Beautiful bridesmaids hairstyles: 30 chic ideas for special occasion hair

Get inspired by these pretty, modern bridesmaids hairstyles for every hair type

collage of three bridesmaids hairstyles on a lilac backdrop, a messy bun, flower crown and pinned in
(Image credit: Future/Getty images)

Bridesmaids' hairstyles may not be the first thing to spring to mind when we think about wedding planning, but they shouldn't be overlooked. Whether you're organizing your own big day or assisting with a friend or family's wedding, bridesmaids' hairstyles are the next biggest beauty decision after the bride's hair and make-up.

It goes without saying that these looks should complement, not overshadow, the woman of the hour's 'do. Bridesmaids' hairstyles should be elegant yet unfussy and in keeping with the bride's chosen aesthetic. Whether you go for hair up styles or half up half down hairstyles, a simple yet special look will ensure a stress-free wedding day for all – and gorgeous photos afterward. 

Take one of the most iconic weddings in history, for example, Prince William and Kate Middleton's big day in 2011. To complement the royal bride's hair, maid of honor Pippa Middleton's hair was also worn in a half-up hairstyle, accessorized with flowers alongside the now Duchess of Cambridge's tiara and veil combo. What's more, both she and the Duchess of Sussex chose flower crowns for their group of bridesmaids – a popular and sweet choice if those carrying out this special role are children.

Kate Middleton and Pippa Middleton on kate's wedding day


(Image credit: Getty Images)

How to choose bridesmaids' hairstyles

Possibly the most important factor when it comes to wedding hairstyles is booking a trial with a hairstylist so that you can work out any kinks. The last thing you want to do is decide on a hairstyle without trying it until the morning of the wedding, only to discover it doesn't look how you'd hoped. 

"When I am consulting a bridal party, the first thing I would ask is to see their dresses," says Sian Quinn (opens in new tab), artistic ambassador for Headmasters. “The neckline is so important; if the bridesmaids are wearing a dress with a high neckline or any detailing, then I would talk about putting all the hair up. I love braids for this, they are elegant but still young and fun. If the dress is more open around the décolletage, then my favorite look on a bridesmaid is a really simple half up half down," she adds.

 "Creating a bit of height at the crown and a soft wave throughout is classic and timeless." Or, consider an accessory. Headbands, slides, and bows have had a modern makeover and you don't need tumbling lengths to add in an accessory - there are beautiful headbands for short hair out there to suit every occasion.

composite image of bridal images

Elegant half-up half-down hairstyles

(Image credit: Getty)

A half up half down style isn't just a timeless look that also lends itself to mother of the bride hairstyles, it's also flattering on almost any face shape – a huge bonus for bridesmaids' hairstyles which generally need to work on several people. "You get that feeling that the hair is pulled off the face so that you can see the eyes, but the bottom of the hair is down and soft," explains ghd Editorial Ambassador Zoë Irwin. "You get that fullness that gives women confidence. But you've got that little bit of detail, perhaps with a clip at the back – something simple."

30 elegant bridesmaids hairstyles we love

From short hairstyles with accessories to long hairstyles (that can also be faked if you learn which hair extensions are best) these beautiful and timeless ideas suit all hair lengths and types. Screenshot your favorite and take it along to your hair trial for the best results!

1. The classic bouncy blow dry

If you are going for a particularly bold makeup look, or have an eye-catching sequin dress, you don't want your hairstyle to distract from that - or overload your look. Achieve this bouncy loose-curl look by using rollers or a round dryer brush for easy styling. 

2. The vintage-inspired blow dry

Volume is key when it comes to a vintage style, so investing in a good hairspray to keep your locks in place is a must. When styling, apply heat to the roots and do a quick blast with cold air to set it and keep your 'do looking fresh all day. 

3. The accessorized natural hair

Embrace your natural curl pattern by sticking to your normal haircare routine and letting your hair do its thing. To elevate your look and switch things up from your everyday style, add an embellished clip or hair slide that matches with your outfit.

4. The embellished long waves

If you want to keep things classic but have a little something extra to catch the eye, use your curlers to create a simple wave that acts as the ideal base for accessories. Add any type of head piece to the side of your hair so it looks beautifully subtle from the front.

5. The embellished corkscrew curls

Use your accessories to push your hair back and show off your makeup look. This is a particularly great style if your hair tends to fall over your eyes, as it will open up the face and accentuate your bone structure.

6. The partially braided style

To keep that natural look, but without letting your hair run too wild, the partially braided style is perfect. Use a sea salt spray to add texture and use a clear elastic to tie up the braid so it blends seamlessly.

7. The vintage wave

Vintage waves go with absolutely anything, so if you're looking for a timeless style that will match any outfit and makeup look, this is your go-to. Use wide-barrelled curlers to achieve this look, or use heated rollers for a looser wave.

8. The accessorized short pixie

It can often be challenging to know what to do with a pixie cut, which is why adding accessories is such a great hack. Whether you go for a headband or a smaller clip at the front of the head, this style is ridiculously easy and gives great results.

9. The embellished short Afro

This type of embellishment is totally unique and will receive so many compliments. The chunky gold accessories look stunning against dark hair and will brighten up any bridesmaid outfit.

10. The accessorized blunt bob

Embrace the natural texture of your hair, but refine your look with simple additions like these clips. Mix and match different styles for a more embellished look, or keep it simple with subtle gold details.

11. The twisted half up hairstyle

A half up look is a classic for a reason, but for a wedding it looks even better when it's elevated. Use a wave tool to get the ultimate beachy look, or use a texture spray to add volume. 

12. The half up hairstyle with added height

Managing thick hair can be a nightmare when it comes to occasions, particularly if you are prone to frizziness. This updo takes some of the weight off your neck whilst still showing off your length, and is super versatile.

13. The embellished half up hairstyle

Move away from classical hair ties and use decorative pieces to secure your look. Not only will it pull less on hair prone to knots, but it will be quicker and easier to work with if you're pushed for time.

14. The shorter half up 'do

Short hair doesn't have to forfeit unique styles. A half-up look allows you to show off your cut and texture, so make the most of this 'do by prepping the hair with a volumizing spray. 

15. The half up ponytail style

If you have dyed hair, a half up ponytail is ideal for showing off your color - particularly in the case of balayage. Use a hair oil after styling to seal in moisture and create shine.

16. The classic ponytail

You can never go wrong with a classic ponytail, and for an occasion like a wedding, it is often best to stick to what you are most comfortable with. Elevate the look by adjusting the height of your pony, or keep it low for maximum comfort. 

17. The undone bun

When it comes to summer weddings and hairstyles, sweat is often a factor. Twist the hair into a loose bun to keep it off your neck and avoid unnecessary heat, and create extra texture by taking some pieces out at the front to frame your face. 

18. The coily updo with bangs

Bangs have become super trendy this year, but you don't have to have pin-straight hair to make them work. Prep your hair with a leave-in conditioner to have your coils looking healthy and hydrated.

19. The lived-in ponytail

For a more casual setting, a messy ponytail is a chic yet edgy choice. Tease the hair slightly to create volume and keep your ponytail looking full.

20. The chunky braided updo

Braided updos are totally foolproof and won't need touching up throughout the day. If your hair often falls out of place, secure with bobby pins or hairspray to keep the structure.

21. The messy bun

Much like the messy pony, a messy bun looks great with a more stripped-back bridesmaid look. Embrace your natural curl pattern to give texture, or use a styling tool to achieve an undone look.

22. The partially braided bun

If braiding all of your hair is too big a task, opt for some accent braids. Pair with a simple bun to keep the attention on the style. 

23. French Braid

French braids have become a go-to for good reason, they're perfect for both practicality and style. Experiment with different methods of braiding to find whether a tighter or looser style suits you best.

24. Decorated Bun

When sporting an understated dress, this hairstyle is the ideal companion. Let the hair fall naturally to add some definition and give an effortlessly chic finish. 

25. Braid Crown

A braid crown is great for keeping hair out of your face whilst still looking refined. This style will work on all face shapes due to its adaptability, so don't be afraid to adjust it to work for you.

26. Double Braid

Finish your double braids with a bun, ponytail, or just let them hang loose for a more relaxed style. Do your braids early in the day or even the night before to let pieces come loose and give off a boho vibe.

27. Curly Pixie Cut

What makes pixies unique is the cut, so show it off with a simple curl. Style with second-day hair to create extra hold that will last, or curl when it's freshly washed for a looser finish.

28. Loose Curls with Head Piece

If you feel best with your hair down but don't want to look too simple, then a headpiece is the perfect addition. Go for something sparkly to draw the eye.

29. Braided Afro

Try out different braid placements for this style, either with a side parting or straight down the middle. For optimum hold, use a styling gel to finish it off.

30. Rounded Blow Dry

Use a round brush when blowdrying to achieve this bouncy look. Best for thicker hair types, the curls will frame your face perfectly. 

Lucy Abbersteen
Lucy Abbersteen

Lucy is a UK-based beauty journalist who has written for the likes of Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, OK!, Women's Health and more, as well as contributing to woman&home. Her work covers everything from expert skin and haircare tips to the latest product launches and the show-stopping beauty looks spotted backstage at London Fashion Week. During her career she's interviewed some seriously famous faces, from Little Mix to Drag Race royalty The Vivienne, as well as chatting to the industry's leading hairdressers, dermatologists and make-up artists.

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