We talked to hairstylists and a psychologist about the best ways to handle unwanted opinions, collaborate, and make things better for everyone involved.
While some parts of planning a wedding are less stressful than others, many tiny stresses can come with the same amount of heaviness that one big stress can have on your body. One of the most common, but least discussed problems when it comes to wedding planning is the disagreements between the people getting married and their friends and family about what the day should look like.
Parents often spend their lives thinking about their child's wedding, and sometimes, the differences in opinions can be a huge problem. Often these disagreements surround small details, like hair, makeup, and the wedding dress.
Want to find out how to handle these sensitive conversations? We talked to Dr. Nina Ellis-Hervey, a licensed clinical and school psychologist in Texas and Louisiana, as well as Taylor Portanova and Kasey Bertucci, co-owners and stylists at Salon 120 West, about handling all hair disagreements at a wedding.
For anyone getting married, how your hair is done is something that takes a bit of thought. It requires trials with stylists, practice, and research. For some reason, there are people out there who see hair that deviates from their ideal of "normal," whether it is the hair color, the texture, or length, and they want to make sure their opinions are heard.
This is often a generational issue—mothers and grandmothers may have a type of image in their mind that goes against the image in their child's mind. For example, some people want to celebrate naturally curly and kinky hair with relatives who may have a disdain for not going with what might be seen as the straight-haired, more Eurocentric standard of beauty.
"What you have to remember is a lot of that talk is coming from how they feel about themselves. There may be certain insecurities centered around their hair, the texture of their hair, the way they feel and see and connect with their hair," explains Dr. Ellis-Hervey.
This isn't a commentary about you, what you deem attractive, or what makes you feel the most beautiful, it's often just internalized issues they're projecting your way. "Consider the source, consider where that information is coming from, and if your hair is well-kept, you take care of it, and you're proud of it, you can't allow for a lot of that talk to deter you.”
Is someone in your family feeling very passionate about what your wedding hair looks like? Are you worried about offending someone or hurting someone's feelings by not taking their well-intended "advice?" If they're gently prodding and not being too aggressive, Bertucci has a recommendation: "When it comes to matters of family, it's best to keep an open mind to all opinions—everyone involved wants the bride to feel comfortable and beautiful on her day."
If you're open to their idea but also have your idea, consider bringing them to your trial. Having them there can be an excellent way to get their input, share yours, and have an expert (your stylist) interpret how the two can be done together.
In the case of a more passionate and lively disagreement, Dr. Ellis-Hervey recommends making sure that you're both able to hear each other out. It's important to remember that while it is your wedding and you have the final say, your family should feel included—even if you don't go with their decisions.
"Just hearing them in any disagreement may help you come to some conclusions about what you want or what you don't want," she explains. Don’t just shun their idea. Instead, offer your thoughts on what your desired direction might be. This way, your family member or friend will feel heard and respected. You can do this without being argumentative and without going back and forth.
You love your friends and you want them to be integrated into your wedding, but there are times when members of the bridal party and the people getting married (or their family members) disagree deeply on how to proceed. The easiest way to handle this is to ask members of the bridal party where their comfort level is.
If you're asking your friend who loves dying their hair unicorn colors to dye their hair a neutral color for the wedding day, that's likely to start a fire—why is this person okay with your hair every day except on their wedding day, and why doesn’t my friend love me for who I am? Don't damage your hair or sacrifice your identity for another person's wedding, and if you're that person's friend, have a level of flexibility. Yes, this is your wedding and you want to remember things a certain way, but you have to be realistic about your expectations. There are plenty of small adjustments that can be made to please everyone. If a bride wants her party to have an up style, but a member does not like their hair up, you can suggest having some pieces left out around the face to make her more comfortable, Portanova recommends.
If the wedding day hair turns out to be a bigger deal than expected, it's likely an indicator of a much bigger problem. Try everything you can to be accessible, flexible, and offer options. But if this person isn't willing to go along with your vision, there's not a whole lot that can be done to change their mind. If you're having an issue being at a wedding party, it's important to remember that you don't have to be at the wedding and can back out (the earlier, the better!).
For the person getting married, think about it before making a fuss. If their hairstyle is going to ruin your day, then maybe you might not need that person in your wedding, but that doesn't mean they don't have to be out of your life, either. No one wants to lose friendships or valuable family members over hairstyles.
If you're coming across disagreements or arguments about the way you choose to look on your wedding day, consider the source and whether their opinion will matter. Most of all, make sure you're doing what makes you most comfortable.
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