My hair is about the same length as yours; it hits right under my butt. My hair is probably medium thickness, but it looks like it has a similar amount of wave to yours. I ruled out a curling iron because my hair was too long to fit onto the iron; my stylist showed me how to do half my hair first and then do the bottom half but I couldn’t replicate their method…and the curls didn’t last that long because my hair was too heavy. I tried the flexi rods, which did a decentish job but were too uncomfortable to sleep in, which would make it tricky to fit into the wedding day timeline.
My plan (that I have tried out multiple times with consistent success) is to rag curl my hair the night before, take out the “curlers” about 2 hours before my first photos the day of, and pull back just a little bit so that it’s not in my face. I’ve experimented with a bunch of different curlers, and rag curls are the winner. I use t-shirt strips that are about an inch wide (make sure to use longer strips than you might see in youtube videos because your hair will need it). Roll up the hair to about the top of your boobs/armpit level and tie it. Use a fairly large chunk of hair (I use about an inch of hair but you might want to use more hair per curl if your hair is fine) for each curl. Then use one of those satin hair caps (try to find a larger one because you will be stuffing a lot of hair into it). Put the cap on your head and then tuck all the little curl knots into the cap. You CAN sleep without the cap, but it’s much more comfortable with the cap and you’re less likely to have a curl fall out of place.
When you take the curls down, do NOT brush them, don’t really even finger them. Finger the upper part that’s not curled so you can kind of mix the hair together but don’t really do much to any of it. Then pull back the part you want out of your face and hair spray it. The curls will look super tight at first, but they will fall the first couple of hours and then their fall rate slows down drastically, so what they look like 2 hours after you take them down is pretty much what they’ll look like 8 hours after you take them down. For mine, after 2 hours it’s pretty much the Sleeping Beauty kind of hairstyle where it’s fairly wavy but smooth hair that has these gorgeous little soft ringlets at the bottom. If you wanted full curl, you could always roll the hair all the way up instead of stopping at the armpit, but I like the princessy look myself.
Rag curls take forever to set, so give them at least 10 hours in (I usually do about 14). However, they don’t use any heat, they’re cheap (just cut up an old t-shirt), and they HOLD. Seriously, the curls pretty much stay in until you wash them out. I’ve had them last 3 days before.
When you are undoing the curls, pull from one side and then the other but not too hard. If it gets tangled, cut the t-shirt curler out of your hair (just the curler – don’t cut the hair itself). If you yank it until it comes loose, you’ll end up with a bushy curl that’s a little too 80s (which is also what happens if you brush out the curls). I usually have 1 or 2 out of 20 or so curls that I have to do a little curler surgery on to get them out without pulling my hair. No biggie.
Make sure your hair is pretty damp when you go to put the curlers in. I also put in a curling mousse before I put the curlers in. It helps with the frizzies and helps the curls keep their definition.
Question for you though, from one long-haired gal to another, do you ever have issues with neck pain from the weight of your hair? My hair has always been long but since I got engaged I’ve been growing it out so it will hit around my waist once curled. The past month or so it’s gotten so long that it’s really heavy and giving me a sore neck. I’ve read online that it can help if you style it in a way that redistributed the weight. I normally just braid it in a single plait, but am looking for other options. Any suggestions?