When a well-meaning older relative learned of my engagement last spring, she became excited thinking of how I would look on the big day. No, she wasn’t dreaming of a beautiful white dress or my glowing face on a lovely fall morning—she was excited that she would finally get to see me wearing straight hair.
I smiled, figuring she would just have to be surprised by what she’d actually see on my wedding day. My fiancé, however, didn’t hesitate to respond.
“She’s not straightening her hair.” he said with a big grin on his face.
“Oh,” my relative said in a confused tone. “Well, how exactly is she going to do it?”
I honestly had no idea. I didn’t have the faintest clue about wedding hair styles that would give me the elegant look I wanted without having to straighten my hair.
I wasn’t alone. Magazines and websites geared to “ethnic” brides showed mostly straight wedding styles, with a few braids thrown in for variety. Calls for suggestions and pictures of natural bridal styles featuring unbraided kinks and coils appeared on most wedding websites I visited during that time because they were in such short supply.
While it might take a bit of creativity and practice to find a desired style, there are plenty of options for a natural bride who wants to glam up her everyday look for her wedding day—and many are easier to pull off than one might expect.
So, for all of you who are or will one day be in my former position, here are a few suggestions for curly wedding hair styles.
Decorate an afro with a lovely flower, headband or decorative clip. A bride can style her hair as she does everyday—with kinky twists, with loose curls formed with Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper and Curly Hair Solutions Extenzz stretched with a root brush, or done completely freeform with some Curl Keeper as a styling product—and simply place the decorative piece on the side of the head.
Others might prefer to pin up coily hair or sweep it to the side. The accessory can then be placed in a desired position for a look of old-school glamour. Leaving some loose tendrils on the forehead or at the temples adds softness and elegance.
Unveil Your Beauty
Traditional veils work well with most wedding hair styles, but the trendy birdcage veil seems to go especially well with tight curls, as the netting shows off the texture of the hair. Perch the veil slightly past the crown of the head and let the birdcage netting rest on the forehead. The top of the veil, which usually contains a decorative ornament, adds to the glamour.
Do It Up!
Use a rhinestone crystal hairpiece to feel like a princess with your natural hair. This is what I ultimately did, working with an amazing stylist to create a voluminous half-up, half-down style. We washed and conditioned my hair and used a leave-in conditioner and styling product to create definition, and then pulled the hair on my crown through the center of the headpiece.
The headpiece was pinned in place to create a tiara effect, and as my hair dried through a combination of heat drying and air-drying, it grew fuller and larger. We lengthened the back pieces by using combing techniques, and used the same heat/air drying combination.
Brides have enough to worry about on their wedding day, and I was determined that my hair would be the least of my concerns. In the end, I was very pleased. My wedding hair style lasted all day, staying full, fluffy and curly through the heat of the ceremony and the cool wind of a mid-November evening.
As for my relative? After seeing the final result, she said she couldn’t have imagined me straightening my hair!