About two weeks before her wedding, Anne Silvey, now Mrs. Anne Franscioni, was putting the finishing touches on the plans for her big day. She’d had the color palette picked out long ago — navy, cream, and wine (easy on the cream and wine so the look didn’t come off as overwhelmingly patriotic) — and her six bridesmaids were prepared with their navy dresses. Wanting everything to be perfect to the last detail, she of course wanted a perfectly matched look for the group’s fingernails and toenails.
She turned to the popular solution of throwing a bridal mani-pedi party the day before her wedding and, being more accommodating than many brides would probably be the week of their weddings, agreed to let a NAILS editor and photographer crash her party. We wanted to show you a salon party from the party-goers’ perspective, to offer a fresh look into what clients appreciate and notice about salon special events.
Never having thrown a nail party before and living about 45 miles away from her wedding location, Silvey turned to the Internet for direction. She selected Hermosa Beach, Calif., salon ManiPediCutie! (MPC) as her party spot. “It had great reviews on Yelp.com and the website seemed organized and really classy. I felt it would be a perfect match,” Silvey said. To invite her guests to the salon, she added the event to the bridal party’s weekend itinerary, which she then e-mailed out.
Rushing around her wedding week, Silvey was thrilled that the salon “took care of a lot of details,” including providing her with some basic decorations and checking in several times to see if she had any concerns. (Silvey was so harried the first time we spoke that she couldn’t remember if she’d paid her party deposit yet, but she was correct in that the salon was on top of that detail as well.)
Silvey chose to pick out her own polish color prior to the event, so she’d have plenty of time to experiment with choices, but she did notice that consumer beauty store Sephora didn’t offer some of the typical polish brands she gets at professional salons. “This is the first time I’ve worn Sephora brand polish,” she said, showing off her bottle of Sephora’s Rose Lacté Milkshake. “But I was looking for a color that was a subtle pink, without any sparkles or glitters, and this fit the bill.” She appreciated being able to try the color on her sister (also her maid of honor) Kate Silvey’s nails in the store. She’d told her bridesmaids in advance that she wanted them wearing wine-colored polish on their fingers and toes, so several were viewing polishes with MPC receptionist Sam Shields before Silvey’s arrival. Shields lined up seven deep red polishes and polished blobs on a sheet of paper to give everyone a better view of the colors. “I think this is the one,” Silvey said, as she selected OPI’s All A-bordeaux the Sled.
All of Silvey’s guests had gotten their nails professionally done before, but none had ever attended a private salon party. Bridesmaid Julie Phillips was impressed. “The salon was welcoming the minute we walked in,” she said. “I like how everything’s personalized, with the candles lit and the greeting by the door. It’s like the whole salon is excited.” She also noticed the themed movies being placed on the TV, first “Runaway Bride,” then “Bride Wars.” Phillips’ sister lives near MPC, so she planned on recommending the salon to her sister.
Bridesmaid Kailey Latteri was one of several guests who commented that she was happy the salon didn’t smell like acrylic. (MPC does natural nails only.) “The salon is very trendy, and it feels like a bar too,” Latteri added, a feeling aided by the salon’s intentional turning up of the sound system during parties. Latteri recently moved to Dallas, and she’s still trying to find a local salon she likes. Her criteria: a unique look, nail techs who don’t talk in a language she can’t understand (making her worry they’re talking about her), and consistency of work.
The event proved to be fun for a diverse group. In addition to her bridesmaids, Silvey’s mom and her mom’s best friend, Shelly Tretter Lynch, got their nails done. “It’s well set up and organized,” said mother-of-the-bride Petite Silvey.
The bride herself appreciated the long banquette that is MPC’s answer to pedicure chairs (a banquette in the center of which the salon purposely placed Silvey, with bridesmaids on both sides). “It’s even better than I expected,” she said. “Everyone can talk to each other.”
Salon owner Ally Conley was present for the entire party, which was also deliberate. Conley usually works at the salon about one day a week, but she makes sure to attend the 10 or so parties the salon has each month. She’s become somewhat of a party expert — sometimes even supervising two parties in the same day — and has seen it all: a Pedi and a Pole party (where the group brought in a stripper pole), a PJ and a Pedi Party (where teenagers rode up in a limo, a stark contrast to the pajamas they were wearing), and a client who had her engagement party, bridal party, and baby shower all at MPC over the span of two years. “I’ll see you again at your baby shower,” she joked with Silvey.
We checked in with Silvey again a few weeks after her big day, and she remarked that she still had a perfect pedicure and that even her manicure lasted for more than a week. The only thing she would have considered doing differently, she said, would have been to bring some snacks to her nail party (being at 2 p.m., she figured everyone would still have been full from lunch), but other than that, she wouldn’t have changed a thing. She said, “I just want to say thanks to the wonderful ladies at ManiPediCutie! for getting my wedding party ready for the big day!”
View a timeline of the steps to hosting a salon party.