We've gathered our favorite self tanning tips to help you achieve a perfect wedding day glow! From our advice on preparation to a few of our favorite products, we have everything you need to get golden.

self tanning products

First, we cannot stress how necessary it is to test each product you use. Even if you are a self-tanning maven, you need to make sure that the color provided is complementary to your own skin tone. It's also a good idea to see if you are allergic or sensitive to the product itself. Test on a small area that you can conceal easily, but also is reflective of your overall skin tone, such as your legs or shoulders. Especially if you are new to self tanning, give the product 48 hours to get a completely realistic view of the final color.

Make sure to schedule your "tanning" for a time that makes sense for your schedule. You shouldn't be trying self tanner the night before your wedding (a good rule for any beauty product, actually). Do a test run in the months or weeks before your wedding so that you will feel like you've mastered whatever application process works best for you.

Next, you need to exfoliate (this may be the most important of all our self tanning tips). Don't do this right before you use self tanner. Your skin will likely be irritated and the application will not be quite as smooth if you do. Instead, do it the day before, paying extra attention to commonly tricky areas like your heels, elbows, and knees. Follow this up with moisturizing thoroughly. The more soft and supple your skin is, the more evenly the product will absorb into your skin.

On the day of, most people find it helpful to use a pair of gloves or a mitt for application to avoid those tell-tale streaky orange hands. If your skin is very dry, you can moisturize a little beforehand, but any residual greasiness can cause an uneven result, so use lotions sparingly. Apply the product using the recommended amount of product. Using less can make application difficult, and more will simply waste the self tanner.

If you are new to self tanning, you might find it more comfortable to build your tan in layers. Don't freak out if the result is a deeper shade or a little uneven. Use a very gentle exfoliator mixed with olive oil to scrub out patchy places. Many women also find it beneficial to shave their legs the next day to produce a seamless finish.

Before you go shopping for a self tanner, consider how tan you really want to be on your wedding day. Most brides want to look like a sunkissed version of themselves, rather than a bronzed goddess. Remember that if you want to be tan on your beach honeymoon, that doesn't mean you have to be that tan on your actual wedding day (we have a recommended product for that in just a second). When considering products, you may want to choose one for your wedding day and another for your vacation.

For lighter skin tones, we recommend Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel for a subtle, warm finish and easy application.

clarins self tanner
Photo: Clarins

Medium to darker skin tones will appreciate L'Oreal's Sublime Bronze line of products, particularly their most recent spray, the Pro Perfect Airbrush.

self tanning spray
Photo: L'Oreal

Want to totally fake your glow? Use a bronzing illuminator rather than a self tanner. We like Lorac's Tantalizer for most skin tones.

bronzing illuminator
Photo: Lorac

If you want to have a deeper tan on your honeymoon, we recommend Tan Towels. These towelettes provide great bronzed coverage and are easily to travel with.

self tanning towelettes
Photo: Tan Towels