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Wedding Beauty Tips: When to Splurge and When to Save

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For Women & Co. by Suzanne Rust,

Going for that gorgeous look on your big day doesn't have to cost big bucks. You just need to know when to tighten (and loosen) those bridal purse strings.

"Knowing when to splurge or save depends on the bride's expectations," says Kimberly Wynn, makeup artist and owner of G. Wynn Artistry. "For instance, if she plans on wearing a very elaborate veil, she should definitely consider investing more in her makeup by hiring a professional artist to help achieve her dream look. When it comes to hair, keep it simple with a neat chignon. This inexpensive style will certainly help the bride stay in her budget; and, most importantly, look chic and polished," suggests Wynn.

Worth the Splurge
"All brides want to look breathtaking walking down the aisle on their wedding day," says Wynn. To look their best, they should avoid shortcuts (on) hair and makeup -- the bridal essentials. "Remember, there are great artists available in all budget brackets to help achieve the look wanted." Wynn suggests investing in a makeup and hair trial. The cost for professional bridal hair and makeup services can vary widely, depending on your location. "In smaller cities [it] can be as reasonable as $150 for hair and makeup. In larger cities you may be looking at upwards of $300," says Keasha Willingham, a hair and makeup stylist who works with the Bridal Association of America.

Ways to Save
If you have decided that your splurge is on the gown and accessories, you can cut some corners on hair and makeup and still look good.

• Look into schools and department stores.
"Don't be afraid to check out your local beauty academies for a simple inexpensive consultation," says Wynn. Prices can average around $20-$25 for really nice looks. Also, remember that department store makeup counters are known for giving complimentary makeovers with a product purchase. "This is definitely the way to go for a budget savvy bride-to-be. A friendly tip goes a long way."

• Go for a natural look.
"Simplicity is the best route when seeking professionals for makeup and hair. Looks that fall on the natural side, such as a simple updo or natural looking makeup, will definitely help keep your budget intact," says Wynn.

• Brush up on your makeup skills -- early.
"There are several ways for the "do-it-yourself" bride to achieve beautiful styles," says Wynn. Live demonstrations on YouTube and Pinterest can show you how to get the look you want by yourself. Once you've found your 'look,' "practice, practice, practice," says Willingham. Drugstores' "higher-end makeup lines like L'Oreal and Maybelline are great and last the day. Get lots of opinions from friends you trust, and take a lot of pictures both indoors and out to see if what you're doing works. I often tell my brides who do not normally wear makeup that the camera sees what you see in the mirror from 10 feet away. So if you think you have applied too heavy, take a step back (literally)," cautions Willingham.

• For accessories, go vintage.
Evening bags, shoes, and hair clips are so sparkly and pretty, it's easy to get carried away. So, try the thrift shop route. "You can fashion nearly any bit of jewelry into something spectacular for your hair," and at a fraction of the cost, says Willingham. If you are a crafty bride, a good site to look at is the DIY Bride.

Otherwise, vintage and thrift stores like the Salvation Army can be a virtual treasure trove of options. I, myself, once found a very gently worn pair of gold leather designer evening shoes for $7; I kid you not. Websites can be great time savers; just be sure to order early enough in case exchanges need to be made: provides a one-stop shopping experience, carrying shoes, headpieces, jewelry, gloves, and more. And while is known for its great selection of shoes, it also has a wedding shop for everyone in the bridal party with every accessory possible.

• Borrow for savings -- and good fortune.
When it comes to jewelry, save, save, save! Aunt Gloria's beautiful pearls? Your sister's gorgeous drop earrings? Your best friend's dazzling bracelet? Use your magic bridal powers and borrow. After all, it's good luck!

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