By Veronica Schultz
You’ve set the date. Great! Now call your cosmetologist – even if the wedding is a year or more away – and get on her book.
No need to make major hair and makeup decisions so far in advance, but there are only so many weekends in a year and, if you have a trusted hair stylist, you need to assure they are available.
I’ll give some specific advice later on, but throughout your decision-making process, consider this: Know yourself. Over everything else, you want to be comfortable and look content in your pictures.
Usually, this means a more sophisticated version of how you look every day, so you won’t be unrecognizable or look dated 20 years later. But, hey, if what you like is a little out of your ordinary, well … you rock those pink extensions and flower crown, girl!
Surely you have a Pinterest board of possible bridal hairstyles. Are you zeroing in on updo, hair down or half up, half down? Curls, waves, braids, or a mix? When you have an appointment, show them to your stylist, who can suggest what might work best based on your hair type, your dress and jewelry, and your wedding venue.
For those with straight hair that doesn’t easily hold a curl, remember, hair products can only do so much. The humidity of Northwest Florida summer days can make for a droopy coiffure. Brisk sea breezes can blow around your tresses. If it looks like rain, be sure to have a backup curling iron onsite.
If you will need to have your hair colored, do not have it done immediately before the wedding. Way too much stress. A month to two weeks out is your best bet.
If your hair is long and thick, you may not have to grow it out in order to get the style you’re hoping for. Many a time I’ve hidden a braid at the nape because there was too much hair to incorporate into the hairstyle.
Your dress is definitely part of the hair decision. If you choose something with an intricate pattern or a special detail or super sleek and modern, an updo should complement that. If the dress is strapless, you might want to wear your hair down or in a looser updo to fill in the empty space.
When it’s time for a hair trial – about a month before the wedding – bring any jewelry and headpieces you have chosen so they can be incorporated into the style. If you’re wearing grandma’s earrings and you want to showcase them, we can do it with the hair.
Should you travel to a salon or have the hairdresser at the venue?
I like the salon setup because you and all of your girls can come in the morning, drink a mimosa and be out in two hours, leaving plenty of time for relaxing, as well as first look and wedding party photos. You need to choose a fairly sizeable salon, since they’ll be dedicating several stylists to hair (and makeup, if you’re so inclined.)
A salon visit will usually be less expensive than contracting with a stylist who will travel to the venue to do your hair.
Having a stylist or two at the home or hotel where everybody is getting ready can be a more leisurely alternative, but you must definitely work out in advance exactly how many people will need styling. Every hairdresser’s pace is different, but I usually schedule an hour for the bride’s hair and 45 minutes for each attendant.
When in doubt, start early. A mad rush right before the ceremony puts unnecessary stress on the hairstylist and especially the bride.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask about payment before the big day. Some stylists will set a single fee for a certain number of hours of service. Many will charge “by the head,” which is helpful if individuals – bridesmaids, MOBs and MOGs, grandmas, flower girls and doting aunties – are paying separately for their services.
Veronica Schultz is a licensed cosmetologist and Advanced Stylist at Haute Headz salon in Tallahassee, Florida. In addition to her regular cut and color clientele, over the past five years, she has done the dos of more than 100 brides and their attendants.