It's two weeks until I get married—as an editor, here's every beauty treatment I've had in preparation

I'm not proud of it

Bride wearing a wedding beauty look with a floral veil
(Image credit: Getty Images)

I know you're here to read about the wedding beauty treatments I've had, but before we get into that, I want to make one thing clear: I am not someone who has made my wedding my entire personality. Have I spent hours looking at wedding make-up inspiration and the best wedding hair looks? Yes. Did I have my wedding-day perfume determined before I even got engaged? Also yes. But, for the most part, I like to think I've been pretty chilled about it all—I bought the first wedding dress I saw online, I wanted my bridesmaids to pick their own outfits and I've decided against having a hairstylist on the day. 

Truth be told, I've always considered the pressure of needing to 'look your best' for your wedding archaic and, frankly, a bit toxic. Of course, I want to feel like the best version of me on what is sure to be one of the best days of my life, but I don't want to turn on myself in the process. As a beauty editor, I had a game plan from the get-go: start with the wedding beauty treatments as early as possible so that I could have the best canvas to work with. My intentions were good, but with two weeks to go I'll admit I hoped to be further along in my pre-wedding glow-up journey—and the pressure has started to kick in. (Although, my choice to not have any professional photography or videography on the day has made this a lot easier to deal with.)

Shannon Lawlor

(Image credit: Shannon Lawlor)

Because I know I won't be the only bride-to-be feeling this way, I wanted to share my pre-wedding beauty treatments. I'm not doing this for inspiration, by the way. I am a beauty editor who has access to every beauty treatment and product out there, usually free of charge or with a hefty discount, so I don't want you to use this as a shopping list. Instead, I want to share the treatments I have found helpful and the things I have learned along the way, purely as some food for thought for those who are feeling stressed right now. And, truthfully, we all love to be a bit nosey when it comes to other people's weddings, don't we?

So, here it goes: the grotesquely long (and expensive) list of every beauty treatment I've had in the run up to my wedding. Take it with a pinch of salt, please—I'm not proud of it.

1. Hair colour

Shannon Lawlor wedding hair balayage

(Image credit: Shannon Lawlor)

Historically, I get my hair colour done around twice a year—and, if I'm being honest, I haven't been in for a cut much more frequently, either. My hair is a hindrance to my life. It's flat, fine, thin and doesn't hold a curl even if a can of hairspray is emptied onto my head. For this reason, I knew I needed to wear it straight on my wedding day.

Although my natural colour is a dark brown, it's also speckled with greys, so over the course of the past 18 months I have gradually been going blonder via balayage in a bid to blend it all in. Throughout my entire career, I have never been loyal to one hairstylist or colourist, but my biggest piece of advice in the run up to your wedding is to find someone and stick with them—especially if your colour is a work in progress.

With around six months to go, I booked in to see Maxine Heale, hair colourist at Hershesons Fitzrovia, for a consultation, and I immediately knew she was the woman for the job. I had a full head of balayage when my hair was mostly dark (and had about four inches of re-growth at the root). I then booked in for another full-head of balayage with six weeks to go, with the view that this would be my final proper colour appointment. My reasoning for this? When it comes to getting balayage on naturally dark hair, I always think it looks best once it's settled a little bit and grown into itself.

And I'm pleased I made that decision—I'm really chuffed with the way my hair is looking right now. Having said that, because I'm wearing it down and straight, I knew that root regrowth was going to be an issue. So, I have booked in for a root blend and a trim (with the whizz that is Samuel Broadbent, also at Hershesons) two days before my wedding to ensure things look absolutely perfect on the day itself. My biggest piece of advice? Tell your colourist your plans as early as possible—achieving your dream look will likely take more than one appointment, and it's wise to let the experts work out a schedule for you.

2. Botox

Shannon Lawlor and Dr Ahmed El Muntasar

(Image credit: Shannon Lawlor)

Remember, I'm being totally honest here. Do I think I need Botox at the tender age of 29? No. However, I had my first Botox treatment the week after my 27th birthday purely because it's my job to understand the treatments I write about, and I felt as though I wanted to try it. 

I know for certain there are heaps of women out there who, for one reason or another, want to get Botox in the run up to their wedding. So, for those of you who are very much in that camp, I'm sharing my advice and experience. If you're not in that camp, please skip this section.

I have been getting Botox injections in my forehead and between my eyebrows for nearly three years, so for me it wasn't a question of if I wanted Botox for my wedding day but rather when I would have it. 

I am loyal to my aesthetics doctor, Dr Ahmed El Muntasar, but my biggest piece of advice (not just for your wedding day, but always) is to ensure you are seeing a registered doctor for any injectable treatments. Around a year before the wedding, I let Dr Ahmed know the date of my nuptials so that he could tailor my dosage and appointments around it. It's worth noting here that I would never recommend having your first-ever Botox appointment in the run up to your wedding—it's not a reversible treatment and can take months to wear off. Instead, I'd suggest having an initial appointment with a year to go and taking it from there.

As someone who has regular Botox injections, my results tend to last for around six months (so that's around two appointments a year), but I know that I'm happiest with the way my face looks throughout months 2-4. Dr Ahmed has been tailoring my doses over the course of a year to ensure that I was ready for a top-up with two months to go—and I'm happy as a clam with it.

3. Teeth alignment

In 2024, it feels as though teeth alignment is a thing for brides-to-be. While I don't believe anyone should feel pressured to fork out a fortune on having their teeth straightened for the sake of one day, I understand all too well the desire to have the perfect smile for your wedding pictures. While I know many, many people opt for Invisalign treatments, I went for a very similar treatment called Impress (it's all the same technology, it's just carried out slightly differently). Instead of visiting my own dentist for my teeth straightening, I visit an orthodontist at one of the Impress clinics in London. With two weeks to go, I'm still not finished with my treatment—but honestly, I'm so over the moon with the way things are going, I'm really not that bothered by it. My smile looks so much better already.

That being said, I have some learnings and some advice that can be applied to all forms of teeth realignment—from Invisalign to Impress and even fixed braces. Firstly, allow yourself double the amount of time it is expected to take. I don't know a single person whose teeth straightening has gone without a hitch. My initial scans estimated my finish date to be around a month before my wedding, but I've had to have some adjustments (as most people do), so am expecting a few more months until I'm done. Sometimes, your teeth just don't behave in the way they're predicted to. Teeth realignment is a medical procedure—everyone's treatment is different, so it's crucial to remember that nothing is ever set in stone.

The other thing I want to point out is that if you are in a position where your treatment isn't finished and your big day is approaching, you have options. Speak with your dentist and let them know your wedding is coming up—many dentists will agree to remove the 'attachments' from your teeth for a short period of time. They can also advise on how long you might be able to get away with leaving your aligners out on the day without it jeopardising your timeframe. Personally, I'm in a unique position right now where I actually like the way my smile looks with my aligners in. And, because I'm not having professional photographs, I'm more than happy to keep them in place for the wedding.

4. Polynucleotides

Shannon Lawlor after having polynucleotides

(Image credit: Shannon Lawlor)

Okay, this is where things get a bit crazy. I didn't plan to have a polynucleotide treatment before my wedding but I did—and I don't regret it. With around two months to go, polynucleotides started cropping up on my beauty-editor radar. The 'salmon sperm injection' headlines were everywhere, and I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. So, naturally, I booked in with Dr Ahmed to give them a go in order to determine whether they were worth us covering here at Marie Claire (they were)—as always, we don't recommend something unless it's tried and tested.

As a quick explainer, polynucleotide injections are a form of skin booster that aim to reduce the appearance of dark circles with natural-looking results. I had two treatments, three weeks apart from each other. Dr Ahmed actually recommended I have a third treatment to see the best results, but that would have meant having my final appointment three weeks before my wedding. And while I know my results would have been even more impressive (honestly, I'm chuffed to bits as it is) and that things would have most likely been fine, I wasn't prepared to take the risk with a new-to-me treatment.

Why? Well, because polynucleotides are injected into the under-eye area with a cannula that is inserted around your cheekbone, and that means risk of swelling and bruising. As you can see in the above picture (taken five days after my second treatment), I didn't experience any bruising, but there was some evident swelling. In both circumstances, this swelling was totally gone after around a week, but I just didn't want to risk it.

5. Cryo facials

Sunday Riley treatment room

(Image credit: Shannon Lawlor)

Some of my most asked questions over the past year have been around what my facial plans are in the run up to my wedding—and this is something that I knew was going to be a bit of an issue for me. You see, if you are having injectable treatments you have to carefully plan when you can have facials. Most facialists aren't going to want to (and really shouldn't) go ham on your face within around a month of having any injectables.

With quite an intense injectable schedule, I knew I couldn't start a facial plan until four weeks before my wedding. With that in mind, I wanted facials that packed a real punch in terms of results but weren't too invasive (i.e. no microneedling). Having tried most facials available in London, there was one I knew I wanted to lean on in the run up to my wedding to ensure my acne-prone skin looked its glowing best—the Sunday Riley ICE Clear. It entails an hour of cleansing, masking, exfoliation, extractions and, importantly, cryo therapy.

If you're after a sculpted, lifted, glowing finish, I can't recommend a cryo therapy facial enough. I had one with four weeks to go, and will be having a shorter, express version (without the extraction) a few days before the big day.

6. Regular manicures

Shannon Lawlor wedding manicure

(Image credit: Shannon Lawlor)

I am famed amongst my friends and peers for having grossly neglected nails. However, when there's a special occasion I do book in for a good gel manicure—almost always at my go-to salon, Townhouse.

I absolutely have not been going in for regular manicures. However, I do have a good tip. My hen do was six weeks before my wedding, so I booked in for a full works gel manicure on the day of, with exceptional cuticle work. Four weeks later, I am only now having that gel removed, and my cuticles are still looking pretty good. This gives me two weeks to get my nails in their healthiest state again (that means cuticle oil every day and keeping a file in my bag at all time) before my actual wedding manicure, which is booked the day before my wedding.

7. Scheduled rest

Shannon Lawlor after sound bath

(Image credit: Shannon Lawlor)

Scheduling in treatments that champion rest has been my single most effective pre-wedding endeavour—and I recommend it to every bride. As a beauty editor, I'm obviously all about treatments that deliver quick results, but I promise you that nothing will make you glow more than taking time to rest and reset in periods of stress.

This week, I booked in for an express version of one of my favourite facials in existence—the Wildsmith Radical Botany facial. Typically, this facial is an hour long. And while I consider Wildsmith skincare products to be some of the most impressive around (I actually think it might be my favourite skincare brand ever), it's the restorative aspect of this treatment that puts it on a whole other level. Naturally, with only two weeks to go, I'm very short on time at the moment, so when I saw that the brand had a pop-up in Liberty offering express versions of my favourite facial, I knew it was meant to be. 

While the treatments at the brand's home, Heckfield Place, are (in my opinon) the best in the world and the Radical Botany Facial at Fortnum & Mason is elite, I simply didn't have the time or the funds to treat myself to either. The express version at Liberty featured half an hour of guided meditation and some of the most soothing facial massage you can imagine—it was a total reset. Sadly, it seems I'm not the only fan, and every single appointment at the Liberty pop-up is currently sold out (but do keep an eye on the site for any cancellations). However, take it from me—making the time for even half an hour of R+R (whatever that looks like to you) before your wedding will do you wonders.

Beyond that, I have also leant on sound baths to keep me functioning over the past few weeks. I have been having one-to-one sessions with Farzana Ali for well over two years now (although, if you're interested, she also does group classes at Re:Mind in London), and I truly believe they are the only thing that keeps me semi-balanced in times of high stress. If you've never tried sound therapy as a form of meditation or relaxation, I highly recommend booking in for a session wherever you are—there are various forms of group sessions available all over the country, most commonly in yoga studios, so do a quick Google search.

Shannon Lawlor
Executive Beauty Editor

Shannon Lawlor is the Executive Beauty Editor at Marie Claire. With nearly a decade of experience working for some of the beauty industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear, Glamour UK, Stylist and Refinery29, Shannon’s aim is to make the conversation around beauty as open, relatable and honest as possible. As a self-confessed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for hard-working perfumes, fool-proof make-up products and does-it-all skincare.