off their nails are (left to right) Pamela Pagel Coats, Ara
Berkwits, bride Laura Gazzana Pagel and Mary Kay Gundlach
Add one more thing to your "Wedding To Do"
list: Schedule some girl time filled with indulgent beauty services,
delicious fare and intense pampering. Hey, being the bride is a tough
job, but someones gotta do it!
"I love working with the brides-to-be,"
says Laura Myska, marketing coordinator and group hostess for Neroli
Salon and Spa, downtown Milwaukee. "Overall, its a bonding,
relaxing, peaceful experience."
Many brides are choosing to experience a soothing,
stress-relieving session at a day spa prior to their big day, and as
an added treat are taking the entire wedding party along. The Neroli
experience often finds a bride and her bridal party relaxing in the
guest suite, nibbling on assorted goodies, offering a champagne toast
or exchanging bridal gifts.
Claims Jennifer Volz, salon director at Actaea Works
Ltd. Salon and Day Spa in Shorewood, "I cant say when the last
Saturday was that we didnt have a bride." Even though the
professionals at Actaea take bridal preparation very seriously, they
dont forget the fun. "Large wedding parties pretty much run
the salon," Volz admits. "Theyre either sitting next to
each other or diagonally so they can talk and laugh." Add
champagne or food and you have "a definite bonding experience and
an integral part of the brides day."
According to Angie Morgan, wedding coordinator at
Beauty on Milwaukees East Side, "Its nice working
Saturdays. The whole salon is so positive. Its a way for the bridal
party to really connect," says Morgan. "The bridesmaids lend
the bride support." Add the bridal buffet package offered and
theres one less thing for everyone to worry about. "One
Saturday, we had a party of over 15 people," Morgan recalls.
"It was a little hectic, but it was also a lot of fun."
Amy Johnson of Stellas in Milwaukee speaks for
herself and co-owners K.C. Miller and Paul Bartz when she says,
"We want people to feel comfortable, relaxed and laid-back when
they come in." Its not unusual for wedding parties to bring in
champagne (or blenders for making margaritas) while they are primping
for the big day ahead. "Basically its like a party when they
come. Its always a lot of fun," Johnson says of the bridal
parties. "We expect people to let loose. Its their wedding
Johnson suggests the whole bridal party come in
together "because it puts the bride at ease."
Recent bride Kristy Cravillion of Sussex took her
bridal party to Stellas. She was not only totally relaxed; she and
the girls had a blast. "They opened the salon for us on a Sunday
morning," she recalls. "We had mimosas." The crew at
Stellas went to town doing hair, makeup and nails for Cravillion,
her bridesmaids, the moms and the grandmas. Bartz even got one of the
grandmas to wear "Carnal Red" lipstick. As
fabulous as she looked, Bartz thought it best to forego sharing the
name of the color. He just told her to reapply as needed!
One of Cravillions artistic friends took to the
floor at Stellas to create a "Just Married" sign and card
box for the reception. Its impromptu moments like these make Miller
suggest having the photographer nearby. With the day being so
scripted, its great to be able to capture the special, unexpected
things that youll want to remember.
Miller has a great sense of humor and really likes
to keep things light, especially with a nervous bride. "I just
crack a few jokes about how cute they look in their rollers and then
theyre fine," he confesses. When it comes to the rest of the
bridal party, Miller says, "You can pretty much tell whos
going to be the rowdy one. I always hone in on them right away."
Johnsons overall goal is to keep the bride stress-free. "If
theres something special they want, we encourage them to bring it
in," she says.
Making the brides day as perfect as it can be
includes making sure her bridesmaids look and feel beautiful as well.
"Its definitely a time for the bridesmaids," Morgan says.
"They get to wear the fabulous hair, the fancy dress and be on
stage as well. There is a lot of fun that comes with being a
Our specialists recommend planning beauty session(s)
at least three months, if not closer to a year, in advance. Most
salons will provide a detailed timeline/itinerary for the bride
complete with suggestions for what services to have done and when.