If and when you decide to get married, prepare to receive a lot of unsolicited advice. As someone who just walked down the aisle after a decade of dating my now-husband, trust me on this one: From the dress you wear to the tablecloths at the reception, everyone will have an opinion. What they won’t discuss with you in depth is your wrinkles.
Not even my mother, who has something to say about literally everything, could counsel me as to when exactly I should treat the lines that seemed to be deepening between my brows (commonly known as “the elevens”) as I prepared to say “I do.” In fact, she was asking me the same question. As the mother of the bride, she wanted her wrinkles to look smoothed out in pictures, which meant dabbling in injectable wrinkle reducers for the very first time. While I’ve gone under the needle now and again for the past three years and have consulted countless derms on the topic at large, I don’t consider myself an expert on the subject of scheduling an appointment.
[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers are used to temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face such as the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet. They should not be used more frequently than every three months. Like any medical treatment, they have potential risks and side effects. Be sure to talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you. Have more questions? Chat with our team of trained aesthetics specialists now.]
For my wedding day (and my photos!), I wanted to look like a smoother version of myself — not stiff or surprised upon meeting my man at the altar. A quick search online for “when to get injectable wrinkle reducers prior to a wedding” produced ranged from six months to two weeks, but I wanted nothing short of absolute precision. So, I tapped some of the top pros for their best tips and tricks on looking smooth on the big day.
Do a Trial Run
Since injectable wrinkle reducers shouldn’t be administered more frequently than every 90 days, Anna Guanche, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Bella Skin InstituteSM in Calabasas, California suggests scheduling a test appointment at least three to six months before your wedding to see if you like the results. This timetable allows the effects to dissipate before re-treating problem areas ahead of the big day. You should also do some homework prior to your appointment. Review “before and after” photos of past patients to make sure the office you’ve selected is aligned with your aesthetic vision. Lastly, you can also arrange for a consultation prior to your treatment, so that you and your provider can map out a plan without the pressure of undergoing a procedure on the spot.
[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers should not be used more frequently than every three months.]
Plan Carefully For the Big Day
While opinions varied between the pros I consulted, the consensus was that six weeks from your wedding date is the ideal time to schedule your final, “bridal” appointment for injectable wrinkle reducers. (Remember, you can’t be retreated any sooner than every three months.) “Injectable wrinkle reducers take a few weeks to fully kick in, and we can’t always predict the exact way your muscles will respond,” says Nancy Samolitis, MD, board-certified dermatologist and co-founder and medical director of FACILE®. Building in time for a follow-up appointment will help ensure you and your provider can ensure the results you want.
Should you do that aforementioned trial run like a dutiful bride, you can buy yourself a bit more time. “If one of my clients had a treatment in the past with good results, it can be a bit more predictable, but I still prefer [to see an existing patient] about four weeks prior to the event,” Dr. Samolitis adds. For the procrastinators among us, keep in mind that you need at least two weeks between your appointment and the big day, because the full results of injectable wrinkle reducers don’t go into effect until the 30-day mark.
Discuss Best Treatment Plan for You
“An experienced injector should not try to iron out every single wrinkle,” explains Dr. Guanche, who compares facial muscles to a tension wire in that they all pull on one another. Talk to your licensed provider, who can work with you on a specialized treatment plan that will preserve some motion and allow your expression to shine through. For me, Dr. Guanche did this by injecting my glabellar complex (a group of muscles responsible for the formation of frown lines) and my frontalis (a muscle that extends from the eyebrows to the top of the forehead).
Form a Relationship With Your Licensed Provider
Just as you built a precious bond with your partner prior to your wedding, you’re going to want to spend some quality time getting to know the person wielding a needle near your face. “The best way to achieve your goals is with time and building a plan with your provider that will keep you looking like you,” explains Danielle Nadick Levy, co-founder and CEO of FACILE, who opened her first hybrid dermatology office, spa, and beauty boutique in West Hollywood after discovering that getting wedding-ready wasn’t exactly fun or foolproof. “Planning a wedding can be stressful, but the preparation you do to look your best should be a pleasurable experience. Find a place and an individual that you trust and enjoy.”
That said, don’t be fooled by frills or persuaded by cheap prices. “An experienced injector is key — this is not the time to shop around for a deal,” warns Dr. Guanche. “Trust your [face] to the best!” Don’t be swayed by bargains — look for solid credentials, instead. (Discover more tips for finding a qualified provider here, and consult with our team of trained aesthetic specialists to find a licensed provider near you.)
I know what you’re thinking right now, because I was thinking, it too: A wedding is expensive — like really freaking expensive. Say the word “wedding” to most vendors and the price instantly triples. Your face, however, is one place you definitely want to invest. (Think about the photos and the selfies every guest is going to want to snap with you.) Skimp on the fancy tablecloths and the monogrammed cocktail napkins, because let’s be honest, those in attendance really only care about the open bar.