If there's one thing short, long, curly and straight hair all have in common, it's that they all look crazy-good with a braid. Braids experienced a resurgence the last couple of years — and with tons of new ways to rethink the classic plait – from soft and romantic, to classic with modern twist — they are officially here to stay!
"Braids are the first thing I think of when a bride wants a hairstyle that's special, whimsical and fun," says 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 day photos in 20 years and regret having a braid in your hair, no matter what style you choose."
That being said, we've searched high and low for some of the prettiest braids, and although it was quite hard, we've managed to narrow down our top plaits. So, whether you're looking for a style that's light and romantic, or on the hunt for something a bit modern, there's a braid for you. Ahead, you'll find 61 swoon-worthy plaits fit for any wedding.
Small Textured Braid
For a modern take, loosen it up a bit: Stretch out ringlets into a soft wave, pancake your braids for added texture and embrace a few flyaways. This dreamy style is bound to make your wedding hashtag go viral. "This is a happy compromise of having your hair down, but two loose side braids keep most of your hair out of your face," says Sims. "Second-day hair helps sustain the longevity of your braids, but if time isn't on your side, a texture spray will do the trick." Top it off with a sparkly hair accessory to add to its ethereal effect.
Gorgeous Five-Strand Braid
We love the wash-and-go appeal of the popular 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 rumpled curls and a gorgeous five-strand braid. "Wrapping all your hair around a curling iron sets a great foundation for the braid," says MacKenzie. "It helps encourages the soft bends of the braid, especially if you have naturally straight hair."
Contrary to what you might think, you don't need down-to-there layers to inspire a gorgeous wedding hairdo; a short hairstyle is just as versatile. Take this wavy lob, for instance, which was amped up by ruffled, slept-in waves and an off-center braid. "Then punctuate the look with a vintage star comb and it instantly feels rustic and special," says Johnny Rackleff, stylist at Marie Robinson Salon.
A chignon looks good on just about everyone, and this loose style is a modern take on the classic bun. "The way the braid gathers at the base of the neck makes this look so interesting," says Ouidad expert, Chadwick Pendley. "After parting your hair, begin to braid working from the front to the nape of the neck. Then, continue the braid until all hair is braided. Fasten the rest of the hair loosely into a twisted chignon. Try to keep the loose feel of this look to maintain its soft and modern finish."
A Fresh Twist On The Fishtail
The most innovative braids don't have to be the most complicated. Sometimes it's about adding a few tweaks to a classic. "For a more casual boho look, take a small section from above your ear and create a fishtail," says Sophie Rose of Instibraid. "Secure in the back of your head with bobby pins and pull it apart for a thicker braid. Loosen it up to the point where a few pieces start falling out--like you slept on it. Then, style the rest of your strands in beachy waves and a few floral accents."
A Tugged-Out Braided Updo
Go all-in on the trend by plumping up a thin braid with texturizing spray and gently tugging at the edges until it's at your desired width. "Or add extensions to get the most voluminous look," says Shir Ben-Zikry of Instibraid. "This hairstyle is a combination of inverse braids and fishtails that were pulled across the back of the head and secured into an updo. Pull out pieces of hair from the front of your face in order to frame your face in a flattering way."
Hidden Fishtail Braid
Here, the bride snuck in a delicate fishtail braid to add texture to classic romantic waves.