Choosing your wedding hairstyle is a task that seems like it should be simple, but most brides-to-be would agree that it can be surprisingly difficult to navigate. After all, this is going to be one of the most photographed days of your entire life, so your final look will be on full display for years to come. In addition to considering which type of hairstyle will best suit your wedding style, location, and dress, you'll also need to think about how you envision yourself as bride: Do you want your hair styled into soft, romantic waves that skim across your back, or do you prefer the look of a polish, elegant updo?
As it turns out, you don't need to choose just one hairstyle for your big day. According to hairstylist Jill Buck, the creative behind Hayley Erbert's two stunning cover story hairstyles, a mid-party swap is not only entirely feasible, but it's actually easy to achieve if your pro has prepped your hair properly. Here, she shares her tips for long-lasting nuptial hairstyles and advice on how to change up your look during the wedding.
For soft waves that last all day, start with the right base.
Buck stresses the importance of ensuring that your hairdresser has enough time to prep your hair; ask how long they'd need in an ideal world and build your morning-of timeline around that. "For brides, I like to really take time in the prep of the hair. It needs to last all day and often there isn’t time to reset any curls on such a busy day," she says. "I start on wet hair with Joico’s K-Pak Luster Lock Spray (for heat protection) and then Joi Whip Design Foam (for structure and hold)." Then, she gives the hair a "nice, full blowout" and curls the entire head using a 1 1/4" curling iron (Buck likes the T3 Micro). "Using the bigger iron helps the waves to be a little softer than a traditional Hollywood glam look," she explains.
Hayley's soft waves require two additional steps: For that soft, touchable look, Buck says she finishes the curls with a Mason Pierson boar bristle brush and locks the shape in place with Joico’s JoiMist hairspray.
Be sure to choose your most flattering side for a part.
If there's one piece of advice Buck wants to give all brides-to-be, it's that you should over-communicate your preferred "side" so that your stylist can part your hair accordingly. "There is nothing more frustrating than setting a look only to find you have to switch the part!" she says. Plus, you wouldn't want to end up with a hairstyle that doesn't feel like "you," and parting your hair in a way you've never done before almost always ends in that result.
And don't forget to consider what best suits your wedding dress.
Another pro tip from Buck? During your hair trial, be sure to show your hairstylist a photo of your wedding dress. "The dress neckline is always my starting point, too," she explains. "You don’t want the hair and dress in competition; they should complement one another."
If the hair was properly set, changing to an updo should be a breeze.
The beauty of Buck's method? Taking the hair from soft, flowing waves into a structured updo is an extremely straightforward process. "After my initial set the hair is in perfect condition to put into an updo. I don’t like to use an iron after hairspray so your brush is going to be the best tool for changing the shape," she explains. How did she bring Hayley's look up in a flash? "On a sleek center part I brushed her hair into two ponytails one on top of the other. This helps give me control of how sleek I can get it as well as a good anchor to set the updo and place the Bobby pins. Mini rubber bands, different Bobby pin sizes, and firm hairspray are all good tools to have."
And if you want to go the other direction? Just be clear about your plans during your first hair trial. It's certainly not impossible to go from an updo to a long, loose hairstyle, but you'll likely need to do some touchups once pins and rubber bands come out, and your stylist may want to use a softer, more flexible hairspray on your initial updo than they otherwise would.
Decide if going from hair down to an updo—or vice versa—makes the most sense for your day.
According to Buck, brides tend to choose updos for more formal events or for the more traditional portion of the day, so most women prefer to star with their hair up and then bring it down. That being said, there's a real benefit to going in the other direction: By the time the party starts and you're ready to dance, having your hair up and out of your face might be exactly what you want. You'll have taken your beautiful portraits with long, flowing hair, and now you can stay cool and look fresh throughout the party.