Every bride has their own way of planning their special day. Some have everything planned and lined up before their engagement, while others plan as they go. But no matter what type of bride you are, one fact holds true: Wedding hairstyles constantly change!
If you don't have a final hairstyle picked out, a million questions might be running through your head: Should I wear my hair up or down for the wedding? Curly or straight? Simple or extravagant? After all, just like wedding dresses, the options for wedding hairstyles are seemingly endless.
But, don't worry! We're sharing how to choose the best wedding hairstyle for your special day, including tips and tricks from hair experts Halli Bivona, Leigh Hardges, and Caitlyn Meyer.
Meet the Expert
- Halli Bivona is a New-York based wedding hairstylist.
- Leigh Hardges is a stylist at Maxine Salon and a natural hair expert.
- Caitlyn Meyer is a globally sought-after hair and makeup artist and luxury bridal expert.
Choosing Your Wedding Hairstyle
Choosing your wedding hairstyle is almost as important as selecting your dress. Making sure you have the right style that matches your personality and wedding aesthetic is key. Here's where the experts say to start.
Create an inspiration board.
"The best tip I can give brides who are looking for the perfect bridal hairstyle is to go through Pinterest and start a wedding hairstyle board. You will find very quickly that the hairstyles that you pin are actually very similar if not the same style repeated," Bivona explains.
Come prepared to your hair trial.
Meet with a stylist for your trial. "Bring photos of your dress, earrings, and headpiece. Show pictures of the style inspiration you have for your big day," explains Hardges. "Just because it’s your wedding day doesn’t mean that your partner wants a new version of you. They want you, so try not to go so opposite of your natural style tendencies. Go with what feels comfortable," she notes.
Look to your wedding dress.
Take inspiration from your dress and how the designer styled it either on a model or through editorial photos. "It can help break you out of a bridal hair overload and help gain a new perspective on how best to style your hair," says Bivona.
She also notes that if you’re a bride wearing your hair down and planning on having a dress with a detailed back, it’s a good idea to have some hairstyles pulled that allow you to show the back off. High necklines can greatly benefit from even higher updos that elongate the neck while strapless dresses can get a demure touch from a cascade of hair falling about the shoulders. Center parts can be a well-balanced approach to mirroring a sweetheart neckline whereas a deep side part can emphasize asymmetric details.
Factor in your veil or headpiece.
Similar to the wedding dress, major accessories can guide your choice in wedding hairstyles. If there's a particular type of veil that you've fallen in love with, you may need to consider complementary coifs. Draped veils, for example, have no clips and need to seamlessly cascade over the head. A clip-in veil, however, may require a 'do that can grip and hold its weight like an updo or braided style. Headpieces, whether they're fully fledged crowns, dainty tiaras, or fresh floral toppers, will require the same planning.
Consider your everyday hairstyles.
"I always like to find out how my brides wear their hair regularly. This is a great jumping-off point in choosing your wedding hairstyle," adds Bivona. "If you usually wear it down, look for bridal blowouts. If you wear it up, look into updos or a formal ponytail. This way, when you look back at the photos from your wedding, you look like yourself, albeit a more formal version."
Hardges says to "look at some of your favorite pictures of yourself. See what is the common denominator in all of those photos regarding your hair and start there."
Remember that extensions are an option.
Your natural hair texture, length, or density doesn't need to be a barrier. If you've always yearned for a particular style but never had the hair for it, there are options. Just like the straightest hair can be coaxed to hold a perfect wave, hair extensions can help give you more of what you've already got. Creative applications and techniques can completely change your hair texture, give you way more hair and thickness than you ever thought possible, or turn those short layers to Rapunzel-length locks. Don't hesitate to put some dream hairstyles in your inspo deck and see what magic your hairstylist can work to make that vision a reality.
Listen to your gut.
"Honestly, my advice is always to go with whatever feels most like 'you.' People look the best when they feel the best, and as long as we discuss the potential issues of certain elements and manage expectations, a client always feels happiest going with their gut," explains Meyer.
Wedding Hairstyle Types
Now that you've narrowed down a few hairstyle choices, make sure to take notes of the various types of wedding hairstyles. The most classic style is a romantic updo or wearing the hair down.
"I have been doing bridal hair for over 10 years now, and I have found that the classic wavy blowout has stood the test of time as the top bridal hairstyle," Bivona says. "In recent years though, I have noticed more softly waved ponytails or sleek editorial updos. There are also some amazing tousled and romantic updos that have been making a huge comeback."
Meyer adds, "I feel like we'll continue to see more modernized takes on classic styles—low, romantic updos and Hollywood Glam waves, for example. We're seeing a lot of brides opt for the classic style with a side part and lots of volume, but we also see a lot of requests for sleek, modern waves with a middle part.
Updos are one of the most popular hairstyles for brides due to the vast creations available. An updo can look very formal, with each hair intricately placed or undone for a more whimsical feel. You can also add bridal jewelry to enhance the hairstyle and to add more flair.
"The styles of updos range from incredibly intricate twists and coils to a simple sleek ballet bun. You can be incredibly creative when it comes to updos. I have found that every updo style can be adjusted to fit almost any face shape," notes Bivona.
Bivona also explains that there are major benefits to an updo like not having to worry about the style falling or becoming frizzy, adding, "especially for summer weddings getting your hair off your neck will keep you cool during your gorgeous outdoor ceremony."
According to Bivona, down hairstyles typically range from a classic bouncy blowout and soft waves to sleeker styles tucked behind the ears. Most brides feel more comfortable wearing their hair down because it feels more like "them."
These styles add a touch of playfulness to a formal setting like a wedding and can be versatile in styling. "The juxtaposition between a couture gown and relaxed blowout makes for some gorgeous photos. However, if you are looking for something that feels a bit more formal than just entirely down, a pinned half-up, half-down look is a great way to meet in the middle of an updo and a fully-down hairstyle," Bivona offers.
Hardges tells us that natural hairstyles are just as versatile as any other hairstyle. "Natural bridal styles are just as varied as traditional styles, just with more texture to the hair. You have chignons, upsweeps, ponytails, half-up and half-down—they run the gamut."
She adds, "I see more than often styles where the natural texture is blown out, but not straightened, to create this gorgeous, soft pillowy texture that can be transformed into any bridal style."
Chignons or Low Buns
You can also opt for a chignon or low bun if you prefer your hair out of your face for the big day. This is also one of the best ways to show off your dress if you have a detailed back or other design elements to spotlight. A chignon or low bun also stays put throughout a day of events and a night of dancing. That means you won’t have to worry about your hair falling or losing its bouncy curls.
Dress up a low hairstyle with curls or loose tendrils to elevate the simplicity.
Curls are a very versatile hairstyle for brides. Vintage curls make any gown look romantic! These curls are on the glam side and have a tighter look to them. You can pin the curls up out of your face or sweep them to the side for extra drama.
There are also loose curls and beachy waves. These curls fall down and sweep past your shoulders. They create a more relaxed yet gorgeous look for your big day. Beach waves are the perfect pairing if you have a mermaid silhouette dress.
Ponytails are another style to consider on your wedding day. You can choose a fun and flirty high ponytail with loose waves or curls or a sleek low ponytail that looks oh so chic.
Half-Up, Half-Down Hairstyles
And, if you can't decide on a hairstyle, there is always a half up, half down option. Have your stylist gather the top portion of hair into a ponytail, then determine what to do with the unrestrained tresses at the bottom—you can straighten or curl it.
"Half updos will always be popular. They're the best of both worlds; you can have the security of wearing your hair down, with the more formal feel of having it pinned out of your face," Meyer exclaims.