Wedding hair: how to avoid looking like a basic bride

You won't find a chignon here, friends

I’m getting married in September and whilst there are some traditions that I’m sticking to – white dress, dad giving me away, throwing the bouquet – there are some things that I just don’t want. I don’t want a cake – no one really likes it and nobody looks back on a wedding and thinks, ‘my favourite part was when they cut a cake with a random sword.’ I don’t want to pose like a prat with my bridesmaids for clichéd wedding pictures. And I really, really don’t want basic bitch wedding hair.

Stay with me.

Every wedding magazine I pick up has image after image of women with the most boring, unimaginative hairstyles I’ve ever clapped eyes on. I’ve been scrolling through Instagram and groaning at the lack of really chic ‘dos’. And Pinterest isn’t any better.

Don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware that not every hair stylist in the land does these boring half-up-half-down-lets-shove-in-some-diamante wedding hair looks. But I am amazed at the seemingly utter lack of alternative choices. It’s as if people get engaged, start planning a wedding and all sense of style goes out the window.

When Prince Harry married Meghan Markle (or the Duke and Duchess of Sussex as we now know them), she had two looks on the day. The simple low bun, with a few rouge tendrils by Serge Normant, followed by a fun, loose up-do by George Northwood. Northwood’s more relaxed and – let’s be frank – cooler option was the one people got more excited about. He is the king of cool girl hair after all. That’s what I want. I want my wedding hair to look modern, yet smart and I’d really like to avoid looking basic.

So with less than two months to go, I decided that I needed to take things into my own hands. If I was going to segue past the traditional wedding hair, I needed to approach it in a different way.

I thought to myself, which hair salon is the antithesis of wedding hair? There was only one salon that came to mind: Bleach London.

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If you don’t know Bleach London – it’s a salon that specialises in colour. But bold colour. Co-founded by Alex Brownsell, who counts Harry Styles, Georgia May Jagger, Pixie Geldof and Cara Delevingne as clients, and Sam Teasdale, the salon has become the go-to spot in London for hair that’s a little bit different. What better place to visit when looking for alternative wedding hair do for your big day?!

So off I went. I met Emma, the senior stylist, at their Dalston salon (they also have outposts in Soho and Brixton) and we started chatting about different looks. I explained that whilst I didn’t want to look boring, I also didn’t want to look back at pictures and think I’d taken a temporary leave of my senses with anything too wild. I’d chosen early on against wearing a veil, as I thought it made me look too angelic (a look that I very rarely associate with myself), and was considering a headpiece – as long as there was no sign of diamante detailing. I was pretty much open to trying a few different options and after showing her my dress (which I won’t post on here, obvs) we came up with three possible looks. In order not to go too left-field, we decided to take what’s mostly requested by bridal clients and update them. So in keeping with that, we went with the following: an updo, a headpiece and flowers.

Wedding hair piece

Ask anyone to describe ‘cool girl hair’ and chances are they’ll describe a mash-up of Kate Moss’ infamous second-day, blonde mop with sea-salty surfer hair. It’s hair that look effortless and is always worn down. So this was a pretty good place for us to start. I’m pretty lucky in the fact that I have a natural wave to my hair that looks quite beachy already – I actually really like the way that my ends gather to form slight rat tails. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, I’ll admit. But we wanted to elevate it with a headpiece. You really have to trawl through page after page on Google until you get to a headpiece that doesn’t look like all the others you’ve just seen on Etsy. When I found Alexandra Harper’s bridal collection I knew that we had found a winner. The geometric flowers couldn’t be more different to the dainty, little diamonds headbands that I keep seeing everywhere. ‘For this look I wanted to embrace what the hair wanted to do naturally,’ Emma explains. ‘And we wanted the headpiece to be the main feature.’

wedding hair

Wedding hair updo

When you search for wedding hair, the majority of results include either an updo or a braid – neither particularly inspiring. So we decided to combine the two, with a modern twist. We went for a half up, half down, plait extravaganza. If you’re going to go with a braid – make it a different one. Emma plaited along my parting and then tied it off using my own hair. She then popped a few more smaller ones around the head. Emma opted for a Dutch braid over a French, ‘as it’s more simple, but really effective.’

wedding hair

Wedding hair with flowers

I had toyed with the idea of wearing a flower crown, but as much as I love them, even I can admit that they have been so overdone. And the basic bitches have taken them for their own. As we started to discuss how we could interpret this look, the image that kept popping into my mind was the beauty look from Rodarte’s SS18 couture show.

wedding hairAnd because we were at Bleach, we couldn’t not do a bit of colour. ‘Subtle pastel hues are a perfect way to add a touch of colour, so I used one of our new Watercolours, which are made from beetroot, to give a hint of pink.’ They come out in one wash – so there’s no long-standing commitment needed.

wedding hair

I personally think we nailed the non-basic-bride wedding hair. Don’t you?

If you want to book in to see Emma, or any of the Bleach London stylists, for your wedding call 020 7275 9500.

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