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At-Home Spa Showers are Perfect for Brides- and Mommies-to-Be

The weather is heating up. This can only mean one thing: shower season is upon us!

Whether you're planning a celebration honoring a blushing bride or a glowing mommy-to-be, a Spa Bridal or Baby Shower is sure to please. After all, spa services are the perfect antidote for pre-wedding jitters and pre-birth stress. Re-energize your guest of honor for the hectic days ahead! She'll love indulging in her favorite treatments while bonding with her closest friends and family.

While the cost of renting an entire spa for the day may be prohibitive, an at-home spa party can accommodate virtually any budget.

A theme, a handful of carefully prepared treatment stations and some light refreshments are all that are needed.

Select a Theme

While the "spa" theme is pre-built into the festivities, there are plenty of ways to select a motif and color scheme that perfectly captures the honoree's interests. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Celebrating the Shore - Is your bride- or mom-to-be a fan of the beach or sea? As an inexpensive decorative touch, fill hurricane vases with seashells (available at your local crafts store). Place candle-lit lanterns around your "spa." Opt for invitations, flowers and linens in shades of blues, whites and grays.

  • Vintage Garden Party - Give the spa day a feminine flair with mismatched glass vases bursting with bright flowers, antique or faux-vintage tea cups and vintage-inspired stationary. Unless you know that she has very definite color preferences, don't be shy about incorporating every vibrant hue you can find - after all, wildly vivid gardens are some of the most gorgeous.

  • Eco Chic - If your honoree is a minimalist at heart, a die-hard environmentalist or just loves nothing more than a good spa day, this is the theme for you. Opt for crisp whites and earthy greens as your color palette, and embellish it citrus accents. Simple flowers, like white orchids or calla lilies provide just the right atmosphere. Intersperse bowls of floating candles and tea lights. Opt for recycled or plantable seed paper for the invites and stationary.

  • A Pea In The Pod - Are you celebrating a mommy-to-be with a sense of humor? Take the Eco Chic theme one step further by infusing it with a pea motif. Decorate with sweet pea blossoms and pea pod drawings, serve a variety of pea-inspired dishes and have fun with the whole idea.

Prep the Pampering Stations

Day spas are famous for their expert massage therapists, aestheticians and nail technicians. Some even boast salons and offer clients the perfect blow-out before they leave.

While many of these services can easily be done at home, it's important to recognize that massage can be dangerous if not performed by a licensed professional. Prenatal massages, including reflexology services, should never be attempted by anyone other than a licensed practitioner. If massage is a priority, give your local spa or favorite massage therapist a call. Many offer in-home services at surprisingly affordable rates.

For the rest of the treatments, set up pampering stations throughout your home. Set out all of the essentials your guests will need to perform their own services including all products, instructions, towels, wash cloths, hair ties and bands, nail polish, hot towels, cotton balls and cotton swabs. Provide tweezers, manicure/pedicure sets and hair brushes as favors that they can use during the spa shower. This practical gift idea will ensure each guest has sanitary options for their own personal use.

To pamper your guests, select artisan-made personal care products instead of mass-marketed ones. Artisan-made skin, hair and nail are products are typically more gentle, effective and nourishing. Artisans are often able to help you select the perfect products for your event. In some cases, they can even suggest products or make custom colored/scented products for your special day. (For more information, read Why are "By the Batch" Personal and Home Care Products Better?)

When picking out products, select those that can be used on the most popular skin types: sensitive, oily, dry and normal. You may need to provide a couple of different cleanser and moisturizer options at the facial station and different hair masques and shampoos for the blow-dry station.

To keep the event flowing, make sure that each station can accommodate two to three guests at a time and plan to have everyone rotate stations every hour.

How to set up your stations:

Facial Station

  • Ensure each guest has received their tweezer favor.
  • Make sure that there is access to a sink and mirror.
  • Artfully arrange the following items by type in white or glass containers: makeup remover, facial cleansers, exfoliator, toners, masques, moisturizers and eye cream. Scatter river rocks or shells on the countertop/table or surface.
  • Heat damp hand towels in a slow cooker set at low.
  • Fill glass jars with cotton balls, hair ties and clips.
  • Set out dry washcloths and tissue, and make sure that a trash receptacle is nearby.
  • Adapt the following guidelines to the specific products that you have selected and post the guidelines for your guests:
    • Remove all makeup.
    • Cleanse your face with the appropriate product.
    • Using the mirror, tweeze to pluck any stray hairs from your eyebrow area.
    • Place a warmed towel over your face for two to three minutes to let the steam open your pores.
    • Gently exfoliate your skin.
    • Rinse off the exfoliator and pat dry.
    • Soak a cotton ball in toner, and remove all the dirt that has been exposed.
    • Apply your masque, and follow the directions on the package.
    • Rinse face thoroughly and pat dry.
    • Apply eye cream and moisturizer.

Manicure Station

  • Ensure that each guest has already received their manicure set favor.
  • Line a large table with wax paper, and drape with linen; surround with chairs for guests to sit at.
  • Provide an electric tea kettle of warm water, enough for each guest.
  • Provide a medium-size bowl at each setting.
  • On a large platter, arrange hand soap, cuticle cream, hand cream and nail polish remover.
  • Fill glass containers with cotton balls or pads.
  • Set out paper towels and hand towels.
  • Arrange different shades of nail polish and also provide base and top coat options.
  • Adapt the following guidelines to the specific products that you have selected and post the guidelines for your guests:
    • Soak cotton balls in nail polish remover and apply to remove old nail polish.
    • Clip and/or file your nails into your desired shape.
    • Fill the bowl with warm water, and soak your hands for 3 to 5 minutes.
    • Dry your hands with a clean towel.
    • Place a paper towel on the table in front of you.
    • Apply cuticle cream and use the cuticle stick to gently push back the cuticles.
    • Rinse your hands in the bowl.
    • Apply a moisturizing hand cream.
    • Get rid of any cream on the nails by thoroughly swiping each nail with a cotton ball soaked in polish remover.
    • Apply a base coat, and let dry for at least two minutes.
    • Paint two coats of nail color on each nail, waiting a full minute between coats.
    • Once the polished has dried, apply a top coat.
    • Wait at least ten minutes for your nails to dry.

Pedicure Station

  • Ensure that each guest has a pedicure set and open-toed sandals or slippers.
  • Provide one electric kettle of warm water and large bowls at each setting. If it's large enough, guests can sit around the tub.
  • Display bath salts, foot lotion and soap.
  • Set out towels.
  • Showcase different shades of nail polish and also provide base and top coat options.
  • Post the following instructions for your guests:
    • Use polish remover-soaked cotton to remove old nail polish.
    • Clip and/or file your nails into your desired shape.
    • Fill the bowl or the tub with warm water, and add bath salts. Soak feet for at least 5 minutes.
    • Pat your feet with a towel.
    • Using the pumice stone in the pedicure set, exfoliate your calluses.
    • Rub foot lotion into feet, massaging the soles and heels.
    • Put on sandals.
    • Clean leftover polish from nails using a cotton ball soaked in polish remover.
    • Apply a base coat, and let dry for at least two minutes.
    • Paint two coats of nail color on each nail, waiting a full minute between coats.
    • Once the polish has dried, apply a top coat.
    • Relax for at least ten minutes, as your nails dry.

Blow-Dry Station

  • Fill a glass gar with disposable wide-toothed combs, and make sure each guest has their hair brush favor.
  • Provide a number of different natural oil and butter-based hair masques. Artisans that specialize in hair care products can help you select ones for your spa shower.
  • Ensure that you have moisturizing and clarifying shampoo bars and a variety of conditioners available for different hair types. Artisans that specialize in hair care products can help you select ones for your spa shower.
  • Set out plastic wrap and twice as many towels as there are guests.
  • Place body lotion in the bathroom. If possible, provide several lotion choices to your guests.
  • Plug a hair drier into an outlet near a mirror, and display styling products.
  • Post the following instructions for your guests:
    • Use a comb to detangle dry hair.
    • Apply a hair masque to dry hair, following the instructions on the package.
    • Wrap head in a plastic wrap, then wrap a towel over the plastic wrap.
    • Let the masque sit for 10 to 15 minutes.
    • Remove the plastic wrap and towel.
    • Take a shower, making sure you cleanse your hair thoroughly to remove the masque before conditioning.
    • After the shower, apply body lotion.
    • Use the styling products as needed, and dry your hair.

Meditation Station

  • Designate a quiet room in your house for meditation.
  • Provide a lightly scented lit candle.
  • Play meditative music or a CD of nature sounds.
  • Make sure that there are comfortable places to sit. Cushions are ideal.
  • Display relaxing and grounding essential oil blends that your guests may use if they wish during meditation. Essential oils should never be applied to the skin without first diluting them in a skin-care carrier oil.
  • There are no instructions here. Invite guests to create their own relaxed atmosphere and take a few moments to clear their minds.

Menu Options

Don't forget about the food! No one wants to feel overly full during a spa day, so opt for healthy, vegetable- and fruit-filled fare. Finger sandwiches, a crudit platter and cucumber and feta salad are more than enough food, especially if you complement these offerings with green tea and natural juices. For a fun play on spa water, fill glass dispensers or pitchers with water, then add slices of cucumbers, lemons, limes and even sprigs of mint.

If you wish to serve cocktails, mimosas and bellinis are easy and festive. Be sure to offer "mocktails" (like club soda with a splash of OJ) for those who don't wish to partake in alcoholic beverages.

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