Ask the Experts: Natural Hairstyles for Your Wedding Day

Walking down the aisle in a glorious halo of curls sounds enticing, but as any naturalista can attest, natural hair can have a mind of its own. To avoid having your perfectly defined twist-out turn into a frizzy mass of kinks on your walk down the aisle, we gathered a few expert tips from Tamika Fletcher, owner of Natural Resources Salon in Houston.

Nicole Marie Melton Jun, 06, 2012

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When it comes to natural hair, Tamika Fletcher, owner of Natural Resources Salon in Houston, is your go-to girl for wedding day glam. Fletcher says no matter how you wear your hair, there are wedding hairstyles for all naturals. “There is something for everyone, whether your hair is long, short, or transitioning or in locs,” says Fletcher. “Find a style that will work with your hair type but also give you some longevity afterwards. You don’t want to deal with hair on the honeymoon.”

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Mini-twists are a great option for brides because they can be done in advance to make wedding day styling stress-free. This style was created with extensions so the twists were long enough to be pinned into a classy up-do.

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Another great thing about wearing mini-twists on your wedding day? You won’t have to worry about your hair on your honeymoon! Go white water rafting, snorkeling or take a dip in the pool without worrying about your mane.

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If you’re still in the TWA (teeny weeny afro) stage, coils are a simple yet beautiful option for your walk down the aisle. “I always encourage brides to go with something simple and elegant,” says Fletcher. “I think sometimes hairstyles can be distracting so I try to find styles that really show the bride off.“

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With the right pomade, coils will maintain hold from the time you wake up until you wave goodbye to your guests after the reception.

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Coils are a great alternative to twist-outs, which Fletcher says should be avoided for weddings. “Twist-outs are not good choices. Although naturals love that hairstyle, I don’t recommend it because it’s not practical for a wedding. Too many issues can happen such as frizz or limp hair,” says Fletcher.

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For brides who are transitioning, Fletcher advises extensions be used whether you wear your hair up or down. “This particular model is in transition, so this style helped to camouflage the two textures,” says Fletcher.

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This updo was created with a pin-on chignon that was handmade from bulk extensions. Since you never know what time constraints may arise on your wedding day, having the bun made beforehand will save you up to an hour of precious time.

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When it comes to finding inspiration for your wedding day hair, Fletcher advises to look at non-natural styles, too. “Look for styles and shapes that you like even if it’s done on straight hair. A good stylist should be able to create a natural version of that style for you even if you have to use extensions.”

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This hairstyle is a two-in-one ’do that busy brides can appreciate. The pompadour up-do can be done for the rehearsal dinner activities, and the braid can be pinned on for the wedding day to create a totally different look.

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“For this style, we made a big fishtail piece with loose extensions and just pinned it into place with her pompadour,” says Fletcher. “It was quick and easy.”

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Rocking a sassy short-shave can be just as glamorous as any long hairstyle. “For a natural that is completely shaved, you still want to get glam and be sexy,” says Fletcher.

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The key to jazzing up a short cut is to play with accessories. Believe it or not, this birdcage veil was handmade by Fletcher herself with simple items found at the craft store!

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“Most of the accessories for the shoot I made myself or purchased from local shops. I paid only about 25% of the full price by shopping around and going the DIY route compared to prices at wedding shops,” says Fletcher. Etsy.com is also a popular source for handmade, unique and reasonably-priced wedding accessories.

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Do you want to be daring on your wedding day? Be brave and rock a fierce ’fro! This full-force style was created with custom-blended extensions which will withstand humidity better than the your own natural hair. “We put a cap over her real hair and attached the extensions to the cap so there wouldn’t be any damage,” says Fletcher.

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Big hair calls for a big hair accessory, so feel free to add flair with fresh flowers or sparkly clips. “We added fresh hydrangeas to her hair which could be a good way to tie in your wedding flowers in a unique way,” says Fletcher.

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To manage big hair throughout your day, have your stylist (or a designated “wedding day hair handler”) apply a little coconut oil after the ceremony and before the reception. This will keep it full and shiny without looking frizzy.

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Many brides opt for mini-twists because they are versatile, can be styled easily and will stay in place all day. “In most instances, you don’t have a lot of time the day of the wedding to do an elaborate natural style and you don’t want to give away your wedding hairstyle the day before at the rehearsal dinner either,” says Fletcher. “With these styles, all of the styling took place on the day of the photo shoot. They were very quick to do.”

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Remember to add pizazz to the back of your hair, especially for when you remove your veil at the reception. Decorated combs and clips will make your guests ooooh and ahhh when seeing you from behind.

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Beware of using extensions on your wedding day unless you are 100% sure that you are not allergic to the hair. A hair trial with extensions should be done at least two months in advance of your wedding day.

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Whatever you do, make sure you clearly express your wedding day hair concerns to your stylist beforehand. “Each time I do a consultation for a wedding, the needs are always different,” says Fletcher. “Think about your face shape and where you’re having the wedding. If you’re doing a destination wedding, be sure you or someone traveling with you can help you touch up the style."

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This style can be achieved with your own hair or with loose, kinky-textured hair to add bulk to the twists. A sparkly accessory adds the perfect touch!

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When creating styles like this, be sure to avoid water-based hair products on the morning of the wedding. These will make edges frizz faster. “If you think your hair will start to lift or frizz, oil based products are best, especially if you’re going to be outside,” says Fletcher. “Pomades are also great for flyaways.”

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Brides with locs have almost innumerable possibilities for wedding day glam!

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If you plan on getting your roots re-twisted, do so about four days before your wedding. This will ensure they look fresh, but also give you time to style your hair for your rehearsal dinner and other pre-wedding day events.

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Again, accessories are key when creating wedding styles with locs. Sparkly clips can be purchased at accessories stores or even the beauty supply store. Remember it doesn’t have to break the bank to be fabulous!

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Not all brides choose to wear their natural texture on their wedding day. For sleek styles such as this up-do, there are a few precautions to take to ensure your hair won’t revert to curly midday.

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Before straightening the hair, always apply a heat protectant and consult with a stylist for the best products to use for quick, midday touch ups.

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Keep in mind that your “holy grail” natural hair products will most likely not be a fit for your wedding day hair. “If you’re going to blow your hair out or wear it stretched, you have to use products that will weigh it down, otherwise you could end up with major shrinkage,” says Fletcher.

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