Being asked to be a bridesmaid in someone’s wedding is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon your relationship. Whether it’s a casual beachside wedding or an elegant event under the stars, the couple can’t imagine their day without you there. Not only do you want to ensure that you’ve dressed appropriately, but you’ll want to feel confident so that you can enjoy the festivities without feeling any stress.
Whether you’re the couple of honor or in the wedding party, selecting a bridesmaid hairstyle is one of the final steps that will pull your whole look together. That’s why we’re breaking down everything you need to know regarding bridesmaid hairstyle ideas so that you can feel as special as the role you’re serving in the celebration.
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You might not have thought that there was a specific bridesmaid etiquette, but there are a few things to keep in mind before throwing your hair up in a messy bun or telling the hairstylists to give you an updo. First of all, check with the couple to see if they have style preferences/concerns. Perhaps the bride wants to be the only one with her hair down, or she envisions all the maids with buns. Other than following the couple’s wishes, you’ll want to ensure that any look you choose isn’t too flashy, so as not to take away from the real reason for the wedding: the couple.
While you’re not the one getting married, you will be a focal point during the festivities and in the photos. Here’s what to consider when deciding on a bridesmaid hairstyle:
Whether you’re a bridesmaid or a part of the happy couple, you’ll want to consider the wedding venues and formality when considering hairstyles. A wedding on the beach would probably make you gravitate toward something different than a formal vintage affair or a traditional country club wedding. If you’re celebrating outdoors or will be spending a lot of time under the sun for photos or between events, be sure to take details such as weather and exposure into account.
“Anything with an outdoor environment greatly affects how the hair should be styled for longevity,” Senior Stylist at Radio London Heather King-Labeur previously told Zola. So, factor in details such as wind and humidity before wearing your long locks down or adding heavy extensions.
The season of the event will probably influence your hairstyle since you’ll want to account for the weather and outdoor temperament. Nothing can deflate curls or an updo like heavy air or an afternoon thunderstorm, and having your hair up in the winter might make you too chilly.
Check the weather, humidity, and forecast before deciding on your look; and, if you still want a picture-perfect look for the reception, consider how well your style will look after the ceremony and cocktail hour. Finally, be willing to be flexible with your vision in case the morning of the wedding throws you some unexpected weather.
We love a themed wedding, and a fun way to lean into the environment is through your wedding party hairstyles. We love when vintage weddings include headbands or pin up curls for the bridesmaids, and groomsmen sporting hair expertly combed back. Think braids for beach weddings, buns for elegant affairs, and slick ponytails for chic celebrations. While you don’t want to be too flashy, leaning into your theme will take your wedding party look to the next level.
A big consideration when selecting a hairstyle for your bridesmaids is their attire. While their outfit probably goes hand-in-hand with the formality, theme, and venue of the event, you’ll also want to consider the neckline and fabric of the dress or top, too. Higher necklines and more formal designs tend to pop with hairstyles that are up and off the face, whereas more casual styles or looks with lover necklines usually look flawless with flowing hair.
While hair length is one of the factors you can’t control as much, there are options. From weaves to extensions to wigs, if you’re looking for a longer look, don’t be afraid to lean into some other tools. Additionally, a fresh cut before a celebration will not only help your hair look healthy, but will further elevate shorter styles.
One of the things no one can really control is their hair type, but it’s a crucial component that you’ll want to consider before selecting a hairstyle for your bridesmaids. Before asking everyone to rock braids or buns or billowing curls, you need to consider their hairstyles because there’s a chance that they literally can’t create the style. Don’t worry, we’re going to break down the different types of hairstyles, as well as some options that work for each, so you can choose a style that everyone will feel comfortable rocking.
Before selecting a universal hairstyle for your entire wedding party, consider letting your bridesmaids select their own look. Especially if everyone has different hair lengths or types. This is an especially good option if your party is in mix-and-match gowns since different colors, fabrics, and necklines might be at play. If you don’t want to let your party have free reign, consider giving them a base style to play off of (such as a bun hairstyle or half up half down), so they can pick what looks best for them while still having a uniform look.
While many brides get their wedding hair and makeup done professionally, consider doing the same for your bridal party, too. If it doesn’t fit in your budget, give your group the option of paying for it themselves. This is one of few opportunities to get all dolled up, and not only is getting your hair done professionally a fun and memorable experience, but it will ensure that your girls look picture perfect. You can even discuss with your artists how you want your bridesmaids’ hair to look ahead of the day, so when it comes time to actually doing their hair, your artists already know what you want.
When it comes to hair types, there are so many different ones, which is what makes everyone’s locks unique. That said, New Jersey-based Stylist and Owner of Love Lane Salon Kristina Maccaro told Zola that there are four commonly referenced hair types that most folks’ locks can be categorized as. The Andre Walker Hair Typing System is broken down into four types ranging from straight to kinky.
Fine, fragile, and/or frizzy hair that doesn’t curl naturally is typically considered Type 1 or straight.
Wavy hair—or Type 2—is anything from fine and thin, to coarse and frizzy. If your hair has a little body to it and doesn’t dry straight, but isn’t consisting of full curls, it’s probably wavy.
Type 3 is considered curly, which varies from loose curls to corkscrew curls that are more defined than the casual waves of Type 2.
Type 4 hair is fun and curly; it showcases natural, tight coils and Z-angled coils.
Hair type is essential to picking a bridesmaid hairstyle for a wedding, but your length will play a major role too. Whether you’re sporting a short crop or long locks, there are plenty of options for bridesmaids to consider when selecting a wedding hairstyle.
From fresh cuts to mixing up your parts, there are tons of ways to dress up your look if you’re rocking short hair. Here are a few of our favorite short hair looks for wedding guests:
If you have medium-length hair—meaning that it falls somewhere between your collar bones and your shoulders—there are lots of chic options ideal for a bridesmaid look. Here are some of our favorite medium-length looks:
Long hair that goes past your shoulders gives you plenty of options when it comes to bridesmaid hairstyles. Here are just a few of our favorites:
There are a lot of things to consider when selecting bridesmaid hairstyles. While your girls’ hair lengths and types will play a role, one component we think is crucial to play off of is the formality and theme of the event. More formal venues call for more formal styles, which is why we’re breaking down some of our favorite styles by formality to give you an idea of what to consider, depending on your theme and dress code.
A casual celebration is just that: casual. Clean, brushed, and styled as you would for going to a nice lunch or dinner is perfectly acceptable in this formality. Take note of the venue—whether it’s the beach, a backyard, a park—and do your hair how you would if you were going there on a date. There’s no need for your bridesmaids to get their hair done professionally for a casual wedding.
A semi-formal celebration is a step up from casual, so think of it as if you were going to a church, a nice brunch, or an interview. You want your hairstyle to be a little more elevated than your everyday look. While your bridesmaids might want to opt for a professional look, adding a few simple curls or a nice pin to their usual style would suffice.
A cocktail event calls for a hairstyle that’s elevated, yet understated. A loose, low bun, some big waves, or a fresh blowout are all fantastic wedding hairstyle ideas for a cocktail wedding. If you don’t want to hire a pro, consider adding some wand curls or braids for a more upscale DIY look.
A formal celebration is a great opportunity to hire a professional. Whether you opt for curls, a low bun, or a sleek braid, the goal here is a sophisticated look that would be appropriate for an extremely upscale restaurant.
One of the most formal occasions, a black-tie affair, is the time to pull out all the stops. Heading to a salon is a good idea so that you can get a chic bun, billowing waves, or an elegant half-up, half down style that will hold the whole elegant evening.
The most elegant of dress codes means it’s time to pull out all the stops and get as fancy as possible. If you have the means, head to a salon for an updo, full curls, or add extensions, and include plenty of sparkling, shining accessories to elevate your glam.
Themed events are becoming more common, and we love to see wedding parties really lean into the celebration’s vibe. Opt for a vintage hairstyle like pinup curls for a Gatsby celebration, some carefree waves on the beach, or some intricate braids for a boho wedding. Depending on the venue, formality, and uniqueness of the event, you could consider anything from multiple braids to the addition of fresh flowers or glitter to your girls’ styles.
It’s important to note, however, that if you’re having a tropical wedding, you’ll want to ensure that the bridesmaid hairstyles you choose will not only keep your girls cool (think braids or low buns), but will also hold in the heat and humidity.
One of the best ways to really add to your bridesmaids’ celebration style is with accessories. Whether your girls are rocking curls, short cuts, long braids, or anything in between, a few well-placed hair accessories can really elevate their look. Plus, it’s a great day-of gift to thank them for being a part of your special day.
Here are a few of our favorite bridesmaids’ hair accessories that your besties will be honored to wear on your wedding day and beyond.
We especially love florals if you’re attending a springtime or summer event, or one in a garden, on a beach, or even at a vineyard. Leaning into the seasonal and locational vibe is a great way to elevate any hairstyle, and looks especially great in photos. You can simply buy some extra flowers to easily tuck behind your bridesmaids’ ears, or ask your hairdresser to incorporate them into their day-of looks. We especially love this look if the bride also opts for flowers in her hair, as it pulls the wedding party look together.
If you aren’t feeling flowers but love the idea of a more natural hair accessory, consider greenery. Anything from eucalyptus to fresh herbs will tie the Earth into your bridesmaids’ looks. We especially love this option for enchanted forest or mountain weddings, where the scenery is a huge part of the decor and ambiance.
Headbands are a chic and unique way to elevate anyone’s hairstyle for a special event. We love seeing bridesmaids in jeweled options for more glam events or braided pieces for boho celebrations. If you’re trying to decide on an accessory, consider one in wedding colors that will help tie your color palette into the wedding party. Whether it matches the bridesmaid dress or your groomsman ties, it’s a subtle way to make your party look cohesive.
Whether you’re sporting a messy updo, a braid, half-up, half-down, a short crop, or just your natural style, a fun clip can really elevate your look. If your bridesmaids are opting for any sort of bridesmaid updo or braid, some sparkly or decorative clips can double as not only an accessory but also a way to ensure that their wedding hair stays in place all the way until the afterparty.
We love when bridal parties think outside the box, especially if the celebration is themed. As trends evolve and shift, there are always new accessories coming out to change up your look. Think feathers, headbands, and gold beaded combs for vintage weddings. Consider elegant seashell pins for a beach wedding. Slip on a pair of fuzzy earmuffs for some winter pictures, or wear matching scrunchies for a trendy reception. Feel free to get creative and break the mold for a memorable look.
Even if you keep the rest of their looks simple, chances are that your bridesmaids will use a bobby pin or two to elevate their look. Instead of the traditional pins, consider buying a pack of elegant ones with pearls or rhinestones on them. You can easily ask the hairdresser to incorporate them into each of their looks for a little dash of elegance and sparkle.
Ultimately, when it comes down to choosing a hairdo for your bridesmaids, there are a lot of things to consider. The venue, the weather, the formality, and their outfits are all important factors you add to your wedding planning checklist, as you are ensuring that they feel comfortable and beautiful on the special day. One simple way to show your love and tie your group’s look together is with some matching hair accessories.
Luckily, Zola has plenty of options for both hair accessories and hair stylists, no matter your theme or venue. Whether your girls are standing by your side at a casual event or a black-tie celebration, their hairstyle is a major component of their overall look. From simple pins that they can wear daily to stunning barrettes that they’ll use on special occasions, hair accessories are a simple way to make your bridesmaids feel special. Regardless of how they wear their hair or accessorize it, what matters is having your favorite people by your side for the very best day. Their love for you is what will truly make them stand out.