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Indian Wedding Hairstyles for 2012

Published: 09/Jun/2012     

Indian Wedding Party

Okay ladies, it’s about time I wrote something on this topic – it’s very exciting for me because I always enjoy working with Indian hair. Actually, my very, very first mobile service that I did for a wedding was for an Indian client!  I have learned a lot since that day and I am eager to share with you some of the hairstyle tips for Indian hair.

Firstly, you probably know already that this is a very different type of hair styling than any other culture. Recently I was at a booking and they had hired another hairstylist to help out…as I walked in the room, she shouted with relief and started talking at me from across the room about how hard it was to do a bun on the poor girl sitting in front of her (she had a long, gorgeous thick ponytail). Evidently this stylist had never worked with Indian hair before, and was very frustrated about the whole thing; she packed up and told the ladies to do their own hair after about 30 minutes of fiddling around. It was probably the most disappointing booking ever, simply due to the fact that I had been hired for the bride plus her sisters and 2 moms. While they looked fabulous, the bridesmaids did not.

SO!  Lesson learned folks. Before you hire a person for hair, please make sure they are licensed and that they understand the unique needs of Indian hair and the designs that are used for Indian weddings! You get what you pay for!

Indian wedding hair: Big is Beautiful!

Now that I’m done with my rant, here’s the fun stuff.  Indian wedding hair MUST be styled in such a way that the chunni/dupatta won’t flatten the look. To your left I’ve attached a pic of a gorgeous bride who had the most easy-to-style hair ever. You can’t see in the photo, but her dupatta was encrusted with crystals and gold thread.  It weighed maybe 8 pounds? I had to pin it around her shoulders and to the back of her top so that the weight wasn’t all supported on her head.  We decided to do a big side swept ponytail of extensions all down her right shoulder to make the hairstyle even more glamorous.  I hope you like it!

One very important thing I learned from this wedding is that as a Caucasian, I do not have the final say in how the bride is styled, even if we apply all jewelry correctly and pin the dupatta as the bride requests. The family always has the final say, and since this booking I have added a clause to my contract that stipulates that senior family members must be present for all jewelry and pinning. I was trained by an experienced Indian sari pinner, and am great at it – but each family has their own special style and it’s best if they direct me as I work. Sometimes the tikka is worn lower or higher, and the dupatta covers more or less of a bride’s head depending on how conservative her mother and aunties are. I actually prefer this way of working now, because it’s like getting a mini-course each time I work with a different bride!

A beautiful bride in her white sari and a classic yet intricate updo

Next up is one of my favourite brides, the lovely Nishma who had her wedding on Christmas Day and celebrated in a white sari. Her traditional ceremony was the day before, and this photo is from her Western version of the wedding. Lots of my Vancouver Indian weddings start with a traditional ceremony and the reception and/or the following day is a white Western ceremony. I think it’s a lovely way to have a wedding if you were raised in the Western culture – it’s very meaningful.

Nishma had me weave some chocolate highlights in her dark hair so that the details of this hair style would show up more clearly. She had leftover blonde panels that I chose not to fill in because of how pretty they looked when we did her trial.  I advise every bride to get a dimensional hair colour before her wedding because in the photos your hairstyle will shimmer and every detail will appear clearly. Dark hair looks like a black blob in photos otherwise! Check out my post on haircolour for your wedding for more info.

I wove the back of Nishma’s hair before I pinned it up into a classic ‘bubbles’ style with an unconventional oblong shape to create height and width. It was such a pleasure to do this style because we were inspired by a reference photo that always pops up on the first page of Google when you search for wedding hair.  It’s a blonde girl in the photo, though, and I wanted to show how well this hairstyle could look on Nishma. I think it was a great success!

Classic Indian Bun Updo

Finally I have a couple shots of classic Indian bun updo styles. These actually can be done on hair as short as shoulder length, because extensions are easy to arrange into the bun style. These updos are my favourite because of their sculptural look and their solid structure. Pincurls were a challenge when I first learned how to do them (especially around the hairline where hair is finer and thinner), but now I love the many ways that they can be used to highlight an Indian wedding hair style and make it more interesting! It’s better to choose a very detailed style if your dupatta is very flowy and gauzy like a western veil – you’ll be able to see all the glossy curls and braids right through it. If your dupatta is heavy an richly detailed, it’s best to go with a more clean and classic style unless you plan to take it off later in the day.

A smaller and simpler version of a classic Indian Bun hair style

Well, that’s all for today! I hope you’ve learned a bit more about the options for Indian brides, and I want to stress that even if you have short hair, you can still wear a big and bold style. Extensions and hair padding are easy to find and they’re fairly well priced. I have made a few custom hair pieces that make these styles look incredible! Please contact me if you are interested in a trial hairstyle, or if you need some more details on how to wear these styles with short hair.