Wedding Fashion: Tresses for Success

Finding the perfect hairstyle for your wedding takes the right stylist and

When it comes to their wedding-day look, too many brides-to-be are thinking Cinderella when they should be thinking Rapunzel. She was a princess who knew how to make the best of the hair she was given, and you can do the same when it comes to styling your hair for your wedding. We've spoken to area experts about what to consider as you plan your 'do, and by working with your specific hair type, treatment options and even your lofty dreams, you can be sure you won't have a bad hair day on the Big Day.

Step #1: Consultation
Before your wedding-day appointment, stylists recommend getting a consultation. Just don't expect to find the perfect hairstyle right away, says Denise Pereau, a hairstylist and makeup artist at Louis Christian•Wayne•Robert Salon and Spa in Cherry Hill. “It's more about creating a feeling,” she says. “It's a time for the stylist to focus on the bride's look — we try to find styles that will pull out all of her positive features.”

But you're not limited to one trial, so don't panic if you don't like your hair the first time around. “We'll make sure it's perfect on that day,” says Lauren Gerner, a hairstylist at Giovanni & Pileggi in Philadelphia.

“At the consultation, we educate the bride on how to care for her hair so it will be flawless and healthy when she comes in for her styling appointment on her wedding day,” says Kimberly Nesmith, co-owner of Endless Creations of You in Upper Darby.

And to help your stylist with your vision, “Bring pictures from magazines with what you're looking for, especially if you have trouble communicating what you want,” says Pereau. She suggests even bringing photos of yourself with a hairstyle you had for a past occasion that you liked and want to re-create.

This is also the time to discuss extensions, which can enhance styles for any kind of hair. “There are all different types, from clip-ons all the way to longer strand-by-strand extensions,” says Pereau. Make sure you take into account the environment for your Big Day (especially any humidity) — and let your stylist know of your concerns.

If You Have … Straight, Fine Hair
The key for brides who have straight, fine locks is all in the products: Our stylists recommend using mousse and a thickening cream to add volume. Then, says Pereau, finish the style off with a shine-and-support spray for hold. At Louis Christian•Wayne•Robert, the top line is Kérastase, which is especially good for ladies with colored hair.

Fine, straight hair looks beautiful in a wedding updo, says Gerner — thin hair is actually shinier because it's not as dry as thick hair is. And, the easiest upsweep for this type of hair is a chignon at the base of the neck: “Fine hair doesn't have as much hold,” says Gerner, so there's a risk that your hair would slide out of a high updo.

If You Have … Thick, Curly Hair
Brides with thick, curly locks are blessed when it comes to styling, say our experts, because thick hair is so versatile. “They have more variety with what they can do,” says Gerner. But there are a few things that a bride should know and look for when planning her wedding style.

Scary as it sounds, if you want your hair to look smooth and hold better, it's best to wash and blow it out the day before your wedding, says Gerner, who sees most women with thick hair opting for some sort of sleek updo.

Girls with curly hair are embracing their natural curls, says Pereau. “A stylist can restructure the natural curl, make it looser with a large-

barrel curling iron to eliminate frizz, then make a chignon. But a bride's hair does not necessarily have to be all up — a sleek half-up, half-down look is a really nice option.”

However you decide to upsweep your hair, both Gerner and Pereau advise curly-haired girls against going with too loose a style. “You want to look finished,” says Gerner. Though the tousled look can be tempting and looks beautiful when you first walk out of the salon, it has a tendency to get too big and messy and look unmanageable by the time pictures are taken. “You want to control it as much as possible, without overdoing it,” says Pereau.

And if you choose to wear your hair down, the product to use is Rene Furterer, says Gerner. It holds hair in place while keeping it manageable and clean.

If You Have … African-American Hair
For African-American hair, when you start preparing your hair depends on the kind of style you wish to wear on the Big Day. For a regular updo, plan on getting your hair done the day of your wedding, says Nesmith. If you get it styled the day before, wrap your locks in a silk scarf to keep them from getting mussed.

But if you're a bride with braids on the brain, schedule a consultation two months prior and plan on going to the salon at least a week before your wedding for styling. Once the braids are in, your stylist can show you different ways to pull your hair up and adorn it with pretty ornaments. “A bride can also do a combination style, a flat twist or a cornrow twist,” says Nesmith (flat twists are twisted; cornrows are braided). “One thing to keep in mind when contemplating hairstyles,” she says, “is that if you are doing a destination wedding, wear a style that is easy to care for — go for an updo during the wedding, especially considering any humid weather.” She recommends updos that provide security, such as a French twist, where the hair is pulled together at the nape of the neck, twisted and pulled into a beautiful clip toward the top of the head.

Just remember, says Nesmith, “You want to look the way you always look, but with a touch of elegance and flair.”

If You Have … Short Hair
If you don't add extensions to your pixie cut, short hair really can be the easiest to deal with — and “easiest” doesn't always mean limited options. To take your short locks to the next level for a glam wedding look, try wearing your hair in big '40s pin curls, slicked back, or even in finger waves, à la Renée Zellweger in Chicago.

One of the most common choices, say our stylists, is to pump up your everyday look with some gorgeous highlights (just don't experiment right before the wedding) and sparkly hair jewelry. When deciding what to put in your hair, a good rule of thumb is the simple-complex rule: “If the dress is simple, it's OK to add a lot of jewelry to the hair, but if there's a lot going on with the dress — for instance, sequins — keep your hair simple,” says Gerner.

“But,” says Pereau, “as long as the hair is healthy with brilliant color and a fresh cut, the bride cannot go wrong.”