Rules of Engagement: Spa Getaways that Squash Pre-Wedding Stress

Pre-wedding day spa getaways in Phoenix, Los Angeles and Las Vegas that squash stress.

Legend has it that among the Ibos villagers of West Africa, tradition stipulated that a bride spend her engagement fattening up to elephantine proportions. Come wedding day, if she wasn’t chubby enough, the groom could nix the nuptials.

Alas, our idea of wedding prep precludes even the mere mention of Krispy Kreme, and emaciation intensified by stress ahoy is decidedly our cultural norm. So while we can’t stop you from fretting yourself skinny, we can offer up four simple rules that might alleviate just a smidgen of pre-wedding panic.

1. Go for prenuptial counseling.

Once the last grain of rice has been pelted at your gorgeous wedding dress or rented tux, couples time becomes a day-in, day-out phenomenon. Time spent together before the wedding, now that’s a precious commodity.

Phoenix: Spend a day cranking out the guest list, clinking wine glasses and getting your bods rubbed at the Revive Spa at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort. The Couples Massage is a pleasure-filled shared experience where you each choose your poison – Therapeutic, Aromatherapy, Reflexology or Hot Stone massage — in indulge together in the couples suite (50 minutes, starting at $125 each).

L.A.: Share a sensual excursion with a 5-hour VIP Pass to the couple’s suite at the Beauty & Lifestyle Spa by Yuki Sharoni. The pass gets each of you a rose petal bath, massage, facial, wine and lunch all served up in the privacy of the exotic spa suite ($699). Chocolate-dipped strawberries and champagne are extra but need we remind you, this is your future marriage we’re talking about?

Vegas: Take a tandem float with an intimate Couples Reflection water massage experience in Spa Bellagio’s watsu room. A watsu practitioner will teach you how to gently float your partner after which, each of you will be treated to a wildly relaxing facial and Indian Head Massage. The three-hours-plus experience includes a specialty drink or snack ($470 per person).

2. Spoil the entourage.

Bachelorette parties and bridal showers can leave a sista hungover or worse, drowning in pile of mixing bowl sets or garish lingerie. Pardon my Middle English but skrewe that. Reward your wedding day entourage for their support with a celebration more meaningful to everyone.

Phoenix: Go retro at VH Spa at Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale with their Sundays Spa Party Package. Pair up a 60-minute spa service with a 30-minute service  followed by a glass of bubbly or wine served on the spa deck for a cool $99. Then hit the OH Pool for the best people watching this side of the Grand Canyon.

L.A.: The spa suite at the lush Park Hyatt Aviara Spa in Carlsbad practically beckons for a bridal bonding day. Party guests can idle by the fireplace in the lounge area or soak in the outdoor whirlpool while each girl takes her turn in the attached treatment room.

Vegas: For a hedonistic treat for the groom and his best man, AMP Salon at The Palms offers AMP Afterhours. Big boys are lavished with gourmet finger foods and Cristal champagne while a lingerie-clad nail therapist pampers their peds ($3,000 for two).

3. Think thin.

No doubt you’ve dieted for months to look lean and mean on your wedding day (unless you’ve been hiding out in West Africa). Should a stubborn zipper situation occur, a detoxifying body treatment will kick those last few inches to the curb.

Phoenix: The Golden Door Spa’s Detox Cellulite Treatment is an intensive process that sends trapped toxins fleeing for momma and results in a loss of three inches or more. A combo of a seaweed-based gel and protein cream, stimulating electrical current and a clay body mask all work to free that zipper from its stubborn constraints (110 minutes, $255).

L.A.: The Ona Slim Cryo-Thermie Body Slimming Treatment at Ona Spa sounds much scarier than it is. And who cares, it works. The non-invasive “liposculpture” therapy reshapes, tones and firms the thighs, tummy, hips and arms while decreasing the appearance of cellulite (75 minutes, $150).

Vegas: Fluid retention by damned. The Cellutox Aroma Spa Ocean Wrap and Well-Being Massage at Planet Hollywood’s Spa by Mandara will squeeze every last ounce of puff from your bod and secure a happy smile on your face, all in one shot (2 hours, $210).

4. Primp like no one’s business.

Come the big day, not a strand of hair on your head can be left to chance. Schedule your bridal beauty day far in advance and no heads will roll (fingers crossed).

Phoenix: Hip beauty hub, Dolce Spa & Salon, has a well-established rep for stunning wedding day transformations. The Luminous Lady package covers all the bases with a Day Before Wedding body glow with massage, spa manicure, pedicure and light lunch followed the next day with a hair style and makeup (starting at $460). Locations in Scottsdale, Chandler and Peoria.

L.A.: Offering the ultimate in house calls, Fred Segal Beauty has gone Mobile. Hair, makeup, nails, you name it, Mobile professionals show up at your doorstep or hotel room armed with bottled water, a portable CD player, magazines and a suitcase full of beauty tools (prices vary).

Vegas: Wrapped in a calming ambiance of modern Zen, Cristophe Salon at the MGM Grand offers a full house of services for a proper Vegas wedding makeover. For nighttime weddings or pre-bachelorette party primping, the salon also hosts private after-hours makeovers with hair styling, makeup artistry, nails, champagne and dessert included.

* Current offerings were accurate at the time this story was written. Please call spas and salons directly for current packages and rates.


  1. Am an avid reader from Nigeria. The tribes dat send bride-to-be to the fattening room prior to wedding day isn’t the IBO but the Efik and Ibibio tribe of the South-South region of Nigeria.
    The essence of the fattening room is to teach the bride how to cook better, care for her new home and husband and helps the bride transition from a single lady to a wife.

    She is also pampered,massaged as well and in Nigeria, adding flesh in d right place isn’t bad cos it shows dat u r well taken care of.

    Thanks for this writeup.


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