Hey there, Kate,
So, I'm realizing that I'm inadvertently amassing different tan lines just from walking around outside. Given that my dress is strapless, I need to figure out a (hopefully nontoxic and noncancerous) way to even out - any ideas?
Thanks so much for writing! I'm glad you asked this question; sometimes, with everything else brides have to plan, they forget about unflattering tan lines. This is especially a concern now that strapless and asymmetrical dresses are so popular.
The easiest solution is a combination of awareness and prevention. Keeping your skin healthy and radiant is easily achieved by avoiding the sun when you can and by using a good sunblock when you can't. I recommend the Badger line of sunscreens. They are natural, organic, moisturizing, safe for all ages, and they smell delicious! Make sure to apply generously and often, and you will be a fair-skinned beauty on your wedding day.
Eco-chic tip: On your wedding day, you can accessorize and protect your complexion with a bamboo and rice paper parasol.
Image: Studio 1923
But what about brides who prefer a sun-kissed glow on their big day? Achieve this look using an effective and eco-friendly self-tanner. I recommend these Lavera self-tanning products; they are all-natural and organic, and allow color to build up gradually so you avoid streaks and unnatural orangey tones. You can also try organic bronzing cream or bronzing powder to attain a natural-looking rosy radiance, or to blend in any tan lines you might already have.
I am not a big fan of spray-on tans, but you can find some salons that use an organic solution. Google "Organic Spray Tanning Salons" for options. If you choose a spray tan, schedule your first appointment several months before your wedding to make sure you like the result. Your final appointment should be several days before the wedding to ensure that the spray is completely set and doesn't smear onto your dress.
No matter which method you choose to avoid unsightly tan lines on your wedding day, make sure you try the product well in advance. A rash, inflammation, or other unexpected reaction is far worse than a bathing suit tan line!
Image: Michele Waite
If you do choose to spend time in the sun before the wedding, match your bathing suit to your dress. Bandeau tops will keep you line-free for almost any dress style, including strapless, but you can likely find a suit that is the same style as your gown (halter-style bathing suit for a halter dress, etc). Keep your skin moisturized and protected, though, and limit your time in the sun. You should also try to avoid exposure during the peak hours of 10am-2pm. This is just as important during your honeymoon! Take good care of your skin, and you'll have wonderful memories and beautiful photographs instead of a painful sunburn.