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How to project perfect bridal body language

Expert Judi James shares her top tips on how to overcome nerves and achieve the perfect pictures for your wedding day

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When you think of the perfect bride you will always think of a woman who is smiling.  

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This should be a simple demand on what is supposed to be the happiest day of your life, but it can be more difficult than you might think. 

For the photos it’s safest to do what the celebrities do and work up a camera smile that you’ve practised in front of the mirror first. It would be great if you could rely on the natural version on the day but when you’re posing for photos you need the prolonged smile that goes on way longer than the natural version. If you do feel your photo smile getting rigid or stretched, look down or behind you, pull your lips together quite tightly and stretch your mouth horizontally as you do so to flex and relax the mouth-muscles. Run your tongue over your front teeth, breathe out, then turn back and smile again.

The smile your groom sees as you walk up the aisle towards him will be etched in his mind for the rest of his life. Before you walk try limbering up and relaxing your lips for a natural smile by quietly repeating the words: ‘You’ and ‘We’, pouting as you say ‘You’ and stretching your lips sideways into a smile shape as you say ‘We’. Then suck your lips in before repeating the letter ‘P-p-p’ as you puff them out again.

In case you find yourself struck by nerves, breathe out, drop your head so that you’re looking at the floor, and relax your features for a couple of seconds. Then breathe in, lift your head up, applying your smile as you do so. Forget everything else apart from the man who is waiting to marry you. Think of something you did that was fun or funny before the wedding plans began. Smile with your eyes and then allow your smile to work its way down to your mouth, displaying a subtle show of teeth.

Wedding day stress will tend to reflect in your shoulder position, too. When we get tense our shoulder muscles contract, bringing our shoulders upward and our elbows inward to form a protective self-hug. If you’re holding a bouquet it’s even easier to bring your arms into the sides of your body in a way that can make you look and feel even more anxious. The shoulder-muscle tension will also affect your facial muscles, making smiles even more forced.

The trick is to re-boot your body posture frequently. Pull up to full height and roll your shoulders back and down. Straighten your arms by your side and hold them a few inches away from your body. Pout with your mouth, and then pull it in to a natural-looking smile. The effect will be external and internal. By changing your external state like this your inner confidence will also be boosted.

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