Flower power for wedding-day hair

This story first appeared in the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of Columbus Weddings, published in June 2018.

Fresh or faux, wearing flowers in your 'do is nothing new. But brides are embracing the trend in original ways, incorporating blooms into their hairstyles on their big days. Local florists, hairstylists and brides all have tips on how to make it work and what you need to know to pull off the look in your own way.

If you're considering wearing flowers in your hair, you have several options: the traditional flower crown (the larger, more expensive choice), a comb or clip (the simple route) or weaving them loosely into a braid or updo (more boho and creative freedom). Once you've decided on a basic method, florists and hairstylists agree that Pinterest inspirations are a great place to start.

Kim Meacham, owner of The Paper Daisy Flower Boutique, usually matches hair flowers to the bouquet or sticks with neutrals, as they're more photogenic and less likely to distract from the bride.

“We can really use anything, as it's similar to corsage work; we just have to do it the day of or day before,” Meacham says. “Baby's breath [and] succulents are super-popular and great options, because they look nice and last really well out of water.”

Other good, live choices are wax flowers—they're hearty and don't fall apart—spray roses and eucalyptus, says Katie McLemore of Bloomtastic Flowers and Events.

While most florists prefer using live versus faux flowers, there is one thing to look out for: “There are some flowers that are the most common for people to be allergic to, so we try to steer away from those in case the bride doesn't know if she's allergic, or if other people around her might be,” Meacham explains.

Local newlywed Chelsey Scott loves the live flowers she wore at her October 2017 wedding, but advises brides to keep in mind the accessory's placement.

“Every time I would lean in or touch somebody, [the flower] would get a little smashed,” she says. “If you have it directly on the side of your head, something to consider is when you're hugging people or dancing, it might get smooshed.”

When it comes to styling, take into account your hair type. If your hair is fine or thin, a smaller bud would be easier to style because it won't have a lot of weight. If your hair is thicker, it can likely handle a larger flower. “The thicker the hair, the more adventurous you can be,” says Gary Motto, a senior director hair artist with PENZONE Salon + Spas.

The biggest advice of all: plan time for a trial hair session. If you're having live flowers for the big day, Motto recommends getting similar faux flowers from a craft store for your stylist to experiment with in advance.

Square One Salon requires all brides to have a trial to help eliminate potential stress on the big day. It's also incredibly beneficial to run through what the flower placement will be and how it will feel.

“They'll do the full hair style,” says Laura Belle, general manager at Square One. “[Brides] will bring in their combs, flowers, veils, whatever hair accessories they'll be wearing the day of, so they can really feel what that clip is going to feel like in their hair.” That trial run helps the bride and her stylist determine if the bloom has enough staying power on its own or if it needs a clip or a different styling technique to keep it in place, she adds.

Still deciding between real and faux? The latter might be less expensive and easier to work with. Motto says that faux flowers are easier to work with because the stems are sturdier. His solution for live flowers: Wrap masking tape that matches your hair color around the stem to add support.

While faux flowers have their advantages, Meacham is quick to note how precious real ones are, and how beautifully ephemeral they are in their significance.

“That day is super-special, and having real flowers is fleeting, too,” she says. “Real flowers are kind of a luxury and something special, and the fact that they are fleeting and only there in that moment and then they just exist in pictures—something about that is special.”