Keeping it curly

Spence and me

Photos by Birds of a Feather Photography

I’m a curly top.

Born with naturally wavy hair, my tresses and I have fought many a battle over the years. Prone to frizziness and just complete chaos, my hair has a mind all its own. Though I could use the same shampoo every day for a week (and often do), it will end up looking different after every wash. It’s just . . . its own beast, you know?

By my high school graduation, I’d learned to tame it into submission — occasionally. And always with the help of a flat iron. Like many a modern woman, that all-important straightening tool has gotten me out of some major binds. I’m convinced my “real” hair is fine for the day-to-day (and rarely “style” it any particular way for work), but on big occasions? Major occasions? Places where I know I will be photographed? I straighten it.

Or “straighten” it, I guess I should say. Even flattening my hair keeps it flat for, oh . . . an hour or so. Less if it’s summer, and barely any time at all if the humidity soars to 10,000 percent. (Which is any warm day in Maryland.)

But if that hour coincides with a major life event? Well, we’re golden. And my hair has been straightened for my senior photos in high school and college, my graduations, parties, celebrations . . .
and the list goes on. I just thought it looked better that way.

But I’m changing.

The thing is, straight hair isn’t me. My natural hair is crazy. It’s thick and unruly and unpolished, but it’s also just a part of my personality. While I don’t have truly curly hair like the lovely corkscrew-style ladies out there, it has enough body going on that it really can’t be tamed. And I’ve gotten tired of trying.

When Spencer and I scheduled our engagement shoot for a few weeks back, I wavered greatly on what to do with my locks. After finding my awesome dress and choosing appropriate heels, I was left picking the hairstyle to be immortalized in these shots forever. My go-to event look is usually the top-knot, given that it allows me to keep my hair out of my face and looks halfway polished, but I wanted something different. And for me, someone who straightens her hair for every big shoot?

Well, that meant doing the opposite of the norm. That meant keeping it curly.

Right up until the time we had to leave, my palms positively itched to grab the flat iron. The thought of having natural hair in these shots was seriously causing me anxiety. But every bit of advice given for these types of photos is, of course, be yourself. And if I’ve heard it once from family and friends, I’ve heard it a thousand times . . .

“You don’t look like you with straight hair.”

I was genuinely nervous to see the pictures from our photographers, convinced keeping my hair wavy was a terrible mistake. Other couples look so polished and sophisticated and grown-up in their shots, and I worried I’d looked like an unkempt lunatic next to my fiancé. (Who was totally bringing the cute that day, by the way.)

That was all completely irrational, of course. The photos are in . . . and they’re lovely. Authentic to us, ethereal and sweet. I’m in love with our photographers’ work and am so, so excited with the results, especially given that they captured us at such a wonderful time in our lives.

And best of all? For the first time in my illustrious big-occasion photo history, I actually . . . look like myself.

And she looks pretty happy.

Spencer and me 2

I’m glad I kept it real.