During the past year, brides across the country have been forced to postpone their weddings indefinitely. Refinery29 Video Producer Alexa Thompson is one of them. After rescheduling twice in light of the pandemic, Thompson and her fiancé Tyler have landed on a tentative wedding date of November 2021, and they’re finally sending out official Save The Dates. For the bride-to-be, the excitement is coupled with anxiety, because she hasn’t had her hair cut or colored in over 13 months and feels like a “bit of a hot mess.” “I don’t look at myself in the mirror anymore — I’ve really let my confidence slip,” Thompson explains. Now, ahead of her big engagement photoshoot, she’s ready for her twice-postponed bridal makeover. Thompson’s vision for her hairstyle — realized through many a Pinterest board — is to keep her dirty-blonde hair long, but “level it up” with bleach-blonde highlights and face-framing layers to accentuate her blue eyes and high cheekbones. For her appointment, she heads to Santa Monica’s Salty Mane Studio, where she meets owner and seasoned colorist Liana Mia. “Our specialty is long, beachy, effortless hair — and we do a lot of blondes,” Mia explains introducing Thompson to her bright and airy studio. With a mirrored aesthetic, the two get to work on Thompson’s transformation. Mia takes her time, trimming, shampooing, lightening, and toning Thompson’s hair. She uses Olaplex bond-building treatments in between foils to protect it from bleach breakage. Then, because Thompson has a special-occasion photoshoot, Mia grabs a 1.25-inch curling iron and styles the freshly-blonde hair into loose waves, then weaves the front pieces into a delicate boho braid before sending Thompson to meet her husband-to-be on the beach. “Before I show anyone my new look, I’m so excited to show Tyler today on the beach — I cannot wait to see his reaction,” Thompson exclaims, adding that her new hair has boosted her confidence tenfold. “I highly recommend getting your hair done this spring, especially if you’re a bride planning your wedding,” she continues. “It really does give you self care and makes you feel like you can take on anything — even wedding planning during Covid.” Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?