Once you’ve found your dream wedding dress, you can start planning the other wedding day details that will complete your wedding day look. Shoes, jewelry, accessories, and wedding makeup are all fun, but it’s your wedding hairstyle that will take the most amount of research. Knowing the different wedding hairstyles for every length as well as what the weather will be like at your wedding location all factor in.
In fact, there’s a lot that goes into this process beyond answering the question, “Up or down?” For example, if you’re the one about to say “I do,” will you be enlisting the help of a professional or styling your hair on your own (perhaps with the help of a few YouTube videos)? Do you want your wedding hairstyle to be a prominent part of your look, or would you rather the focus be on your dress and veil? You’ll also want to think about whether or not you want to incorporate extensions, and if you prefer curls or straightened locks.
The list goes on and on, but these are all worthy questions to consider before you pick your wedding hairstyle. Most importantly, you’ll want your hair to match the overall vibe of your wedding; not just your dress, but other big aspects, too. Think of it this way: If you have a bohemian wedding venue and decor, you wouldn’t want to don neatly styled Hollywood curls or a tight updo. Instead, you’d be better suited with loose waves and/or casual braids.
Here, we’ll break down these various wedding hairstyles for every hair length, as well as what you need to know to get the best wedding hairstyle for your big day.
First Thing’s First: Stylist or DIY?
Before you become set on a particular wedding hairstyle, you should first figure out if you’re going to hire a professional stylist or do your hair yourself. There are pros and cons to each, but what it ultimately comes down to is whether or not you have the bandwidth, skills, and styling tools needed to pull off doing your own wedding day hair. Think carefully!
The Stylist Route
Don’t let the idea of adding to your big-day budget prevent you from even considering a professional wedding hairstylist. Doing so can be relatively affordable, especially if you go to an actual salon instead of having the stylist come to you. According to Zola, couples typically spend $300 on wedding hair and makeup. However, anywhere within the range of $150-$600 is typical. The price ultimately depends on factors like the complexity of your desired style, where you live (big cities will obviously be more expensive), the distance the stylist might have to travel, whether or not you want a trial session, and more.
Aside from the cost, there aren’t really any other downsides to hiring a wedding hairstylist. They’ll provide the necessary tools — from blow dryers to curling irons — along with hairspray and other products. They’re professionals, and chances are will create a more polished look than you could if you DIY’ed it. If you’re worried that’s not the case, a trial run should put your mind at ease (or give you time to find a different stylist).
When seeking out potential wedding hairstylists, make sure you get clear-cut answers about their rate, and whether or not that includes a trial run and traveling costs if they’re coming to you. Your bridesmaids might also be interested in getting their hair done, so consult with them before you hire anyone. You’ll need to know the exact number of people getting their hair done so the stylist can make a schedule for the wedding day and determine if they’ll need to bring extra stylists to assist them. This will obviously cost more, but make sure you ask about any available packages. If you still want a lower price, make appointments at a nearby salon ASAP — every person will be guaranteed their own stylist, and you won’t have to pay any travel costs. You might even get free mimosas out of it!
The DIY Route
If you’re confident in your own hairstyling skills, all the more power to you! You’ll definitely save money, especially if you already own the necessary tools and products. If not, turn to your bridesmaids. Between you and them, you’ll almost certainly have everything you need. They can also be a big help with the styling process! Just be sure to ask for their assistance ahead of time, so they can plan to make time for their hair and yours. Consulting one or two of your bridesmaids ahead of time will also allow you to do a trial run before the wedding day.
Should that be the only trial run you do, though? No. Instead, once you’ve determined how you’re going to style your hair, you should practice multiple times. Be sure to switch up certain factors to nail the final routine, too. For example, start with freshly washed wet hair (followed by a DIY blow out) one time and second-day hair the next. Test out how long the style lasts, and how well your hairspray holds up. If you’re curling your hair and wearing it down, section off different parts and use various irons/wands to determine how tight you want the curls to be. If you plan on wearing accessories, be sure to use the actual headband, tiara or clip when practicing — a regular old barrette or clasp won’t help you get a real idea of the final look.
While practicing, or even during the initial research process, your best friend will be the internet. You can start with Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration, but you’ll ultimately want to find videos of the actual styling process. This is where YouTube comes in — but fair warning, a simple search of “DIY wedding hairstyle” garners hundreds of thousands of results. Try to include as many keywords as possible, like “short hair” or “updo,” depending on the general idea of what you want. Like we mentioned earlier, think about your theme, too. Terms like “glamorous,” “boho,” and “romantic,” should narrow down the results.
Once you’ve found a video of a style you like, use its title to find similar demonstrations. One YouTuber may include an extra step that makes things so much easier, while still accomplishing the same look. Watch a few videos, and get to practicing!
Tips for Either Route
Find (Legitimate) Inspiration
Whether you hire a wedding hairstylist or plan on doing your own hair, there are a couple of things that brides-to-be need to keep in mind during the research process — the first one being that yes, you’ll need to do research. Either you or the stylist will need something to go off of. When scrolling through social media or Google Images, make sure that you’re not only looking at people who share your hair length, but your texture, too. If you want to get an even better idea of what you might look like with the style, try and find those who also have a similar face shape.
Take it from Evalyn Parsons, who heads an award-winning team of hair and wedding professionals: “Don’t look for one picture that is your perfect hairstyle, but rather look for elements of a style that you like (eg. part line, amount of volume, waves, etc).”
Regarding accessories, if you haven’t found that perfect addition to your wedding day look but plan on incorporating a wedding headpiece, you should search for examples of styles with those included. If you do know what you’ll be wearing, try adding terms like “with tiara” to your pre-existing search, e.g. “short brunette voluminous wedding hairstyle with tiara.”
Most important of all is the need for you to be realistic. Be wary of any photos that depict people who don’t have a single hair out of place, or are just seemingly perfect, because that’s often not the case offline. Even so, we can’t all have influencer hair, and that’s okay!
If you’re hiring a wedding hairstylist, you can not only look for online reviews of their previous work, but also ask them for a lookbook or examples of hairstyles they’ve done before. If you’re doing your own hair, don’t buy anything (not even hairspray!) without reading reviews first. Lucky for you, keep reading and you’ll find some of the internet’s most-loved products below.
Wedding Hairstyles for Long Hair
Time to show off those long locks! Don’t worry, we’re here for you too, medium-length hair-havers. Some of these styles could work definitely work for you if you incorporate extensions on your wedding day — a move that Glow Hair owner Jillian Falconer recommends: “Whether it’s for some fullness or length or both – it’s worth it. They seriously make the world of a difference for the chosen style…”
In an Instagram post, Falconer weighs in on her favorite type of extensions: tape-ins or clip-ins. To determine what’s best for you, consult your hairstylist!
Regardless if you’re wearing extensions or simply have long hair, you have a ton of options for wedding hairstyles. Seriously — anything from free-flowing waves to a fishtail braid works for you. If you’re looking for a more refined look, or if your wedding is on the formal side, opt for tighter curls or an updo.
Straight and Sleek
Loose Waves with a Braid
Wedding Hairstyles for Short Hair
Maybe you’ve always had short hair, or perhaps you recently got a big chop. Either way, you likely have tons of volume and texture that you can play with come the big day. The best part about having short hair? The styling process is a lot quicker than for those with longer hair. This is especially great news for brides who are planning on a dramatic or intricate style.
However, there’s still plenty of options if you’re looking for something more classic! “A simple half up half down style works beautifully on a bridesmaid [or bride!] with bob length hair,” wrote Jessica Hurley, a hair and makeup artist. “Loose, tousled waves will still keep a lot of the length and it can still be a special style for the day.”
Here are some of our favorite looks for short hair!
Braided and Bumped
Wedding updos have long been popular for good reason — they’re pretty, polished, and oftentimes stay in place over the course of an entire day. If you’re worried about rain or know that it’s going to be extremely hot, you should definitely consider an updo!
“In my opinion, the most successful option is to wear your hair UP on your wedding day,” wrote Erin of the hubby and wifey wedding photography team The Youngrens. “Your hairstyle needs to last a long time at your wedding – at LEAST 6 or 8 hours – and it needs to be able to endure all kinds of conditions. Think sweat, humidity, sun, breeze, and hugs from many, many loved ones. The chances of your hair staying in beautiful shape when it’s down is much lower than when your hair is up.”
Updos are also great for those with long and short hair. Here are some worth considering!
Knotted Faux Mohawk Updo
One Big Braid
Half-Up, Half-Down Hairstyles
Can’t decide if you want to wear your hair down or in an updo? Get the best of both worlds with these half-up, half-down styles.
Formal Party Pony
We handpicked a few of the most popular hairstyling tools and products across the internet. Even if you’re not DIY-ing your hair, some of these will still be great to have on hand!
This texturizer won one of Allure‘s coveted Best of Beauty awards and has more than 2,000 positive reviews.
Perhaps the most talked-about hair styling tool of 2019, the Airwrap Styler Complete leaves your hair looking flawless without using any heat. Since the Dyson tools are suitable for multiple hair types and styles, anyone is able to curl, wave, smooth and dry their locks.
Named a “holy grail” product by Health, this hairspray will save your hair and the environment (it’s a nonaerosol bottle!).
This nutrient-rich treatment promises to control your edges with a non-sticky hold that lasts all day.
Dry shampoo is a must if you’re not getting a wedding day blowout. Formulated with organically harvested Oat milk, Klorane’s dry shampoo is a favorite for many.
Wedding Hair Accessories
Add some flair to any hairstyle with accessories like a tiara, barrettes, a headband (super trendy right now!), a flower crown, or a comb — all of which can be found below.
This Swarovski crystal-covered comb is available in three different platings: 14K gold, rose gold, or silver.
This sweet flower crown can make a statement without completely overshadowing a hairstyle.
This tiara puts a fun twist on the traditional one.
With small beautiful pearl flowers designed to look like baby’s breath, this accessory clips into the hair with small hair extension clips for a no-slip fit.
This comb can be made in a variety of ways with different types of beads and finishes. It’s perfect for updos!
This headband set can be found at Anthropologie or BHLDN. Wear one or multiple for a classy bridal look!
This rustic crown is made up of all-natural wild dried flowers.
Get an out-of-this-world bridal look with just one or all five of these celestial hair pieces.
Hopefully this has helped guide you towards the best wedding hairstyle for every length! Be sure to share your top choices in our Facebook Group!