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How to choose your wedding day style: Up or Down?

When it comes to your wedding day style, it can be tough to decide which way to go. And spending hours trawling through Pinterest, looking for “the one” only makes it tougher! So, we put this question to one of our favourite Bridal Stylists and asked for her top tips when choosing between an updo and a down do on your wedding day.

Image 1: Hair by @melissaclaremakeup, Accessories by @donnacrainsurrey

Image 2: Hair by @melissaclaremakeup, Makeup by @katydjokicmakeup, Accessories @makemebridal.accessories

Meet Melissa Clare, the fabulous UK Bridal Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist, working across Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire. We’re thrilled to have her as a Member of The Wedding Hair Company! In this Q&A, we find out more about Melissa and get that all-important insider advice to help you pick your Bridal style.

Q: Tell us about your business and how you got started

A: I am a Hair and Makeup Artist, specialising in Bridal Styling. The first few weddings I did came as a result of friends and family asking me for help. This soon led on to friends of friends. Eventually, I was working my way through very large friendship circles. I discovered how much pleasure I got from my work in this industry. I felt privileged to get the bride ready on their special day.

Q: Tell us about your consultation process with a Bride and how you help them choose their wedding day style

A: With a background in holistic therapy, I really enjoy the ‘wholesome’ aspect of my work: Listening to the client, getting to know them, helping them feel comfortable, confident and beautiful. Ultimately, as we work closely together to create their look, I want them to feel relaxed and comfortable in my presence so I do everything I can to prepare myself for the trial as well as prepare the space for them. I will schedule in approximately two hours for a bridal hair trial and chat with them prior to the appointment to get to know some things about them including their hair length, colour and texture, styles they like, the dress, and any worries they may have. I ask them to look for examples of hairstyles they like…

always look for styles with the same hair colour is my tip!

At the trial we may try two or three styles and if the Bride isn’t sure which is the best option, I will photograph the looks and work quickly to recreate any of the looks she would like to see again. I find that when we round our choices down to 2 it is much easier to make the final choice. Often it will take a small adjustment to one of the final styles to suddenly transform into the perfect look. This could be a parting change, a hair accessory, veil, or some extra hair extensions.

When the look is perfect, something just clicks into place. The bride can feel it, and the Artist can see it in her eyes.

Q: What are the key elements of an updo?

A: It really depends on the hair texture. I often use mousse to thicken and prep the hair. For fine hair I would add some beachy texture spray and blow dry in for lift and hold. I may also add some micro crimping to add texture as this really helps keep body in the style. If the updo requires padding or extensions then I will be inclined to use them as this can make a huge difference to the overall shape of the updo and long lasting structure (even if it is a soft un-done style). For thick long hair it can sometimes be harder to create some updos as part of the work can be to conceal the extra hair. It can be quite heavy too, so the right base needs to be created to really secure the style in for an all-day look.

Photo by @natalia.d.ark, Hair by @melissaclaremakeup, Assistant @gracerobson84, Accessories by @atelierwilde, Dress from @tillymintwedding, Venue @warbrookhousehotel

Q: What are the key elements of a down do?

A: It is important to know how well the hair holds a curl. This will help with choice of products, setting the hair, choice of extensions and managing client expectations. There are options for hair that doesn’t hold a curl. It might involve a loosely plaited down do that creates a feeling of hair down whilst holding a longer lasting style.

Down dos can be silky, glossy Hollywood waves, textured beachy waves or blown out curls.

The cocktail of products chosen for a down do should work well to improve the hair texture as all the hair is on show here! I find giving the hair a smoothing blow dry first is always a nice treat for the hair prior to creating the final style.

Photo by @natalia.d.ark, Hair by @melissaclaremakeup, Assistant @gracerobson84, Accessories by @atelierwilde, Dress from @tillymintwedding, Venue @warbrookhousehotel, Model @alannasaskiat

Q: What trends do you predict for updos and down dos for 2021?

A: Down dos are very popular at the moment! Although I didn’t have very many weddings in 2020 due to the pandemic, the Brides I did have all opted for a variety of down dos. For next year, my trend predictions are: Smoother, neat styles with eye catching headbands, and glamorous, sparkly looks. We can go all out with sparkly accessories, making up for all those indoor sweater and jogging bottom days of 2020!

A huge thank you to Melissa! We can’t wait to see the styles she creates in 2021. Check her out at @melissaclaremakeup &


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