The wedding day is a joyful occasion that many look forward to, often starting at a young age. It is seen as a day of celebration, great food and wonderful company. All eyes are on the couple and there is plenty of preparation that goes into making sure everyone is looking and feeling their best. Brides often go above and beyond to make sure their hair and make-up are perfect. All around the world though, there are unique bridal preparations and makeup rituals that provide a peek into cultures around the world.
The United States
In the United States, many brides and their bridesmaids pamper themselves by getting manicures and pedicures a few days before the wedding followed by hair and make-up the morning of the big day. The Maid of Honor is usually responsible for making sure everything is planned accordingly and the bride can sit back and relax. It is starting to become more popular to hire a pre-wedding service and bridal prep team to help out on the big day. In regards to make-up, brides tend to stick to natural matte colors and emphasize their eyelashes.
The day before a wedding ceremony in India, it is traditional for a professional henna artist or family member to paint the hands and feet of the bride. These intricate drawings are left to dry overnight and then removed the following day, lasting up to a week. This tradition is said to help relieve any tension or stress the bride is carrying. In regards to makeup, brides tend to wear dark black eyeliner and colorful shades of eyeshadow to match the various saris worn throughout the occasion. They also wear a tilak which is a small red dot placed between the eyebrows directly on the forehead. When it is applied it is said to prevent any loss of energy. Brides in the southern part of India though will wear braids and elaborate ornaments and headdresses, complemented by bright and bold makeup.
Yemen weddings are known for having lavish decor, festive music, bountiful food and sometimes a thousand guests. The bride has plenty of time to prepare as she is given five days to complete all the rituals. This starts on the first day with the bride putting on a veil for the full duration. The second day, she visits a Turkish bathhouse to help rejuvenate her skin, followed by a henna party on the third day where the bride has her hands and legs adorned with designs, and then is covered in gold jewelry on the fourth day, also known as Gold Day. Over the years though, young women have begun to opt out of following many of these traditions and tend to take up more Western-style wedding customs.
South Korean wedding celebrations often include a Western-style ceremony where the couple wears white dresses and suits, followed by a traditional Korean wedding. During this period, they change into traditional outfits with the bride being adorned with red dots on her cheeks as a way to ward off any bad energy and protect them from evil. Some claim that the red dots represent youth and virginity. In terms of overall make-up, South Koreans usually choose soft and matte shades.
On the small Muslim island of Zanzibar, just off the coast of East Africa near Tanzania, brides follow a long list of traditions in preparation for the big day. Her mothers closest friend will spend the day with her providing a full beauty treatment including attending to her hair, nails and exfoliating her skin with a mix of lime juice and sugar. The idea is that her skin should be as smooth as possible for the wedding day. Similar to in India, henna is drawn on her hands and feet and her head is covered in oil and twisted. There is a thick coating of make-up along with a heavy anointing of perfumed oil over her body.