As soon as you’ve set the date of your wedding, deciding on your hair and makeup should be as high on the list of priorities as your wedding dress.
Having dealt with many brides over the course of my career, I am still amazed at how little attention many brides place on the “fitness” of their hair for the big day. Getting your hair “wedding fit” probably takes even longer than getting your body in shape to fit that gorgeous dress you’ve chosen.
Many women are acutely unaware that their hair health is actually severely compromised. It is impossible to create beautiful wedding hairstyles if the hair is damaged, lifeless and is not receiving the right at home care.
So here’s my list of top things to do to make sure your hair is as fit for your wedding as your body or mind is!
Check your hairdresser’s credentials
Not all hairdressers are able to style hair for wedding events. They might be good at colouring, cutting and blow drying but they might not have received the right training to create beautiful up-do’s or editorial looking styles. To check whether you like their style of creating wedding hair, you should arrange to have at least one if not two wedding hair and makeup trials. More on this later.
Check your hairdresser’s availability
There is nothing worse than finding out that your hairdresser is on holidays when you are getting married. Alternatively, your hairdresser might not be willing or able to travel to your hotel or location. So what do you do then?
My recommendation is to seek out the best hairdresser in the area you will be located and start a conversation with them about jointly managing your hair direction with your regular hairdresser.
Do I have my hair done in salon or at the hotel?
It is generally more cost effective to have your hair done in the salon by a hairdresser than having them leave the salon to come to you. You will be paying for travel time for them and any assistants they require. But it’s a matter of personal preference. Being in a salon ensure that all the products and tools are at your stylists disposal but leaving the “safety” of home or the hotel to travel to get their hair done could be the worst thing for some brides.
If you do an internet search for “wedding hair and makeup” you will get pages and pages of results for mobile hair and makeup artists.
Beware! Most of these “artists” are not qualified hairdressers and have only completed one-day hair styling courses, if that. They are generally offering this service part-time on weekends and have regular day jobs like you and I. If they have assistants, it is likely that they are unqualified as well.
The other thing is that from my perspective as a master stylist who has put years into their craft, they generally take shortcuts like using tongs to achieve updo’s. Once you see photo’s of classically designed hair using traditional methods like curl sets and/or pin curls, there is no comparison with tong curls. The resulting hair styles are absolutely stunning, but I am biased.
Using a qualified hairdresser to style your hair on the day is your safest option. If this is not possible, then ensure the best hairdresser you can afford takes charge of the overall colour and cut and arrange to have multiple trials with mobile hair artists to ensure they can create a style that you are happy with.
Get a timetable of who is working on whom and when.
We plan our wedding hair and makeup sessions with military precision and we work backwards from the time the bride needs to leave the salon or commence the process of getting dressed.
Whomever is doing your hair and makeup and potentially your bridal party’s hair and makeup, get a timetable from them and make sure they have allowed sufficient time for each of your wedding party’s hair type, preferred hairstyle, and travel time.
If they are not able to meet your bridesmaids before the event, then it helps the stylist to get some selfies of your friends so they know the hair type they are dealing with. There is nothing worse than the wedding party running behind because someone has very thick long hair that takes longer than average to style.
Getting wedding fit is a journey
Each bride should ask herself:
- What am I thinking in terms of hair & makeup? Do I have an idea or am I at a loss?
- Where am I now? What is the “true” and current state of my hair?
- Where do I want to be? How far from the ideas I am thinking is my hair right now?
- How long have I got? Do I have enough time to get from where I am now to where I want to be?
Your wedding hair style
Generally speaking, your wedding dress and potentially wedding theme (if any) will lead the journey to creating your personal style for your wedding day.
I’ve had clients who were getting married in the tropics and were opting for a “beachy theme”. The dress was a simple strapless design in lace. We did hair trials and created a long beach wave look complemented by a simple flower wreath on the head. We took plenty of photo’s and then arranged to have a local hairdresser recreate the style. It could never look the same but my client was happy and that’s what counts the most.
I always say that a “red carpet dress needs red carpet hair”. That doesn’t mean the hairstyle has to be an updo, just that the hairstyle looks absolutely fabulous and complements the fabulous dress and you feel comfortable in it.
Just keep in mind the likely weather conditions on the day and potentially have a Plan B hairstyle. Many styles that look great in photos like the beautiful waves reminiscent of the 30’s, don’t actually hold up that well exposed to movement or any weather condition.
Hair Length: I want or need longer hair
If you need or want longer than 6 inches of extra length and you have 8 months or more, then growing it might be an option. If not, you might want to consider hair extensions or hair pieces depending on the style you are going for. Tape hair extensions can be very cost effective, quick to apply and easy to remove after your big event.
The most important thing is to have the hair extensions or pieces colour matched to your own hair once you have decided on the colour.
Great hair colour and great hair health go hand in hand
Getting great hair colour is strongly dependent on having healthy hair. If your hair health is compromised then you should not be thinking of drastic colour changes (for example going more than 2 shades lighter).
You should be putting your hair through a “fitness” regime of having hair treatments both at home and at the salon, and potentially keratin treatments to help the hair along. As I mentioned previously, it is difficult to style hair that is damaged and lifeless, and get a good result.
I know it sound obvious but you should get your colour done about 1 week before your wedding. The number of wedding photo’s I see of women with regrowth is astounding. Not a great look.
Settling on colour.
I could go on for days about the problems and dangers of using boxed colour from the supermarket or drug store. Of course I am biased but there are some real issues. You might like to read this article Super hair colour is not supermarket hair colour.
One thing is certain, if you’ve been using boxed at-home colour for many years, then you should probably keep doing what you’re doing. Trying to lift or change the pigments from these types of colours can be very difficult and results can be variable to say the least even with the most experienced hairdresser.
Depending on whether you’re looking to make a statement with strong creative colour, elegant highlights or beachy balayage, you should be “testing” the colours and looks at least 6 months in advance. Seek out the best hairdresser you can afford and the one that has the best reviews or recommendations. Don’t hesitate to stop people in the street!
Wedding Hair and Makeup Trials
I mentioned earlier that you should at least have one, if not two, wedding hair and makeup trials. I ask my clients to give me at least three and a half hours of their time where we explore and try out different styles and looks. We change things incrementally, take lots of photo’s and discuss the pro’s and con’s. There is often a lot of texting of photo’s to bridesmaids and mothers of the brides too!
It’s a great advantage to be able to go home and try on your wedding dress with your styled hair and makeup.
Don’t be afraid to have a second trial and be forthright about what you liked and didn’t like.
Despite all my advice regarding forward planning, the most beautiful brides are the relaxed ones. Hopefully my words of advice will help you be sufficiently prepared so that on the day you can sit back and enjoy a glass of champagne while being pampered and getting ready for one of the most special days of your life!