It’s pretty standard for women to have their favourite hairstylist but it would be unusual to expect your usual hair stylist to do your wedding hair if that’s not their speciality. Weddings require a hair stylists that know exactly what’s involved in forming a hair style that will look fantastic and stand up to the rigours of a very full day and be able to work to a strict time table every time – especially if you are going for an “upstyle”.
I spoke to Kate from Hair By Kate who is based at Wamberal on the Central Coast and is a mobile wedding hair stylist. Kate is an amazing stylist with years of experience and was high on my priority list when it came to finding everything there was to know about being a wedding hair stylist. I also spoke to Narelle from Hair by Narelle, a top Central Coast wedding hair stylist for some of her thoughts regarding bridal hair.
I work with both stylists and trust them and their work unquestionably. Although based on the Central Coast, both Kate and Narelle regularly work at weddings in the Hunter Valley and Newcastle.
The video interview with Kate is below but if you’d rather read a transcript from the interview, you can do that here. Below the video are comments and suggestions from Narelle and some “take-aways” from the interview with Kate.
What Matters on the Wedding Day?
Most brides spend hours, weeks and even months planning their wedding. The dress is the most important and the most difficult decision a bride has to make. It is the foundation on which everything else is based, and it will be enhanced if everything else is perfect. There are so many details and a big one is the choice of hairstyle and hairstylist.
Some key questions you should be asking before booking your stylist:
- How long have you been styling hair?
- How much experience have you had with bridal hair styling?
- What particular techniques do you use to ensure that my hairstyle lasts the day?
- Are you familiar with techniques for using extensions or hair padding and current bridal hair fashions?
- Have you worked with a whole bridal party before including bridesmaids and mother of the bride?
- Could you put together a list of recommendations and timings regarding colouring and/or cutting in the run up to the wedding day?
- Do you have a package for styling the whole bridal party and does that include a trial hairstyling for me prior to the day?
- Will you be able to come to us on the day of the wedding?
Let’s deal with some of these points in more detail
Firstly, find out how long the stylist has been working with bridal hairstyles. Many clients establish a close relationship with their regular stylist and feel anxious about using a bridal hair specialist on the day. However, there are a lot of reasons to consider doing exactly that. A specialist has an in-depth knowledge of the challenges that bridal hair poses.
Your hair faces a lot of challenges and has to stay perfect for a long time. As a bride, you will be on the go for most of the wedding day. You will want to look perfect for your ceremony, your photos and your reception no matter the weather conditions. You may have the challenge of humid weather to deal with, which can play havoc with certain kinds of hair and a specialist will keep this in mind when designing and completing your style for the day.
Trends and Techniques
An experienced hair stylist will usually be and like to stay up-to-date with current trends, fashions and techniques. There are courses which deal with the latest hair products and styles. There are also specialist courses to introduce the latest techniques in bridal hair. Knowing that your stylist has this knowledge can be reassuring.
Some brides will want extensions to complete their look. Depending on the type of hair a client has, some brides will need the stylist to use advanced styling techniques such as hair padding. Discuss this with your prospective stylist to be sure that she/he has the knowledge to produce the look you’re after and can supply the materials if necessary. Some stylists have their own supply of hair extensions, some are willing to work with any the client already has, but you’ll need to confirm this when booking.
Wedding hair styling depends on the style and cut of the dress and neckline, the theme of the wedding and the era of the styling for the bridal party. All of which will influence your decision to wear your hair out or up – Renee, Allure Hair and Body Terrigal
Trial the Style
A trial is one of the most important things for the bride. At the trial you’ll get the chance to see that your stylist can produce the look you are expecting. It is also a chance for the stylist to advise you their choice of style and if it’s going to suit or work with your hair type and length.
Remember to bring along any hair ornamentation you’d like to wear at your wedding to your trial. If you have extensions you want to use or a veil, these can be put together at the trial. Trial sessions are usually held at the stylist’s studio/salon or at the bride’s home in some cases (there is usually a travel fee if they come to you for the trial). By the end of the hair trial, both you and your stylist will know exactly what is required for the day and that the style is achievable. This is the ideal situation and the one to aim for. Plus, they will have a good idea on the time involved – a super important factor if you don’t want to miss some great photo opportunities.
Some brides are simply not realistic about their hair type and the style they have in mind for their wedding. Your stylist, if experienced, should be able to introduce more realistic options that you will love.
It’s important to be completely honest with your stylist at the trial. They will be doing everything they can to transform your vision into reality. It is only through talking it through and trying different approaches that the end result will be what you want.
The trial can be organised around you. Some brides like to have their trial the day of their hens night. This way you can put the style to the test at a real event.
Some brides are simply not realistic about their hair type and the style they have in mind for their wedding
The trial can be restricted to the bride or include the bridal party, as required. Costs depend on how many people are involved and the complexity of the hairstyles. Most bridal hairstyles cost around $110, but you find that many stylists will offer discounts depending on the number of people involved and possibly the time of year or day of the week. For example, a mid week wedding in winter will see slightly lower prices than a Saturday in spring. Check with your stylist about any package deals available. You will also find discounts available with the Wedding Discount Card that can be used all year round.
Organising Your Bridal Party
Organising and prioritising on the wedding day are skills that distinguish the experienced and professional hair stylists from the rest. On the wedding day, you’ll want your stylist to take control and organise the bridal party. Remember, there are no opportunities to go back on a wedding day to capture missed moments. Once the time has passed,, those moments are gone and the day rolls on. You do need to be organised and professional service providers know that and know how to work with time pressure and constraints.
Hair stylists and make-up artists have to work together and hair styling will usually take more time than your make-up. At most weddings, the hair stylist will arrive before the make-up artist (unless they are a team and work together) and finish one style before your make-up artist arrives. This way, the first girl with completed hair moves over to have her make-up applied and number two girl starts her hair. This “production line”continues until everyone in the bridal party is ready.
When asked, most girls believe the bride needs to be the last to have her hair styled. Experienced stylists are dead against the bride going last on her wedding day, as are weddding photographers. There is nothing worse than being in a situation where time has run out and the bride’s hair is rushed at the last minute, making her anxiously aware that she is going to be either late or miss out on photos at home.
If you’re planning a very simple hairstyle, reliant on good blow wave techniques and little structural support, it may make sense to leave your styling till later. More natural hairstyles, freer and looser styles, while faster to do also tend to suffer more from the effects of time and weather. More often though, I suggest that as the bride you don’t go last with your hair or makeup. Running late is not fun.
5 Tips for Choosing Your Wedding Hair Style
with Narelle from Hair By Narelle
1. The Look – Searching for a wedding style these days is as easy as a google search. Save as many as you can to a folder then go back and narrow it down as you get closer to your wedding day. An easy way to save your images is to a Pinterest board. It’s free to set up an account but be warned, it can be addictive.
Always take a handful of your ideas to your hair trial and consider the next four important tips.
2. Dress – Your dress is always a big factor in choosing a hairstyle. I usually get ideas once I have seen a brides dress. It usually determines whether you are best to go with an up-style, leave it down, take it to the side, etc.
Seeing the dress also makes it easier to decide on any hair accessories that you may have in mind.
3. Weather/Location – Are you having a summer or winter wedding? An outdoor or church wedding? These may be other influences into both your dress and hair styles.
Consider wearing your hair up if you are planning a summer time wedding, especially if you feel the heat.
4. Theme – Most Brides usually have a theme to their wedding: formal, beachy, soft romantic, country, 60’s! A hairstyle can really bring your theme into play.
Beachy could suggest soft curls or a messy bun. A more formal look could see you with a smooth high bun, or finger waves for a 60’s look.
5. Accessories – So many beautiful hair accessories are available now, again your dress would determine this.
Veils are still very popular, however there are many brides leaning away from this and going for fascinators or a sparkly comb.
A more formal look could see you with a smooth high bun, or finger waves for a 60s look.
Birdcage veils are becoming popular as well, they look great and don’t cover the hairstyle. Just as importantly, they don’t get dragged down when all your happy family and friends come in for hugs and kisses after your ceremony!humidity. For this type of hair style, it would be better left to last so it stays looking perfect for longer. Remember to allow enough time though, before your photographer arrives.
The key factor when prioritising the hairstyling is the complexity of the style. One tip is to get the bride started first, get the rollers in as soon as possible to ensure they are in for as long as possible and the hair acquires the desired staying power. This way, the foundations are ready, and the bride’s style can be completed later to produce the most perfect look for the big moment ahead when she steps out of the car into that starring role.
Another reason to leave the finishing touches on the bride for last is that there is something beautifully candid about having the photographer capture the finishing touches.
I personally don’t like to work with fresh flowers in the hair, they tend to wilt as the day goes on – Kate from Hair by Kate
An experienced stylist knows that it is necessary to please the bride and they will fit an anxious bride in at any point in the proceedings to ensure her day is not made more stressful in any way.
How Far Ahead Should You Book the Stylist?
With so much preparation to do before a wedding, booking your stylist needs to be put near the top of the list if you have someone in mind. Most brides will book their stylist approximately six months before the wedding. Some girls like to have their stylist booked a full year before the wedding, but these days it’s not usually necessary. However, if you have your heart set on someone, keep in mind that most can usually only do one wedding party in a day.
One area where your stylist can really help is by recommending a timetable in the run up to the wedding. Some hair can benefit from a top level treatment or two a few months ahead of time to achieve the best look. Also, depending on the length and style, it may be necessary to have a cut a week or so before the wedding. Finally, dyed hair needs to be in peak condition on the day, so that needs to be planned for, too. Getting a plan in place is a must.
Some brides want their usual stylist to do the cut and colour components prior to the wedding day. Others decide to put themselves totally in the hands of their chosen stylist for the pre-styling and the final hairstyle on the day – the choice is yours.
Mobile vs Salon Based Hairstylists
You’ll find that many stylists operate their businesses from a home studio but travel to a location for the wedding. The advantages are you don’t have to go anywhere on the morning of the wedding. The last thing you may want on the day of your wedding is to have to make a dash to the salon in your dressing gown and fluffy slippers. Most mobile stylists charge a traveling fee depending on how far they are expected to travel – this is the disadvantage.
A salon based stylist can often offer a team of stylists which can be a plus when dealing with a large bridal party and it’s usually the case that your make up artist will also come to the salon for their work.
Either option works well but most brides prefer to have hair and makeup artists come to them – it’s nice to be extra spoilt occasionally and if you can’t be spoilt on your wedding day, when can you?
Recommended Local Wedding Hair Stylists
Hair By Kate: www.hairbykate.com.au
Hair By Narelle: www.hairbynarelle.com.au
Allure Hair & Body: www.allurehairandbody.com.au