Northern Colorado pros on what to do and when



By Monica Parpal Stockbridge


For many brides, your wedding day is one of life’s most memorable occasions. You’re marrying the love of your life, gathering all your closest friends and family, and starting an exciting new chapter.

Of course, you also want to look your best. Many brides hire professionals for hair, makeup and skin treatments to enhance their wedding day glow. But where do you start, and how should you begin planning?

Berthoud-based wedding coordinator Hawley Vining of Vining Events knows that all brides want to feel gorgeous on their wedding day. “No matter what, you’re going to be stunning. No matter what size you are or what your hair looks like—
because this is the day that you’re marrying the love of your life.”

Vining acknowledges that some brides start their beauty regimen a year in advance, while others are fairly low maintenance. Vining suggests setting aside a budget for hair, makeup, manicure and pedicure. “Hair, makeup and a mani-pedi makes every woman feel beautiful,” she says, and “it’s great to have someone professional do that, if you can make that happen.” Vining suggests budgeting at least $500 to cover those elements.

Two such professionals are Jessica Parrish of Jessica Ashley Hair Design in Loveland, and Sara Sperry of Fierce with Beauty in Berthoud. Parrish loves working with clients in Northern Colorado and destinations like Estes Park. “Colorado has so many beautiful places to get married,” she says. Parrish works with up to 25 brides a year on wedding hairstyles alone.

Fort Collins-born Sperry has focused on special occasion hair and makeup since 2006. “I just fell in love with doing special events and weddings,” she says. The licensed cosmetologist works from her home studio and travels to wedding venues to do customized spray tans, facial waxing, hair and makeup for her brides.

NOCO Style asked Vining, Parrish and Sperry for their tips on how to plan for the best bridal beauty experience, starting at least six months in advance of your wedding date.

Photo courtesy of Jessica Ashley Hair Design.

6-12 months in advance

Book your beauty pros
Vining suggests contacting and booking wedding vendors—including hair stylists and makeup artists—at least six months in advance. “Colorado is such a busy place to get married. I always recommend that, if it’s in your budget to reserve people and you can put deposits down, try to find all your vendors as soon as you can,” she says.

If you already have a hairstylist you love, check their availability to do your wedding hair. “You want to connect with the hair person,” Vining says. “You want to feel comfortable with them. You want to be able to be in your robe having a glass of champagne.”

Sperry adds that six to eight months in advance is the time to start eating well, drinking a lot of water, and to consider a skincare regimen—whether that’s simply washing your face or doing regular skin peels.

Pro tip: Be sure that any hairstylist or makeup artist you hire is a trained and licensed professional who uses professional products, which are designed to hold up better and look great in photos.

4-6 months in advance

Schedule a hair and makeup consultation
Parrish likes to book hair consultations several months in advance. “We just kind of chat about it, set some expectations and have them bring in some inspiration photos,” she says. Parrish guides brides on what their hair can do, if they need more length or extensions, and if they like their current color.

As for hair color, Parrish suggests starting at least four to six months in advance to play with ideas and color in a safe and healthy way. “We want to have as much time as we need to make any adjustments and not push your hair further than it needs to, or it won’t look healthy,” she says. Starting early gives you peace of mind knowing you’ll have exactly what you want when your wedding day arrives.

Pro tip: If your hairstylist doesn’t also do makeup, ask for a reference. Now is a good time to get ideas about looks you love, including how your makeup and hair will look together.

Photo courtesy of Fierce with Beauty.

2-3 months in advance

Get tips on tanning
Tanning isn’t for everyone, but many brides like the idea—especially if they’ll be wearing a strapless dress. Start early. Even a spray tanning regimen can be a multi-month process. Take time to find tanning products or a tanning bed you trust.

Wax on, wax off
Visit with a licensed cosmetologist if you’re interested in facial waxing, especially if it has to do with redefining your brow shape.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to wear sunscreen, especially as the weather warms up. You can still burn after tanning, and freshly waxed areas can be especially sensitive.

1-2 months in advance

Book your hair and makeup trial
Book a hair and makeup trial a month or two before the big day. Coordinate your trial with an engagement photo session or bridal shower so you can enjoy your style and capture the moment in photos, too.

“Bring your veil, bring any accessories that you want to put in to make sure everything is feeling good and to make sure that you still have the same idea in mind,” Parrish says.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to use waterproof mascara in your trials and on your wedding day. “If your mascara goes, it’s all going to go,” Sperry says.

Photo by Dylan Crossley, courtesy of Vining Events.

The week of your wedding

Smooth your skin
Any final facial waxing can be done the week of the wedding. Sperry suggests that brides also exfoliate the night before their wedding—nothing that will scrape too hard or cause redness—but “just so the skin is soft and prepped for the day-of.” This helps reduce flakiness before your makeup application.

Tone your tan
Spray tanning can be done two days before the wedding, depending on the solution you use. Sperry recommends getting your final spray tan two days prior to your wedding since some formulas takes 24 hours to fully develop.

Pro tip: Enjoy the fun anticipation as your wedding day approaches—and don’t forget to get some beauty rest!

Tips for Colorado Brides

Colorado is a beautiful place to get married. It can also present some challenges when it comes to climate and altitude.

“If I have to give [brides] one tip, I would just tell them to start drinking water as soon as they’re engaged,” Vining says. She recommends drinking at least 80 ounces of water every day to combat stress, sleep better and stay hydrated in Colorado’s dry climate.

“One thing that I always tell people is definitely to invest in doing deep conditioning treatments,” Parrish adds. Especially in Colorado, conditioning is a must for healthy, shiny hair. Parrish also recommends scheduling regular trims to keep hair healthy and get it to “cooperate with what you want to do.”

Sperry adds that Instagram and other social media has made it even easier to be our own worst critics. “I feel like forever we’ve compared our body types, but it’s a whole new day where we’re comparing how our eyebrows are drawn on and how long our eyelashes are and how plumped our lips are,” she says. Don’t succumb to unrealistic expectations. “Feel beautiful in who you are.”

Photo by Crystal Leffel, courtesy of Fierce with Beauty.

Before and after injections in both lips.
Photos courtesy of Xanadu Med Spa.

Before and after injections in both lips and nasolabial folds.
Photos courtesy of Xanadu Med Spa.

Medical Spa Tips

Some brides look beyond the salon for their wedding-prep beauty routines. Mark Koepsell, owner of Xanadu Med Spa in Fort Collins, suggests three treatments to consider for brides planning their wedding.

Koepsell recommends Collagen P.I.N.™ Microneedling to help reduce fine lines or acne scars. “It’s amazing what it does for collagen production and collagen stimulation to really refresh and provide a youthful look for brides,” Koepsell says. This procedure is typically done in three separate sessions and is best scheduled six months in advance.

If you’re thinking about a lip plump or smoothing crow’s feet or forehead lines, Koepsell suggests filler injectables or Botox at least two months ahead of time to make sure that you get the results you want—with time for a touch up, if you like.

Finally, a hydrafacial—a non-invasive day spa treatment that can be done just days before your wedding. “A hydrafacial just provides a glow like no other, and cleans out all of those pores,” Koepsell says. It’s also perfect for a last-minute bridesmaid gathering.

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