Some brides are low-key and happy to do their own hair and makeup. And then there are Bridezillas. Years ago, I worked with a woman who was so insistent that everything be "perfect" for her big day that she spent literally thousands of dollars on beauty treatments. During the eight months before her wedding, she may as well have left a cot at the spa, because she was there every week.

That's a little extreme, but if you're the kind of person who loves — nay, needs — months of pampering before the wedding, why not find a happy medium? For a few alternatives to in-spa treatments,


Instead of microdermabrasion treatments . . .
Microdermabrasion can give skin a healthy glow, but just one in-office microdermabrasion treatment can cost $250. For the same price or less, you can get similar results with an at-home kit. Look for a cream with very fine particles, and massage it into your skin gently to get rid of dead cells. If living luxuriously is your game, Révive Microdermabrasion Renewal System ($250) banishes dull skin. Plus, the cream is so dense that the jar will last forever. If you prefer a bit of a peel with your skin-sloughing, try Olay Regenerist Microdermabrasion & Peel System ($26.99), which includes a very mild alpha hydroxy acid peel.

Instead of regular manicures . . .
For the wedding itself, you may want to treat yourself to a manicure. But in the planning stages, save yourself time by using nail polish decals ($5). These press-on strips give the look of a professional manicure, but they're insanely easy to apply — which gives you more time for cake-sampling. Check out my review and you'll see what I mean.

Instead of professional tooth whitening . . .
Every dentist I've had has said that at-home whitening products are effective, so why spend lots of cash on a pricey whitening treatment? This Go Smile kit ($89) is great because you can take the whitening ampoules with you wherever you go, and you don't have to wear trays. Maintain your newly gleaming chompers with a whitening toothpaste; I find Supersmile ($13) to be extremely effective at keeping tea-teeth at bay.