Monique Jessen
May 16, 2018 01:06 PM

The beauty countdown for the royal wedding is on! While we know royal bride Meghan Markle will be perfectly pampered ahead of the big day, what about her guests?

When Kate Middleton wed Prince William at Westminster Abbey in 2011, it was award-winning hairdresser Richard Ward and his team who styled the royal bride’s hair into a half-up, half-down demi-chignon.

Since he also styled the entire bridal party and several other royal guests too, Ward is somewhat of an expert when it comes to wedding hair. So what tips can he recommend for guests attending the nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle?

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Practice Makes Perfect

“Have at least one practice session first,” Ward tells PEOPLE at his eponymous salon Richard Ward in London’s Chelsea. “Give it a go first otherwise it can be a nightmare on the day and it could all go wrong!”

Take Your Hat to the Hairdresser

Second to the bride’s dress, all eyes will be firmly on the guests elaborate designer hats. Whether wearing a giant sculpted bow like Princess Beatrice did for Kate and William’s wedding, or a more understated topper, the hair has to work with the hat. “Personally, I think if you are wearing a proper hat, some sort of chignon or a ponytail is best — it’s more elegant and it shows your neck and your silhouette much better. Plan your hair around the hat.”

Richard Ward
Courtesy Richard Ward

Structured Styles

With the wedding starting at noon, guests are expected to be arriving from as early as 9.30 a.m., U.K. time, which will mean an early start for most of the 600 guests attending the service at St George’s Chapel in Windsor. “It’s a really long day and what your hair looks like when you leave the house is entirely different to how it might look after the church,” says Ward, who suggests choosing a style “with structure, something that you can trust and rely on.”

Party On!

For the lucky 200 guests expected to attend the evening reception at Frogmore House, guests might want to literally “let their hair down” for a fun, glam look. “You have to be careful if you are wearing your hair down — start with it a little bit tighter than you would normally and then it relaxes. If you start the night exactly as you want it to look, the chances are it drops and it won’t last!”

CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty

Pack the Mane Essentials

While Meghan will likely have her hairdresser on call for most of the wedding day, guests will most likely have to spruce up their own hair on the fly. “Go prepared with all your essentials in your bag — a tail comb, grips, pins and a mini hairspray.”

As for Ward’s own memories of royal weddings, that of Kate and William’s over 7 years ago, he recalls with pride: “It was the most incredible experience and I’ll never forget it.”

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