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 unique but totally timeless, too.
"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."
We've searched high and low for some of the prettiest braids, so whether you're looking for a wedding hairstyle that's light and romantic or on the hunt for something a bit modern, we're certain there's a braided look out there for you.
Simple Braided Headband
This sweet, simple braided headband would please any kind of bride and works with practically any style of wedding dress. The beauty of this style of braid is how it's so composed and also so understated—you could be the belle of the ball (or just heading to the beach).
A Braided Faux Hawk
Cool-girl brides, take note. This braided faux hawk makes a serious statement. We love how it's paired with a classic chignon and intricate dress for added elegance.
Wraparound Dutch Crown Braid
For a relaxed yet elegant wedding hairstyle, ask your stylist to fashion a dutch braid as a plaited crown, piled high on the top of your head—no further adornment or accessories (and certainly no tiaras) required.
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.)
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 its wispy strands?
To make a braid look fuller, gently pull apart the strands to give them more width—or you can sprinkle in a little volumizing powder to get the job done.
Half-Up, Half-Down Braids and Waves
From the Dutch side braid 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. You can continue the plait to the back in a true crown formation or just let it hang loosely from there for a little boho aesthetic.
A chignon looks good on just about everyone, as this classic updo is all about elegance. Keeping the whole look soft and relaxed—plus the addition of that beautiful braid—gives the updo a romantic, modern twist.
This ponytail is anything but lackluster. With a mega dose of volume, twisted sides, a thick braid, and glittering hairpin, this style is effortless and glam all at once.
Side Swept Multi-Strand Braid
While the classic braid has three plaits, it is possible to up the ante. A four-plaited braid can have a much more textured feel than traditional braids. (And that's also exactly why we love it.)
French Braid Crown
Regal, romantic, and timeless—we love a crown braid. This bride's look is simply perfection, styled as an elegant French braid that finishes in a carefully tucked updo underneath her cascading veil.
Celtic Braided Romance
We're swooning over this bride’s half-up, half-down wedding hairstyle, where glossy curls are topped by two thick plaits that are finished in a flower-adorned Celtic knot. So sweet and romantic!
Loosely Plaited Straight Braid
The classics have withstood a multitude of trends and styles for good reason and with the stunning simplicity of this braid, bedecked with a smattering of baby's breath, we can definitely see why. Could a bridal look possibly get any easier—or any sweeter?
Long braids need not sit all on their own. This bride wrapped hers into a sophisticated top knot with a refreshing twist courtesy of the multi-braid texture. This is a great way to elongate the neck and rock some bold earrings.
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 complementary—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 some delicate stray wisps. Just goes to show how versatile braids can be.
Waterfall Fishtail Braid and Bun
By definition, a waterfall braid features loose strands that cascade from the braid in a waterfall effect. We can't help but love how beautiful these soft waves look paired with the waterfall fishtail, which is finished in a simple bun pinned at the back of the head.
Double-Layer, Half-Up Braided Crown
To achieve this half-up braided style, start by having your stylist create a double-layer, fishtail braided crown that wraps around the top half of the head. The rest of your hair can hang free—straight or curled for a more glamorous look. Add a hairpiece for some extra wow factor.
A wraparound braid and half-up, half-down style go hand in hand. Not only does the coif work on any texture and length of hair, it fits just about every bridal aesthetic, too. This model bride paired hers with long wavy tresses for a carefree yet romantic vibe.
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. But we adore how she chose a polished ponytail braid, which feels modern but still relaxed—and shows off those gorgeous statement floral earrings.
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.
This bride let her shoulder-grazing box braids free in a sophisticated lob shape. Topped with a wild crown of greenery and blooms, she was every bit the blushing bride.
Relaxed Halo Braided Updo
How heavenly does this bride look, with face-framing wisps of hair and a relaxed braided halo? The whole look exudes an easy, natural beauty while still feeling so wedding-day ready.
Talk about boho romance: Bride Daisy snuck in a delicate braid to add texture (and a hint of surprise) to a classic romantic updo for her Mexican el laso ceremony.
Dressed-Up Milkmaid Braid
A milkmaid braid has all sorts of rustic, countryside feels, but that doesn't mean it can't be dressed up with some bridal style. We love the addition of a stunning jeweled headpiece, which makes this oh-so sweet and demure braid instantly wedding-worthy.
Draped Crown Braid
While typically crown braids are woven fairly tightly, this relaxed, half-up, half-down look is achieved by keeping the plaits of the braid on the looser side. A good portion of strands was intentionally left free, too (in the style of a waterfall braid). Barrel curls finish the look, for a softly romantic effect.
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.
Headband Plus Peekaboo Braid
We love the idea of pairing a beautifully fashioned headband with a peekaboo headband braid, which does double-duty as fashion and function, helping to keep that accessory in its place and also keeping those baby hairs at bay.
Classic Halo Braid Updo
Timeless, sweet, and absolutely gorgeous, this plait shows off both the hairstyle's sumptuous texture and the bride's color tones. Plus, it's beautifully framed by the gorgeous lace back to that gown.
Loose Fishtail Pony
We can't help but swoon over this fishtail braid that finishes as a carefree pony and how perfectly the style is framed by the stunning open-back lace bodice of the dress—no other adornments required.
Floral Fishtail Braid
An effortless fishtail braid gets a touch of romance with small flowers tucked into the plaits. Baby's-breath—which symbolizes everlasting love—is a timeless choice, but other florals that could also work include jasmine, orchids, spray roses, even sprigs of greenery.
Side Braid Bun
This chic bun gets a hint of cool, thanks to a chunky side braid that's so gorgeous with her natural waves. Keep the style neat for a classic effect—as this bride has—or, if you're looking for something more modern, go for a chignon with more of a slightly undone aesthetic.
Floral Fishtail Pony
We love the idea of adding a section of intricate braiding to an ultra-sleek ponytail for that added visual intrigue. This simple fishtail gets an extra dose of boho romance with face-framing tendrils and a floral swag that molds to one side of the head.
Minimalist Braided Knot
Create a minimal (yet totally trendy) knot by weaving a two-strand braid into hair and fastening with clips. We love that this look is such a blank canvas—it's strong and sophisticated all on its own, but it would also look so pretty with the perfectly placed embellishments.
A pull-through braid is named for the technique stylists employ to pull the sections of hair through each section and create a tiered effect. It's 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 hairpins) to cover those hair ties, and you're good to go.
A Customary Plait
Maanasa wove a whole lot more than just her ample strands into this lush braid. She laced in several ancestral traditions and nods to her South Asian heritage with customary jewelry and sweet-smelling jasmine flowers.
Tousled, Braided Pony
Making a case for how more can be more, this tousled, braided ponytail is a bohemian bride's dream, thanks to tons of volume and ultra-romantic plaits. This storybook wedding style is straight out of an enchanted forest.
A Twisted Milkmaid Braid
Why settle for just one type of plait when you can have two? This bride took a twisted take on the traditional milkmaid style by incorporating both a fishtail approach and regular, three-strand weave and adding a twist to transition between them.
Romantic waves get a pick-me-up with a simple three-strand braid at the crown, which is pinned behind a voluminous fishtail braid.
Braid Meets Ponytail
A braid and a ponytail come together in a completely unexpected way. That is to say the ponytail itself isn't braided. Instead, the front ends are gathered back in a traditional French braid before blending with the bottom pieces into a traditional ponytail with a few wraparound twists.
Like an abstract work of art, this bride's braids give some contemporary oomph to a traditional updo. The sinewy, twisting design of the box braids brings so much dimension and character to the style—and they match the groom's edges! We especially love the sweeping romantic-side bang that adds a touch of softness to the look.
This bride's perfectly messy chignon is accented with a braid to polish off the laidback style. A glittering hairpin is tucked into the plait to finish the look.