A bold wedding trend is making the rounds on social media — but not everyone would be daring enough to try it: Some brides are surprising their guests by entering their reception with a fresh new haircut, getting the chop right after the ceremony.
Jessie Angelovski, 28, is one such bride. She wasn’t inspired by any other brides on social media when she decided to undergo the mid-wedding cut. Instead, she tells Yahoo Life, she was just seeking a “dramatic change” in her look between the ceremony and reception.
“My hairdresser is a great friend of our family and has been cutting my hair for years,” she explains. “I’ve always grown my hair then cut my hair and always felt more ‘me’ with short hair but I was growing my hair for our wedding to have more to work with. So prior to the wedding, I threw the idea out to my hairdresser James and he loved it!”
Necovski also slipped into a new dress and shoes, giving herself a brand-new look.
“It was supposed to be a surprise, but I think we slipped up in front of my husband a couple of times,” she says. “But with so much going on on the day he forgot the haircut was happening.”
Amy Mayfield, 23, also had her hair cut mid-wedding after seeing the trend on social media. She opted for the haircut instead of a dress change.
“I was thinking about getting a second dress to walk into the reception but I thought, let’s do something different and do a hair change instead,” she tells Yahoo Life. “My hair was bleached about three times coming up to the wedding to make it that nice white blonde, so it definitely needed to be chopped off after that. I was going to get it chopped on the Monday. Then I thought, my best friend is a hairdresser and is attending my wedding, let’s cut it after our photos before we walk into the reception to give everyone a surprise! It was the best.”
Lisa Dower, Mayfield’s hairdresser, says she thought Mayfield was initially “joking” about wanting the chop.
“I was a bit nervous,” she says. “I have done a million big haircuts like that but I can’t say anyone has ever been in a wedding dress while I do it. I was so honored and happy to be a part of Amy’s day. She is my best friend and I know she had complete trust and faith in me that I would make her look amazing to make the most incredible entrance to her wedding reception.”
Dower adds, “I had not told anyone what I was doing, so when she walked in, all the girls sitting next to me all screamed, ‘Oh my God she chopped her hair off!’”
Wedding planner Meredith Bartel, based in Wisconsin, understands the idea behind a mid-wedding haircut, which can feel like a “fresh start.” It can also symbolize moving the event from more formal and traditional event to one that’s more about “letting loose and having fun.”
Of course, as with anything with a wedding, getting a perfectly timed haircut between the ceremony and reception also involves quite a bit of planning. Bartel suggests arranging the event so that a bride can sneak away for the chop during a cocktail hour.
“It is pretty common in most American weddings for the wedding couple to not visit their cocktail hour, due to finishing up photography or traveling between locations, so any absence would not be noticed by the guests, and a new chop could be revealed during the grand entrance before dinner,” she explains of traditional wedding setups. “Logistically, there is normally a lull on the timeline after formal family portraits are complete. This is when I usually pull my couple away from the wedding for a moment of free time. I invite them to use the restroom, touch up their makeup, or simply take a breather and soak up a moment of alone time together.”
While many people opt to do the haircut between the ceremony and reception, Bartel has another suggestion that may ease stress.
“Maybe you’re convinced you want a mid-wedding chop, but you’re afraid of the commitment because it’ll be captured on camera? Consider opting for the chop later in the night,” she notes. “Most photographers leave about an hour after special dances, and conveniently, that’s also when the wedding day obligations slow down as well. You could schedule your chop for directly after your first dance with your spouse, and return with a new do for getting low on the dance floor. Hopefully, your guests are too busy dancing to notice your absence, and ask your DJ to announce your new reveal upon your return! Your photographer will still be around for a few more minutes, and can capture your guest’s reaction, but you didn’t risk ruining your frame-worthy portraits.”
Oregon-based wedding planner Elisabeth Kramer, author of Modern Etiquette Wedding Planner, points out that a bride should make sure that any mid-wedding haircut is in line with how she wants her wedding day to feel. Oftentimes, she says, “extra programming” is the first thing to get cut on a stressful day — so it’s important to ask yourself what “value” the moment may hold.
“I think it’s a really good North Star for people, which is to ask, ‘How do I want to feel on my wedding day?’ Is it, ‘I want to feel that moment of surprise’? I want people to be kind of like, oh my gosh, [I’ve] never seen that before?’,” she says. “It’s going to inform the hairstyle you get, it’s going to inform the hairstylist you hire, it’s going to inform when and where you want to do this … It’s important to go check that stuff early. Because on the actual day, you’re going to be in the moment, and you’re not going to have time to do a lot of that checking in.”
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