Straight, wavy, curly, natural—if there's one thing all types of hair have in common, it's that they look crazy good with a braid (or braids). This classic hairstyle has experienced a resurgence in interest in recent years, and stylists have responded, offering tons of new ways to rethink the simple plait so that it's wedding-worthy, from soft and romantic to classic wedding hairstyles with a modern twist.
"Braids are the first thing I think of when a bride wants a hairstyle that's special, whimsical and fun," says celebrity hairstylist Larry Sims. "Plus, you have the major bonus of taking your hair down after the reception and having these gorgeous waves throughout your hair for any post-wedding festivities—or the flight on your way to the honeymoon the next day. Braids are unique, but totally timeless too. You won't look back at your wedding photos in 20 years and regret having a braid in your hair, no matter what style you choose."
Undone Milkmaid Braid Updo
Whether you're planning a beach wedding, destination wedding, or a beautiful summer afternoon wedding close to home, this undone braided updo is incredibly versatile. Also, can we talk about how much we love the lush volume of this look, and all of it's wispy strands...?!
To make a braid look fuller, gently pull apart the strands to give them more width—or you can sprinkle on a little volumizing powder.
Crown Braid au Naturel
Okay, how much do we love this look, which is such a fresh take on the classic crown braid? We can see it already: This carefree wedding hairstyle would look so fab paired with a fashion-forward but ultra-chill bridal look, such as a breezy jumpsuit or two-piece, midriff-bearing ensemble. (Destination wedding locale optional.)
Asymmetrical French Braid
Classics are classics for a reason and the French braid is one of those looks. Always so elegant and equally versatile, this beautiful style is suited for all hair types and textures. We love it as it's pictured here, in a subtle but still perceptible asymmetrical weaving that celebrates these gorgeous natural curls to the fullest.
Half-Up, Half-Down Braids and Waves
From the double, overlapping braids to those loose wavy locks, there's so much we love about this relaxed bridal hairstyle. But what we love even more is the versatility of this look, how amazing it would be on brides with all sorts of hair colors and textures—especially with pretty little flowers tucked in among the plaits.
Full-Volume Teased Out Fishtail Braid
So much body! Unless you've been gifted with ultra-thick, ultra-long locks, the secret to creating a fishtail braid with such incredible fullness is extensions—which will help carry that volume all the way through—and to tease, tease, tease, of course.
Small, decorative adornments placed here and there highlight fullness of this stunning look. Besides florals, we also love the idea of gemstone- or pearl-tipped hair pins or bobby pins tucked in throughout.
A Tugged-Out Braided Updo
Can your updo be all braids? In one word: Absolutely. This gorgeous look is a combination of inverse braids and fishtail braids that were pinned into an updo and finished with an arcing, offset hair accessory that makes the braids the focal point (and looks oh so pretty).
To create this full-volume look, plump up a braid by adding texturizing spray and gently tugging at the edges until it's at your desired width—or, consider adding extensions.
Loosely-Plaited Straight Braid
The simplicity of this loosely-plaited straight braid has all sorts of The Princess Bride vibes, when actress Robin Wright is still a maiden on the farm, awaiting the return of her beloved Westley. Could a bridal look possibly get any easier—or any sweeter?
Relaxed Braided Updos Two Ways
We love the synergy of the hairstyles of these two lovely brides, which are each so unique, but also so complimentary—isn't that a perfect metaphor for love and marriage? Look closer, and in some ways, they're variations of the same look: a pretty braided updo that's gathered into a low knot in the back, framed by bangs and/or some delicate stray wisps. Just goes to show how versatile braids can be!
Natural Texture Side-Swept Braid
We always love when a bride embraces her natural hair texture, and with a look like this, who cares about a few flyways or a bit of frizz? This long, side-swept braid is even prettier with the addition of waxflowers and textural elements such as these pink pepper berries.
Crown Braid With Fishtail Finish (& Daisy Crown)
Can you ever have too many braids, really? (Probably not.) We love the combo of a crown braid that finishes as a fishtail braid, which would look so gorgeous at pretty much every wedding, anywhere, in any season—imagine switching out this daisy flower crown for a gorgeous winter shawl, or giving the whole look a fall-hued effect.
Polished Pony Braid
Starting with a clean middle part and sleek tresses, this bride could have gone in just about any direction for her hairstyle, including a classic French twist or low chignon. But we love that she chose a polished pony tail braid, which feels modern but still relaxed—and shows off those gorgeous statement floral earrings.
Festival-Inspired Pigtail Braids
Anyone who says that pigtail braids are too casual for a wedding look clearly hasn't seen some of the incredibly stylish braided piggies that have been a staple of summer music fest fashion for some years now. Plus, there's such versatility to pigtail braids, which can be woven and decorated, too, in so many fun but functional ways. If this is your vibe, we say, go for it!
Draped Crown Braid Plus Curls
While typically crown braids are woven fairly tightly, this relaxed, half-up half-down look is achieved by keeping the plaits of the braid more loose and also intentionally letting a good portion of strands remain loose, too (in the style of a waterfall braid). Barrel curls finish the look, for a softly romantic effect.
Braided Embellished Pony
We love the high-low effect of this braided-updo-turned-ponytail, which is all the prettier for the delicate floral embellishments, which trail alongside the braid from start to finish—calling attention to that beautiful braid, even as it cascades into a froth of loose curls.
Five-Strand Waterfall Braid
We love the wash-and-go appeal of the long bob, which is perfect for a low-key rehearsal dinner or post-wedding brunch. But for the actual walk down the aisle, consider breathing new life into your short hairstyle with a gorgeous five-strand waterfall braid and barely-there waves.
Prepping hair with with a curling iron gives naturally-straight hair a volume boost and also preps the hair for the soft bends of the braid, too.
Shoulder-Grazing Side Braid With Florals
Just because you don't have down-to-there locks is no reason to shy away from braided wedding hairstyles—case in point, this ever so slightly undone side braid, which looks oh so pretty finished with delicate blooms tucked here and there and a few loose pieces to frame the face.
Easy Fishtail Braided Updo
For a boho bride, we love the look of this no-fuss braided wedding hairstyle. Leaving the front and sides of your hair minimally styled—except, perhaps, for a strand-smoothing blowout—start with a fishtail braid at the top of the crown that is incorporated (along with the rest of your strands) into a low side bun or updo.
This versatile style would look amazing on so many brides with all sorts of hair lengths and textures; bonus points for creative accessorizing, with greenery or otherwise.
Dreamy Boho Braids
This half-up half-down style, which features an ultra-loose two-strand braid and a pair of fishtail braids, is a dream for brides looking to channel some serious boho vibes. The wraparound fishtail braids are all but begging to hold some kind of floral crown or greenery wreath, don't you think?
Figure Eight Braided Pony
We love the idea of adding a section of intricate braiding to an ultra sleek ponytail for that added wow factor. This particular technique is based on a classic fishtail braid where there are even more overlapping strands involved—hence the "figure eight" pattern.
This versatile look would be stunning paired with all sorts of wedding dress styles, from the ethereal to the chic and modern. Such a sleek hairstyle also shows off lace detailing and other bodice embellishments beautifully.
A pull-through braid—named so for the technique stylists employ, to pull the sections of hair through each section, to create this tiered effect—is a perfect look for brides who don't want to sacrifice volume but still crave a more structured style. Tuck in a few delicate florals or greenery (or a few pearl-adorned hair pins) to cover those hair ties, and you're good to go.
The Trifecta Braid
With so many techniques woven into one look, this braid is truly something—and it might just be the something that you're looking for, if you're more of a walk-to-the-beat-of-your-own-drum kind of bride. We'd love to see it pictured at a rustic chic wedding, where a couple might be just as likely to be wearing cowboy boots as dress shoes.
To recreate, start by weaving a waterfall fishtail braid on one side of hair, while simply twisting the other as they meet; add a tighter fishtail braid to the center of hair, knot towards the end, and finish with a simple three-strand braid.
Bombshell Braided Updo
Do brides who choose braids have more fun? Well, one thing's for certain, we absolutely love the sweet vintage vibes of this bold Nashville bride, who rocked fuchsia pink hair on her wedding day! A few loose strands frame her face, while further back, her braided 'do wraps around a delicate floral, lace, mesh, and ribbon hair accessory. SO gorgeous!