Bliss Beauty Center at Rancho Shopping Center was party central Friday when several hundred people gathered to celebrate its grand opening -even though the "center for wellness and beauty" has been open two years.
The cause celebre was the completion this month of the hair salon, which rounds out the one-stop shopping concept that includes a spa, nail salon and boutique.
As they sipped wine and nibbled hors d'oeuvres, guests could avail themselves of complimentary makeup touch-ups, skin analysis and polish changes - in addition to shopping in the boutique and touring the salon. A conversation piece was the jewelry designed by Christina Porter, on display in the hair salon.
Bliss owner Irene Miszler's staff was on hand to answer questions about Bliss' many services, not the least of which is providing wedding assistance - from makeup to coping with stress.
A bride and groom want to shine on their big day, but the stress of the journey, the months of planning, may leave them exhausted and looking that way. "What you feel inside is reflected on the outside," said Miszler.
Stress created by the multitude of decisions that must be made is reflected on the skin. "A person might break out, have dark circles under the eyes, even dry, coarse hair," she said.
Rather than just a makeover the day of the wedding, Miszler advises couples to analyze their lifestyles and begin a skin care regimen six months ahead of time. She suggests massages to help alleviate stress. The couple even has the choice of a dual massage.
When the bride has selected her dress, a trial makeover and hair session is critical, Miszler said: "Does she want a natural or a dramatic look? What about a photography session? Will it be a destination wedding where there is no one on site to do makeup?
"We'll give the bride a makeup lesson and teach her to do touch-up. Nothing is left to chance."
The trend in makeup is soft and natural, very simple. The goal is not to change the bride but to make her look her best. "There are ugly babies, but never an ugly bride," said Gale McKinzie, creative director of the new hair salon.
A bride's hairstyle depends on the dress, he said, but nearly as important is whether she'll be happy in 10 years with the way she looks in the wedding photos. "Will people be able to recognize it was you in that elaborate hairdo with 100 bobby pins?" he asks.
McKinzie is seeing more little tiaras and jewelry being used in the hair in place of wearing veils.
The trial hairstyling session in itself can be very relaxing for the bride. Shampoos are a minimum of five to 10 minutes long and include a scalp massage. The surroundings in the upstairs salon, with its sage green and taupe walls, windows on the world and soft music are also restful.
Bliss does not take a cookie-cutter approach in its wedding packages. "Everyone's needs and desires are different," Miszler said. "We customize and tailor our services accordingly."
Even brides who come in at the last minute for a makeover will get personal treatment.
A case in point is Gwen Shephard of Sherwood, Ariz., who sent this thank-you note to Miszler:
"I came into your boutique a few days before my wedding and I was a mess. I had flown down from Alaska, and the hair salon that someone had recommended was a terrifying disappointment. My parents brought me tear-streaked into your spa, and you calmed me with the assurance I would be a beautiful bride on my special day. If you hadn't done my hair that morning, applied my makeup and suggested my jewelry, I would not have felt or radiated the beauty I possessed that incredible day."
To find out more about Bliss Beauty Center, 682 Rancho Shopping Center, call 947-6868 or go to www.blissbeautycenter.com.