self-reflection and growth.
Things will probably not go as planned and that’s ok.
I barely slept the night before the wedding; my brain just wouldn’t be quiet. When I finally fell asleep in the early hours of the morning, I was woken by the sound of someone next door hacking up a lung and spitting outside our window. I spilled hot coffee all down myself, luckily before putting on my dress. The weather dropped 15 degrees overnight and I didn’t have any layers for our outdoor ceremony. My original wedding dress fell through the week before and I had to find a backup at the last minute so I didn’t know if you’d be able to see underwear lines through the dress (you could). I actually had a nightmare several months before about this happening, except in the dream, I was wearing dayglo yellow underwear and my dress was sheer.
In the end these were very, very minor hiccups. But they felt big in the moment.
Know and accept that “perfect” is not realistic and kind of boring, any way. You wouldn’t expect yourself or your partner to be perfect either (hopefully). Instead of holding onto a rigid idea of what your wedding should be like, this is actually the best time to be flexible. Find what grounds you and make time in the busy day to practice this for yourself. My cousin is a yoga instructor and offered to do some light stretching and mindfulness exercises before I started getting ready. It helped so much.
You can also try the 4-7-8 breathing exercise. Breath in through your nose for 4 counts, hold for 7, and breath out through your mouth for 8. Drs Amelia and Emily Nagoski recommend a short burst of physical activity like jumping up and down when we have that fight or flight feeling.
The two bits of advice given by almost every married person I’ve talked to has been to make sure you eat and stay hydrated and to take moments to touch your partner or to step away with them to breathe together when you can. This was advice I greatly needed (see note at the beginning about not eating when I’m stressed). Delegate a friend to make sure you eat and drink water (shout out to my bridesmaid Melanie for being that person!). My husband and I came up with a silly code word for if we needed to step away or were feeling overwhelmed.
I’m a bit of an introvert and don’t like being the center of attention, so the idea of being vulnerable in front of a bunch of people, even my loved ones, made me very nervous. The only thing I wish I could go back and change is how tightly wound I felt before the wedding. I wish I had enjoyed myself a little more. But once I was up in front of my family and closest friends, with my partner in front of me, all of that dread melted away and it was a more heart-opening experience than I could have ever imagined.
And finally, let yourself have fun! The day will go by very fast. Allow yourself to be in the moment and enjoy it and your partner. Our wedding was filled with so much love, music, and even a soul train dance line. We couldn’t have asked for more.
Thank you to my friends and to Brooklyn Herborium aestheticians (and friends) Emma, Jen and Sarah for all their helpful advice!
*I am not an aesthetician, although I’m thinking of becoming one someday. What I share is based on my experience in preparing for my own wedding.
More By Erin
By Erin Webb
Erin is a singer and performer originally from West Virginia. She currently calls Brooklyn her home.