DIY Easy Fancy Wedding or Prom Hairdo Tutorial

For the past week different family members had a stomach bug, which was far from perfect timing (ok, not sure there ever is a perfect time for a stomach bug) since my little brother Dan got married Tuesday night. (Second brother's wedding- my brother Josh got married this past February.) Next post will be about how I dressed the family frugally but beautifully, but for now I wanted to share how I, who is not super talented with hairdos (I have a hard time with a french braid, even), managed to make my 5 year old daughter Anneliese a beautiful, fancy hairstyle for her uncle's wedding quite easily, and without it taking so long. I didn't use fancy tools other than a curling iron (that I've had for years), and the only thing I bought for this hairstyle were the two flower clips that matched her dress, which cost me $1 for the set. I forgot my hairspray at home, so that would have been an extra cost, and it would have made the hairstyle last longer, but it was fine without it.

If you aren't super talented with hairstyles, you probably can still make this easily enough. Anneliese's hair is a little past her shoulders, and I'd say that this hairdo would work with medium to long hair, and with either straight or wavy hair (Anneliese's is wavy). If your child already has curly hair, you probably can do this too, just skipping the part with the curling iron.

The first thing I did was make a half ponytail with a very thin and inconspicuous elastic band, and then put that hair up and out of the way, so you could work with the hair that is hanging down.

Divide the hair into thin sections and curl each one with a curling iron. Once each section is curled, clip it up in that tight curl, and leave the curl to set that way for about 10 minutes. I used regular hair clips, nothing fancy..

While that is setting, take the half pony tail and make it into a swirl. It is kind of like a bun, but flat against the head. Twist the hair, wrap it around itself, and secure it with bobby pins, trying to hide the bobby pins as much as possible. (At first I used black bobby pins that were inconspicuous but afterwords decided to switch them out for bobby pins I had at home, with pearl like beads at each end.

Then take down the clips holding up the curls, and sweep the curls towards the center of the head, underneath the swirl/bun made with the half pony tail. When sweeping the curls to the middle, lift the hair up a bit so that the curly hair covers the part between the curly section and the half pony. Secure the hair with bobby pins, as inconspicuously as possible.

Do the same thing on both sides. I assume this is the part where you'd be using hairspray if you have it.

This is where the flower clips come in handy! Clip the flowers around the bun/swirl, on top of the bobby pins holding back the curls, so that you can't see them. If this isn't possible, reposition the bobby pins so that it is.

Voila- a fancy hairstyle suitable for the occasion that doesn't take any fancy fingerwork or special skills, or take a lot of time, and costs next to nothing. I got lots of compliments on it as well.

Though I did this on my 5 year old, my inspiration was from a youtube tutorial (part of it anyhow) for a grown woman. In my opinion, it is both fancy and mature enough for prom or other dances, or other people in the wedding party, not just little girls. Just stick to more mature hair clips than I used.

As for Rose, I can't take any credit for her hairstyle. I don't have the finesse or fancy fingerwork (or speed) required to make a fancy hairstyle in her short, fine, thin hair. My little sister Lizzy did her hairstyle.

It involved braids of some sort- I think it was a french braid that ended up switching direction and joining with a braid from the other side. 

And then the matching clips were put on it as well.

Other than for my wedding and my sister's wedding, I've never paid for a hairstylist in my life, and the more I learn how to do these things myself, the more I realize how many options there are out there, how many ways to make fancy and beautiful things yourself, so you don't have to spend a lot of money and also don't need to sacrifice looking good, as long as you're willing to do some research to learn how to do these things yourself.

For the record, I practiced with Anneliese's hair a few days before the wedding, so I could figure out what I was doing, and know how to do it, so that I wouldn't stress out with the clock ticking about how exactly I'd do this. If you want to learn these things, practice makes perfect...

Do you have formal occasions where you or your loved ones would want to wear a fancy hairstyle? When such occasions come up, do you usually style the hair yourself or pay for a hair stylist? Does this look like something you think you could do, even if you don't have amazing hair styling skills?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. Wow, are your kids growing up fast!

  2. Great hairstyle tutorial and your girls look lovely ! Many thanks for posting !

  3. I love doing hair! I have four younger sisters so I have had plenty of practice... I wouldn't dream of paying someone to do my hair; that would take all the fun out of it ;-)

    1. What types of hairstyles do you generally do for weddings and other formal occasions?

    2. Combinations of braids (or twists) and curls. Same general idea as your lovely hairstyle tutorial

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