Brides must communicate their hairstyling preferences to members of the wedding party. Begin thinking about your wedding party’s hairstyles when you start to plan your own look.

If you’re a bride preparing for her wedding day, little details may escape your attention. The spotlight, of course, will be on you, but you want your bridesmaids, maid of honor and other members of the wedding party to look great, too. It would be awful to look at your wedding album 10 years from now and still hate your best friend’s hairstyle. You can avoid styling woes with careful planning and clear communication.

Begin thinking about your wedding party’s hairstyles when you start to plan your own look. While the current trend is to let bridesmaids choose their own hairstyles (as long as they fit in with your wedding’s general mood), it is critical to convey your wishes to all concerned to avoid misunderstandings. You may want everyone to wear the exact same hairstyle, similar styles or you may have no preference at all—as long as the wedding party appears polished and neat.

Any of these choices is fine, as long as your wishes are spelled out in advance. Ask each member of the wedding party to run her ideas by you. Keep in mind that each woman already has her own sense of style, with different hair textures, lengths, colors and personal preferences. You can make recommendations and certain demands, but being the bride doesn’t give you the right to order anyone to change her hair color or lop off inches from her hair. You may think your maid of honor would look great with a blonde bob, but she has the right to keep her long, flowing, brunette locks. Being considerate of her feelings will strengthen your relationship.

When deciding on basic hairstyles, take into consideration the type of wedding you’re planning. Matching hairstyles make more sense for a formal affair. The style, color and fabric of selected dresses also influence hair choices. Fitted gowns call for sleek, elegant hairstyles. Long, flowing dresses are best accompanied by softer, more romantic hair. Heavy fabrics are best balanced with smooth hair or structured barrel curls. Lightweight fabrics set the stage for wispy curls and more textured hair.

There are myriad styles for wedding-party hair. For evening affairs, you can never go wrong with the classic updo, with variations that include classic French twists, chignons, Juliet topknots or half-up styles. Another option is an elegant French braid. Each of these styles may be accessorized with hair jewelry or fresh flowers. Daytime affairs are less formal, and wedding-party members often welcome the chance to wear their hair loose, with soft, romantic curls, regardless of hair length. Make sure to discuss who will pay for the bridal party’s hair.

Traditionally, bridesmaids have always footed the bills for their wedding attire, including hairstyling, but this isn’t necessarily the case anymore. Be sure to state expectations well in advance of your wedding day to avoid misunderstandings. If you have no requirements as to how attendants wear their hair, the cost of styling is up to them. But if you want everyone to have the same professionally styled, not-a-hair-out-of-place chignon, it makes sense to have a stylist come to your home or the chapel, where she can style everyone’s hair in time for the ceremony.