When the wedding bells chime in the blue mountains, Tania has already been working for several hours. In the beautiful scenery of the dreamy mountain range, the stylist has found the job she loves: Styling brides and their families for the best day of their lives. We talked to Tania about her experience and routines as a wedding stylist.
How many years have you been a hairdresser for?
I have worked as a hair stylist for 12 years now, alongside being a makeup artist in the world of advertising, tv production and film. I worked in the States as a freelancer and began assisting a bridal hair artist to understand more about up-styles and setting hair. When I moved back to Australia about seven years ago, I decided to get into school and learn about colours and cutting as well.
Why did you choose to specialise in weddings?
Sometimes you want to do things and search them out, other times things find you. When I moved to the Blue Mountains, a couple hours drive west of Sydney, I actually didn’t know it was a major wedding destination. People come from interstate and around the world to have the Blue Mountains as their wedding destination. The vast majestic backdrops, as well as the feeling of stepping back in time, generally draws people here. So, it just became apparent that this is where I should focus. It’s great because I can combine my makeup and hair experience.
What’s your favourite wedding updo?
The trend of the last couple of years has been a certain kind of pretty effortlessness, natural and clean and not too much makeup. My favourite is probably 1930ies finger waves, very Hollywood glam.
What’s your favourite product for wedding styles?
The product I love and sell the most is the NATULIQUE Volumizing Hair Mousse. I find it amazing, because it’s not like traditional mousse, it’s creamy and has a natural hold. I always use this on my curly clients hair. I also like to use the Dry shampoo to style fine hair instead of hairspray or sometimes just a light hold on slippery/shiny hair before I use a hot tool on it. I see there is a dark tone now – can’t wait to try!
How do you find out what exactly the bride is looking for?
There are definite themes to a wedding and I find it really important to look at visuals, especially the dress. Some people do not know how to describe things they like. Sometimes their idea of ‘boho’ is very different to my idea of ‘boho’. Sometimes they use a word and then I say ‘show me your dress’ – then I understand what their idea is much more than with words. I have studied different periods of history with hair and makeup and many brides have a decade theme, here it’s often 20ies, 30ies or 40ies. Art Deco is huge in the Blue Mountains.
Most brides are really nervous and emotional on their wedding days. How do you calm them down?
Being punctual is probably first. If they know you are reliable it’s one less thing for them to worry about. I find humour helps nerves. You do have to be the professional and sometimes a bit of a mother hen at the same time. But that comes with experience and age as well.
Do you have a routine for the big day?
I like to get my work bags packed the day before, not in the morning. Often I have a bit of time driving to a wedding location to get prepared. There can be strange setups on location. I like to do a bit of Alexander Technique and adjust my body so I can remind myself all day how I should be moving to stay healthy. I try and remember to not bend too much and mix up sitting and standing all through the job. That’s with hairdressing in general though, you need to have some knowledge of how you’re moving throughout the day. Most hairdressers discover this at some point, but it’s a real pity it’s not taught in schools yet.
What do you love most about your job?
I must say in the past I never really thought of myself as a people person. I used to be a bit of an introvert. But with experience, I find I’m no longer intimidated easily! I know I’m one of the best in my field at what I do. So now the social aspect, teaching people about products and how to use them, hearing their stories, trying to keep them grounded in this hair and makeup field makes complete sense to me. We are all just trying to match what we feel inside to what we look like on the outside: I think that’s when people feel at their best – getting well aligned can be powerful!