Natural Radiance

June 2004


There is no better time to indulge in mud wraps, eyebrow tints, and workout routines than when preparing to tie the knot. In the midst of cake tastings, dress fittings, and photo sessions, a bride must first remember to take care of herself.

Houston brides have a number of choices for special treatments. Whether in need of a simple, wedding-day makeover or a yearlong exercise regimen leading up to the big event, there is something in town for every taste—and a consultant to help each step of the way.

The first thing to do is set to aside time. “So many brides are busy with finding a place and picking out flowers that they don’t have the time to exercise,” says Sharon Turner, spa coordinator at Spa Gym, which offers brides-to-be a full selection of services from hair and makeup to fitness consultations. “We do everything we can to help. It’s about looking your best on that day.”

For those interested in making a long-term commitment and investment in getting in shape, regular visits to a gym and day spa are a good way to start. Turner’s biggest piece of advice is for brides to think about their goals and allow enough time to achieve them.

Spa gyms that combine fitness and beauty services under one roof are just catching on in Houston. For the time-pressed bride who needs to minimize her number of appointments, this is a great option. These allow brides to work with a trainer or spa coordinator who can then recommend additional services. If a bride is particularly worn out after a workout, she can have a massage or herbal wrap—all in the same location. If a massage therapist notices muscular tension in a client, she can suggest exercises that will help with relaxation.

Gyms are more familiar options, and range from co-ed facilities with large work-out rooms to smaller gyms with more personalized services. Gyms can be a great way for brides and grooms to work out together—in classes or on machines—in advance for their wedding.

Personal trainers are a great option for brides who prefer more personal attention. Personal trainers identify individual fitness goals and monitor progress closely, and many even help develop nutrition plans. For brides who have the time and budget to pay someone on an hourly basis while they work out, personal training is a smart choice. Losing weight and exercising while someone else is watching can go a long way towards fitting into that white dress.

Fitness consultants are like personal trainers, but they take a broader look at health and fitness goals. While a personal trainer might give a client 100 sit-ups and three miles to run, a fitness consultant is likely to also look at lifestyle issues such as dietary choices and ways to boost self-esteem.

Anyone working with Turner or one of the other trainers at Spa Gym must first be assessed on a special body composition scale. This scale instantly calculates body weight, muscle mass, and water weight so that trainers can outline a fitness routine.

For brides who prefer to separate their workouts from their beauty treatments, visiting a spa can boost beauty habits months in advance or the day before the wedding.

Manicures and pedicures are the most popular choices for bridal parties right before a wedding. Some bridal parties book both services for the entire group; other members pick and choose their services according to individual budgets. It is best to check with salons and spas to see how much notice they need to reserve their technicians for the big day. Some spas are booked well in advance.

Facials and makeovers are the next most popular services. At Trellis, the Spa at the Houstonian, brides are encouraged to begin a comprehensive facial routine between three and six months before their big day. “You will be more photographed during that time than during any other time in your life,” says Karen Hott, special events coordinator at the Houstonian. “If you start on a good facial program, it can really make a difference.”

Makeovers can range from sitting on a stool in a department store to scheduling specialized airbrush treatments, which are available at many day spas—just call and ask. Makeup artist Andrea Schutter at Norris of Houston even makes customized makeup for brides, mixing foundations and lipsticks while her clients watch and give feedback as to the colors they like. “We just want the bride to be happy,” says Schutter.

Specialty services such as waxing and sugaring—not necessarily intended to be done in the company of many bridesmaids—are also wonderful ways to prepare for a wedding and honeymoon. At Cleopatra’s Secret, Ati Shafik has perfected the art of hair removal by sugaring, a one-of-a-kind process using a secret blend of sugar, lemon juice, and water that originated in Egypt. Although its application is similar to waxing, sugaring is less sticky and less irritating to the skin. A favorite with brides, Shafik has practiced sugaring since 1987.

“Sure, brides come in here, but so do girlfriends and wives,” Shafik explains. “Once people try it, I believe they’ll never go back.”

Once applied, Shafik’s warm secret sugar mixture is gently removed with cloth strips. The result is smooth skin that lasts several weeks. Sugaring appointments book in advance, but Shafik gives special attention to first-time customers, including brides.

Whether on a tight budget or an endless one, brides in Houston can find the beauty and health regimen to fit their needs. The best part about booking these services—other than looking and feeling beautiful after they are done—is the care and excitement that these specialists share with the bride on her day.

Copyright © 2004 Weddings In Houston.