How to Achieve Beautiful Bridal Waves on Your Wedding Day

Beautiful bridal waves are a classic romantic style that is elegant and sophisticated. Here's how to pull them off.

By Shameika Rhymes

How to Achieve Beautiful Bridal Waves on Your Wedding Day
Photo by Onelove Photography

The First Look ✨

Wedding day hairstyles can make or break your dream day look. You can’t go wrong with the classic movement of beautiful bridal waves on your wedding day. It’s an easy soft style that could be the key to your tresses for your wedding celebration. Zola is here to help you achieve romantic beautiful bridal waves on your wedding day.

Table of Contents:

Wave Me Please

The beauty of bridal waves is their versatility. They can be tousled, sleek, styled into an updo, or down and free, they can take on any form that matches your wedding theme. Bridal waves aren’t just for bohemian weddings, they can work for weddings both modern and rustic. Any wedding theme works well for beautiful bridal waves. A wavy bridal hairstyle can even last if you plan to leave for your honeymoon the next day.

Part 1: How to Create Bridal Waves

From boho to beachy, wavy wedding hairstyles are a popular choice for many wedding themes. Grab your mousse to lock those waves in place. Here are a few ideas for how to achieve certain beautiful bridal waves on your wedding day.

Naturally Curly Bridal Waves

If you’re a bride with naturally curly hair, there are other ways you can achieve bridal waves for your big day. Apply a lightweight curl-defining product while your hair is dripping wet, then bring out the volume and bounce. Hold your head upside-down and bunch your hair into a T-shirt, wait about an hour, and remove it. Allow your curls to air dry, and they should settle into beautiful bridal waves.

Beach Waves

This classic romantic hairdo will have you looking like you just stepped out of a romance novel. Soft, beachy waves are often left down, which means you’ll have to consider wind if your wedding is outside, but that’s not bad—the style allows the wind to flow freely through your hair like Beyonce and her wind fan.

If you’re seeking a more wind-repellent style, use a headband or pin to hold the hair down. “It is easy to get beachy and boho waves confused, but generally you can tell the difference because beachy waves usually have a more defined curl pattern and are a little tighter.

This is a great style if the hair doesn't like to hold a curl because you start with more hairspray/product and the curl is tighter so if/when it falls, it still looks like a style. This is also a great style for those with shorter hair who don't want curls. For these waves, you want to use a curling wand and have your ends straight to give you the more undone look,” explains Megan Garmers, founder and director of MG Hair and Makeup.

Brushed-Out Waves

Curl your hair all over, then brush out your curls to create luxurious, lush waves.

Crimped Waves

Go retro and work this fun 80’s hairstyle to add texture and shape to your strands. You can use a crimping iron or simply braid your hair the night before and take them down on your wedding day.

Natural Waves on the Ends Only

Go natural with a little help. “Natural waves mimic the way your hair would naturally wave if it had a little bend near the bottom ends. You would most likely use a wand versus a curling iron and make sure you are only curling the mid to ends of the hair leaving the top straight and naturally close to your head. If you want a bit more volume, just add a little when you blow out your hair. Remember again to keep the ends out and straighter, but not as straight as you would for beachy waves or boho waves,” explains Garmers.

Voluminous Waves

Enhance your natural waves using a curling iron or by twisting your hair on itself to form a bun overnight. Gently brush them out, then your waves will be more pronounced and bouncy.

Bouncy Blowout

Sexy and sleek, this blowout is a balance between smooth and voluminous. “Blowout waves are a style that is usually associated with Victoria's Secret models on their runways. You want a blowout for the volume at the roots and then a slight bend in the hair throughout. The ends are curled under, but in a natural way from a blowout and round brush. To add even more volume, you can add extensions or tease the roots of your hair at the crown to give you an even bigger look” says Garmers.

Loose Waves With a Braid

Cristina Boatman, stylist and colorist at My Darling Ivy, says that it’s a simple process to get the tousled look by adding in braids. “To achieve loose waves with a braid, you can simply curl your hair leaving the ends out, and shake it out afterward. Then, loosely braid the front sides of your hair. After you secure your braid with a hair tie, you can lightly pull the braid apart from the sides to give it a more disheveled look.”

Tousled Bohemian Waves

“Boho brides need boho waves to complete their effortlessly cool bridal beauty vibe. The waves are usually done with a curling wand versus a curling iron, so that the waves aren’t too much like ringlets. You want to keep the natural texture of the hair on one side next to the wand and leave the other side more loose,” says Garmers. For products, she suggests either a flexible hold hairspray or a styling cream.

Wand-Enhanced Waves

Use your curling wand to enhance your waves for more bounce.

Hollywood Glam Waves

These are often called different names depending on who’s talking about them—old Hollywood waves, glamour waves, coiffed waves, S-waves—but the defining factor is the specific curl pattern.

“Usually the front has a larger section that waves up and then frames the face. To achieve this, it’s all about the consistency of how you’re curling each section of hair. You need to section your hair into 1- or 2-inch sections, depending on the amount of hair in each section. Use a strong hold hairspray when setting, and then pin up the curls to cool. After you take them out, you gently finger comb them to make sure all the curls are stuck, then use a fine-toothed comb to create the pattern,” says Garmers. She also cautions that this style is much harder to DIY—it requires a lot of practice.

Finger Waves

Another spin on waves is a style that originated in the 1920s, then reemerged in the 1990s with a more hip-hop edge. However you spin it, it’s an elegant and classic look. Using mousse and a fine-tooth comb, your or your stylist can guide your hair into mesmerizing S-shape waves for beautiful bridal waves.

Subtle Waves

Overnight pin curls unravel into this relaxed style. Even if your hair is straight, subtle waves can still add a little definition to your style.

Part 2: Prepping Your Hair for Bridal Waves

Start Taking Hair Vitamins

If you want your hair to shine on your wedding day, sometimes you have to start inside to get your hair healthy. If you want to grow your hair, you’ll want to start months ahead of your wedding. Start a vitamin regimen by including specific vitamins, such as A, C, and E. Hair is made mainly of protein, so increase your intake if possible. Collagen is also essential for the health of your hair follicles—it’s also great for your skin. Besides, hair that’s healthy will have less frizz on your wedding day.

Get Your Hair Trimmed

If you’re on a regular trimming schedule, make sure you get a trim a few weeks before the wedding. This will help shape your style and remove any dead or split ends. If your hair is processed or has color, a deep conditioning treatment may also be necessary.

When to Wash Your Hair

“Be sure to wash your hair appropriately. Some people have hair that gets oily after one day and need to wash their hair every day; others can go a whole week without washing it. You know your hair,” explains Garmers. Some stylists will ask you to arrive at your appointment with your hair not freshly washed, because it will hold the style better.

Find a Qualified Hair Stylist

Part of prepping your hair for the big day includes choosing the right person to style your hair. Some hairdressers specialize in wedding day looks, while others concentrate on maintaining extensions, colors, and cuts. You may not even use your regular stylist for your wedding hairdo, but consult them for any referrals.

Part 3: Accessorize Your Bridal Waves

Your beautiful bridal waves will make a big statement on their own, but you can make them pop even more with some accessories.

Use Floral Pieces

Floral pieces like baby’s breath give hair a boho classic look, and you can go even further by making them into a halo crown to wear in your hair. Also use real or silk flowers to soften the look.


Add some rhinestones or other jewels to your bridal waves. A hairstylist can place the rhinestones intermittently throughout your hair and make sure they stay secure.

Pearl Headband

Headbands and pearls are a classic combo for wedding hair accessories. Wear a pearl headband—or two if you dare—for a modern and chic feel.


It’s your day, and you can be the queen of the day if you want to. There’s nothing more fitting than a crown or tiara on your wedding day. Gold, silver, bejeweled, or even floral, pick one that fits your wedding theme to wear on top of your bridal waves.

Zola: Your Destination for Wedding Hairstyle Ideas

Determining your perfect wedding day hairstyle can be exciting and stressful, and you’ll need some help from professionals. Zola is the destination for advice on putting together your perfect wedding, including the best way to achieve your wedding hairstyle and makeup, so that you feel beautiful and confident on your wedding day. Browse through the archives to find ideas for your tresses, depending on the length or even theme of your wedding day.

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