As a bride – one of the main elements we focus on for our wedding day, like it or not, is our appearance. Our hair plays a HUGE role in our overall look, so the pressure to get it perfect and to find a great hairdresser to take on that task is present from the “i-do” get go.
Now if you know much about hair, afro hair in particular styling options are endless. You may know there is a bit of ‘hair politics’ shall we say, in the black hair community between ladies who wear extensions, those who straighten their hair and those who go ‘au naturale’ and leave their hair the way nature intended. The debate went as far as The Women of The World festival at the Southbank Centre earlier this year and also in 2013 with many joining in the debate
I had a similar predicament when I was deciding what to do with my wedding day hair – hair extensions, or short and sweet? I went for the former in the end and before I had even made my decision, so many people had an opinion that my hair should be ‘long’ for my wedding day. Why?
I featured a recent wedding hairstyle article to showcase some hairstyles to inspire you. When I put a call out for hair styling tips and advice, I was submitted a great piece from recent real bride Eulanda (and wedding photographer), who decided to go against the mainstream grain and keep her hair natural and (inadvertently) create a DIY hairstyle for her wedding day. It’s such a fun and insightful angle, I wanted to share it with you in its entirety. Plus it means I simultaneously get to share Eulanda and hubby Omo’s beautiful wedding day, captured by All Digital Studios too!
Here she shares a few tips on her journey to wedding hair magic and some natural hair styling tips if you are thinking of creating a look that is ‘you’ and doing your own hair.
Natural Hair Bride: Eulanda
Your eyes flutter open, and your heart lifts you ten feet in the air out of your bed. It’s the morning of your wedding day, and you feel alive, well rested, and ready for all the amazing activities that lie ahead of you. You look in the mirror, and you inspect you hair and skin from yesterday’s deep condition and facial. You’re glowing, and your hair never looked better…
Ohh, how I wished I were that bride described above!
My husband and I recently got married this past May, in a lovely destination wedding in Denver, Colorado USA. Originally, I’d planned on getting plenty of rest the night before the wedding, but we were up till 3:30am working on last-minute wedding related tasks. Unfortunately we just weren’t one of those couples who would wake up fresh-faced and energised for our wedding day. (Nu Bride: Me neither Eulanda! lol)
With only a whopping 2.5hrs of sleep, I woke up looking like I’d been ran over by a train. Seriously, the bags under my eyes could rival the Grand Canyon. However, before I digress into the day of wedding madness, I’ll take you to four months prior to the big day.
I wear my hair natural 99% of the year, but it wasn’t long before family members, friends, and social media followers began presuming or asking me if I was going to straighten my hair, or wear it natural for my wedding day. Now this can be a pivotal question if you constantly wear your hair natural. Either look can truly transform your face.
A glammed up straight style could be a refreshing change. Plus, I’d found some great straight styles that suited my Harlem Renaissance themed wedding. However, the closer I got to the big day, the more I desired to look like a better, more enhanced version of the everyday ‘me’. I really toiled over the decision, but eventually decided to wear my hair natural.
The second big decision was if I wanted to use a stylist, and who? Having top-notch hair stylists and makeup artists as friends is a great perk to being a photographer. I sought out several whom I trusted, and picked their brains about ideas, and showed them my top hairstyles.
They all had one suggestion in common: try to re-create the styles myself on my own hair. I also knew my hair and makeup had to flawlessly blend together and since my friend Nyla Koulchica was travelling from London to do my make-up, I spent loads of time with her nailing down the right combination.
By the time I was ready to travel to Denver, I had narrowed it down to two styles; both of which I’d done on my own hair, and photographed. I planned to show my Denver based hair stylist these images during my bridal hair trial.
Now, let’s fast forward a bit…..
I’d spent all of this time planning, and documenting the perfect looks for me. However, the day of the wedding was another story.
In fact, the morning of the wedding was a mini disaster! My stylist was running late. Her daughter was admitted into hospital that morning with a severe asthma attack, and early signs of pneumonia. I encouraged her to stay with her daughter, and that we’d sort it out. She was also scheduled to do my two bridesmaids and mother’s hair; hence the early 7:30am start time.
We began brainstorming ideas of how to best cope with the predicament, but my stylist actually rushed over once her daughter was stabilised. However, the hair and makeup itinerary was completely off, so I asked her to take care of everyone else first, and that I’d go last. However, as the hours went by, I grew less patient with the idea of being able to sit still in a chair while someone fussed over my hair for an hour. I grabbed my products, bobby pins, and headed into the bathroom.
Ten minutes later, I had my wedding hairstyle. I had to laugh at myself, as all the hours I’d spent in preparation had boiled down to ten determined minutes of self styling! (Nu Bride: The Irony!)
Now, several months after that crazy-amazing day, I can’t help but smile. I learned some new things about myself, and my capacity to adapt and truly ‘go with the flow’! However, sometimes that ‘flow’ is made easier by a few steps taken in advance.
SO If you’re as indecisive as I am in regards to wedding hairstyles, then these may be some useful tips below…
Do Your Research
Pour over images on pinterest, and wedding blogs featuring styles for your hair type.
Save the styles to an image gallery on your phone that is easy to access. I often referred to the photos when I was out and about shopping. This proved very useful as I narrowed down accessories, and details in my wedding theme.
Buy & Try
Engagement shoot hairstyle inspired by the Halo-Twsit Pin Up | Photography: Tayo Arewa
Make sure to purchase various hair products, and try them out well in advance. Take photos of your hair in various stages of product use, so that you or your stylist knows how they respond to your hair.
Try to recreate your top three styles within the last 4 months before the wedding. Take selfies, full lengths, and shoot video of yourself smiling in profile, dancing, etc. Compare the photos side by side, and see which ones best compliment you on all sides. Even if you end up going to a stylist, these images will be helpful during your bridal hair trial.
By the time I got to Denver, I had documented a mini timeline of hairstyles that I’d experimented with since our engagement photoshoot.
Where possible, make sure to test them out in your hair well before the big day. During our first dance, the lovely Art Deco headband I’d made for my reception look, kept slipping off my forehead every time my husband dipped me. That was the only piece I hadn’t properly experimented with. So please, twirl, spin, and dip away in your amazing hair accessories well in advance.
I cannot stress the importance of prepping your hair, not just the night before, but 3-4 days before. Natural hair swells and expands each day after you wash it. I knew that I did not want my hair to have the volume of a day old wash & go, so I washed my hair three days prior to the wedding, and wore it out.
The night before the wedding, I loosely parted my hair in eight sections, and twisted it into Bantu knots. I used Jane Carter Solution products to set my loose knots. In the morning, my hair was shiny, stretched, and still had a fullness to it; which worked well for my vintage look.
Know Your Hair
Who says you can’t do your own hair on your wedding day? Perhaps you’d like to put the money towards a different expense, or maybe you truly have a knack for styling?
Despite any other possible reasons, if you’ve been natural for at least two years, there’s a very good chance that you understand your own hair very well. You know what makes it live, breathe, and grow.
You know what makes you feel beautiful! With the right products, patience, and practice, you can create a fantastic style that is 100% you!
Have an amazing wedding day! I’d love to hear about your thoughts and experiences, or even funny tales regarding styling your own wedding hair!
Thank you so much Eulanda! Would love to hear your thoughts about DIY wedding hair. Have you felt pressured to have a certain wedding day look? Would you prefer to do your own hair?