When Meghan Markle walked down the aisle of St. George's Chapel with her hair loosely done up in her signature messy bun, the world—and brides—took notice. According to Pinterest's Wedding Report, the inspiration destination confirms that the search for messy updos was up a whopping 1,274 percent that year, proving that the best updos are carefree, sexy, and just a little bit messy. Not to mention here to stay.
Sure, sleek and classic chignons will never truly go out of style, but we're smitten with these relaxed updos and clearly we're not the only ones. “I like to describe it as 'disheveled elegance,'" New York hairstylist Nunzio Saviano tells Brides. “A more polished look would be reminiscent of your mom’s wedding hair.”
So how do you achieve this easy-going, effortlessly elegant look? We consulted with Kelly DeSerio, a professional hairstylist, for some expert tips on how to pull off the perfectly imperfect. While you may have a pro doing your wedding day hair, we think you'll want to be able to recreate a version of the style yourself because this look is fitting for just about any occasion from festivals to date nights.
Meet the Expert
Kelly DeSerio is a style specialist and bridal beauty industry entrepreneur. She is the founder and lead designer of the ReelStyle Bridal brand. Her clientele includes Priyanka Chopra, Martha MacCallum, Kate Bock, and companies such as Ted Gibson, Sports Illustrated, and Berta Bridal.
Below, we have all the messy updo inspiration you need along with a few tricks to nailing the 'do yourself. Scroll down to see 34 perfectly imperfect wedding hairstyles.
Add Some Sparkle
The addition of a crystal hair accessory makes a loose bun wedding-worthy. We love the majestic, old-world elegance of this show-stopping headpiece and the way it elevates the humble tuck.
A Whimsical Approach
Blogger Chloe Wen showed off a soft, whimsical updo with a few rogue pieces framing her face. Didn't she look every bit the bohemian bride for her rustic Tennessee wedding?
Let Your Natural Texture Shine
This bride's hairstyle lets the gorgeous texture of her locks take center stage. The dimension and shape of the flowers even mimic the feel of the tight curls creating an enchanted look.
A tucked-away braid and runaway tendrils make for the ultimate romantic look. Even the little buds are nestled into the hair without much plan or precision, further heightening the effortless vibe.
Tie In a Ribbon
There's something poetic about a bride with a ribbon in her hair. Loosely tie up locks with a silk ribbon for a feminine touch. You can choose to have the strip of fabric match the rest of your bridal look, or add a contrasting pop of color instead.
Mary Lawless of Happily Grey twisted her tendrils into a lush, relaxed style. A fitting choice for that incredible lace dress.
Simplicity Is Key
An easy-going style looks just right in a breezy, bohemian setting. The low gathered 'do allows the sultry back of the wedding dress to fully shine without competition—except for maybe from that flower crown.
An unexpected way to rock flowers in your hair? Symmetrically arranged blooms. This look brings in the tiniest hint of a floral adornment without completely overpowering the style.
These brides embellished their individual styles with a touch of sparkle to make each 'do extra special.
You can take your casual bun to the next level with a sparkly hairpin, suggests DeSerio. “You have that balance of a soft romantic look, and the accessory elevates it,” she says.
We've said it once and we'll say it again: Adding a braid to any hairstyle gives instant boho vibes and crown braids are the ultimate in laid-back touches.
Blogger Tracy Nour Scheer of She Just Knows sported a slightly tousled take on an elegant updo for her Palm Springs, California wedding. We have to say, the floaty style photographs exquisitely.
Keep things soft and romantic with an easygoing bun. Real Housewives star, and former Miss United States, Candiace Dillard allowed her shorter lengths to whimsically fall around her face and frame her stunning features.
Embrace Your Curls
Don't fight your curls—embrace them. This bride's natural spirals add so much dimension and personality to this otherwise traditional updo.
Free Your Face
Twist locks away from your beautiful face. (A must for hot summer weddings.) Your spouse-to-be will be especially happy with the kissable 'do.
Frame With a Halo of Greenery
A simple twisted 'do meets sprigs of greenery. This bun was exalted to goddess level with its halo of green leaves, mirroring the lush décor.
Both of these brides wore plaited styles that gathered into relaxed knots at the base. Any wisps that escaped were left free, completely embodying their laid-back Colorado wedding.
Show Off the Back
A major plus of messy updos? They're a great way to show off the gorgeous back of your wedding dress (or lack thereof).
An Ample Bun
Go big or go home, right? This bride's significant messy bun has tons of playful volume and personality. It’s totally okay if you have to cheat a little when it comes to volume: For extra-lush messy updos, DeSerio likes building volume over meshy nylon strips.
Bring In the Bling
Who said a messy updo couldn't be glam? Just pop in a sparkly hairpiece for some bling.
The effortlessly edgy 'do complements this bride's cool-girl style to a tee. We love how the wild ear cuff mimics the throw-caution-to-the-wind tresses.
Supermodel and Brides covergirl Shanina Shaik kept her locks loose for her island wedding. The long pieces flowing freely around the face create an alluring frame for her features.
We love a cohesive moment. This entire bridal party opted for perfectly imperfect styles.
Reach New Heights
Enough of the low and loose styles, this bride piled her curls atop her head and let just a few coils frame her face.
Unleash Your Bangs
This bride let her bangs flow freely to keep her otherwise polished look loose and relaxed. DeSerio explains that wearing some of your bangs down can add an effortless vibe.
Face-framing tendrils and a dainty tiara have this bride looking like a boho princess.
Wrap It Up
This bride is making a serious case for a ribbon moment. The stark black ribbon adds a decidedly Parisian flair and contrasts impeccably with both the dress and the bride's blonde locks. Très magnifique, non?
A Dreamy 'Do
As if this bride's wedding at a French château wasn't dreamy enough, she also stunned with this effortless bun. There was even a little glimmer of gold peeking out from behind the twist.
Low and Loose
This bride opted for an ultra-low and carefree twisted chignon for her beachy wedding in Mexico. The style was gathered just behind her ear, almost covering it entirely, giving it visibility from more angles.
Keep the Natural Flow
These wavy tendrils were allowed to keep their shape as they flow unencumbered into a simple tuck at the base of the hair. The style radiates an honest simplicity, as if it just came about organically.
No Kira-Kira app needed here. This bride's style is all aglow with a jaw-dropping floral hairpiece nestled amongst her sumptuous natural curls.
Confession: We love a big bun (and we cannot lie). And this bride served some ample-sized inspo.
A Playful Touch
This bride's classic updo comes with an unexpected touch of playfulness, as a few rebellious ends were left to stick out of the constructed fashion. The coy style adds a vibrant touch to the polished 'do and elegant ensemble.
A Beachy Bun
This bride nailed the elegant beachy look with this carefree bun. A fitting choice for her oceanside nuptials in Tulum, Mexico.
This asymmetric updo injects some serious rocker attitude to the otherwise romantic vibe. We love the elegant hint of sparkle tucked directly into the mass of coolness.