Wedding-Day Hair Extensions: Fake or Fabulous?

I’m thinking about getting hair extensions for my wedding, but my hairdresser kind of discouraged me, saying I wouldn’t “look like me.”— Natalie

Dear Natalie:
Hair extensions are getting really popular for special occasions like weddings and proms. As far as looking artificial, or like someone else — that’s not a very accurate way to describe today’s technology. Today’s extensions are actually very natural-looking. You can’t tell that all that luscious hair didn’t grow right out of your head.


The Long and the Short of It


If you’re thinking about extensions just for your wedding day, then you’d probably want the temporary methods for adding hair. Bonding is temporary, but involves applying a special glue to your hair. And I’ve heard of some damage that comes along with removing these types of extensions.

Another thing to consider is the trial run: every bride wants the security of a trial run before her big day. You won’t want to wait until right before your wedding to do the bonding; what if it doesn’t look right? But if you did your trial run a month or two before, then you’d have to cover the cost — and possible damage — of putting them in, taking them out, putting them in. Ugh.


You can choose from more permanent hair extensions, like So.Cap.USA, Great Lengths or Hair Dreams, and these will last you anywhere from two to six months, but they all cost a lot of clams … $2,000 to $4,000 on average for a full head treatment. They all can potentially damage your hair, too. I just read a press release today quoting Jennifer Anniston as saying that extensions are the quickest way to ruin your hair.


So one of my favorite options for brides is neither the short-term or long-term glued-on extensions, but temporary clip-ins. For myself, I have a whole set of long and luxurious clip-in extensions made out of real human hair from also has a brand-new line. I haven’t quite gotten the knack of putting them in myself, but an experienced stylist can — and so can some women with especially nimble fingers.


You’ll Be “Clipping” With Glamour …

Good clip-ins aren’t cheap. You won’t want synthetics for your wedding. Depending on how long and full you want your hair, you could spend anywhere from $200 to $1000. Then you might spend a little more taking them into your stylist and having them custom-dyed to exactly match your own glossy locks. Plus, most women find it easier and more effective to have a professional weave in their clips rather than do it themselves, and there are some costs with that. But unlike adhesive-based extensions, the big money with clip-ins are all up front. Once you buy them, you can use them again and again for any event that’s formal or where you just want to ooze with extra glamour.
So for peace of mind, you could order your clip-ins about three months before the wedding, take them to your stylist about a month or two before for any custom dying and a trial run, and then go in once more the day of the wedding for the final positioning.


That was pretty long, so here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons of your three major choices.


Getting Extensions for Your Wedding (Any Method):
Your hair will look fabulous. You’ll look at your wedding photos for years to come and be reminded of how gorgeous you looked that day. You could damage your hair (if the extensions aren’t applied and removed properly), or face added stress from the damage potential.
Your stunning appearance might literally draw gasps from your guests. As always, beauty comes at a price.
Bonded Hair Extensions:
Costs less than permanent ones. They can damage your hair when removed.
You can opt for cheaper, even synthetic, hair since you’ll only wear them for a short while. You’ll need to do a trial run weeks if not months before the wedding. You might even have to remove and reinstall them.
Permanent Hair Extensions:
The trial run isn’t a problem — you can have them put in a month before the wedding and keep them in. Extensions aren’t for everyone. Sometimes the only way to find out they’re not for you is to try them. I get tons of email from women who say extensions ruined their formerly healthy hair.
You’ll have time to get used to your saucy new tresses. Extremely pricey (costs can range from $500-5,000 on up — not including the hair.)
Addictive — once you get used to extraordinary hair, you won’t want to go without it.
Good research is paramount — don’t just trust your hair to anyone.
Clip-In Hair Extensions:
They cause little or no damage, and you can remove them yourself. You’ll need a stylist who’s skilled at putting them in.
All costs are up front, and they’re cheaper than permanent hair extensions. They’re cheaper than permanent extensions, but they’ll still take a chunk of change out of your glamour bag.
You can re-use them whenever you want.
Peace of mind, and convenient for trial runs.



The Expert


Perriann Rodriguez is the founder of Hair Resources and author of the E-books, Wedding Hair Styles, and Hair Extensions — The Complete Consumer’s Guide to Getting Hair Extensions.



For more information on Hair Extensions, refer to our many resources available at, and and our Hair Extensions Blog Another great resource for hair extensions is the Hair Extensions Forum at Hair Boutique.