It's hard to define cool-girl hair, but when you see it, you know it. There's a certain je ne sais quoi to it: laid-back yet utterly gorgeous. Many brides are opting for this easy-breezy hair that nods to personal style without taking away from the big moment. These styles are all easy to recreate and will maintain their beauty past the ceremony and well into the night with minimal styling products. We're talking flower crowns, unique hair accessories, and lived-in looks.
"When choosing a cool-girl style, find a dress that will complement that look along with hair accessories—the most important thing to do is try it first," advises bridal hair expert Tara Bre. "Do a preview with your beauty team and see if you like it on yourself. What looks good on others does not always look good on ourselves. Try it as soon as you can, so you can plan for it or change your mind for something else and avoid last-minute stress."
Meet the Expert
- Tara Bre is a wedding beauty expert with over 18 years of experience sending thousands of brides down the aisle looking and feeling beautiful. She is the founder of BreLuxe, an on-location beauty boutique.
Whether you have naturally textured curls, a short bob, or long locks, there's a fuss-free look to model your wedding hair after. If you're feeling an updo, opt for a wispy, textured bun. For the risk-taker, we recommend really going for it with a statement hair accessory or a braided hair crown. Either way, there's a beautiful style in this roundup to complement your hair (and gown!) no matter when your wedding will be taking place.
Ahead, 28 real brides that totally nailed cool-girl hair on their wedding day.
When you think of cool-girl hair, the blunt lob is probably one of the first styles to come to mind. Its sophisticated combination of strength and femininity couldn't be chicer. We love how this gorgeous bride (who walked herself down the aisle, no less!) worked a contemporary crimp and deep side part into the lob for added drama.
We love when a bride rocks her natural texture and even more so when she embraces it as her big, bold accessory of the day. Bride and model Josiane let her hair do all the talking and kept the rest of the bridal elements more pared back. A simple dress silhouette and gold earrings for balance completed the look for the effortlessly chic wedding in Portugal.
Chignons are the crème de la crème of traditional bridal 'dos. While they're an unquestionably gorgeous mainstay, the coif can feel a bit too polished for more modern brides. Aisha gave the tried-and-true style a significant refresh by injecting tons of texture courtesy of her twist-outs.
Something about pin-straight hair just exudes cool-girl energy. Perhaps it's the lingering middle school memories of witnessing the it-girl toss her ultra-smooth tendrils, courtesy of her first hair straightener. Whatever the case may be, this bride (and her drool-worthy puff sleeves) perfectly illustrates how the style can serve as a restrained frame to bolder design choices.
Soft, tousled waves are a cool-girl staple. With a center part and glossy finish, the easy, breezy style gets a hint of elevation to suit any wedding theme and level of formality. Priya's luxurious waves and vibrant yellow eyeshadow have us itching to recreate the look.
Who says a ponytail has to be boring? A simple ribbon goes a long way in making a style statement. Plus, dropping the ponytail to the nape of the neck gives it a more elegant, intentional vibe rather than looking like you just got in from a morning jog.
A Beaded Bun
First things first: The textured, ever-so-slightly undone composition of this chignon is the stuff cool-girl dreams are made of. (Did she have a professional create the coif or just whip it up like this at the last minute?) And then we have the addition of carefully glued-in pearls to elevate the look to just beyond. Paired with matching earrings, the look is a balanced yet restrained complement to the feathered mini dress that couldn't be more fitting for the retro-themed wedding.
Working a matte texturizing spray or paste will create the piece-y feel (and gritty hold) needed to create this type of style.
Bounce, baby, bounce. If you've got curls—own 'em! Natural curls, ringlets, coils, and spirals are having a major bridal moment. There's absolutely nothing cooler than being (and looking!) like yourself on your wedding day. In fact, Bre cautions against choosing anything too trendy to be timeless. "The photos and images of the wedding are the memory, choosing a style that does not outlast time could be a huge regret or a very cool memory."
Beach waves are the slightly cooler younger sister of their soft and romantic counterpart. But don't think you need sand between your toes to flaunt the mermaid look—this style works just about anywhere. For that authentic just-emerged-from-the-surf look, add a few spritzes of sea salt spray and scrunch.
Beach waves look equally stunning in a matte or glossy finish.
Baby's Breath Accents
There's something oh-so poetic about tucking flowers in your hair for your wedding. If big blooms and frothy florals aren't quite to your taste, opt for springs of greenery or more herbaceous posies instead. We love a few accents of baby's breath for their ability to add a hint of romance without being overpoweringly girly.
Too much to do on the big day? Or just not into the stuffy feel of a classic chignon? A textured bun is easy to achieve and looks pretty rad. This is the epitome of elevated I just woke up like this.
A Statement Accessory
Let your hair accessory take center stage on your wedding day. It's the best way to flaunt a simple coif and inject a ton of attitude into the look. "The accessory just takes a cool style to a bridal style," adds Bre.
Tiny Flower Crown
If you choose to forgo a veil, a delicate flower crown can serve as an unconventional (yet totally beautiful) finishing touch. While the public opinion on elaborate flower crowns seems to ebb and flow, weaving a dainty crown of tiny buds (extra points if you forage the flowers yourself!) is a timeless way to top a bridal look. This white and lavender mix adds a spritely, boho vibe to the bride's romantic lace dress.
A Dried Floral Headpiece
Fresh blooms feeling a tad too twee for your personal aesthetic? Play with textures and swap out soft florals for a dry mix. The simple substitute affords a more mature and wholesome approach to the whimsical flower crown—not to mention, an entirely new color palette of dusky, moody hues. Plus, you don't have to worry about the flowers wilting throughout the day.
Something about fringe just feels innately chic. And the way this layered bang gently graduates to longer, face-framing pieces couldn't be cooler. We love how it effortlessly transitions to a laid-back bun for an uncomplicated style that serves some major fashion vibes.
This wouldn't be cool-girl wedding hair without adding a faux-hawk into the mix. The braided punk-rock style cleans up real well by descending into a traditional chignon for a touch of elegant, feminine contrast. If you're keen on a certain bridal hairstyle but worried it may be too trendy for the big day, Bre suggests saving the style for the rehearsal dinner, bridal shower, or photoshoot.
A Flirty Ponytail
Does it get more laid-back than a ponytail? We think not. Unlike a sophisticated, low-slung pony, this bouncy alternative is a little sporty and a whole lot more vivacious and fun. (Also an exceptional choice for whipping your hair back and forth on the dance floor.)
Amongst ponytails and bangs, Bre lists braids as a big cool-girl accessory. This whimsical style incorporates two of the three in a stunning boho coif that's as timeless as it is playful. Not to mention the addition of that something-blue ribbon to tie the whole look up in a bow.
A Layered Shag
Modern shags are major, and we don't mean just in terms of volume. They're shapely and sassy and always come with a bit of rocker edge to them. Plus, the layered cut is perfect for optimizing a head full of curls.
Long, Natural Waves
Ultra-long lengths and natural wave patterns are about as effortlessly cool as it gets. There's a certain devil-may-care attitude about free-flowing locks, after all. These stunning brides show just how versatile the look can be at their dreamy Tulum wedding.
If you're worried those long lengths might get in the way or fall victim to the perils of humidity, consider an updo instead. Okay, okay, we know the term updo sounds way too dated and stuffy for a cool girl's style but hear us out. A braided topknot is anything but, and this bride makes a serious case for that statement.
Oh yes, this wouldn't be a roundup of cool-girl bridal 'dos without at least a single mention of a messy bun. All hail the perfectly imperfect updo! Complete with a relaxed vibe, rogue tendrils, stray curls, and delicately mussed-up texture, it simply does not get any better than this. Bride Dulce even added an old-world family heirloom to her coif for just the right amount of extra.
“I wanted everything to feel very ‘me,’” Bride Jen says of her wedding-day style. “Having dreadlocks, I knew I wanted them to be up and in an elegant bun.” We can't think of a cooler bun composition complete with dimensional highlights and beaded adornments.
These chunky goddess braids, gathered in an artful 'do, achieve the seemingly impossible: creating a dramatic look without appearing overdone. The coif effortlessly holds up to the presence of the statement earrings and tulle bridal cape without competing against them. Bre suggests brides always choose a style that is intrinsically them so they don't regret their choice when looking back on wedding portraits.
Ethereal Half-Up, Half-Down
We love the versatility of a half-up, half-down style as much as the next person but we can appreciate that the super sweet approach may not be a cool girl's first choice. Incorporating edgy accents, like these three parallel braids, can spice up the otherwise classic option. "We can do a few things to the style to make it look timeless from one direction, so some photos still seem timeless and others are more cool girl," adds Bre.
Ultra-Long Ponytail Braid
Another cool-girl, another sassy braid. We spot a theme emerging. Bride Jasmine's glossy, braided ponytail is one of legendary proportions but the sleek, center-parted crown exalts the vibe to glam status.
Do I need a hair trial before my wedding?
While it's by no means required, it's absolutely recommended. The ideal time to schedule a hair trial is one to two months before the wedding day. This will ensure that everything runs smoothly on the day of and your bridal beauty look is executed to your liking.
How can I ensure my bridal hairstyle isn't too trendy?
Choose a style that feels true to you—not what you see other brides wearing on social media or the runways. If you've fallen in love with a 'do that pushes your boundaries, Bre suggests scheduling a trial to test the look and see if you continue to love it as you wear it around. If it's not a full "yes," wear the style to a pre-wedding event instead.