With Britain’s Royal Wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton (April 29th 2011), it seemed nearly the entire world was caught up in “wedding fever”. It also brings to mind an
opportunity to discuss some of the basics of “Wedding Hairstyles” that might help a future bride to explain to her stylist just what it is she is looking for on her big day.
Bridal hairstyles fall into three main categories, which are defined by the amount of hair and its position on the head: Down-Style, Partial Up-Style, Full Up-Style. These categories
are pretty self-explanatory, and each contains a range of looks within their boundaries.
The down-styles include those hairstyles where the hair is smoothed straight and silky, allowed to hang down the back in a sleek curtain. It also includes those full-volume styles where
the hair is curled into a massive mane, and designed to offer balance to the body frame, as well as complimenting the neckline and shape of the wedding dress.
Partial Up-Styles are traditionally popular for less formal weddings. These hairdos take a portion of the hair and arrange it into an up-style while allowing the remainder of the hair
to be worn unconfined. The “partial up-style” may involve the hair on one side or the other, the hair at the crown (with the remainder falling loosely) or the more traditional look of the hair in the forward sections
with the back hanging freely.
Full Up-Styles are precisely that – hairstyles that utilize all of the hair into a style that is generally up and confined off of the neck and shoulders. The full up-style can vary
greatly, and can have at its base a French twist, tight bun, simple chignon or any number of other looks. Full up-styles can be extravagantly ornate, or minimally simple. It once again all depends on the gown being
worn and the ability of the hairdo to balance the features.
The following are typical down-styles that are still elegant and well-suited to wear in a formal or casual wedding environment. These are by no means the ONLY options available in
a down-style and should be simply taken as a beginning launch point for choosing your wedding look.
The Veronica Lake Style
Veronica Lake was an iconic beauty known for her long, flowing and well controlled waves that spilled across her face and shoulders like satin. In her heyday during the 1940s,
common styling techniques included roller sets, and more often, fingerwaving. Much of the signature wave of the Veronica Lake look comes from the latter technique.
Using fingerwaves, the hair can be molded into a specific pattern that follows a pleasing line to frame the face and create balance where needed in the features. The strong
vertical lines of the style make it a good choice for many rounder-faced individuals.
While it isn’t quite as often seen in more modern weddings, the full-volume style is popular among those brides with very wavy hair and long-layered cuts. The style typically uses
a roller set to create masses of curl in the hair and is carefully combed out to keep most of the curl intact, diffused and airy. The style itself has been referred to as a “Gypsy Cut” because of the luxurious and
naturally romantic aspect of the particular look.
This look is especially good for those with naturally curly hair and can use the styling tools to enhance or reshape the curl, or simply make use of the natural curl.
These partial up-style looks are iconic in that they are among the most-often utilized for bridal wear. The looks provide a simple base from which to build remarkably ornate hairdos
or clean, chic looks.
In a classic fall, the hair in the top and sides is gathered loosely and usually secured in the area of the forward crown section. The remainder of the hair is worn loosely and
allowed to “fall” down the back. The loose hair is often curled for volume and detail, and in cases where an individual’s natural hair is thin or sparse, extensions can be used to create more fullness. Some women
even opt to make use of hairpieces and wiglets to further enhance their look.
As with other hairstyles having vertical focus, the fall is a nice option for those with a rounded face and features, as it helps to elongate the silhouette.
The Swing is a reversal of the fall hairstyle in that the hair of the nape and crown sections are confined and secured in an up-style while the top and side sections are worn loosely.
This loose forward portion may be curled into a frame for the face, or otherwise arranged to give the hair visual interest. Granted, the look is not common in those with exceptionally long hair, as the forward hanging
sections could be unflattering with too much length.