A spa-themed bridal shower is not only a delightfully indulgent way to toast the bride-to-be, it's a great way for the bridal party to bond amid the frenzy of wedding planning. We asked our Beauty Director, Dana Wood, to suggest the best places across America to host a blowout weekend of relaxation, reflexology or anything involving mud. From a wine-themed "vinotherapie" spa in New York to a Napa hotel famous for its mud treatments, here are nine amazing locations to unwind before the wedding.
Photo: Alison Conklin Photography
Between now and your wedding day, you're sure to have some questions about your bridal party's appearance: Can you ask them to get their hair and makeup done professionally? Is asking them to wear the same makeup—or maybe cover up their tattoos—inappropriate? In our daily etiquette post, our experts will address tough questions about wedding beauty and so much more.
I want my bridesmaids to look as uniform as possible, including the type of makeup they wear, and they're giving me grief about it. Am I being unreasonable?
The identical-bridesmaid rule has gone the way of Melrose Place. Besides, if your attendants have different skin tones and hair color, chances are they'll look less than gorgeous in the same shades, especially in photographs. If you're concerned that one friend needs to finally buy a lipstick, while another would benefit from lessons on using a lighter touch with the blush, handle the issue discreetly by treating everyone to a prenup session with a makeup artist and hairstylist—or go for free makeovers at a department store makeup counter.
Photo: Lisa Lefkowitz
Between now and your wedding day, you're sure to have some tough questions about your bridal party: Can you ask them to get their hair and makeup done professionally? Should your bridesmaids pay for their hotel rooms or should you? In our daily etiquette post, our experts will address tough questions about your wedding party and more.
Can I ask my bridesmaids to alter their appearance?
When you think about who you'd like to include in your bridal party, remember that you're choosing your friends as they are. You can't force people to adopt different grooming habits, such as shaving, tanning, cutting their hair or changing their hair color, just for your wedding day. It's equally unacceptable to ask bridesmaids and groomsmen to promise not to change personal aspects of themselves until after the wedding. Especially off-limits are private decisions they have made or will make about things such as tattoos, family planning or changes in their weight. These decisions can only be made by them, and only on their schedule, not yours.
Day-of decisions such as hair and make-up should be agreed on in advance. Even if you (or perhaps your mom) have offered to pay for these services, you can't insist that someone wear a hair or make-up style that's uncomfortable for them. And give your friends some credit, too. They know that this is an important day for you, and will undoubtedly want to look their best for you. Focus on what matters most-that your loved ones are there to stand beside you.
Photo: Kate Headley
Surely there's a happy medium between footing the bill for everything bridesmaids-related—from hair and makeup to dresses to accommodation—and asking your attendants to pay all the costs themselves. In our daily etiquette post, our experts will address tough questions about finances, your wedding party, and more.
Is the bride expected to pay for all of her bridesmaids' wedding-day hair and makeup sessions?
Is it extremely important to you that all of your bridesmaids get their hair and makeup done professionally? If so, you should foot the bill. Understand that it's a considerable financial commitment these days to be a bridesmaid: Each has to shell out money for a dress, shoes, shower and wedding gifts, the bridal shower itself, the bachelorette party and sometimes a plane ticket and lodging. Professional hair and makeup jobs could add another $100 to $200 to their tally. Pay for the pampering yourself and consider it their bridesmaids' gift.
Looking for a wedding-worthy perfume? Our editors have made it easy by choosing seven sweet, feminine scents that will leave you fresh and beautiful from the ceremony to the reception. Whether you're a floral girl, love fruity scents—or crave something in-between—there is a perfume here for your wedding day.
Huffington Post contributor Sarah Dakar is the beauty director at Sonya Dakar Skincare in Beverly Hills, CA. Here, Dakar shares easy tips for ensuring perfect skin on your wedding day.
On your wedding day, smooth, glowing skin is an absolute must. But that vibrant, flawless, finish found on your face should not stop at the neck—especially if you're in on the top bridal trends and planning to wear a backless, strapless, or short wedding dress. Implementing a full body beauty routine in preparation for your big day can help you appear healthier, more youthful, and even more toned! (And what bride wouldn't want that?) Here, five pre-wedding beauty musts for head-to-toe beautiful skin.
1. Spot treat. Take notice of body blemishes, scars, or extremely dry or rough areas of skin that may take a little more time to amend. The earlier you can address these specific skin problems, the more time you'll have to correct them for your wedding day. If body acne is an issue, consider a sulfur-based spot treatment intended to smooth pimples fast. For graying, rough patches on the elbows, knees, or heels, try a mineral polish containing Dead Sea salts and nourishing essential oils to reinstate evenness to skin. Once you've addressed your more specific skin concerns, you'll have the perfect base for achieving that extra special bridal glow.
2. Slough off lackluster skin. By now, we all know how crucial exfoliation is to keeping our faces looking smooth, bright, and healthy—the same is true of your body! Implementing a full body exfoliating treatment will keep dead, dulling, and dry skin away and reveal a more youthful and glowing appearance. Furthermore, if you do happen to be someone who struggles with occasional or frequent body acne, this extra step can help decongest pore clogging debris and bacteria. Try exfoliating two to three times a week in the shower, and of course, the day of your wedding! Not only will you notice the long-term benefits of smoother, more even-toned skin, but you will also enjoy the immediate effects of improved circulation, which gives the instant appearance of health and vibrancy.
3. Don't neglect other important players. While much of the attention will be on your perfectly polished face, there are a few supporting players worthy of some extra love before the big day. For starters, your hands (particularly the left, ring-wearing one) will draw plenty of stares. Consider investing in a specialized hand treatment formulated to tighten, brighten, and hydrate the delicate skin on your hands. Another important body part to consider: your neck and décolletage, especially if you've opted for a low-cut or strapless wedding dress design. Look for something lightweight and infused with antioxidants designed to lighten dark spots or unevenness caused by sun exposure.
4. Befriend lesser known ingredients like Papain and Omega-3. It won't matter if you've lost your summer tan; if you're using a moisturizing oil or lotion containing the right ingredients you'll glow all year round. Sheen-inducing moisturizers containing Papain, a fancy word for Papaya enzymes, which work to gently dissolve dead and dull skin and promote healthy cell turnover. In addition, Omega-3—that super good-for-you-stuff found in flaxseed and salmon—isn't only beneficial when eaten. It also works wonders when applied topically, soothing irritation and inflammation, as well as increasing luminosity. Body products containing either or both of these ingredients are a great day-of solution for freshly shaved legs or for simply giving you an allover goddess-like sheen.
5. Protect. Nobody likes a sunburned bride—not to mention one with visible tan lines. Ensure that your body care isn't wasted by smoothing on a broad spectrum SPF 30 every day. Want to do more than just protect? Reverse existing damage by using a multipurpose sunscreen that offers lightweight broad spectrum protection and also features regenerative apple stem cells or wrinkle-smoothing synthetic snake venom to soften wrinkles and lift dark spots. There are tons of dual action sunscreens to fit your distinct needs. Just be sure to test them first to keep clear of greasy, white streak-inducing, or overly perfumed sunscreens. Not everyone wants to smell like a coconut on their wedding day.
More From Huffington Post Weddings:
Bridal Guru Colin Cowie Answers Your Burning Design Questions
Is It Fair To Put Your Bridesmaids In Hideous Dresses?
The Most Candid Wedding Advice You'll Ever Read
State-of-the-art curling irons let you make wedding waves like a professional stylist. One of our favorites, the Paul Mitchell Pro Tools Express Ion Curl Turnstyle, features a rotating barrel that's best for creating lush, bouncy curls and forties-era Veronica Lake waves. It's even ideal for short hair: The clamp holds cropped locks in place while they're curling. "After curling your hair, spray a flexible, water-based hairspray directly onto a nylon and boar bristle brush," says stylist Sarah Potempa. "It will bring curls together to make a beautiful wave."
Photo: Thayer Allyson Gowdy
You'll look gorgeous on your wedding day—but will you look like yourself? Glamour contributing beauty editor Andrea Pomerantz Lustig, author of How to Look Expensive, shares why you should let your natural beauty shine on your big day.
BRIDES: When women get engaged, there's a tendency to want to do a major beauty overhaul from top to bottom. What's the best way for brides to arrive at a pretty middle ground—so they look like the very best version of themselves, but natural, too?
ANDREA POMERANTZ LUSTIG: The goal of good hair and makeup is to make you look like yourself, only better—which is actually the name of the makeup chapter in my book! Many women make the mistake of thinking they have to redo themselves before their wedding, when actually they need to stay true to themselves and strive for polished and put together, without veering into overdone.
I think the best way to achieve this middle ground is to keep the "you, only better" philosophy in mind with every beauty decision you make for your wedding. If it doesn't feel comfortable, don't buy it or do it. The goal is to achieve a look that gives you confidence and makes you feel like a million bucks—while staying true to the look your fiancé fell in love with. That way, you'll be noticed for your happiness and inner beauty at your wedding, not the new hair color or lipstick shade you're sporting.
Photo: Courtesy of Andrea Pomerantz Lustig
And I speak from experience! I let a colorist convince me to double-process my hair for my own wedding and make me blonder. Now I look at the pictures and my hair just looks brassy and unnatural and it doesn't match my skin tone. It wasn't me and now I have to live with the evidence.
Your wedding-day beauty checklist is filled with dress fittings, hair trials, spa treatments and more—at this point in the game you may not have time to head to the gym until midnight. Why not get your daily workout done at home? These 10 fitness DVDs will help you strengthen, tone, improve flexibility, and slim down your bridal body—most in as few as 20 minutes a day. Whether you want to dance, lift weights, or tackle Pilates for the first time, we've found a great way for you to get in shape for your wedding.
Beauty blunders are a major hassle, but on your wedding day they can lead to complete chaos. What do you do if you wake up with puffy eyes? What happens if you snag a run in your stocking on the way to the ceremony? What do you do if your engagement ring gets stuck on the wrong hand? Not to worry. We asked several noted wedding planners to weigh in on how to solve 15 of the most common wedding-day beauty emergencies. Their answers range from genius quick fixes (who knew safety pins were so handy?) to solutions a bit more complicated.
Looking to up your glam factor fast? When in doubt, do what the stars do (Cameron! Emma! Blake!) and work spunky pops of hot pink into your wedding day makeup. "Cherry adds a fresh element to your look," says Sarah Lucero, global creative director for Stila. Since bright pinks can span the undertone spectrum from warm to cool, try a few options during your gown fitting or while wearing a white top. For extra insurance, "take photos in natural or evening light—whatever reflects your plans for the big day," says Maybelline New York makeup artist Melissa Silver.
It's easy to re-create this fresh, wedding look at home—just make sure you grab an assistant! Whether they're your maid of honor's hands or your mama's, you'll need an extra set to execute this look well.
With just a few days left before the big day, you still have a mile-long checklist of to-dos—now meet the don'ts! From wedding hairstyle change-ups to impromptu skin treatments to all-night movie marathons, here are 11 things to avoid at all costs.
Lots of brides want a touch of just-back-from-Ibiza radiance. But while a spray tan can be fraught with peril (streaks! spots! pumpkin-colored palms!), liquid and powder bronzers put you firmly in control of your beauty destiny.