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Wedding Day Hair: Updo or Don’t?

Kristen. Chicago History Museum. Chicago, Illinois.

When it comes to wedding day hair, I’m a shameless advocate for the updo. Styled hair down can be gorgeous, of course, but it comes with a host of factors that can complicate the wedding day. On the other hand, I find an updo to be, in general, an ideal option, for a few reasons.

  1. It’s a chance to draw attention to earrings and a necklace. If you’re wearing heirlooms, or even just pieces you adore that you want to show off, an updo gives them a clear stage for display.
  2. I find an updo generally looks a little more formal, if for no other reason than that it is not how you would wear your hair on any other day of the week.
  3. It provides a natural anchor for a veil. I’m also a big fan of veils, because they can be a fun photographic element, and because, for a lot of us, when else in our lives are we going to wear a veil? It’s a moment, it’s a signifier, and it’s just fun. With an updo, putting a veil in and taking it out are easier, and the veil will hold better.
  4. And my favorite thing about updos? They can endure a wedding day. When planning your wedding day beauty look, it’s easy to forget how much movement will be involved. Throughout the day, you will probably find yourself shuttling to and from different locations, walking more than you imagined, being exposed to outside elements like wind, heat and humidity. You’ll be hugging (probably literally) hundreds of people. (You may, in fact, set your own personal record for most hugs in one day.) You’ll be kissing your partner, walking with your partner, perhaps being twirled or picked up by your partner. You’ll be dancing. (So much dancing.) You will need a hairstyle that can endure hours of this, and, at the end of the day, after 12 hours, still look good. A well-done updo does just that, and it’s worth every penny.

Ultimately, the most important factor to consider when choosing your wedding day hairstyle is your own hair. If you know your hair has the tenacity to withstand all the elements your wedding day will offer without an updo, and you’d prefer to wear it down, that’s great! In my experience, most hair will not hold up when it’s down. To make sure your style will hold up, a great test is to have your hair and makeup trial in the morning of a day when you’re doing some kind of outdoor activity, like going to an amusement park, or you could have it done in the morning before you have a bachelorette day— which will likely mimic your wedding in terms of lots of hugging, dancing, and activity. However your hair looks at the end of that day is approximately how it will look at the end of your wedding day. Also, take note of how it’s holding up two, four, and six hours into that day, since the bulk of your photos will be taken before the dance floor.

Tiffany. Evansville Country Club. Evansville, Indiana.
Heather. The Grand Hall at Power and Light. Kansas City, Missouri.
Ella. The Joinery. Chicago, Illinois.

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