Should You Tan Before Your Wedding?

Should You Tan Before Your Wedding?
Rex Features

Alongside the cake, the dress, the venue and the guestlist, tanning is another big decision for your big day. Should you? Really?

Most brides like to have a tan for their special day but how do you keep it subtle glow and not day-glo? We had a tonne of questions about how much, which shade, when to do it, where to do it and what to do if your groom's a bit pasty too? It's a beauty minefield so we put it to the pros and gathered advice from the UK's top tanners. This is their golden wedding tanning advice, ignore it at your peril!

So, first off, should you tan for your wedding?
James Harknett, Celebrity Tanning Ambassador for Sienna X: 'The decision to tan for the big day can be tough! If you are a seasoned fake tanner then go for it, but if you're new to tanning, start with a light formula - something that will add a warm gentle gleam, rather than a full dark holiday glow.  It comes down to how people know you and expect to see you. If you have a fair, typical English Rose complexion and come down the isle like a mahogany table then heads will turn but for the wrong reason!  It's best to look at tanning as body make up; a way of evening out the skin tone, with added radiance.'

Jules Heptonstall, St Tropez Tanning Ambassador: 'You have some options: teach yourself to mousse and mitt, watch Youtube videos, practice and teach your other half to tan your back. Check with your make-up artist if they offer tanning as part of their bridal package, if they do, they might be able to tan you. Or take your tanning expert with you. I myself have been flown out to locations for brides so their tan is perfect, it’s always an option.'

James Read, Leading Tanning Expert: 'Absolutely! But there are definitely some rules to follow to ensure you look naturally tanned. Exfoliate twice a week in the run up because you want your skin to be the perfect base as this will make sure your tan looks even.'

Is a practice run a good idea?
Jules Heptonstall, St Tropez Tanning Ambassador: 'Yes definitely, practice makes perfect but make sure you don’t apply any self-tan for at least two weeks prior to your real wedding tan to ensure you avoid any type of product build-up.'

How far in advance before the big day should you apply fake tan to get it right?
Jules Heptonstall, St Tropez Tanning Ambassador: 'For bridal tans, I always recommend applying tan at least 2-3 days before so you're absolutely guaranteed that there'll be no transfer onto your dress. In my opinion, a tan’s optimum colour is on day two, so if you’re getting married on a Saturday, tan on the Thursday. Whatever your skin tone, it’s all about choosing a natural looking tan for the big day so I recommend the St.Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse. Remember that you will be stood next to your groom and family, so opting for a natural looking spray tan you won’t look out of place.  
Do tans look the same in the photographs?
James Harknett, Celebrity Tanning Ambassador for Sienna X: 'Everything looks different in the photos, so just like you'd take shots of your hair and make-up trials, you should of your tan too. My advice to brides is to take a selfie outdoors in natural light and in the dress if possible. Take a picture every day for three days in a row after your first trial, then you can decide which day it looks best.
What if the groom's pale skinned?
James Harknett, Celebrity Tanning Ambassador for Sienna Xr: 'If your groom to be is fair skinned, then give him a subtle glow too. Garnier Ambre Soliare Dry Face Mist, £8.49 is popular with the discerning gent. Three sharp blasts across the face is all it takes and he won't look fake tanned, just very healthy. It also glides through beards with ease.'

What are the rules about tanning if you're going to be wearing white?
James Read, Leading Tanning Expert: 'The day after you've had your trial tan, take a picture with your iPhone, flash fully on and wearing a white top, this will show if the tan suits you. Finally, before putting on your wedding dress, apply talcum powder on the areas where your dress is tightly fitted, this will stop the sweat from making the tan transfer onto your dress.'

Can you just tan the areas outside of the dress?
James Harknett, Celebrity Tanning Ambassador for Sienna X: 'You could just tan the areas on show but think of the honeymoon! Sitting around the pool with tanned shoulders and a white tummy might not be ideal.

How can you ensure a seamless tan finish? Give us some tricks!
James Read, Leading Tanning Expert: 'Always wax and shave 24 hours before your tan brides! If you need to shave your legs after applying the tan then use an electric shaver, this will remove the top layer of hair but stop it stripping your tan. Always use a tanning mitt (I'd recommend my James Read Tanning Mitt, £6.50) for a flawless application, as this helps to ensure even colour and no streaks. You can also use the excess tan left on the mitt for your hands after tanning your arms, and for your feet and ankles after doing your legs. After you’ve finished, use a wet wipe on the palms of your hands, making sure that there is no tan left on them at all. Don't wash your hands, you don't want white hands, brown arms! It’s also important to moisturise daily to help your tan fade evenly and last longer.'

Back to Top