If we had a dollar for every time we heard a bride described as "glowing," we'd be rich. Sure, they say it stems from the sheer joy of the day, but some clever brides amp up their glow with outside means—we're talkin' self-tanner.

Yep, a little skillfully applied bronzing cream can work wonders—especially in photos. And it's not just about looking more sun-kissed—according to St. Tropez Skin Finishing Expert Sophie Evans, self tanner can also be used "as a skin perfecter" because it can "camouflage perceived imperfections like uneven skin tone, visible veins, and even cellulite." Here, her top tips for getting it right...

Don't... wait until your wedding day to get glowing. It may seem like a no-brainer, but it'd be easy for a busy bride to forgo a trial period. "It’s helpful for brides to start self tanning a month before the wedding so that they are used to seeing themselves with a glow," says Evans. Just be sure to exfoliate every two to three days to avoid color build-up. That way, you get the truest sense of how any given product is performing.

Do... settle on a shade before your makeup trial, as it can have a major impact on your look. "A natural glow on the face is almost like a semi-permanent foundation," says Evans. "You might not want to wear as much makeup as you would without it." And make sure to opt for a specialized formulation: "The pH balance on your face is slightly higher than that of the rest of your body, which can make a self-tan develop darker," says Evans. Those blends made just for the face account for this difference—Evans loves St. Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Face Sheet Mask ($9; ulta.com).

Do... consider using a setting spray on your big day. (A white dress, self tanner, and dancing-induced sweat can be a recipe for disaster.) You can use those intended for your face (we like Urban Decay All Nighter, $31; sephora.com) or go the DIY route and brush oil-absorbing baby powder over sweat-prone areas.

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