I'm full of contradictions when it comes to my girlie-girlishness. I love having my hair treated but barely brush it if I'm running late. I like wearing make-up but enjoy ignoring such beauty rituals when on holiday, at the gym and on weekends.
This incongruity was only magnified by my wedding preparations; I wanted to look beautiful, with honey-and-oatmeal-rubbed skin, model make-up and the physique of an 18-year-old ballerina, but I was trying not to fall into the stereotypical bridal trappings that society often encourages. Take, for example, Bridalplasty, a US reality TV show on which 12 women compete to win a dream wedding and plastic surgery procedures. Yes, the last bride standing can win a nose job, breast enlargements, a face lift or all of the above, plus her entire wedding. Madness!
I had no interest in fluff and frills; no kitschy table settings, cake toppers and ring pillows, no big poufy dresses or garish make-up. The make-up artist Bobbi Brown said it best: "On her wedding day, every bride should look like herself at her most beautiful. It is not a time to try a look that is very trendy or radically different from her usual style."
Rather than some heavily made-up stranger, I wanted to be the best, most subtlely enhanced version of myself. But even the most humble of us have some vanity. This, coupled with the prospect of being centre stage, means a bride's beauty regime requires careful planning. Thankfully, many of the spas and salons in the UAE provide tailor-made beauty packages.
Some tips? Making your body glisten is easy with scrubs and polishes. Sisters Beauty Lounge offers a wonderful Hamman Treatment to slough off dead skin, or you could try their Organic Blueberry Fire Slimming treatment, which afterwards allows you to slip into the slinkiest of gowns.
If you want your face to have the same radiance, you could book a series of Illuminate Facials at Heavenly Spa by Westin Dubai. Or for a more intensive treatment try Silkor's Radiant Facial Diamond Micro-Dermabrasion or Skin Perfecting Deep Cleansing.
If your hair needs repair, Biolite Aesthetic Clinic's Scalp and Hair Rejuvenation will give you tresses that are the crowning glory of your wedding day look. Book your manicure the day before the wedding. Tips & Toes offers indulgent manicures and pedicures with coloured polish to suit any bride.
All in all, it's simple. To thine own self be true, and you will be beautiful.
Three of the best
Beauty tips all brides should know
LA MER RADIANT SERUM, DH1,378 "A soft, flawless finish begins with a good base. On cleansed, toned skin apply a few drops of this lightweight gel to allow light to reflect from the skin's surface - ultimately boosting luminosity." - Andy Bevacqua, vice president of research and development, La Mer
ESTÉE LAUDER SIGNATURE BLUSH IN PINK KISS, DH156 "To avoid looking washed out in photographs, make sure you apply a blush to the apples of your cheeks. For the right spot, smile, and the apple of your cheeks will 'pop out'. Place your blush right there and blend into your temple — this will make it look like you're naturally flushing." - Matthew Tyler, Estée Lauder regional training manager
MIRIAM QUEVEDO PLATINUM & DIAMONDS DROPS SPRAY, DH235 "For a final touch, this shimmering spray packed with antioxidants such as caviar extract, platinum and diamond powders creates ultra volume, shiny and silky hair." - Miriam Quevedo, creator, Miriam Quevedo
Nurture yourself and save
Biolite Aesthetic Clinic is giving M readers 20 per cent off all listed treatments. Specialising in non-invasive treatments with a holistic approach, the clinic offers skin-rejuvenating facials, slimming and contouring, hair removal and spa treatments. Whether or not you're a bride-to-be, take advantage of this offer by mentioning "M magazine" when booking your appointment.
Biolite Aesthetic Clinic, Dubai Healthcare City, 04 375 2122, www.biolitedubai.com