We’ve discovered that bridal hair styles trend just the same way that wedding gown styles and tacky décor do. As always, half of what’s shown in bridal magazines is the stuff of hair shows, not actual weddings. Those acrobatic, architectural and aerodynamic stylings aren’t things real brides actually want on their heads when they walk down the aisle.
Some women have always pictured their hair up or down, depending on whether they want to want to wear a tiara, veil, flower or elaborate hair clip atop their coiffeur. But quite a few brides haven’t the foggiest idea what they want to do. That’s how bridal salons sell so many expensive accessories to sucker-brides when they see themselves in the gown they’ve chosen. More budget-conscious brides buy those items separately unless they fell in love with the salesgirl’s suggestion.
I’ve seen some weird and wondrous hairstyles in almost 500 weddings, but most of the time, bridal hair follows one of the following five general styles:
1) The sleek updo. It seems like the more hair a woman has, the more tightly-styled she wants it on her wedding day. As one who doesn’t have natural curl, I’ve never really understood how these women could want to have their hair blown out straight, straightened with an iron, and then sculpted into the tightest possible (and yet elaborate) bun or updo. The last couple of years, numerous braids all wound together in different elegant combinations have been super popular. The most important thing to these girls seems to be knowing that once it’s up and gorgeous, that hair won’t move!
2) Bigger is better. Often, bridal hair reflects the origin of the bride. Women from Texas, and the south in general, wear their hair bigger and bolder than brides from anywhere else. I had one girl who wore her hair big and curly for her ceremony, with orchids tucked behind her ear. As the night wore on, her stylist kept teasing it higher and wider and adding more and more blossoms all over the place. By the end of the night, you couldn’t tell if the bride was coming or going from all directions.
3) Half up, half down is easily the most popular, although it’s done in a variety of ways. It can be simple, or elaborate with braining and weaving, or it can include elaborate pins and clips that add bling and sparkle. Some prefer to wear curls sausage style on the bottom under the veil and then brush them out a bit and restyle after the veil comes off. Others go for a long, straight look in back but something flashy and elaborate in the updo on top.
4) Worn to the side. Elegant, sophisticated and popular, lots of brides are wearing their hair to one side or the other, with or without a part. Usually held in place with fantastic barrettes or hair pins. Not every woman can wear her hair to the side, and not everybody should. Side-dos seem to be the first to fall when it comes time for the bride to really enjoy the dancing.
5) Bringing your hair in a box. At least a third of my clients bring hair pieces or extension clips to add to their wedding hairstyles on the big day. It’s not surprising given that extensions are so popular in general these days — lots of women want extra oomph and more locks to work with for the hairdo that will be more photographed than any hairstyle they’ll ever wear. There’s nothing wrong with bringing your hair with you, but just remember to test it out in advance and make sure you have enough of whatever you’ll need if you’re getting married someplace remote.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the brides who feel like one hairstyle is absolutely, positively not enough for the biggest day of their lives. Some have hairdressers stay on site to change the ‘do between the ceremony and reception. Others redo it themselves with the help of a talented friend. If it’s something important to you, go for it. But you’re wasting valuable minutes of your wedding reception primping — do it quickly so you don’t miss your party.