Of the myriad wedding hairstyle ideas floating around on your Instagram feed, half-up, half-down wedding hairstyles are the ones to save. Romantic, modern, and impossibly pretty, it's one of those beauty looks that will never go out of style.
"The number-one tip I tell brides when it comes to their wedding hair is that you want to feel like the best version of yourself," says Lorean Cairns, founder of Fox & Jane salon. "Most of us wear our hair down on a daily basis, so a lot of times a full, fancy updo can take you out of your comfort zone. Half-up, half-down wedding hairstyles are that great compromise of wanting your hair lush and flowy around your face and shoulders, yet still having key pieces out of the way so you're not fussing with it throughout the day."
While there are so many different ways to interpret the half updo to make it fit your personality and wedding aesthetic, there's still a timeless appeal to it. "You'll never look back at your wedding photos in 25 years and regret having your hair half up," says celebrity hairstylist Matt Fugate.
Meet the Expert
- Lorean Cairns is the cofounder and CEO of Fox & Jane Salon Group, Skin Habit, and Little Lion Salon. She is the author of Culture Fox and speaks across the country at industry events.
- Matt Fugate is a seasoned celebrity hairstylist in New York City who has worked for countless stars and top designers. He writes editorials for style magazines, like Allure, where he and his hairstyles are regularly featured.
Scroll for 41 half-up, half-down wedding hairstyles for every type of bride.
If our hair looked this good, we'd smile as big as this bride, too. We love the honeyed highlights adding some extra brightness and dimension to the style.
Turn Up the Volume
Injecting tons of volume at the crown creates a gorgeous shape for a half-up hairstyle ensuring your portraits will look anything but lackluster.
Flip the traditional half-up, half-down 'do on its, well, head by sweeping hair up and sideways instead of back. This lovely lady incorporated a plaited detail for some added edge.
A Floral Affair
This half-up, half-down wedding hairstyle is blooming with beautiful florals. Here, the blossoms are nestled directly into the securement of the hair completely masking it.
The quintessential half-up, half-down wedding hairstyle: Long, cascading locks and just a few pieces pulled back from the face.
Braids and curls and gilded hairpieces, oh my! "This Grecian-inspired hairstyle is all about shine factor and bouncy volume in all the right places," explains celebrity hairstylist Tommy Buckett.
On the Fringe
Who said fringe gets in the way of a half-up 'do? Sweeping side bangs add even more dimension to a half-up, half-down wedding hairstyle.
A Woven Wonder
Instead of simply pinning back her tresses, this beauty had her hair woven into this romantic 'do of Celtic braids and floral adornments.
This bride's elaborate headpiece is the crowning touch to her romantic, bohemian style. She even added thin braids both to secure her hair back and dispersed throughout the bottom half of the hair.
A Twisted Take
Twist some tresses away from the face to create this cool-girl style.
We love the '50s vibe of this retro bouffant. The side-parted bangs are a nice added touch.
This vertical braid is dotted with baby's breath. The little buds are tucked directly into the plaits, giving off the illusion of sprouting from the locks themselves.
Simultaneously modern and romantic, this style reaches new heights. Literally! Look at all of that exquisite volume.
"This is for the girl who's been growing out her hair forever for their big day and wants to show it off," says Fugate. "The flowy pieces framing her face add an approachability to it that is certainly not for the stuffy bride. This is always a great example of how a simple, sleek hair clip can elevate your look."
A Soft Touch
Loose, face-framing tresses add some softness to this romantic look.
An adorably earthy and boho look. "I love the way you can throw a couple of greens from your bouquet to dress it up a little," says Buckett. "It feels very organic and not as matchy-matchy as flowers can sometimes look when they're used as a hair accessory."
Pull It Back
This pulled-back style lets the bride's beautiful face take center stage.
"This half-up style has that Brigitte Bardot-like appeal," says Buckett. "All of her long bangs and front layers are pulled out of the 'do to make it sultry and charming."
Add Some Sparkle
Full, formal curls and a sparkly hairpiece complete this pretty hairstyle.
A Ponytail Mix
For an unexpected look blend a half-up style with an elegant ponytail. Simply gather the bottom pieces into a loose pony for a refreshing spin on the classic.
This stunner embellished her vertical half-up, half-down style with a sweeping floral barrette.
A Heavenly Finish
A half-up, half-down 'do and a gold halo headpiece gives a heaven-sent appearance.
A flower crown makes for the perfect topper to this 'do as it mimics the natural drape of the hair.
These rich, luscious spirals were made for a half-up, half-down hairstyle. We think the look is endearingly natural and organic.
This bride pulled just a few thin strands of hair back, largely leaving the rest to fall around her shoulders, for a minimalist twist on the classic style.
Best of Both Worlds
Can't fully commit to a half-up, half-down hairstyle? This bride proves that meeting halfway can be just as stunning. She tucked her front pieces underneath, instead of pulling them back, to achieve a similar effect.
Liven Things Up
In a similar fashion, this style keeps the front pieces polished and secure but injects tons of volume at the crown giving those curls a vivacious feel. While this may not be your typical half-up 'do, it ticks many of the same aesthetic and functionality boxes.
An Unexpected Twist
Instead of directly pinning her tresses back, this beauty finished off the style with a flourish: Each end gently twists, before sweeping downward into the rest of the hair.
This bride brightened up her inky-hued, glossy locks with two pure white rosebuds.
Focus on the Face
Model Brooks Nader pulled her hair upward before raking it back to draw the eyes up onto the face.
Feeling glamorous? Top off your half-up, half-down wedding hairstyle with a hairpiece. You can add a barrette to the gathering point in the tried-and-true fashion or opt for something that mimics the flow of the style, like this bride's jeweled chain and traditional maang tikka.
This bride's natural spirals give this style so much added texture and personality. Embrace your hair's distinctive pattern for a bridal hairstyle that's entirely your own.
Make a Statement
Pull back thicker swaths of hair to mimic the look of a low ponytail without giving up that romantic sweep. Bonus: This looks incredible with a statement earring.
An Autumnal Dream
This beauty filled out her half-up style with roses in dusty tones that matched her dreamy autumnal nuptials in Napa. The look is sheer magic.
Braid your locks backward for an added dose of interest to your style. This also creates a bit of an anchor to securely tuck your veil into.
We repeat: Leave a few rogue tendrils out to freely fall around your face and create a romantic frame surrounding your features. This bride's results are positively angelic.
Asymmetric Crown Braid
Here, a crown braid sweeps into a half-up style that's just as adorable as the tutu-wearing puppy—and that's saying a lot!
This bride finished off her half-up 'do by swirling the ends into a bun rather than letting them hang down in a ponytail fashion.
This autumnal bride braided half of her mane back into a woven chignon and let the rest just flow about her features.
Just Add Water
Beach babes, rejoice. Beachy waves look laid-back and fun in a half-up, half-down 'do.
This particular hairstyle innately lends itself a tiara. Doesn't the beautiful bride look every bit the princess?