We don’t mean to be overdramatic, but your w-day hairstyle is probably the most photographed ’do you’ll ever have. That makes your hair trial a key date to note down in your wedding-planning notebook. To help you get the most out of your time with your hairdresser, we asked leading industry stylists for their advice on how to make sure you end up with a look you love.
Is a trial essential?
In a word, yes. The only exception is if you’re going for a simple style (who doesn’t love a bouncy blow-dry?), created by the same trusty hairdresser you’ve been visiting for years.
If you’re going to a new stylist, or trying out a dramatic ’do with your usual hairdresser, trials are imperative. It’s a chance for you and your hairdresser to try out various looks for your big day and work out what suits you. “Trials ensure that you are totally relaxed and comfortable about the way you’re going to look on your special day,” says hair stylist Alyn Waterman.
How much will it cost?
Be prepared for your trial to cost as much as your wedding day appointment. Remember, it’s the same amount of work for your stylist, even if it’s just a practice run for you.
Some stylists include the trial as part of a larger package (including your big-day hair, your maids’ styles, and your mum’s, too), so be sure to ask about this when you’re selecting who you’re trusting with your tresses.
“How much your trial costs depends on the experience level of the stylist,” adds Richard Ward of Kérastase.
“Experience is the most important thing to base your decision on; a seasoned wedding stylist will guide you through the process with ease, inspire you, work with your ideas and, ultimately, minimise your stress. Go for the most experienced stylist your budget will allow.”
Bide your time
Don’t plan your hair trial until you’ve decided on your wedding dress, as this will almost certainly dictate whether a sophisticated updo or a laid-back hair-down style is more appropriate.
“Take into account the design and shape of your dress,” advises Jessica Trainor, senior stylist at Live True London. “As stylists, we like to see the style of your dress, so do bring along a picture,” says celebrity stylist Daniel Galvin Jr.
Accessories play a key part in your ’do, too, so if you’ve always dreamed of wearing a tiara, or picture yourself in a flower crown, make this known to your stylist so they can decide how best to include it.
“How long before my wedding shall I have my trial?” we hear you cry! We recommend about two months prior to walking down the aisle. This allows leeway if you need to go back to the drawing board and choose a different style.
Do your research
Before skipping off to your trial, scour Pinterest (as if your addiction needs any encouragement) for hair looks you love, and take them along to show your stylist.
“Come in with a minimum of five ideas and styles, as this helps your stylist visualise the look you desire,” says expert hair stylist Hiro Miyoshi. “Your hair may not look exactly like the photos, but we can incorporate elements of the style and adapt it to make it your own.”
Watch the clock
“Time the stylist when he or she is doing your hair; it helps you work out timings for your wedding morning so you can plan your prep perfectly,” advises Joanna Williamson of Aer Blowdry Bar.
In addition, try to book a morning slot so you can see how your hair lasts throughout the day – if all those loosely tonged tendrils are poker straight by 3pm, you might want to reconsider your look. “Choose a day when you have an event in the evening,” adds Jessica. “This helps you see if it’s comfortable and if it can stand up to partying.”
If possible, turn up with your w-day make-up in place, so you can see how the whole look comes together, and wash your hair the night before the trial.
“This will stop the hair being too soft and make it easier for the stylist to achieve your desired look,” says Jessica.
While we doubt you’re planning a colour overhaul in advance of your wedding day (you want your guests to recognise you, after all), if you’re planning any highlights or alterations to your hair hue, make sure these are done before your trial.
“The colour of your hair can make a style look different,” says Jessica. “A style on dark hair may not look as good on blonde hair or vice versa. Having your hair coloured the way you will have it on your wedding day gives you an exact sense of how your hair is going to look.”
We know planning your wedding is really exciting and it’s fun to get everyone involved, but your hair trial might be a time to go it alone.
“A lot of brides-to-be bring their mums, and they tend to have a very different opinion on how you should have your hair on the big day,” comments celebrity hair stylist James Pryce (he did Kate Middleton’s hair for the royal wedding!).
“Sometimes, disagreements lead to a bad atmosphere, so if you and your mum think along different wavelengths, you may find the experience more helpful and relaxing if you come alone.”
Having said that, if you do want a second opinion, your maid of honour is a great choice for your trial. “As your wedding day goes on, you might want to remove your veil or accessories, and your stylist can show your maid of honour how to do this without causing hair chaos,” says Jessica.
Get snap happy
Take photos of your hair from every angle. As we said, your wedding day is likely to be the most photographed day of your life, so it’s important to know how your hair looks from all directions. The photos will also be good for showing off to your friends (and mum, if you banned her from your trial!).
Communication is key
It’s not nice to think that you might have a bad experience, but don’t be discouraged if you end up detesting your ’do at your trial. Be honest and open, and let your stylist know it’s not as you’d hoped. If there’s time, hopefully he or she will rejig it there and then.
If that’s not an option, book a second trial. If you’re still not happy, it might be time to find a new hairdresser. Don’t feel you have to stay with them just because you’ve paid your deposit. Losing a little bit of money is preferable to being left with locks that you don’t love.
“The most important thing when it comes to your wedding hair trial is communication,” says Hiro. “If there is something you’re not sure about, or an idea you’re adamant on, let it be known. Openly discussing what you like and don’t like builds trust with your stylist, which will result in the best wedding hair for your special day.”