Bridalplasty: What procedures brides are undergoing before the big day

Something borrowed, something blue, something Botox.
(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

When Dr. Cory Goldberg performed a breast augmentation on a bride-to-be a few years ago, she was so thrilled with the results, she invited him to the wedding.

"She actually mentioned me in her wedding speech," said Goldberg, a plastic surgeon in Toronto. "She said, 'I want to thank Dr. Goldberg for making this a more beautiful day.'"

With reality TV shows like Bridalplasty popularizing pre-wedding cosmetic surgery and women getting married later in life, plastic surgery and other non-invasive cosmetic enhancements are becoming the norm for some brides who want to look their best on their big day, say dermatologists and plastic surgeons. Goldberg said he's seen a consistent stream of brides requesting breast augmentation and rhinoplasty (nose job) throughout his ten years of practice, and dermatologist Dr. Julia Carroll said she sees double the number of brides-to-be today than she did a decade ago.

Allyson Donovan, winner of Bridalplasty

"Ten years ago it was more the mothers of the brides and mothers of the grooms that were coming in," said Carroll, co-owner of Compass Dermatology in Toronto. "Now, I see brides and their maid of honour coming in for some pre-wedding Botox."

Carroll attributes the increasing number of bride clients to three things: women getting married later in life, dress styles becoming more revealing and the quality of wedding photography increasing.

At her practice, she sees women in their 20s, 30s and 40s coming in for Botox to smooth crow's feet and fillers to plump up lips before their wedding day, she said. For women getting married in backless or low-cut dresses, they often come in to receive laser treatments to address acne or acne scars, she said.

Carroll has also seen increasing interest in hand treatments in the last two years, likely due to the popularity of close-up photos of hands and rings. Hand treatments may involve using lasers to remove sun spots and injectables to smooth out fine lines.

"I just want to look and feel my best for the big day," said Toronto bride-to-be Michelle Colenutt, 34. "I want (my skin) looking fresh faced and fabulous for the close-up pictures, for my honey, for myself."

Before her upcoming wedding day in October, Colenutt will receive an oxygenating facial – a treatment popular with celebrities, which involves applying oxygen under pressure to skin – laser treatment for brown spots on her face and sun spots on her chest, and Botox between her eyebrows. She estimates the procedures will cost around $1500.

For others, surgery is the route they'll take to achieve their wedding day look.

"I wanted (the day) to be perfect, ultimately, like every bride," said Donna Lutchman, 31, recalling  why she decided to get a breast enhancement six months before her June wedding.

Growing up, her breasts were different sizes, and even after a breast reduction on one breast at age 19, they remained unsymmetrical, she said.

"I didn't want to be self-conscious on my wedding day," said Lutchman, though she was still nervous to have the procedure. "This was a good motivator."

Donna Lutchman

Lutchman wore a strapless gown on her wedding day and said she felt "amazing." Her breasts were previously a small B cup and a large C cup. She is now a D cup size in both breasts and no longer rearranges padding in her bra to make her breasts appear symmetrical, she said.

While Goldberg in Toronto said he hasn't seen in increase in patients coming in for surgery before their weddings, he's consistently seen brides throughout his decade of practice. In fact, he finds wedding trade shows are great places to find new clients.

Katrina Clarke is a Toronto-based journalist who writes about relationships, health, technology and social trends. You can find her on Twitter at @KatrinaAClarke.