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."
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 that's perfect for you.
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.
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.)
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 were 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.
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 hair pins) 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.
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. We're getting major modern-day Princess Jasmine vibes.
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 her groom's edges! We especially love the sweeping romantic side bang that adds a touch of softness to the look.