Mother of the bride hairstyles: 21 elegant looks to suit every type of wedding

Our edit of chic mother of the bride hairstyles plus all the pro tips you need to get them right

Collage of three of the best mother of the bride hairstyles, a natural updo, flicky blow dry with a hat, braided updo
(Image credit: Future/Getty images)

You’ve picked the dress, now it’s time to decide on which mother of the bride hairstyles will pull your entire look together. From elegant updos to laidback down dos, there are plenty of options to consider whether you're taking your hair into your own hands or enlisting the help of a professional.

Can't decide between an intricate hair up style or something loose and low-key? “The advice I give to mums on their daughter’s special day is to choose a style that will make you feel elegant, beautiful and, most importantly, the best version of yourself,” says Viktoria S. Toth (opens in new tab), luxury bridal hairstylist. Adam Reed (opens in new tab), legendary hairstylist and founder of Arkive Headcare, seconds this: “remember that you’ll be looking at the photos from the wedding for years to come so it’s important that you look like yourself, if a little more polished.” 

From curly hairstyles and hairstyles for straight hair to updos for short hair and half up half down hairstyles – we’ve curated an edit of mother of the bride hairstyles for all hair types and lengths. Plus, the experts share their ultimate advice for finding your perfect look.

Mother of the bride hairstyles – key considerations 

“When mothers of the bride and I are designing their perfect hairstyle; there are a few important factors to consider,” says Toth. Our experts break it down:

  • Hats and fascinators: “Mums relish an opportunity to buy a hat,” says Toth, “hats tend to mark life occasions where mums are extremely proud – graduations, christenings, and, of course, weddings.” Note that at some point you are going to want to take the hat/fascinator off, flags Reed – “so whatever your style, make sure that you take where it sits into consideration.”  
  • Hair type: “It’s important to choose a style that will work with the mother of the bride’s hair type,” says Toth, “for instance, if you have fine hair that doesn’t hold a curl – don’t go for a curled ‘do.” Instead, consider hairstyles for fine hair. “A classic chignon always wins as it can be worn with any texture and can be dressed up or down to suit any outfit,” adds Reed. 
  • Accessories: “I often recommend accessories that link together the dress and hair,” says Toth, “and ideally something that echoes and resonates with the bride’s overall look, too. It’s a subtle way to communicate the special bond between mother and daughter.”
  • Type of wedding: Consider what the overall mood or style of the wedding is. “Going overly formal to your daughter's flower festival-themed barn wedding may mean you feel out of place, so it’s important to ascertain what 'vibe' the couple are going for to ensure your style is in step,” says Toth. Her advice? “Glamorous Hollywood wavy hairstyles work well for a classic black-tie wedding, while a textured low chignon is perfect for a rustic wedding.”

21 inspiring mother of the bride hairstyles 

1. Twisted updo

Thandiwe Newton with mother of the bride hairstyle

Thandiwe Newton

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: oval, round, square | Hair type: Fine to thick

Styling Tips: After a retro mother of the bride hairstyle? Take inspiration from this 1940s pin-up updo that would work especially well for a black-tie wedding. Style with a headband a la Thandiwe Newton (which was created using material from her skirt) for extra pizzazz. 

2. Tousled bob

Cate Blanchett with mother of the bride hairstyle

Cate Blanchett

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: square, heart or oval | Hair type: curly, fine to thick

Styling Tips: Searching for mother of the bride bob hairstyles? Consider this effortless tousled 'do that's easy to recreate using one of the best curling irons. To make sure your curls last from the vows to the last dance, be sure to spritz on a generous layer of hairspray. 

3. Hollywood waves

Kerry Washington with mother of the bride hairstyle

Kerry Washington

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: oval, square, round | Hair type: medium to thick

Styling Tips: As Toth confirms, Hollywood waves are a great option for more formal weddings. We recommend dividing your hair into sections, pointing the barrel downwards, before taking each piece and wrapping it around two to three times for big curls. Top tip? Curl in the same direction for a uniform finish. 

4. Sleek bob

Taraji P. Henson mother of the bride hairstyle

Taraji P. Henson

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: any, especially square | Hair type: medium to thick

Styling Tips: According to Toth, "sleek, shiny hair never fails to disappoint." To recreate this style, book in for a blunt cut just before your daughter's big day and treat your hair to one of the best hair masks or serums to bolster shine. 

5. Big ballerina bun

Sarah Jessica Parker mother of the bride hairstyle

Sarah Jessica Parker

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: any, especially oval | Hair type: fine to thick

Styling Tips: If a messy bun is your everyday hairstyle staple - dial it up for their big day by super-sizing it. For anyone with fine or short hair, consider using a donut or extensions to add more oomph. And while it's not possible to wear a hat with this style - you can go for a fabulous fascinator instead! 

6. Half up half down waves

Halle Berry mother of the bride hairstyle

Halle Berry

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: round, heart, oval | Hair type: fine to thick

Styling Tips: "A half up half down hairstyle is one of the easier styles to do that looks great on all hair types," says Reed. "Remember that stray hairs and flyaways add to this look, so try not to over perfect your style," he continues, "this also allows for a little creative license."

7. High chignon bun

Salma Hayek mother of the bride hairstyle

Salma Hayek

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: square, heart, oval | Hair type: fine to thick

Styling Tips: If you prefer your chignon to be high as opposed to low, take your cue from Salma Hayek and ask your stylist to recreate this look. For an all-over polished finish, tame unruly flyaways with one of the best hair styling products

8. Low ponytail

Julianne Moore mother of the bride hairstyle

Julianne Moore

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: any, especially square | Hair type: medium to thick

Styling Tips: Considering ponytail hairstyles? We recommend going low as it works for every type of wedding and it can be dressed down or up with a fascinator or hat. To give it a chic, elegant touch, wrap your hair around the elastic and secure it with a bobby pin. 

9. Twisted side bun

Nicole Kidman mother of the bride hairstyle

Nicole Kidman

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: round, heart, oval | Hair type: fine to medium

Styling Tips: "Soft texture and movement always look great," says Reed, who recommends a soft classic pleat or a simple chignon. For the latter, take inspiration from Nicole Kidman and twist hair into a low, side bun with strands left loose to frame the face. This is a great pick for fine hair. 

10. Pin curl braids

Beyonce mother of the bride hairstyle

Beyonce

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: oval, round, heart | Hair type: natural

Styling Tips: Searching for a versatile braided hairstyle that will wow on your daughter’s wedding day? Consider the search over as this low braided ponytail featuring swirling pin curls is a perfect choice. To protect your braids at night, try wearing a silk hair wrap

11. Laidback high ponytail

Rose Byrne mother of the bride hairstyle

Rose Byrne

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: any | Hair type: fine to thick

Styling Tips: For an effortless hairstyle that you can easily recreate at home, try this high ponytail with loose side bangs. Top tip? To add movement and shape to the front section, use one of the best hair dryer brushes. Complete your look with statement earrings and slick of bright lipstick.  

12. Tousled pixie crop

Charlize Theron mother of the bride hairstyle

Charlize Theron

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: oval, round, heart | Hair type: fine to medium

Styling Tips: Pixie haircuts for woman range from super short to long with layers. If yours is in-between lengths, add movement and body with a few waves and some texturising spray. To dial up the glam, complete your look with a fascinator. 

13. Polished ballerina bun

Gabrielle Union mother of the bride hairstyle

Gabrielle Union

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: square, heart or oval | Hair type: natural, medium to thick

Styling Tips: This beautiful ballerina bun is perennially chic and will go with any mother of the bride outfit. For that polished finish, apply an oil like Olaplex No7 Bonding Hair Oil onto dry or damp hair to smooth strands and minimize frizz. 

14. Braided chignon

Sandra Oh mother of the bride hairstyle

Sandra Oh 

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: any| Hair type: medium to thick

Styling Tips: This romantic updo will suit any type of wedding - especially a summer wedding where you may want your hair off your face. We recommend booking in with a professional to recreate this look which features two braids that are secured at the nape of your neck. 

15. Voluminous afro

Viola Davis mother of the bride hairstyle

Viola Davis

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: any | Hair type: curly, coily, afro 

Styling Tips: Searching for mother of the bride natural hairstyles? Take inspiration from Viola Davis' voluminous afro that she's accessorized with a beautiful, red flower. To shape your afro, try using a hair pick - it will create fullness and texture.

16. Straight half up half down do

Helen Mirren mother of the bride hairstyle

Helen Mirren 

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: any, particularly oval | Hair type: medium to thick

Styling Tips: When opting for this style, invest in one of the best hair straighteners to smooth strands for a sleek finish. "I always recommend securing the half up with a beautiful barrette," says Reed, "not only will it look great but it will also mean that the hair is secure all day long."

17. Slicked back curls

Andie MacDowell mother of the bride hairstyle

Andie MacDowell

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: oval, square, heart | Hair type: curly, medium to thick

Styling Tips: If your hair is naturally curly like Andie MacDowell, apply a mousse or gel to define your curls before pushing the front section of hair backward and misting with spray. For anyone with straight strands, perfect this style using your best curling iron

18. Braided buns

Janelle Monae mother of the bride hairstyle

Janelle Monae

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: any, especially heart | Hair type: natural, braided 

Styling Tips: We can always count on Janelle Monáe for hair inspiration and this 2020 Golden Globes hairstyle has mother of the bride written all over it. To recreate the look, section braids into two and secure them into low buns before finishing with a statement hat. 

19. French pleat

Scarlett Johansson with mother of the bride hairstyle

 Scarlett Johansson

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: oval, round, heart | Hair type: fine to medium

Styling Tips: For a traditional mother-of-the-bride hairstyle, Reed recommends opting for a classic French pleat. Timeless and elegant, this style may require the help of an extra pair of hands as it involves rolling the hair to one side while securing it with bobby pins. 

20. Halo braid

Chanel Iman mother of the bride hairstyle

Chanel Iman

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: any | Hair type: fine to thick

Styling Tips: While they may not look it, halo braids are surprisingly easy to do and the finished result is always impressive. We recommend following a YouTube tutorial to practice and perfect your technique before your daughter's wedding day. This also makes a great updo for shorter hair, as you can fake it with braided hairpieces if needed. 

21. Straight style

Jennifer Anniston with mother of the bride hairstyle

Jennifer Anniston

(Image credit: Getty)

Face shape: any, especially oval | Hair type: fine to thick 

Styling Tips: Simple straightener hairstyles can sometimes reign supreme. Especially if you're wearing a standout dress with lots of detail. Take your cue from Jennifer Anniston and style hair with a rounded brush or hot iron.   


How to make mother of the bride hairstyles last

"Most mothers of the brides want to look their best on the big day, while taking a hat on and off and dancing long into the night," says Reed, "so it's always my advice to keep it super simple and elegant, something that's easy to touch up and will take a hat." 

"In my opinion, no style is more beautiful than healthy shiny hair," adds Toth. "If your hair needs a little help to achieve a fuller look, some clip in hair extensions will add volume. They also work as a kind of 'memory lock' for your waves, and will help your curls last till the morning," says Toth. 

Emma Stoddart
Emma Stoddart

Emma Stoddart is a freelance beauty journalist and self-confessed skincare aficionado with over five years’ industry experience. Emma has worked for some of the UK’s top women’s titles including Net-A-Porter, Stylist and Grazia. Her experience spans online and print as well as producing editorial shoots with some of the industry’s biggest artists, including Val Garland. Asides from working with them behind the scenes, she’s also had the chance to interview the likes of Patrick Ta, Pat McGrath, and Sam McKnight for all their insider tips and tricks.