The bride making a big entrance on her wedding day has always been part of the fun. To up the ante, a dress change has been a popular go-to between the ceremony and reception for turning heads, and some brides have even cut their gowns into minidresses for a major moment. Now, there’s another big cut that brides are making: the “wedding chop,” where brides are cutting their hair between their ceremonies and receptions.
Search "wedding chop" or "wedding haircut" on TikTok, and you'll see hundreds of brides cutting their hair into a bob mid-wedding. One of those brides is Athina Lotito.
As a hairstylist herself, Lotito knew the power of a fresh haircut. Like many brides-to-be, Lotito had been growing out her hair for her wedding and kept mentioning at work to her colleague Alex Brown, a celebrity hairstylist and owner of Space by Alex Brown in Chicago, that her hair was becoming annoying and too long for her liking and that she wanted nothing more than to chop it. “A lightbulb then went off, and we mastered up the plan to chop it off at my wedding,” Lotito recalls. “Alex was already doing my wedding hair and was attending as well, so it seemed perfectly doable for the both of us.”
Having a stylist Lotito could trust was also key. Brown was her mentor for nearly three years, and she was formerly her assistant. “She taught me so much when it comes to hair and representing oneself as a freelance hairstylist,” Lotito says. “I am forever grateful for the knowledge and platform she has given me. I worked alongside her at her studio in West Loop, Chicago, day after day, so we definitely built a strong bond leading up to the chop.”
They planned the wedding chop about four months out from her wedding. “I wasn’t sure what I wanted my bridal hair look to be yet, so the options were still endless,” Lotito says. For her new haircut, Lotito wanted a modern and put-together look, nothing that felt complicated or out of character for her. “My inspiration came from the comfortability in that I knew the cut was modern and chic and my kind of style,” she says. “I really like the look of dark brown hair against a white wedding dress. My hair is naturally dark brown, so I went for a straight, chic, blunt lob look.”
The haircut only took about 20 minutes. They decided to do it after photos, during cocktail hour, in the bridal dressing room upstairs at the venue. “This way, she and her new husband would be announced at the grand entrance for the dinner, and it would be the perfect time to reveal the new haircut,” Brown says. “I don’t usually get nervous cutting hair, but this felt so extra special and was such a big deal to create such a change on her actual wedding day that the nerves were flowing. It was so exciting, and we were all ecstatic.”
The reaction from Lotito’s husband was major. “My husband was shocked, to say the least,” Lotito says. “By the reaction on his face, I could tell he really wasn’t expecting a hair change as he came upstairs at our venue to meet me. After a couple ‘do you like it?!’ remarks, he realized I did a hair change and then said he really loved it.”
The guests were equally enamored with Lotito’s new look. “My guests screamed, especially my friends,” she recalls. “They were shocked! I’m really happy that people noticed. For some reason, I didn’t know if they all would. Looking back, I don’t know why I would think that. It was definitely a hair change to scream about. Haircutting is something so natural for me since I’m a hairstylist. Especially having Alex do it, I was comfortable in it all, to say the least.”
As the first wedding chop that Brown performed, it was a big deal for them both, and obviously not a typical haircut. “She looked so chic and effortlessly beautiful before and after the chop,” Brown says. “It was fun for guests to try to figure out what was different about her and then to realize we cut her hair! It was the talk of the night.”
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For Lotito, it was meaningful to her in more ways than one. “It was a sign of a whole new chapter in my life, one that was just starting,” she says. “I was officially married! And in another way, my mentor, that I respect so much, was cutting it for me. It was definitely special. It marked a milestone for me. I felt like a butterfly coming out of its cocoon in some ways. But instead of transforming into a beautiful butterfly, I transformed into a wife.”
Instead of doing a bridal dress change, Brown encourages other brides to consider a wedding chop too. “It is a fun way to change up a bride’s look without having to spend hundreds of dollars on a second dress!” she says. “It’s something new and exciting happening right now. Many brides grow their hair long for their wedding and are anxious to chop it off right after anyway, so this is something that feels fresh and new for them on the big day.”
However, she points out it’s worth considering the logistics. “It was easier for us to plan because I was already attending the wedding,” she notes. “Brides may have to ask their hairstylist to come back at some part of the wedding to do the chop, which could cost extra, but overall I think it’s totally worth it.”
Lotito advises staying true to what feels right and comfortable when it comes to a style switch-up at your wedding. “It’s already a big change kind of day, so don’t do something that you’re unsure about or doesn’t feel authentic to you,” she says, adding she would totally recommend a hair change for other brides. “Whether that be changing the hairstyle or cutting your hair like me, it’s a liberating feeling and also a fun surprise for your guests.”