020 8440 8788, www.funpartyltd.co.uk We are the largest retail party and fancy dress store in London and the Home Counties. Based in East Barnet, we specialise in event decorations with exciting and creative unique balloon displays designed by Balloon Director Heidi Booth. Whether you need balloon structures floating on your swimming pool, marquee, chuppah decorations or something for that special age, Heidi can create it. We also make party or goody bags with exceptional flair either on a theme or designed to order.
Highly romanticBy Janet Impey
Having its very own fashion moment, the ponytail comes in many guises - tousled and undone to sleek and high - and is this season's favourite launching pad for pinned-up styles. Up-dos, from buns to classic chignons, head the roll call, while curls and volume are loosening up long wavy styles and short cuts get the super-shine treatment. These easy-on-the-eye hairstyles are ideal for displaying a tiara, headband and veil, or glitzy hair ornaments for the after-party and the good thing is that hair does not need to be complicated to look really glamorous for the big day. "I'd advise using a little Paul Mitchell Soft Spray and putting the hair in a simple pony, quite high up on the head, then taking a small section of hair to wrap around the bobble to hide it," says Laura Van Flute, stylist for Paul Mitchell creative team. "Alternatively, have some fun with the tail, rolling it into your desired shape and pinning into place."
At Headmasters salons (www.hmhair.co.uk), the Ponytail Masterclass acknowledes the rise and rise of pony popularity - £45 buys you 45 minutes of expertise where you can learn step-by-step how to achieve the perfect pony using L'Oréal Professionnel Tec.ni Art styling products. Choose from the mistress pony, which is all about sleek texture and a high pony wrapped in leather binding; the pop pony which involves dividing the tail and knotting twice and the knotted pony which combines a knotted bun and a wavy, tousled tail. When you have mastered the basic pony, you can start to experiment with other styles. Be inspired by the Headmasters Blow-Dry Collection for the ultimate sleek up-dos, textured, "un-done" styles and volume blow-drys that promise good times ahead.
"A ponytail is very versatile and can take you easily through the day looking sleek and polished, or through to an evening event when you can pin it up, pull out tendrils, backcomb the crown and play with partings," says top hairdresser Darren Bain, the 2009 London Hairdresser of the Year and part of the HOB creative team. "Or you can pull back the sides only and combine a pony with waves and volume. The key to this look is using a large barrel tong to create the perfect on-trend wave. Shorter styles can rely on jewelled hair accessories to give some pizazz, but a good cut and conditioning treatment will also work wonders." At the HOB salons (www.hobsalons.com) you can also buy the Alterna Hempseed Spray Shine, £20.75, which gives an instant quick-fix shimmer for a pretty finish.
"Everyone wants shiny hair but what is important is that hair has natural shine," insists Terry Wilson, co-owner of Hair Organics, a Notting Hill salon where botanic and mineral haircare products are a key part of an organic policy that really does deliver healthy shiny locks. Its new High Gloss Water Colour Treatment, from £71, is a salon-based must-have (www.hairorganics.co.uk). It's a clear semi-permanent, applied to the hair in the same way as a semi-permanent dye, but as the activator used is water, it is free of harmful chemicals.
"The treatment will lift and enhance natural and existing highlights and the shine will last for up to eight weeks," he explains. "The hair shaft is treated with the same conditioning effects that Hair Organics Water Colours provide, but without adding colour. Our colouring products were developed in response to the damage caused to hair and scalp by traditional permanent hair-colouring formulations. Once you have experienced the botanical alternatives, the results speak for themselves."
In Hampstead village, at the newly-opened Trevor Sorbie salon (www.trevorsorbie.com), Bree Davie, the salon director just loves putting up hair and is full of ideas about how to achieve the most flattering styles. "I always look at face shape, but a lot depends on the length and type of hair, as well. At our salons, we offer a service where we will do home visits and do the hair for celebratory occasions, but it's always essential for a trial run at the salon. I also think it's essential that a bridal hairstyle shouldn't look too different from her normal style, just a better version. Obviously the hairstyle must take into account the dress neckline and any headdress that may be worn and we often take photos of various stages of the hair preparation, particularly if the bride is to be married abroad. To ensure peace of mind, be prepared for all eventualities, like weather variables and keep your hairstyle ideas flexible."
Jules Holland, Mark Hill's creative director, agrees. "Don't leave it 'until the last minute to try out new looks," he advises. "Experiment in the weeks before, using heat stylers and different hair preparations to discover which suits you best. For instance, if you have silky fine hair, get some movement into the hair with Mark Hill's jumbo Velcro rollers (from Boots stores nationwide) or use a wand to create sexy curls and waves. Don't go for anything too contrived - it actually looks better and more modern if hair isn't too 'done'. You can also try out various finishes using a blow dryer. For mega volume, use a root spray on damp hair before popping in some jumbo rollers. Spray with hairspray and then dry with a hair dryer. Remove rollers and gently brush or finger-style through your va-va-voom volume."
"If you are planning to have hair up, it's best to shampoo the day before as this makes it easier to handle," suggests Neil Moody, session stylist from Windle & Moodie in Covent Garden (www.windleandmoodie.com). "Try twisting your hair into a French pleat or chignon using a Goody spin pin which is a fuss-free way to secure hair. Goody (available from Boots stores nationwide) also has a great range of hair embellishments, ideal for sleek styles," he says. "If you prefer waves, in the morning, simply plait hair into two loose braids either side of your head while it's damp. When they are completely dry, undo the braids for beautiful wavy texture and evening glamour."
At the Michael Van Clarke salon in Marylebone (www.vanclarke.com) the bridal team are well versed in the art of calming wedding nerves and helping the bride make the right decisions when it comes to choosing the right hairstyle. "Book a hairdresser and makeup artist in plenty of time," says Michael. "You'll be amazed at how many other people are planning to get married on the same day as you. If possible, book them for the whole day, so that they are on hand for the photographs and perhaps to change the look for an evening party. Don't be shy about choosing one bling hair accessory and enjoy being the star of the show."
Look at Emmy (www.emmyshoes.co.uk) for some exquisite accessories designed for any glitzy occasion. A favourite with both royals and celebs, combs and headbands come encrusted in feathers, vintage jewels, crystals and pearls - and then there are the bags and shoes...
But however beautiful the hair accessory, make sure your hair - long or short -- reflects the shine of the jewels.
For home, rather than salon hair helpers, try Pantène Pro V Smooth and Sleek Spa Inspired shampoo, conditioner and intensive treatment, which now has an additional Frizz Fighter leave-in treatment, perfect for post-wedding humid honeymoon climes. Aim for lots of home restorative treatments before the big event and do include the Ojon Damage Reverse Restorative range, derived from Ojon oil from the rainforests of central America. Nature's best is combined with modern technology to bring a healthy shine to all types of hair. From £20 for a shampoo, and £32 for a treatment, this is luxury hair care which really delivers results. You can find it at John Lewis, Liberty, Harrods and Fenwick stores. It's a ritual you'll want to continue long after the big day.