So you are wondering if you should get a spray tan for your wedding day. There are definitely pros and cons to this decision and beauty routine organizing that needs to happen for it all to come together seamlessly.

My name is Kathryn (learn more about me here) and I am a professional spray tan artist with 17 years of experience and thousands of tans under my belt. I also specialize in bridal airbrush tanning so let me help you consider your options and answer all your questions.

How to decide if you need a spray tan for your wedding?

First things first, do you even need a spray tan? It’s not for everyone and some girls already have a darker skin tone that really doesn’t need any extra enhancements.  And then there are the rest of us pasty girls. So the question is, is your skin the same color as your gown?

You are going to be having some of the most important photos of your life of you and your loved ones taken on your wedding day.  You want to look and feel your best. You also don’t want to blend into your gown.  Highlighting the cut of your dress with a bit of color is recommended.  If you already have a darker skin tone then a spray tan may not be necessary.  Please notice that I said a “bit of color”. Wedding sprays are NOT the same as vacation tans and a pretty glow is all that is required here.  I like to say that your tan is not what is walking down the isle. Your hair, makeup, skin and gown must come together create a beautiful balanced look. Beautiful BRIDE is the goal here!

So if you are one of the many of us gals that have a very natural pale hue to your skin and it’s really close to the color of your gown and you think a little glow would go a long way in brightening you up. Then a spray tan is definitely something to consider trying out.

I’m going to walk through all the common questions and concerns.  I hope that I can help clear up the many misconceptions that I see repeated all around the interwebs.

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Will a spray tan rub off onto my wedding dress?

As long as the following 3 things are true then the answer is NO.

  1. You got sprayed 2 days before your wedding date
  2. You showered 2 times before your wedding date using a sulfate free shower wash
  3. You went to an experienced spray tan artist who uses quality spray tan solution

When shopping for a place to get your spray tan try to find someone who either mixes their own solution and bronzer or has experience spraying clear spray tan solution, meaning there is NO bronzer in it at all. Opting for this helps ensure that you don’t get the bronzer on your gown because there is none.

If you don’t have the option for clear solution where you live but you have showered properly then you don’t have anything to worry about because the bronzer has been washed away leaving just your skin. And I mean wash gently (not exfoliate) with a soft washcloth and a sulfate free shower wash and get under those arms and make sure there isn’t bronzer hanging out on your skin. You cannot just wash off a spray tan.  Ask anyone that has gotten a horrible one and tried.  It’s in the top few layers of your skin and it takes time to fade away as your skin naturally exfoliates.  You can speed up the fading process by by taking long hot showers and using strong soaps like deodorant soaps or scented shower gels.

For info on what to wash with to preserve the life of your tan check out my blog post on: What to Wash with Before & After Your Spray Tan

Will a spray tan make me orange?

Not if you go to a spray tan artist who is using a quality spray tan solution.  There truly are a lot of really great spray tan solutions on the market. This is not the time to shop price.  You are looking for quality.  An experienced spray tan artist is going to have a great spray tan solution because she wants to make her clients happy and want to come back to her over and over again. Ask to see photos of the girls she has sprayed. You can check out my gallery here. I always recommend that you are looking for an independent spray tan business owner. She is going to have control over what products she uses and finding the best solution available will be her top priority.

How many days before my wedding should I get my spray tan?

I recommend 2-3 days before your wedding date.  There is a reason that the busiest days of the week for me in the spray room are Wednesday and Thursday. Those are the perfect days for all of the brides and their maids to get their tans for Saturday. And it keeps your fresh spray tan out of the way of your rehearsal dinner.

Will a spray tan work with my makeup?

Here we are talking about your foundation color.  You may need to get a different color of foundation for the perfect match to your new tan self.  Go to a professional to have your color match. Either with your makeup artist or if you are doing your own makeup get a foundation match from your preferred makeup line.

Should I have a spray tan trial before the wedding?

Absolutely please! If you have never had a spray tan before and you are not sure what to expect you should 100% get in for a trial run before the big day.  I recommend that you are coordinating your spray tan trial 2 days before your hair and makeup trial.  This way you have a complete look and the perfect makeup color already chosen before your wedding date and there is nothing to worry or stress over.  It makes your life easier to have all of these details already worked out.

If you have already had your hair and makeup trial or you are pressed for time then 2 weeks before the wedding works fine.  It gives plenty of time for the tan to completely fade away in case it’s not your thing and if you do love it then there is enough time for you to get another one without layering new tan on top of old, ensuring that you are perfectly bronzed for the big day. Layer a fading tan with a fresh spray is not recommended especially for brides.  We need your skin looking flawless for your photos.

How does spray tan look in photos?

Great question! A spray tan shows up in photos just a bit darker than it does in real life.  If you are about 1 shade lighter than you think it should be that’s when its the perfect color for your pictures. Think less is more.  It’s that tiny little change that really makes your eyes pop, your teeth look whiter and people ask what you have been doing because you look so great.  It’s not about looking tan. It is about smoothing out your skin tones so that your photog has less editing to do.  Win/win!

How do I organize my appointments for my waxing, mani/pedi, and spray tan and why does it work this way?

I call this a beauty timeline.  When organizing your appointments for your beauty routine the preferred order is waxing at least 24-48 hours before your spray tan appointment. Mani/pedi the day before or morning of your spray tan appointment and spray tan is last on the list.  Once we get the tan on you then we are all done with the beauty prepping.

The reasons we need to keep things in this order are that waxing removes skin along with the hair and will remove your tan leaving white patchy looking places. Not the look we are trying to achieve.

A word on having your eyebrows waxed the week of your wedding: please be careful and know who you are going to or do it the week before.  Over the years I have seen many many burns and torn off skin in the delicate eye area from the wax being too hot. Not cute for wedding photos.

We need you to have your nails done before your spray tan because of all the chemicals that are involved with the process of putting nails on and taking them off.  Acetone, nail drying agents, exfoliators, lotions and oils are all damaging to your tan. You will be showing off your new ring and we really want your hands looking perfect without white areas where they soaked your tan off along with the old set of gel nails that you had on.

Speaking of nails.

Will a spray tan ruin my acrylic/gel/shellac/french nails?

NO, because your spray tan artist should be wiping your nails off after she sprays you to ensure that there is no bronzer left sitting on your nails that could possibly stain.

To read more about having your nails done and getting a spray tan check out this article When to schedule your manicure so you don’t ruin your spray tan.

Should I have my face sprayed and does a MUA have an opinion on this?

KATHRYN: From a spray tan artists perspective I can do either face or no face and just blend up to the jaw line and allow your MUA take it from there. But I’m going to let Leah from Merle Norman chime in on this one!

LEAH MUA AT MERLE NORMAN COSMETICS: I, as a makeup artist, love it when my bride does her pre spray and then comes for her pre bridal makeover two days later. This allows the color to settle into the skin and it will make her day of go even smoother having the correct foundation picked out. So if you are contemplating a spray tan for your wedding or special occasion I 100% say do it! There are guidelines that you do want to stick to but all in all the spray tan will make you feel so much better and give you that extra umph of confidence. Plus whiter teeth, brighter eyes, and smoother skin is not such a bad thing either.

Will a spray tan cover tan lines?

Depends.  How bad are they?  Uneven skin tones and strap lines that have a soft fuzzy edge are able to be blended away.  Hard lined burns and distinct strap line such as with halter style swim suits can be harder to make disappear.  I say I can always make them look better but if they are too bad I may not be able to make them vanish.

The better plan is to not get them in the first place.  If your gown is strapless and your wedding is in the summer, then your new best friend is the tube top, sunscreen and bandeau style swimsuit.  If your dress is backless then cover up and stay out of the sun until after that wedding day!

Also, sunburns tend to start peeling 2-3 weeks AFTER you get them.  A spray tan cannot fix peeling skin and it cannot cover it up.  As the skin continues to peel the tan will go with it leaving white patchy looking areas.  Not picture pretty.

Should my bridesmaids and/or my fiance get a spray tan too?

For this one think about your photos. We have all seen wedding pictures where there is one person that just really stands out. They are way too pale or way too dark. This is where your eye naturally goes. Various shades of medium will create a nicely balanced look.

So think about the skin tones of the girls in your wedding party. If anyone is on the extreme end of pale then a little spray tan can help. Also think about what color your bridesmaids dresses are.  If they are the blush pink, soft peach, yellow, mocha or pale lavender then your girls may need a tan.  These colors are often hard to wear being very close to skin color (especially the blush pink) and to have the dress show nicely a little color on the skin is necessary.

Take aways on getting a spray tan for your wedding

Just like anything in life in the spray tan world you get what you pay for.  No one has ever said, “my spray tan was just ok”.  It’s either the most horrible thing ever or the most life changing experience.  So if you and your maids are going to get a spray tan for your wedding we definitely want to go for life changing!

That means that if you don’t have an amazing spray tan artist on speed dial already then you are going to have to do some research.

  • There are different spray tan solutions on the market (some are great, some are not) Look for someone that is using a custom blended solution. Stay away from the generic brands.
  • There is the spray tan technicians experience to consider (practice makes perfect) Can you see pictures of her work? How long has she been spraying? Does she have a professional reputation? How often does her name come up when you are looking for recommendations?

You are going to have to ask around. There is usually a go-to gal in each town.  Just like you know where the amazing salon is with the top notch hair stylist, and the girl who is known to be the rock star of eyebrows, and the best colorist in town.  There is a also the best spray tan artist.  You just have to find her. She is probably locked away in her spray room because she’s slammed with appointments.

Which leads to your next problem…….getting on her books once you do locate her. (wink)

Getting married in NWO then click here to find out How to get an appointment for a spray tan with Kathryn from SunSpray

Not in NWO no worries feel free to share this info with any of your fellow brides who are wondering if they should get a spray tan for their wedding.  I am happy to help and hope you find a wonderful spray tan artist near you.

Love and Sunshine Kathryn Signature

Hi, I’m Kathryn! I’m here to help you have the best spray tanning experience possible. When I’m not creating beautiful sunless tans, I am working with my students or writing for my blog sharing everything I know about how to get the perfect spray tan, how to give the perfect spray tan, and how to build a boutique spray tan business.

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