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How to choose a bridal hair stylist and what you should ask

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 11/06/2018 By Wendy Douglas
a person standing in front of a building © Provided by The Telegraph

Most of us dream of our wedding day for years before it actually arrives. Before there's a ring or even the possibility of a wedding in lots of cases...

We envisage the venue, the speeches, the flowers, the dress and of course ourselves as a radiant vision walking down the aisle towards our beloved. But as we all know, becoming a 'radiant vision' takes a bit of effort.

So as a bride you'll be keen to find the right team to help bring to life the sparkling version of yourself you've been imagining. All eyes will be on you and whether that thought makes you anxious or excited, you'll just want to feel your absolute best. 

Integral to any bride's look is her hair and therefore the hairdresser chosen to create her style for the day. With trends, veils and the requirement for your hair to stay in place all day, there's a lot to consider. Amanda Tironi, a bridal hair stylist who has worked on over 300 weddings, co-founded Spence & Oliver with make-up artist Lauren Spence last year. She says the bridal hair industry is evolving and is more exciting than ever.

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"If you look back, wedding hair was really dated and conservative," she explains. "And now it’s getting more and more creative in terms of texture and accessories. For me it’s like doing a red carpet. I really love to create something special for someone’s big day."

Need some help finding the perfect wedding hairdresser? Follow our guide and you can tick one more thing off your ever increasing to-do list.

Where to find a bridal hair stylist

You've got a hairdresser. You've been going to them for years. But when it comes to wedding hair, not all hairdressers are created equal.

Just because your usual stylist knows how you like your blow dry, doesn't mean they'll be able to create a beautiful 'do' suitable for a wedding day. 

a reflection of a mirror posing for the camera © Provided by The Telegraph

By all means ask them if they have experience of bridal hair and how much, but if they don't then steer clear. Your relationship with your hairdresser is one of the most important in your life, so don't risk ruining it.

Instead, ask if they can recommend someone more experienced and if not, try friends and family too.

"We have brides that are recommended to us by other brides we’ve worked with," says Tironi. "Or they were bridesmaids at the wedding and they saw the hair and make-up and loved it. Friends and family could be the first contact and if you don’t find anybody you like then social media is good." 

Ah yes, Social media.

Instagram and Pinterest are full of gorgeous bridal inspiration so spend some time scrolling through and narrowing down a few options. And don't neglect the world of wedding bloggers either. They often have real weddings to pore over as well as recommended supplier lists.

What to look for in your bridal hair stylist

Qualifications

Don't be tempted to hire a hair stylist who will also do your make-up. They'll be more experienced and talented at one or the other so remove the risk of anything going wrong and book separate professionals. This will also help with any timing issues on the day itself as they can work on you at the same time.

Tironi also says that a strong bridal portfolio of real weddings is a must: "Sometimes stylists do bridal shoots but the clients can’t relate to that, so it’s nice to have real brides. Show real people getting married and having their hair done."

  a man and a woman looking at the camera © Provided by The Telegraph

Doing beautiful bridal hair is a specific skill so double check how many brides they've worked with and ask them about where they were trained. 

Personality

Whoever does your hair will be with you on the morning of one of the most important (and potentially stressful) days of your life. So think about what kind of person you'd like to have around you. Will they get along with your family and bridesmaids as well as you? Tironi says it's key that your hair stylist is patient and calm but they should know how to get the balance right.

"You want somebody a bit fun but not over the top," she says. "You need to have people by your side that are pleasant to be with, but when it’s needed who know how to be invisible. Flexibility is good."

How to prepare for your bridal hair trial

Once you've got a shortlist of stylists you'd like to meet, book a trial with one or two at least eight weeks before your wedding day. But be aware that trials will also have a cost associated with them so be sure to include them in your budget.

Find out as much about the hair stylists as you can and be sure they're available on the date of your wedding, before confirming a trial. There's no point spending money or your time on somebody who doesn't have the potential to be 'the one.'

Then follow any instructions they give you about when you should wash your hair prior to the consultation and what, if any, products they'd prefer you to use. Not all stylists will have the same requirements or process so double check and follow it to the letter to ensure you get the best out of your trial.

"I always ask clients to wash their hair on the day or the night before," says Tironi. "Because I like to blow dry their hair on the wedding day, so if I can do it on the trial then we can see the texture and how the hair responds to products."

a woman taking a selfie © Provided by The Telegraph

And in the weeks before your trial, head back to the virtual world to find specific images of wedding hair that get your heart racing.

"I love when they have references," confirms Tironi. "It’s such a good way to start when I know what they like and have an idea of what kind of style they’re looking for."

What to expect on the day of your bridal hair trial

This is your opportunity to experiment so while you might have an idea in mind of what you want, try to remain open minded. 

If your hair stylist is good they will be able to make suggestions and come up with ideas based on your personal style, face shape, colouring and any other information you provide about your wedding. Show them a picture of your dress (the neckline will be influential in the choice of hair style), your flowers, the colour scheme and discuss what kind of bride you see yourself as. Bohemian? Traditional? Quirky? Vintage? It will all help in the creation of your dream wedding day hair.

But beware the stylist who doesn't listen to your input or who tries to force a particular look on you. This should be a strong warning sign that they're not the right person for the job. 

"Be open to trying things," says Tironi. "But the most important thing is not to lose your identity. You’re celebrating your relationship with your partner so you don’t want to look that different. They still want to see you. It’s about feeling really beautiful and feeling yourself and that’s the best advice."

Now remember these top tips:

1. Remember your hair accessories. If you know you'll be wearing a veil,  flower crown, tiara, headpiece or pretty hair slide then either have them at the trial for your stylist to work with or a substitute accessory they can incorporate. These elements will have a fundamental effect on what is possible and what your final wedding day hair will look like, so don't forget them.

2. Do your trial in the morning. Not only is it essential that you can see what your hair looks like in daylight but if you have it done in the morning then you can leave it in all day and judge how well it stays in place. This will give you a crucial insight into what you might be dealing with by the time you hit the dance floor on the big day itself.

3. Do a photo shoot. Have pictures taken from all angles so you really get an idea of what it looks like. You can also then show the images to trusted members of the bridal party to get some objective opinions

4. Be honest. We've all been there. You've just had your hair done, the hairdresser holds up the mirror to show you the back and asks if you like it. You don't, but you say yes anyway because well, awkward. But this isn't just some dodgy cut you can grow out. This is for your wedding day. So take a deep breath and speak up. Don't worry, the hair stylist won't be offended. "I prefer that people say 'I don’t like it' than if they don’t say anything," says Tironi. "I always say to the bride, 'you don’t need to be polite, if you don’t like this style let’s try something else.'"

Related: How 17 Different Brides Finally Fell in Love With a Wedding Dress (Provided by POPSUGAR)

What to ask your bridal hair stylist

You'll no doubt have lots of questions of your own but add these to your list too.

1. When should I wash my hair before the wedding day and what products should I use?

As with the trial you'll need your hair to be in a specific condition for the hairdresser to be able to style it properly. Follow their instructions to the letter and invest in any particular products they think your hair needs between the trial and the wedding.

2. How long should my hair last on the wedding day and will I need to take anything with me to keep it looking its best?

No matter whether you're planning on an 'up do' or you're wearing your hair down, you'll want to know it'll last all day. So get some tips on how to keep it looking fresh. Your stylist might suggest taking a small can of hair spray, blending hair grips and invisible hair bands. If so make sure you stock up and then hand them over to your Maid of Honour to look after.

3. What will the timings be on the morning of the wedding?

This is where an experienced bridal hairdresser will really come into their own. They'll be able to tell you what time you need to be in their chair, how long your hair will take and at what stage in the getting ready process your hair will be done. They'll be happy to liaise with your make-up artist and will send a detailed schedule. It's also worth asking how long it will take them to get to the venue or your house on the day of the wedding and if it's a long journey then ask if they'll consider arriving the night before.

4. Will you be working alone or will you bring a team?

This is most relevant if you've hired the stylist to do the hair for the entire bridal party. The last thing you need in the hours before your wedding is your own preparation getting delayed because the hairdresser is working their way through four bridesmaids and your mother. More staff mean more costs, of course, so if you're trying to save money consider asking your bridesmaids to do their own hair.

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