Photography by Dan Austin

By keeping a few key tips in mind, it’s not hard to achieve your dream big-day look.

Celestial. Ethereal. Radiant. Lovely. These are just a few of the words that Patricia Uiterwyk and her team at Venue Salon used as inspiration for this styled hair shoot (more on that later), but she says the starting point isn’t much different for real-life brides. It all comes down to inspiration.

Look 1 // Eyes were the focus of Jessica’s look (“We want the eyes to draw in the lucky person walking down the aisle,” Uiterwyk says). A cluster lash with wispy tips accompanied a smokey shadow with a hint of teal under the liner (plus a “smidge” of glitter). A plummy pink lip with a glossy lip topper is the perfect sidekick.
Floral headdress by Bloom Shakalaka

“Pictures say it all,” Uiterwyk says. “Most brides today have Pinterest or screenshots of what they are attracted to.” Often, the stylist will also have a lookbook (or an Instagram feed) on hand with examples of their past work, which provides an opportunity “to show our own work on hair that may be similar to theirs.”

Also recommended: Plan ahead. Uiterwyk says Venue’s stylists might talk through options like extensions, or a new color or cut for the big day. “If given time, we can grow into what they’re looking for,” she says. “We also may recommend, based on their hair goals, coming in for color, deep conditioning, shine service, or dusting (a haircut that only focuses on the very split ends).”

Look 2 // For Cassidy’s look, Uiterwyk says Venue’s stylists were inspired by the headdress Bloom Shakalaka created. (“It gave us all the bohemian vibes with a little edge,” she says.) They added an ethereal gold leaf to her eyeshadow to pump up the romance, and a nude lip. Natural curls complete the look.
Floral headdress by Bloom Shakalaka

Cassidy’s look — a boho flower crown and natural curls — started a few days before the shoot, with a deep conditioning and color treatment to bring a cooler tone to her hair. The look took four hours split over two sessions, so in addition to discussing the time commitment to achieve your desired look, you should also ask your stylist about what’s realistically achievable (both for your particular hair and their level of expertise) and whether it will last the length of the ceremony and reception.

Venue offers complimentary trial sessions for its guests, but Uiterwyk says to get referrals and try several stylists before committing. Between the trial and the actual event, you’ll be spending plenty of time together.

“Brides have to love what is created for them and feel confident,” Uiterwyk says. “What’s sexier than a confident woman?”

The extra style

A few more tips to make the most of your styling sesh:

• Arrive to your appointment with clean, dry hair.

• Wear a button-down shirt for easy disrobing later.

• Bring someone with you who can learn how to remove your veil and preserve your hairstyle post-ceremony.

Consider getting a facial a week before the wedding or a blow-out the day of the rehearsal dinner. The effects will still be felt on your big day.

Dress for success

Each of the brides in this article wears dresses and robes provided by Southern Swan Bridal, an appointment-only boutique. Owner Olivia Jacoby designs many of the gowns herself, including the ones seen here, and says that she strives to create a memorable experience for the brides she serves, from designing to dress-fitting.

“We truly believe that when you treat the bride, her family, and her gown selection with the sanctity and reverence that it deserves, you become not just ‘the store that sold me my gown’ but an experience she will always remember,” Jacoby says.

Look 4 // The inspiration for Laesha’s look was the model herself, says Kaitlin Laing of A Cherished Bride. “Laesha has these killer cheekbones that give her face gorgeous width,” Laing says. For her hair, she created an illusion of height with slicked-back sides and volume through the top. Makeup artist Jessica Pipkin accentuated Laesha’s eye shape by pulling the shadow beyond the eye and giving her a thick lash. “The combination gave her an effortless beauty,” Laing says.

In addition to her custom work, the designer carries lines from Pronovias, Madeline Gardner, and Carrafina, and robes from Robed with Love, from which five percent of the profits supports the fight against sex trafficking nationwide.