NAILS: Invest some time in finding a first-rate nail tech
Why: Your neighborhood mani-pedi joint is fine for your everyday life. For your wedding? You want the best. After all, your hands (cough, cough… ring) will be under a microscope on that receiving line. To find a pro who’s a cut above, Bachik suggests asking “family, friends, even strangers you see with great nails” for their recommendations. When interviewing potential candidates, ask whether they’re actively engaged in continuing education. (A tech who trains others for a major salon nail brand would be ideal.) And lastly, realize you might have to pay a premium for a top-notch pro you really trust. “Most well-trained techs will be a little more pricey than your average corner salon,” he says. “But it’s your wedding day, don’t take any chances.”
When: 6 months out
NAILS: Repeat after us — “trends are not your friends”
Why: Apart from a really out-there ‘do, nothing will date a photo faster than the wacky nail trend du jour. At the same time, you want to kick it up a notch from your usual swipe of ballet pink polish. Strive for a balance between bold and everyday. “Like the red carpet, I believe wedding nails should be timeless, classic and elegant,” says Bachik. “That doesn’t mean brides can’t have a little personal style. But keep the art simple and the colors tonal. Nails should be the perfect accessories to complete your look, not compete with it.”
HEALTH: Sleep your way skinny
Why: As a Tier 4 coach at Equinox in Los Angeles (as well as Equinox Global Trainer of the Year),Ed Gemdjian is immersed in all the latest fitness findings. So when he says sleep is now considered the third pillar of health — along with a sound diet and lots of exercise — it’s time to hit the sack. “Sleep is important for so many reasons,” he says. “We produce the highest amounts of natural HGH (human growth hormone) while we sleep, which is responsible for regenerating and creating new cells of all our body tissues — skin, muscle, hair. When we sleep, it’s the only time our brain can repair and reorganize. And the relaxed breathing state during sleep reduces stress by calming our central nervous system.” Less stress means lowered production of cortisol, the “fight or flight” hormone that tells our bodies to hang onto every ounce of fat it can for survival. Dozing off just reading all this science-speak? Perfect.
When: 1 year out
HEALTH: Eat (yes, you read that right — eat)
Why: You might think you’re “getting a jumpstart” on wedding weight loss if you drastically cut calories and follow every cleanse you see on Instagram. In reality, you’re setting yourself up for trouble, the extra-pounds kind of trouble. “I’ve seen these deprivation crash diets backfire time and time again,” says registered dietician Brooke Alpert. “Because you’re basically starving yourself, you’re going to breakdown and binge, regaining the weight you lost and feeling bad about yourself.” Not to mention how cranky and miserable you’ll be in this highly social period of your life. To stay sane — and svelte — Alpert recommends aiming to have a healthy (sugar-free!) meal or snack every three to four hours.
When: 1 year out
HEALTH: Take ownership of your wellness plan
Why: If you’re lucky enough to have a trainer on the wedding payroll alongside the planner, caterer and florist, it can be easy to slack-off between appointments on the days you’re not training together. Here’s an idea: Crack your own whip, by designing a solid game plan — exercise and diet — for your “off” days. “At Equinox, we provide our clients with specific strategies to follow on their own, just as much as when they’re training with us,” says Gemdjian. “Taking ownership can be very empowering, and improved self-esteem can go a long way when planning a wedding.” Another reason to flex your self-discipline muscles? You’ll build habits that last through your honeymoon and beyond.
When: 9 months out
HEALTH: Get serious about your back and upper body
Why: There’s the practical reason for strengthening from the waist up for your wedding day (you’ll be zipping around in a heavy gown for 12+ hours), and the superficial reason: You want everyone to ooh and aah over how amazing you look, and you want the pictures to rock. “Be sure to focus on your upper back, which will give you amazing posture,” says trainer Holly Del Rosso, who splits her time between New York and San Francisco. “We look down at our phones all day and hunch over our laptops, which tightens up our chest muscles.” Del Rosso guides her bridal clients through an upper body-chiseling program that includes rows, deltoid flys, and low-seated rows. She also lasers-in on the triceps muscles with dips, cable pull-downs and pushups.
When: 6 months out
HEALTH: Break up with sugar
Why: Is it easy? No, especially if you’ve got a major sweet tooth. But the list of beauty goodies — not to mention the positive mental state — from kicking it to the curb is virtually endless, says Alpert, co-author of The Sugar Detox. “For brides-to-be, removing sugar will help them lose weight and keep skin clear, plump and fresh-looking, two things they’re looking for when prepping for this big event,” says Alpert. “And even more importantly, for anyone coping with guest-lists, seating charts and in-laws, limiting sugar intake can help control stress levels and keep you more even-keeled and clear-minded.”
When: 3— 6 months out
HEALTH: Nix every ounce of booze
Why: Hopefully you’re already slashing your sugar intake to virtually nil. Now it’s time to boot liquor, too. By banning booze, you’ll easily lose a few pounds. And right before the wedding, who wouldn’t want that? But more important than how much you’re losing is where you’ll be losing it from: Your midsection. “The top areas for sugar and alcohol storage on our bodies is in right around our hips and lower belly,” says Del Rosso. “Alcohol metabolizes as estrogen, and estrogen loves making a home for itself in our lower abdominal area.”
When: 1 month out