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questions to ask your hairstylist

Before you commit to anything, you've got a few questions to ask.

  • Does she have a portfolio or photos of her work that you can take a look at?
  • Does she have a list of references you can call? (Other brides she has worked with will be able to give you the inside scoop on stuff like promptness, attitude, and professionalism.)
  • If you aren't going to the salon, will she bring her own equipment -- blow dryers, styling tools, and other necessities -- or will you be responsible for supplying your own?
  • How does she charge -- by the hour, or by the head?
  • How many weddings does she do in one day? (Will yours be the only one, or will she be rushed to get to another wedding?)
hair, stylist, getting ready, bride

Wedding Hairstyles: Working With a Wedding Hairstylist

A bad hair day on your wedding day is simply not an option, so seek professional help.

Photo: Angelica Glass

You may be lucky enough to have a hairstylist who you trust completely, who knows your hair better than anyone else and can create your dream wedding hairstyle. If you don't, well, you'll simply need do some research. Ask other brides whose hairstyles you've admired. Check with your bridal salon. Once you've garnered a list of options, it's time to set up consultations: the only way to determine if a hair stylist is right for you. Skip this step and your wedding look may be more hair-raising than head-turning.

Come Prepared

When you're meeting with your wedding hair stylist for the first time, keep in mind that since he or she doesn't know your personal tastes, you'll need to show as well as tell. The best way is to gather photos from magazines that feature hairstyles you like and search wedding hairstyles online. You can even bring pictures of yourself that show the way you want your locks to look, or photos from a friend's wedding -- anything that will give him a hint about what kind of style you're seeking.

Another smart idea: Wear white to your consultation -- even a white T-shirt -- so that your hair color will be showcased atop the right hue. You should also choose a shirt with a neckline similar to your gown -- different hairstyles lend themselves to particular necklines. Once your headpiece is in place, it will make your hairstyle look different, so it's important to bring it along for the consultations. If it hasn't arrived yet, ask your bridal salon to loan you a sample. Or bring along a photo, so at least the stylist knows what to expect.

tip

You can't wear your gown to your hair trial, so do the next best thing -- pick a white or light-colored shirt with a similar neckline.

Document It

Speaking of photos, you'll want to bring a camera. Once the stylist starts manipulating your mane, ask her to photograph each finished look from four different angles -- front, back, and both sides. That way, you'll be able to see how you look from all views, and you'll get an idea of how the stylist's work translates to photographs. If there's one particular style you like, ask her to write down exactly which products and techniques were used. Since a wedding consultation can take place months before your actual event, it's important to keep notes and take pictures so you can both remember what worked.

Know How to Hire

Before you hire a stylist you need to decide a few things: Do you want her to come to you on your wedding day or would you rather go to the salon? Will she only do you hair or the bridal party's as well? Do you want her to come and stay with you throughout the day to do touch-ups before the photo session and the ceremony? Discuss these options with your stylist. Of course, how long you hire a professional to stay with you depend on your budget and her time limitations.

Once you've made the decision to hire, hand over a deposit to save the date, and request a receipt. Another option is to have the stylist sign a formal contract, detailing everything you expect on the big day. It may seem overly obsessive, but this is not an ordinary hair appointment, so formalize the agreement -- it's totally reasonable to want to.

Clock It

Ensuring a great hair day on your wedding day will all come down to timing -- which means you'll need to schedule your hair appointment at precisely the right moment. Do it too early and your coif could start to look stale just as the festivities are getting started, but if you start hair styling too late you'll feel rushed. During your hair trial run, time how long it takes to get your mane perfect, then allow that amount of time plus a half an hour of leeway, and schedule your hair appointment for as late as possible. For example, if photos are scheduled to begin at 4, and your hair takes an hour, schedule it for 2:30.

Do the Do

When the wedding day arrives, put your undergarments on under a button-front shirt so you'll be ready to slip on your dress when your hair is done and your headpiece and veil are in place. If your stylist is coming to you, make a place for him next to a low table and sit in a chair with a low back so he will have easy access to your head. And make sure there are electrical outlets nearby for appliances like hair dryers, curling irons, and electric rollers. If necessary, have an extension cord handy.

If you begin to become alarmed about the way the stylist is handling your tresses, calmly and respectfully suggest an alternative. You need expert help -- that is why you hired a professional -- but that expert must be willing to help you achieve your objective. She should also give you tips for keeping those luscious locks in place throughout the reception. Also, if your veil needs to be removed after the ceremony, ask for a lesson on how to do it. After all, you want to show off that wonderful mane, don't you?

-- Hollee Actman Becker

See More: Wedding Hairstyles