Wedding Hairstyles

Once the ring has been sized and the date has been set, when the wedding has transcended the fairy-tale realm into reality, the bride to be must turn her dream ideas into actual wedding day decisions. While many details of the big day have been all but booked in the bride’s mind since the moment of engagement, one thing often remains uncertain: the Wedding Hairstyle. From the bridal up-do to the bridal down-do – and, most importantly, the bridal what-not-to do – brides-to-be can find themselves overwhelmed when faced with the choice of how to style their wedding day hair (and don’t even mention the task of styling a mass of bridesmaids, we’ll tackle that later). But fear not future brides, we have done the work for you. Read on for your bridal hairstyle guide to make those ‘big day’ choices just a little bit easier.

Lets start with the bride – all eyes will be set on the dress, the shoes, the accessories, and of course, the hair and the makeup. When choosing your matrimonial mane, the requirements are simple: it must be timeless, unique, elegant, and effortless. It must also be modest but not too simple, as well as classic, but not old-fashioned. Simple right? The much-coveted perfect wedding hairstyle is hard to pin point, and ultimately it comes down to what feels right for you; what makes you feel the most beautiful, what makes you feel most like yourself. If you love your hair down then wear it down, but make it a bridal special. If you love your hair up then wear it up, but find an up-do that knocks your everyday pony or bun right out of the park.


For those of you who are lucky enough to be endowed with a long and lustrously thick waterfall of hair, this guide is pretty much your hairstyle oyster. For those of you who rock the shorter style, we’ve got everything from the perfect pixie to the illusion up-do. When thinking about how to style your tress, one thing is for sure: you cannot overlook your dress type. If your dress is strapless, or you have an intricate lace appliqué covering your shoulders, the last thing you want for your wedding photos is to have your mane covering that detail you spent hours choosing in the bridal store. So, if you want your hair out of the way in order to show that shoulder structure, we love the classic up-do; be it a chic chignon, a ballsy ballerina bun, or a pretty ponytail, you can make a statement up-do work for any dress.

The great thing about the bridal ballerina bun is its standout nature: perfectly poised, graceful yet dramatic. This look can be worn with any style of dress as either a complimenting companion, or the star of the show. By having all of the hair brushed up in a slick bun, you will elongate your neck and accentuate your shoulders, filling you with bridal confidence as you sashay down the aisle. If you are blessed with a thick and long mane, then concentrate the hair below the crown of your head to avoid overcrowding your face. If you have hair on the shorter and thinner side, you can still pull off this stunning style all thanks to the ‘hair donut’: pull the hair through the centre of this handy tool and pin around the ring to create a beautiful up-do illusion.

Wedding Hairstyles - Updos - THEN AND NOW SHOP

Pony Tail

For something slightly softer, you can opt for a pony like this one: with the hair brushed gently into big loose curls. This hairstyle turns a simple pony into an up-do with a vintage-glam edge; something very elegant, and certainly very special for your wedding day do. The great thing about this look lies in its versatility and longevity. You want your bridal hair to last all day, but at the same time a bride doesn’t want her hair plastered to her head with hairspray. By styling the hair up in this way, the bobble and kirby grips will do the work to hold the hair firmly in place, while also retaining its bounce and volume for dancing later. We love this look for its class and practicality, but it can be made completely a bride’s own by adjusting and customising the curl placement and size, the height of the ponytail, or pulling little strands of hair down at the front for a more effortless look. This amped up ponytail style not only oozes bridal sophistication but it’s also perfect for any bride sealing the deal in the summer or abroad as the hair is swept off the face, keeping the bride cool under the scrutiny of the guests, and looking stunningly effortless in the process. With the classic pony making a star appearance at the SS16 Balmain and Chanel shows, you are sure to win bridal style points with this look.

Wedding Hairstyles - Ponytail - THEN AND NOW SHOP


The classic chignon rivals the pony as another option for a timeless up-do style choice. The concept is similar, but the result will turn heads. You can try out a simple version of this look by following these easy steps. Start by teasing the hair around the ears and back to the nape of the neck, and then twist the hair tightly around itself and coil it back up to the head in a clockwise motion. Use your index finger to help wrap the hair into your desired shape and finish with kirby grips to fasten.

To achieve a softer look, simply pull out little strands of hair and tug gently on the bun to get a more relaxed finish; effortless yet elegant. We love this style paired with a subtle bridal pin: the shape of the hair leaves the perfect space to rest your veil upon. You could also opt for something more unusual and incorporate your something blue here, hidden amongst your bridal tress.

Wedding Hairstyles - Chignon - THEN AND NOW SHOP

Bohemian Braid

If you can’t commit to having your hair completely up or completely down on your wedding day, half up half down gives you the best of both hairstyle worlds. For something slightly more whimsical that manages to keep your hair from falling on your face throughout the day, this look, the braided beauty, brings a boho-esque vibe to your wedding day ensemble. Perfect to pair with vintage lace or sheer detailing, the braid is one of the most forgiving choices for unruly hair. The braid is an ideal choice for outdoor weddings that might hold a rustic-chic theme, a theme that has been rising in the recent years for weddings. The braid is the ideal choice for any bride wanting to embrace nature on their big day. If the wind begins to cause hair havoc, the braid actually gets better with wear; it can take a more tousled form with ease, perfect for those who want the structure of an up-do with the body and versatility of a down-do.


Vintage Curls

Nothing says bridal glamour quite like a waterfall of curls. Of course for this look you’ll need slightly longer hair or you’ll need to invest in some extensions. Structured vintage curls instantly add an element of retro elegance, while beachy waves add a flirty feel and effortless movement. Curls work beautifully for two-toned hair as the coiled shape intertwines both shades, highlighting the differing hues. For serious Hollywood glamour make sure to sweep one side of the hair behind the ear and secure with a delicate pin, this will draw the eye to your face and ensure that your do doesn’t overwhelm your frame. The pin is genius to keep your hair off your face if you opt for this look in the warmer months.

Wedding Hairstyles - Vintage Curls - THEN AND NOW SHOP

Short Hair

For those of you rocking the shorter hair, we absolutely love the striking look of a minimalistic pixie cut to contrast against the typical longer hairstyles. Short hair was taken to extremes on the catwalk this season with many bridal models debuting a bold buzz cut. With an understated bridal do like this, you can bring drama with an elaborate headband and bold make-up to make a standout statement. If you have a couple of extra inches, you could comb the hair up and sweep it over the face. This will add volume to the front and the illusion of a fuller body in the back. You could also brush the fringe to the front to gently frame the face, transforming an edgy choice into a dreamy, Gatsby-esque silhouette.

Wedding Hairstyles - Short Hair - THEN AND NOW SHOP

Hair Accessories

Another way to make any hairstyle bridal ready is to add that all-important hair accessory. Be it a whimsical floral band, a lovely lace appliqué headband, or a ribbon of delicate diamanté, a bridal hair accessory can be the perfect finishing touch to your matrimonial mane. Have a peep some Oscar de la Renta crystal-embellished satin headband for dazzlingly statement piece to perfect your up-do, or at a Lanvin feather-trimmed tulle bridal veil to bring something daring to the show- Oscar de La Renta and Lanvin are amongst our go-to brands for these accessories. Each different, but both equally stunning options for bridal accessories.

Wedding Hairstyles - Hair Accessories - THEN AND NOW SHOP

Bridesmaid Hairstyles

Once you have settled on your own bridal do, you must then try and battle through the enormous task of styling your bridesmaids. Do you go for a ‘one style fits all’ type look, do you let each bridesmaid express their individual hairstyle, or do you compromise and go for a uniform theme; all in braids, all in waves, all in chignons… the possibilities are endless. One thing is for sure, you want your bridesmaids’ hair to compliment yours, not outshine it – after all, it’s all about the bride!

We love this unusual combination of a high ballerina bun for the bridesmaids and a lower chignon for the bride; both bride and bridesmaid look radiant with the hair swept up off their shoulders to reveal those beautiful strapless wedding dresses. This is a great way to bring union to the hairstyles while still allowing the bride to take centre stage on her day. As you can see, having different styles for each bridesmaid still looks equally stunning and lets the individuality of each girl shine through. You could either incorporate a unifying theme by asking each bridesmaid to add a braid somewhere into their hair (as one example), or simply let the creative juices flow and have each bridesmaid pick their own do to reflect their personality – as long as they don’t outshine the bride of course… we love both combos.

Wedding Hairstyles - Bridesmaids Hairstyle - THEN AND NOW SHOP

Brides, now you’ve completed your mammoth task of choosing those all important bridal dos; up-dos, down-dos, any dos you like. One piece of advice that can save any wedding day hairstyle mishaps is this: a run-through is crucial. Make sure that you and your bridal party all take the time to have your hair done in the privileged chosen style before the big day. Be honest with your stylist about how it’s coming together: if you want more volume on top, your curl doesn’t look quite bouncy enough, or if a strand of hair is even slightly out of place, do not be afraid to ask them to adjust these details, no matter how subtle or insignificant they might seem. The only thing that you (and your stylist) want is for you to be heading down the aisle euphoric with both your matrimonial man and your matrimonial mane.

Relative articles: Bridal Makeup –  What to Wear Wedding Guest Outfits

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