Every bride should feel nothing short of heart-thumping gratitude and affection for her hairstylist on her wedding day. So, what's the key secret to great wedding hair? Work it all out in rehearsal at your wedding hair trial. This crucial pre-wedding hair appointment will set the tone for your overall beauty look on the wedding day. So, in order to make sure your locks are primped and coiled to perfection (and, most importantly, to your liking) when you walk down the aisle, there are certain measures you need to take before your hair trial to get the most out of the experience.
Meet the Expert
- Claire Balest is the owner, artist, and creative director of Claire Balest Hair + Makeup. She also shares tips from her lead stylist Kelli Patten.
- Naeemah LaFond is the owner of Under Her Veil in New York City.
- Sarah Miller is the cofounder of Caplan Miller Events in Austin, Texas.
Read on to find out what to expect and how to prepare for your wedding hair trial, with tips from wedding experts Claire Balest, Naeemah LaFond, and Sarah Miller to ensure you'll end up with the beautiful, long-lasting hairdo of your dreams.
Schedule your hair trial three months before the wedding, recommends LaFond. If you book it too early in the planning process, changing trends or chronic indecision could lead to second-guessing.
Dress the Part
Believe it or not, the attire you wear to your hair trial can actually be very helpful. Balest tells us that what you wear can give you a better visual of how you will look on your wedding day.
"You don’t have to show up in cocktail attire, but often brides find it difficult to process their wedding hair in black leggings and a tee. Wear something that gives you the look and feel of being polished and pretty and get a better feel for how things will read on your wedding day by wearing something similar to the color of your dress. It’s easier at your trial to envision what you will look like on the day of the wedding when there isn’t such a disconnect between your hairstyle and your clothing."
Wash and Dry Your Hair Beforehand
Lafond says that washing and drying your hair before your appointment ensures that you avoid spending the majority of your trial getting a blowout. Stylists generally prefer to work with day-old hair anyways! Any styling of your hair will work better if you wash your hair the day before, not the morning of your appointment (or wedding). Again, your hair trial will be good practice for how you'll be doing your hair on your wedding day.
One of the most important wedding hair trial tips is to put your best face forward, according to LaFond, since you'll be staring at yourself for a few self-critical hours. If you can, schedule your makeup trial to happen right before. Having your makeup on will help you get a better idea of your overall wedding day look. You'll be better able to gauge how makeup complements your hair and hair accessories.
Miller suggests sharing a private Facebook album or a Pinterest board of snapshots—anything from a photo of you in your dress to the flowers you'll be carrying—with your stylist for aesthetic guidance. At the same time, remember to keep an open mind at your appointment. It's okay to completely change your initial plan at the trial. “Don’t marry the photos that you bring in, just use them as inspiration. Keep an open mind and trust your professional," says Kelli Patten, lead stylist at Claire Balest Hair + Makeup.
Your hair trial is a great opportunity to test out your hair and the look you think will work best for your wedding. You may learn that certain hair products work better than others. It's a good idea to take notes about the things that work best during your hair trial. LaFond suggests jotting down a list of the products being used so you can buy miniatures of everything for your day-of kit.
Your hair trial is definitely not the time to shy away from speaking up—politely, of course. "The trial is all about experimenting and trying different options, so don’t sweat it if your stylist does something you don’t love," Balest says. "If they’re professional, they won’t be concerned with how they feel, they’ll be tuned in to you, so make sure you are honest and speak up so you’re both happy with the result."
Bring Hair Accessories
Don't forget the hair accessories (veil, comb, etc.) you plan on wearing so you can experiment with them. Take photos of each hairstyle (expect to try out three options) from different angles. Balest shares some alternative hair accessories to consider. "I love the thick bridal headbands and unique pieces that can elevate any natural style to something really special while keeping the laid-back vibe. I’m a huge fan of unique, high-quality hair accessories."
Be sure to save hair accessories as a special memento from the big day. "Hair accessories can become heirloom pieces that you can pass down, which makes them even more special for years to come," Patten says.
Consider the Weather on Your Wedding Day
When making a plan with your stylist about your hair, keep in mind that weather can play a factor in which hairdo will work best for you. "Down styles during warmer seasons require more maintenance so keep that in mind as you’re contemplating your style. Also, if your hair doesn’t hold a curl well, don’t ask it to curl when the weather/season is working against you," Patten says.
Balest advises asking your hair and makeup team if they can be on deck during the entirety of your wedding day in case you don't have access to products on the spot or if you are in need of touchups. "The best way to ensure your hair stays intact is to hire your team for the entire day, keeping them on-site with you through your event," Balest says.
Don't Bring a Posse
"It’s personal preference who you want to accompany you to your trial (if anyone) but I wouldn’t recommend bringing more than one to two people. Common choices tend to be the mother of the bride, the bride’s sister(s), or the maid of honor. More than a few people in the room has the potential to muddy the waters when everyone is giving their opinions at the same time," Balest says.