As a skin and beauty therapist I'm constantly exposed to trends in the beauty and bridal industry. From Hollywood to the Highveld � this is what 2009's brides are doing to look and feel beautiful on their wedding day.

Scratching the surface

Natural nails are definitely more popular than acrylic or gel ones; which give you a synthetic, over-styled look and can even make holding the bouquet awkward.

If you are sitting on your hands just thinking about this then its time for you to take a break. Ditch the falsies and give your nail bed time to replenish.

In our treatment studio we do marine mineral glow manicures and pedicures that stimulate the skin and nails and leave your hands and feet looking years younger, naturally.

You are officially required to stop washing the dishes now! Yes, there are gloves but you'll soon learn to mysteriously lose these! After all� this is the final acid-test for any husband-to-be.

We recommend that you take a quality nail-strengthening multivitamin like 'Skin Essentials' by Solar Technologies which will boost your skin and hair at the same time.

Closer to the time try a polish from the Essie bridal collections colour range that provides a beautiful French manicure or a natural look. Note the one you like and schedule your final manicure and pedicure for the day before (or even the morning of) your wedding.

Batting your eyelashes

Lash Extensions are still extremely popular for brides as they add thickness and length to the lashes.

If you are looking for the hottest trend that is also no-fuss at all, go for eyelash perming. A simple procedure that is over in 30 minutes � an eyelash perm curls the natural lashes � opening up the eye. It lasts for up to eight weeks and looks entirely natural.

Bridal make-up trends

Choose a make-up artist that has been recommended to you by a trusted source or someone you have seen the finished product on. If you've seen something you like up close and personal, take a good look at how the make-up photographs too.

The make-up that the artist uses is important to consider. If you want to try a new product be sure to test it on your skin weeks before.

If you like a certain professional brand, enquire in-store about whether they have make-up artists for weddings � remember to always do a trial and confirm and reconfirm your date, your venue and all other requests.

Some things to remember:

  • The make up is only as good as the skin you apply it to. Professional Facial Treatments will do wonders for your skin tone so that your make up glides on and stays on. Flaky or dead skin build-up makes application difficult and shortens staying power.
  • Do keep your skin looking dewy and fresh by using a tinted moisturiser or moisture-balanced make-up.
  • Do remember that foundations with some yellow undertones work best with flash photography.
  • Don't get carried away with shimmer highlighters or light-refractive make-up. In photos your shimmer can easily turn into an unflattering and highly reflective shine.
  • Do ask your make-up artist to leave you with a small offering of the lipstick he/she has used on your lips for the big day. With all that smiling and kissing � you will need plenty of touch ups.
  • Bridal make-up should be simple, yet elegant. It's important to remember that make-up should not compete with your dress but rather complement your overall look.

Bridal hair trends

Skip the veil

In recent years, many brides have chosen not to wear a veil and that trend continues into 2009. If this is what you are thinking then wear your hair pulled off your face and secure it with a tiara (very hot right now) or headband. If a veil is part of your look and something you want in your tradition then be sure you rehearse this with your hairstylist. Decide when you want to take it off and be sure you are able to 're-design' your look without it.

Half up, half down

Up or down? That's the age old dilemma when choosing a wedding hairstyle. One of the most popular trends in terms of bridal hairstyles is the half-up, half-down look.

This style pulls some of your hair away from your face, but also leaves the back portion of the hair long and flowing for effect. The emphasis is on romance in 2009 and this includes loose up-styles, soft (not tight and stiffly sprayed) ringlet curls and long, soft waves. It's a more natural look than the coiffed up do.

Don't wash your hair the day of your wedding. It will be too soft to hold any style. Instead wash it the day before.

Do schedule a practice appointment with your hairstylist before the big day to decide on your look and avoid last minute mishaps. Take photos of your 'do' and wear it for the day to see how it holds up.

Sparkling crystals

Crystals are popular bridal hair accessories in 2009 but not just in the form of hair combs, pins and headpieces. Crystals can be woven into the hair on thread to give your style an overall, subtle sparkle. They can also be used with long or short hair, worn up or down.

Don't experiment with a new colour too close to the big day. I recommend colouring your hair at least a month before your wedding. This will give the colour time to tone down, and if (gasp) it's the wrong shade, there's time to fix your mane.

Bridal dress designs:

In addition to satins and heavy, wild silks, which remain very popular this year, there is an increasing number of newer fabrics that are now available to create your dream dress...

Fabric basics

Sheer fabrics such as chiffons and organza's can give you a light breezy look, whilst tulle skirts bring an ethereal, cloud-like appearance to your ensemble. Velvet has started making an appearance, especially in winter wedding couture where it provides beautiful texture, depth and warmth.

Fast becoming a trend (and concurrent to the need to significantly reduce our carbon footprint) is a wedding dress that is eco-friendly and ethically created.

Eco-friendly wedding dresses are made of material woven out of natural fibres like organic cotton, fair trade hemp or ethically spun silk. If you can't find wedding dresses made out of eco-friendly material, another chic option is to wear a vintage wedding dress � maybe your mom still has hers and will lend it to you?


Surface treatments have expanded from the traditional lace appliqu�s on dresses. Embroidery, scattered beads and pearls are creating lighter more artful designs to accent simpler dresses without lace.

Lace is still a popular favourite. However, the current trend is for a lighter feel with smaller patterns and more intricate details, to give your gown a fresher contemporary look.

Trims are central to creating impact on wedding gowns this year, however they are not being used all over the dress, instead they are strategically placed on necklines or sashes to add detail to otherwise simple dresses and enhance the bride's appearance.

Bridal accessory trends

The vintage-inspired look uses antique silver hair accessories and jewellery, small and very manageable bird cage or visor veils (more accessory than veil) � as well as outrageous feather and flower combs � all of which are a throwback to the 1920s.

The vintage look is also the perfect opportunity to incorporate family heirlooms; timeless pieces that can be used with the in the hair or as an embellishment on gowns.

Use dazzling bouquet jewellery to accentuate your bouquet, and long dramatic beaded gloves for extra glam.

Vintage gold

The past year has been hailed as the return of gold bridal accessories. Brides are choosing darker-coloured gowns in tones like champagne and dark ivory and in natural fabrics such as raw silk. Victorian-style gowns accented with gold-tones are also popular this season. Nothing complements these colours and textures better than timeless gold jewellery. There is just something about the richness of the colour gold that oozes the feeling of luxury and elegance.

Natural and organic

Continuing to be very hot this season is the trend to incorporate natural or 'organic' elements and shapes into jewellery designs. The natural shape and beauty of fresh water pearls, mixed with glazed stones and dazzling Swarovski crystals, inspire exquisite bridal designs. A perfect match for a romantic destination wedding!

Your own style

Your wedding is an opportunity to express your individual style, allowing you to express more than one trend, mixing vintage with romantic or whether you chose to be eco-friendly with a naturally woven gown and freshwater pearls. Be sure to borrow only minimally between trends as you don't want to end up looking like a Christmas Tree.

You have to accept that you can only have one dress on this one day. Settle on your style and stick with it. If you are going simple and creamy � don't despair � you can always wear a slightly outrageous gold dress to your anniversary dinner! Have fun, breathe deeply and enjoy every second of this special day.