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Wedding Hairdos and Updo Styles

Updated on April 2, 2014
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Raye loved playing dress-up so much that she went on to study costume and makeup for her BA, then got an MFA in surface design.

Elegant Accents

A white rose and some ribbons add sophistication and elegance
A white rose and some ribbons add sophistication and elegance

The Most Nervous Hair Day In The World

If there's one day when women really worry about their hairdo, it's on their own wedding day. Almost universally, brides tend to want a hairdo that is not their everyday hair style. Not only is this one of a woman's most formal occasions, it's also one of the most photographed.

A lot of women have their hair done by someone else for their wedding. Frequently this is a professional hairdresser or stylist, but especially with the way the economy is going and given how expensive wedding are anyway, more often moms, aunts, sisters, daughters and friends are getting called upon to lend their hair styling skills and know-how.

It is my hope that this lens helps you find something beautiful to do with your hair, something you (or you and a friend) can do and skip the expensive salon or stylist. That way you can feel beautiful, relax and enjoy your special day just a little bit more.

Congratulations, and I wish you the best for your wedding!

Yellow/pink roses and some leafy fabric ornaments can be fun
Yellow/pink roses and some leafy fabric ornaments can be fun

Tuck in all the ends and use a fancy barrette and this updo would be perfect for a bride or bridesmaid!

Hairdo Glossary

A Ponytail is when all the hair is gathered together at one point on the head, fastened at that point and then let to fall freely from there.

A Bun refers to when the hair is wound up into a small, compact knot or twist and then fastened so that none of it falls free or sticks out.

A Chignon refers to a specific type of bun hairdo. The hair is first gathered into a ponytail. Then the ponytail is wound clockwise around the fastening, and the ends are tucked under the bun that forms. This shape is then pinned in place with hair pins or hair sticks.

A French twist is a hairdo that rolls the hair up on the back of the head. The ends can be tucked under (classic French twist) or left sticking out (modern French twist).

When you backcomb, tease or rat your hair, you take a length, pull it somewhat taut and then gently comb against the direction of hair growth. This can add a lot of volume to a hair style but it's also tangling and damaging when done heavily or frequently.

A few sprigs of baby's breath can be just the touch you want.
A few sprigs of baby's breath can be just the touch you want.

How To Do A French Roll Updo

Updo Add-Ons

One you pick an updo or wedding hair style, the next question becomes "how do you want to adorn your hair?" A lot of women like to have some sort of accent added to their updo, or as one friend of mine put it, "the wedding head jewelry."

Options for including in a wedding hairdo:

Flowers - Adding a floral accent to wedding hair is one of the most popular options and it can run from a tiny sprig of baby's breath to a headpiece in full bloom. Check to see if the florist providing the flowers can get complimentary blooms to your hairdresser so that the hair accents match the bouquets.

Circlet or headband - These run the gamut from plastic to metal, from plain to rhinestone-encrusted, from fabric to flowers. Keep the style of your dress in mind, especially if you are doing something with a period look, as you'll want your hair style to compliment your dress and not look mismatched across decades.

Tiara - For women who wish for a fairy tale wedding, there's nothing that says "princess" or "queen for the day" than a tiara. Again keep your dress and hairstyle in mind. I tend to think brides should wear tiaras that are more demure than what you see on beauty pageant queens. Depending on your budget, the jewels could be glass, crystal or genuine gemstones.

Veil - Whether or not you wear a veil is really a personal choice. They can be any length from just above the shoulders to something that trails along on the floor behind you. Whichever the case, make sure to wear it around the house before the big day so you can learn to a) keep it out of your face and b) how not to step on it or get it caught in doors if it's long.

One Bold Hair Ornament

One bold flower can be a lovely dash of color
One bold flower can be a lovely dash of color

Holy Hairdo, Batman!

Check out this 1960s Bridal Hairdo which won 2nd prize in a contest in England.
Check out this 1960s Bridal Hairdo which won 2nd prize in a contest in England.

Tips and Tricks for Better Wedding Hair

Here are some suggestions for making doing your wedding hairdo less stressful!

Haircut and/or Coloring - If you're going to cut or color your hair ahead of your big day, make sure to do anything major about two weeks ahead of the wedding date. This allows your hair to get over any of the shock of cutting it and lets it relax into the new style. Any color adjustments will look more natural after a few weeks and there will be time to fix any off-colors should anything go wrong.

Washing - Slightly dirty hair styles much better than pristinely clean hair so wash your hair the night before the wedding and then get it styled as is on the wedding day.

Supplies - One of my best friends almost had her wedding day hair plans fall apart when she forgot the special "hair rat" that she needed to poof up her hair. Luckily she had a clever hairdresser who faked the needed accessory, but it stressed everyone out terribly just hours before the wedding. Have all your necessary hair pinnings and supplies gathered up in a bag and clearly marked so that you don't forget them!

The Practice Run - If you are looking for a hair stylist for your wedding, you'll want to do that about three months before the ceremony so that you can be sure of getting someone who has their schedule open for when you need them. Be sure to meet with your stylist or hairdresser a few months to a few weeks before the wedding and do at least one test run of the actual wedding hairdo. This lets you know exaclty how much time you'll need on the busy day, it lets you check to make sure the 'do is really what you want and allows you and the stylist to work out any potential problem issues with the style.


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