Sunday, 12 September 2010

Hair comes the bride

For those who have not got a wedding planner the endless planning and labouring at the venue, whilst thoroughly enjoyable in itself, can leave a bride a little detached from the whole princess experience.

As a do it yourself bride, I myself had been feeling ‘un-bridelike’ and with three weeks to go I was worrying a little that perhaps I should be getting more excited, after all I had dreamt of being a bride since I was six.  I had imagined that I would spend months growing my hair and hammering the gym, spend weeks of pampering, moisturising my skin, getting early nights, avoiding any opportunity where I might risk breaking a fingernail or breaking a limb.  Yet here was I still labouring  on the farm moving stone every weekend, earning a new cut, bruise or lump with every job.

I entered the hair salon (Havana, Marple Bridge, Stockport, UK) with no expectations whatsoever, I have had no former experience of ‘hair up’ and I had not visited the salon since I had moved out of town four years previously.  The salon was still frequented by my Mum and youngest sister Sophie, so I new I should be in rather good hands, and I really had no other option but to use these ladies.  Five weeks previous I had been stood up by my friend, hair and make up stylist, on the evening I was due to have my bridal trial.  She subsequently vanished under a veil of scandal and I have not heard from her since.  

Havana are based in the village local to my parent’s farm (the wedding venue) and through divine intervention, had received a cancellation for the date of our wedding, it was surely fate!  

My stylist was Mandy, I had a whole album of hair designs that I had downloaded to my iphone, she patiently let me flick through all the styles pointing out which part of which style I liked and why.  I explained the theme of the wedding was festival meets country fayre and Mandy asked to see my wedding dress.  With this information, and a notion from me that I was happy to try anything and everything to discover the perfect style, Mandy starting weaving her magic into my dull locks.

As I sat in the chair, coffee in hand and Mandy styling away I suddenly feel a wave of emotion take hold, the realisation that I was going to be a bride!  With each curl that was created, I felt more beautiful and each pin that was placed, more elegant.  I was going to be special, I would be walking up to meet my groom.

There must have been roughly 12 styles, loosely based around four main themes, up twisted, half up half down, side sweeps and braids.  The style I chose was a variation on two of the previous styles, a side sweep, braided at the back with a cascade of curls down one side of the face.

I have pictured some of my favourite styles.

What I would recommend for any bride considering her hair is the following:

  1. Most importantly – book practice sessions.  If you are not happy with the stylist, or the styles, communicate the issues and if needs be try another stylist.
  2. Do plenty of research – leaf through all the wedding magazine, fashion magazines, celebrity gossip papers, take lots of clippings, or screen grabs from websites to show your stylist.
  3. Along with the clippings, take your scrapbook of ideas/ design boards to your consultation/ trial.  This will show your stylist the dress design and general theme of your wedding, they can incorporate these themes within your hair style.
  4. Don’t limit yourself to one style or one specific design – the more variety, the more likely you are to find the perfect style when you try it out.  Remember, not every style will suit every face, body, dress.
  5. Take plenty of photos of the style, from different angles, while you are at the salon, most places will be happy to snap away for you.  You can then view the photos at leisure to ensure you are happy with your decision.
  6. Take advice from the friends and family that you trust.  If you are happy with their style advice on a night out, and can take honest constructive criticism, they will be the best people to help you chose your style, should you be torn between designs.
  7. Wear your hair for you, not how you feel you are expected to wear it.  Chose a style that reflects your personality and style, do not try to be too removed from who you are.  You may not want to wear a starched French upsweep if you always wear your hair laissez faire.  You may be unrecognisable to your Groom, or even yourself when you look back at the photos.
  8. If possible, when scheduling your appointment for the day of the wedding, allow time to rectify any styling emergencies, but not so much time that your style may droop before the ceremony or photos.
  9. If at all possible, should you be able to afford it, ask your stylist if they can be on stand by for touch ups later in the day.  Many styles may not require this, but unexpected weather extremes can upset the most secure of styles.

The best laid plans often go awry, I was very fortunate that my stylist was available at such short notice.  
I hope these tips will be of use to you, I can only offer this advice as a recent bride based on my own experience.   I did get rained on, despite the huge umbrellas, I got hugged and pulled, my curls drooped, my pins and fascinator were dragged out when my hair got stuck on buttons of enthusiastic wellwishers, so many of the photos do not do Mandy’s work justice.  However, despite all the wear and tear, the style held up very well, and still looked a darn sight prettier than anything I could have done myself.  In terms of up do’s I am completely sold, I shall certainly be booking Mandy’s creative talents for any future parties.

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