Many brides begin growing out their hair immediately after getting engaged. While manes of all lengths are beautiful, we can definitely understand the allure of longer hair for the big day. Lengthy locks are incredibly versatile—and we’ve rounded up all the inspo looks to prove it!
Cascading curls and romantic updos offer tons of choices for the whimsical bride, while more polished looks like intricate styles and sleek simplicity add structure to the final look. Once you achieve the hair of your dreams, select your favorite to don on the big day. Rapunzel’s got nothing on you!
Even the lengthiest of locks, however, will need a good trim before the big day. "It's always best with long hair styling to have a haircut that has long layers and face-framing angles," says celebrity hair and makeup artist Mia Hendrickson. "Keeping hair one length is not ideal for most long-haired bridal styling."
Meet the Expert
Mia Hendrickson is a celebrity hair and makeup artist with over 15 years of experience in the bridal industry. She is the owner of Mia Farah Beautique.
From raving ponytails to old Hollywood–inspired waves, these 34 styles work perfectly for gorgeous, grown-out tresses.
Sleek and Straight
Name a wedding theme, season, or setting and a pin-straight hairstyle is bound to complement it. This no-fuss look is especially perfect for minimalist brides with sleek sartorial choices to match. We love how this bride's veil maintains the straight cascade of the hair while adding just a hint of ethereal volume.
There’s nothing wrong with a classic! If you’re searching for a style that’ll never go out of, well, style, this is the ‘do for you. To make it unique and personal, accessorize with just a bit of sparkle or a tiny posy like this bride did here.
Old Hollywood Waves
"The most popular hairstyle for long hair is definitely the Hollywood wave," notes Hendrickson. If you want to conquer this coif yourself, use a 1.5” curling iron on small sections of hair, securing each curl to your head as it cools. Once cooled, release the curls and use a wide-toothed comb to gently loosen the spirals.
Stunning Swirled Updo
Pay attention, ballroom brides! This is how you do a formal updo. The swirled shape is an architectural—not to mention stunning—update on the conventional style.
Hendrickson considers this more relaxed pattern of the Old Hollywood wave to be the trendier counterpart amongst long-haired brides. The romantic waves have a looser composition that errs on softness over definition. We love how bride Uche amped up the 'do with extra volume at the crown for her elegant Chicago wedding.
Beautiful Bridal Blowout
Show off all that length with a beautiful blowout. Simple? Yes. But the look has a laid-back chicness to it that’s hard not to love. Best of all, you already know that this tried-and-true style will work for you and your hair texture.
Who knew the style you wore to keep your long hair out of your face at the gym would be fancy enough for your wedding day? Uh, we did! Try using a texturizing powder and teasing the hair at your crown to get the effortless, textured pony this bride is rocking.
Despite the intricate, intertwining locks that make up this updo, it doesn’t look stiff or severe. Keep your look similarly soft by using a flexible hold hairspray and a high-shine mist. We especially love how the bride's highlights add extra dimension to the 'do.
Classic Half-Up Half-Down
The half-up, half-down hairstyle is a favorite among brides for a reason: The ‘do allows you to show off both your long locks and your beaming face! It's especially versatile in that it looks gorgeous on just about every hair texture and length.
Full French Braid
A little boho, a little cool-girl. A side-swept French braid is a great choice for free spirits—and those who don’t want to be wiping away sweaty strands off their face on the dance floor! Hendrickson recommends adding hair extensions (even if you have long hair) for coifs like this as they will create more volume and a longer-lasting hairstyle.
You already love this easy, breezy hairstyle, so why not rock it at your wedding? It’s a great option if you’re looking for an updo that doesn’t look too done up. We adore how this bride kept the crown voluminous, rather than slicking it back, for a more approachable style that befits her regal New York nuptials.
Woven and Wrapped Updo
Formal and elegant, this intricate updo will have all eyes on you as you walk down the aisle. (Honestly, where else would they be?) Plus, it’s a striking way to show off the back of your wedding dress. Just imagine how tragic it would be if this bride’s floral lace back was hiding behind a curtain of hair!
Undone Boho Braid
Boho brides, this one’s for you! Beachy waves meet an undone braid in this hippyish half-up, half-down hairstyle. To get a similar effect, be sure to gently pull apart your braid to add volume and get that perfectly imperfect look.
Headbands aren’t just for the Gossip Girl set, you know. Take an embellished headband and pair it with glossy locks, and you’ve got a look chic enough for the aisle. We find the look to be positively regal and not the least bit twee.
According to Hendrickson, soft and romantic updos with the option to be let down into a half-up, half-down style are gaining huge popularity. This woven chignon is a stunning poster child for the 'do. The look is ultra-sophisticated as is, but it easily transitioned into a braid-adorned, half-up coif for the California backyard reception.
A Bold Hue
Long hair in bold hues always gives us serious mermaid vibes! If you’re known for experimenting with crazy colors on your down-to-there locks, don’t let tradition stop you from rocking a bright shade on your wedding day. Although, we caution against making any drastic color changes right before the big day. Give yourself ample time (at least six months) for experimenting with hues.
Voluminous Bridal Bun
Put your locks’ thickness and length to good use with a voluminous bridal bun. "Use a volumizer mousse at the root of the hair and keep hair in a high ponytail the night before," advises Hendrickson. The technique will seal in a lot of that coveted volume at the crown so you wake up with half of the work done for you.
If you have bangs or shorter layers in front, pin them back and under the longer lengths in this easy ‘do. It’s a great way to change up your look after the ceremony and leaves you ready to bust some moves on the dance floor. Don't forget to add a bit of hairspray to keep any strays in place.
Embellished Undone Braid
Isn’t this embellished braid enchanting? The intentional messiness of it makes for an ethereal look that has us swooning. The delicate pearlized hair accessories are the perfect finishing touch, adding just a glimmer of glitz to the overall vibe.
Glamorous Cascading Curls
Wearing a strapless wedding dress? Complement the neckline by having your hair cascading down your shoulders in big, glamorous curls. Unlike the bouncy curls of more traditional looks, we find this youthful elongated approach quite refreshing in its effortless aesthetic.
Untucking a few strands from a chignon is an easy way to instantly soften the look and amp up the romance. Remember: The beauty is in the imperfections! So ease up on any overly polished expectations and let things get a bit undone.
We love a look with dimension, and this modern topknot delivers in spades. This bride had her long box braids carefully wrapped into a beautiful bun for a contemporary spin on a formal updo. Styles that pile the hair high on top of the head, like this, are stunning options for elongating the neck on higher necklines.
Dutch Side Braid
With flirty waves and a playful Dutch side braid, this look is ready for a destination wedding. It captures all those festive, free-spirited vibes of chasing the sun. Hendrickson suggests using minimal conditioner and mostly applying towards the ends and keeping away from the scalp to ensure your strands hold the curl and won't fall limp under the weight of the volume.
Full and Fluffy Pony
Why not go big with all that length—real big. This bride looks like she took our advice to heart! We love her voluminous ponytail full of the prettiest curls for her Mexico City wedding.
Boho-Inspired Hair Accessories
Take a cue from this bride who accessorized her glossy curls with a bejeweled barrette: You can instantly elevate a look with a sparkling hair accessory. It can take the style from “just a night out” to bridal vibes in an instant.
Natural, Free-Flowing Curls
Let your curls flow freely! Playing with natural texture works for any wedding style, but is an especially stunning technique for beach weddings. Textured tresses blowing in the sea breeze are just so effortlessly sexy.
Posh and Polished
Modern elegance is the name of the game when it comes to this long hairstyle. Featuring an ever-so-slight wave and smooth, shiny strands, it’s an undeniably polished style. We love how the generally straight locks still flaunt a bit of bounce and shape at the ends.
Floral-Studded Rope Braid
The combination of floral hair accessories and long hair is giving us major Rapunzel vibes! If you’re after a similar style, we suggest incorporating the blooms that you plan to have in your bouquet to tie the whole ensemble together.
Give your florist a heads up so she can bring along the extra flowers on the big day.
Meghan Markle, eat your heart out. With loosely pinned tresses, this spin on the messy updo is particularly sweet in a very devil-may-care way. A gilded hairpiece completes the coif, illuminating the intentionality behind the effortless-looking style.
Loosely Braided Locks
This bride wore her locks loosely braided away from her face for a simple half-up, half-down hairstyle. We love how the soft braid mimics the shape of her loose curls. It also creates the perfect securement to attach that glorious veil to.
Rosy, Rolled Updo
Who needs a bouquet when your hair is blooming with florals like these? Complete with a bundle of white roses, this bride’s rolled updo is absolutely enviable. If pretty posies aren't quite your vibe, we love boho hair chains or old-world hairpins to accentuate the coif.
Most bridal ponytails are ever so demurely gathered at the nape of the neck, but this glam bride chose to wear her's high and proud. The sky-high pony of bountiful, glossy locks provided all the benefits of an updo, while still cascading around her gorgeous face. Accented with a glittery floral pin, the look was picture-perfect for the black-tie NYC nuptials.
Loose Side Bun
Oh, what a difference sweeping a traditional style to the side can make. This playful bun is flirty as can be, especially with the asymmetric placement of the pearly hair accessory. "Some brides don't select the best hair accessories to complement a long hairstyle," notes Hendrickson. "It's important to select a medium to larger size hairpiece to pair with the longer hair—more hair means more hairpiece."
Wrapped Bubble Pony
This unique spin on a classic ponytail boasts plenty of fairy-tale vibes. If you opt for a more streamlined pony, we still recommend hiding the hair elastic like this bride did here. It’s an easy way to dress up the ‘do and couldn't be simpler: Just leave out a small section from the bottom of the ponytail before securing it. Fasten the ends into the base with a bobby pin, and you’re good to go.
Use a bit of smoothing serum to keep the strands looking polished and frizz-free.
Is it better to wear long hair up or down for a wedding?
How you wear your hair is totally up to you. Updos come with lots of functional versatility, such as being extra secure, keeping hair out of your face, or emphasizing a neckline. Wearing your hair down provides the benefit of really flaunting that length and offers a more romantic and youthful vibe.
How long does hair have to be for an updo?
Hair should be at least shoulder length to accommodate an updo. The longer the hair, the higher and more voluminous the updo can be.
How can I grow my hair before my wedding?
Hendrickson recommends scheduling regular trims up to the wedding day. While the suggestion may sound counterintuitive, trims are essential to maintaining the health of your hair, and healthy hair grows faster than depleted strands.