As consultant, colour expert and wedding hair specialist for S J Forbes in Egham, Surrey, Charlotte Hanson gives her definitive advice on finding the perfect bridal style for your big day.
Play up your best hair features
It’s important to choose a style that plays to your strengths. If your naturally long hair is your crowning glory, you may wish to sport a long sweeping style worn flowing and loose or in an on-trend fishtail braid. If you have mid-length hair that is thick and lustrous, a smooth chic chignon, as seen at this season’s Marchesa show, looks stunning.
Don’t ignore your bad points
While I encourage clients to play to their strengths, it’s important to remember that there are so many methods for improving the areas you aren’t happy with these days. You may dream of longer hair and struggle to grow it in time for your big day, in which case opt for hair extensions. At S J Forbes we use Easilocks human hair extensions, which add as much length and volume as you require with really natural-looking results. If you’re unhappy with the colour, speak to your stylist about a change. Remember that any major changes to colour should be done with plenty of time – ideally six months before the big day – to allow for time to make corrections if you’re unhappy with the end result.
Find out your face shape
It goes without saying that you want to look your best on your wedding day, so choosing a flattering style should be right at the top of your list. Certain styles are very flattering for particular face shapes, while others can have the opposite effect. For example, if you have a very round face and wish to make it appear narrower, a style that is smooth down the sides, with lots of volume and height at the crown, particularly in an up-do, will lengthen and narrow a fuller face and enhance cheekbones. Your stylist will be able to tell you what face shape you have and advise you on which styles will enhance your features and which looks will be less flattering on you.
Consider your dress
Choosing your perfect bridal hairstyle isn’t a decision you can make in isolation. As well as considering what suits you, your face shape and your hair type, it’s crucial that the style suits your dress. You would never style your hair for an occasion without making sure it looked appropriate to your outfit, so your wedding day should be no different. A backless dress may require an up-do, to allow you to show the dress off, or if your dress boasts lots of small, intricate detail, you may want to consider a simple style to keep all eyes on your dress. Likewise if you are wearing a very simple dress, where the shape and cut is more of a focal point, then you may want to contrast this and go for a more intricate style, or alternatively play on the shape theme and go for a style that is also all about shape and proportion. The style of dress will also help you to determine whether or not you need accessories, so take photos of your dress to your initial consultation so that your stylist will be able to advise you properly.
Think about the venue and time of year
The wedding venue also plays a crucial role in deciding your style. You are unlikely to pick the same hairstyle for a boho wedding in a barn as you would for a black-tie affair in a stately home. The time of year is also important: a summer wedding outdoors or a beach wedding abroad can get very hot and uncomfortable and may not be the best location to wear a full head of hair extensions or to wear long hair down your back.
Don’t forget your day-to-day style
It’s vital that you feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible on your wedding day. Your hair shouldn’t give you a moment’s worry, it shouldn’t feel uncomfortable at any point and it should make you look and feel the very best version of yourself – no one else. Remembering your own personal day-to-day look when you pick a style goes a long way to ensuring this. If you are generally quite low-maintenance, like to wear your hair down and generally do very little to your hair by way of styling, then a fussy bridal up-do will feel unnatural and strange. Likewise if you are generally well groomed and always sport a polished style, a messy braid might make you feel scruffy and unhappy.
Don’t be a slave to trends
Do consider recent bridal trends: Bridal Fashion Week is a great source of inspiration and will give you plenty of styling ideas. This season we saw designers sending their models down the catwalk in varying takes on traditional styles: I loved Oscar De La Renta’s brides, who wore French Twists re-imagined for 2016. However don’t religiously copy a hair trend, particularly if it’s a style that is so distinct and unusual it could quickly become dated. Trend-inspired styles that veer on the side of classic are your safest bet: you don’t want to look back at your wedding photos in ten years and cringe!
Consider all angles
Finally, ask your stylist to take photos of all the styles you are trialling, from all angles. On the big day your photographer will be capturing you from various angles, so it’s important to know that your waterfall braid looks as stunning from a side profile as it does from the back. Likewise, don’t be afraid to ask your stylist to pick elements of different styles, so if you like the front of one style and the back of another, ask your stylist if it’s possible to mix and match the two.