Should you really splurge on a wedding hair trial?

When you have a complicated hairstyle planned, a wedding hair trial is definitely the way to go.

When you're walking down the aisle on your big day, you want everything to be perfect, and that includes your hair. Many stylists recommend a wedding hair trial -- basically a practice run of your wedding day hairdo -- prior to the big day. The trouble with wedding hair trials is that they can be expensive. In fact, they can cost as much as the day-of service. If you're shelling out the cash to have a pro do your hair for your wedding, is it worth spending the extra money for a trial run before the big day?

You may not have to. According to Carla Kootsillas, a long-time stylist at Atlanta's Salon Red, her salon and many others don't charge extra for a trial because a run-through is required in your contract. The money due on the day of your trial is a down-payment on your wedding-day 'do, not a charge for the trial itself.


However if you want to audition a few different stylists before choosing one, you may end up having to pay. Kootsillas says this depends on salon policy, but at Salon Red they do free consultations but a consultation is different from a trial. If you wanted to actually see an example of your wedding day hairstyle without committing to that salon, most -- including Salon Red -- will charge for the time and effort the stylist puts in.

Besides cost, the other reasons you might be OK to skip your wedding-day hair trial are if your style is something very basic, like a simple blowout or if the stylist doing your wedding-day hair is someone you've been visiting for a long time, and you 100 percent trust her work.

While doing a hair trial might feel like an extravagance, it's actually an important step. Kootsillas says that the hair trial lets you know what you're getting, and on your wedding day you may be too nervous or overwhelmed to explain exactly what you want. It's also a chance to give your hairdo a test run: Head out on the town for a few hours afterwards to see if your 'do holds up to normal wear. It beats discovering on the dance floor at your reception that those bobby pins won't hold!

A hair trial is also a chance to see how your hair is going to look with your make-up and veil -- you might want to copy J-Lo's latest hairstyle for your wedding day, but if your hair texture and length are too different from hers or if it doesn't work with your veil, you might end up having to make a change. Or you might need to order an extension to make it work.

There are a few ways that you can keep the overall cost of your wedding day hairstyle down, trial or no. Kootsillas recommends finding to a salon that has junior stylists. Newer stylists often cost less, but that doesn't mean they're not good, just not as experienced. She also suggests keeping it simple. Stylists charge based on the time and effort for your hairstyle, so a complicated updo costs more than a blowout.

If cost is a very big issue for you, you may want to ask yourself if you can afford to hire a pro at all. You might be better off going with a DIY wedding hair style that you can practice before the big day.


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  • Bodgas, Meredith. "6 Things to Know About Wedding Hair Trials." Glamour. April 20, 2011. (Sept. 18, 2012)
  • Kootsillas, Carla. Hair Stylist, Team Leader, and Educator at Salon Red. Personal Interview. Sept. 18, 2012.
  • Swanson, Elizabeth. "9 Tips for Acing Your Wedding Hair Trial." Brides. May 2012. (Sept. 18, 2012)