Hair Care

By Kathryn Holl

Unlike so many brides I know who obsess about the perfect dress, most elaborate cake or most memorable flower arrangement, I am the type of bride-to-be who has been obsessing about how I will wear my hair. There are infinite planning resources to help you navigate the ins and outs of your upcoming nuptials, but beyond the pages of Vogue, Elle, and Modern Bride, it’s hard for a gal to find a THE hairdo for her big day. Regardless of whether you’re a formal or casual bride, chances are you won’t compromise your appearance on your big day. So in an effort to avoid unwanted stress on my big day, and hopefully help bride-to-be BN readers, I’ve decided to do my hairdo homework in advance.

The first stop in my search for the perfect “I do” hairdo was Prada Grusel on Madison Ave. near Grand Central Station. I brought along my trusty extensions from Hair Conspiracy in case the stylist wanted to get creative with length. After wearing them for a friend’s wedding in September I can’t image going to a formal event without them. When considering extensions, try to buy natural hair as they’ll last longer and you’ll be able to curl or straighten them. Synthetic hair does not hold style and can look cheap. While I’d usually bring a few pictures for inspiration, this time I wanted my stylist, Nando Cabeza, to provide unbiased recommendations based on my hair type and personal style. Cabeza is no stranger to creating flawless up-dos as he often sees clients from the Hyatt, Roosevelt and other boutique hotels in the area for formal events.

Cabeza recommends that brides keep wedding day hair simple and not too “done” by selecting a softer style and using finishing products with low levels of ammonia and alcohol. Many brides only go for one trial or leave the final hair decision to the day of the wedding. This is a no-no for Cabeza as he believes two or three trials a few months before the wedding allows a bride to find the style that best suits her. He reminds brides to wear a neckline similar to the dress and to bring the veil or hairpiece to the trial sessions for accuracy. Cabeza suggests that if a bride plans to dye or highlight her hair, she should do so one week before the date of her wedding so color is fresh and complements her style of choice.

When it comes to recent wedding hairstyle trends, Cabeza feels brides are often wearing what they see on the pages of fashion magazines. “I’m doing a lot of softer front, half-up, half-down looks with cascading curls that are beautiful, simple and special but never overdone,” said Cabeza.

Cabeza tried tested two different looks during my trial. He began by curling all my hair with a thin iron, setting it and sitting me under a dryer for about 15 minutes to warm and lock in the curl. While my hair set, he curled my extensions. “If you’re planning to use extensions, curl and set it the night before and bring the hair to your stylist in the pins,” said Cabeza. If you’re looking for natural hair extensions, also check out The Hair You Wear, as recommended by Cabeza. He urges women to use mousse and very little hair spray on the end of the extensions in an effort to help them blend into natural hair.

For my first do, Cabeza captured a soft, romantic 20s-inspired look with a finger wave and soft cascading curls (see above picture). Small, fresh flowers would complement this style nicely if you were looking to add some color.

For the second style, he kept the romantic finger wave in front, pulled all my hair back and created an awe-inspiring chignon. This had a unique twist and appeared more like a piece of art, rather than just a formal bun. Keep it centered in the back or have your stylist create the chignon toward the side of your head for a more dramatic look. Worn alone, with an antique-inspired barrette or a simple lace veil, this look will suit most brides.

While the search for my wedding style continues, stay tuned to BN for updates on my quest for the perfect do for my perfect day.

Originally published November 2008
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