Tanning Before the Wedding: Five Things to Keep in Mind

Are you worried your kids might look at your wedding day photos and ask, “Who’s the ghost next to Mommy?” If your skin tone is a little pale, consider warming yourself up with a little tan. While you don’t have to look as bronzed as George Hamilton, use these five tips to give yourself a healthy glow without damaging your skin.

1. Take your time. Tan too quickly, and your guests will think the lobster from your reception is attacking your bride. Regardless of the tanning method you choose, plan your tan over the four to six weeks before your wedding to enjoy an even, healthy color. Use a small journal to keep track of your trips to the beach or to the tanning salon. Moleskine Pocket Weekly Planner, $13. 1-888-822-1036.

2. Moisturize your skin. Throughout your tanning quest, pay careful attention to your skin. Use a fragrance-free moisturizer to keep your skin from drying and cracking without smelling like a girl. Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion, $10. 1-800-378-4786.

3. Time your trips to the beach. The sun’s rays hit their most powerful peaks between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Even though you’re hoping for a tan, protect yourself from skin damage during these peak hours with a light moisturizing sunscreen. Eucerin Daily Sun Defense SPF 15, $9. 1-800-378-4786.

4. Even things out with a trip to the tanning salon. If you don’t live near the surf, schedule a series of visits to your neighborhood tanning salon. A longer set of short trips provides you with the most even tan while reducing your risk of sunburn. Be sure to use a moisturizing skin lotion to offset the harsh UV rays. Extra Cool Indoor Tanning Lotion from Nuvo Bronz, $25. 1-877-688-6826.

5. Use a sunless tanner for the best skin protection. If you’re just not into the beach, or if you’re worried about the effects that tanning can have on your skin, try a sunless tanning lotion. When used properly, today’s generation of sunless tanning lotions produces results that look just like the real thing. Test a lotion out on an unexposed area of your skin to make sure it looks natural. Apply it gradually over time to let the color even out before your big day. The Healthy Tan by Philosophy, $16. 1-800-568-3151.

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