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BY DESIGN : WEDDING WEAR : Preparations Start at the Top--With Bride's Hair

February 16, 1995

It's the wedding day, and, as the bride tries to look perfect, the atmosphere around her is like a ticking bomb. Nerves are pitched. Relatives are demanding. The photographer is in her face.

How can she handle the stress?

Maybe by turning to a hairdresser, says Shelly Serrecchio, a stylist at Salon Salon in Monarch Beach, who has been touching up (and sometimes calming down) brides on the spot for 11 years.

Her worst experience: a bride who didn't want to get married. "She was drinking, smoking and taking tranquilizers the whole time I was doing her hair. I didn't think she would make it down the aisle, and she later told me she doesn't remember her reception," Serrecchio says.

This is another in a series of first-person columns that allow people connected to the fashion industry to talk about their encounters.

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To prevent horror stories at the altar, we like the bride to come in a week or two before the wedding and bring her veil with her, along with a picture of how she would like her hair to be styled. That way, we can try everything out in advance of the big day.

This part takes a lot more time than you would think, mostly because brides may want a hairstyle that is not at all like the way they usually wear their hair. Most brides want to look different on their wedding day, but when they see the new hairstyle on them with their headpiece, they usually don't like it because it doesn't look like them.

If we have time, we can experiment and find a look that makes them feel comfortable. They should look like themselves, only a little dressier. If they usually wear their hair straight, maybe they should add a little curl, or tease it and make it a little bigger. But it should still be soft around their face, and it should still look like the bride.

If they always wear it down and they wear it up on their wedding day, they may not like it as the years go by and they look at their wedding pictures. A lot of women have told me they wish they didn't change their hair so drastically for their wedding.

On the wedding day, we go to their house or the church. Saturdays are usually when most weddings are, and it's also the busiest day in a salon, so we want to make sure we give the bride enough time but also that we don't block out our whole day or miss our other clients.

It always takes longer than we think because usually when you're doing the bride's hair, they always throw in someone else. It's important that a hairstylist prepare for that.

The most amount of heads we've had to do for one wedding was six. I had a girlfriend with me, and we thought is was going to be an easy day because we were only scheduled to do two people. We were late returning to the salon and meeting our next clients, but when you're doing a bride's hair, you have to make everything right for her.

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