30 Bridesmaid Hairstyles Your Friends Will Actually Love


Plus tips for managing expectations and keeping everyone happy

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

mismatched bridesmaids with different bridesmaid hairstyles

Having been a bride once and a bridesmaid a handful of times, I’ve learned that the only rule of bridesmaiding is that there are no hard-and-fast rules: expectations around attire, bridesmaid hairstyles, and makeup can vary wildly from person to person. What one member of your wedding party considers totally normal might seem absurd to another (personal taste is personal, y’all). So it’s smart to lay your cards on the table good and early, before you get too deep into planning, to make sure everyone is on the same page. But how do you talk to your wedding party about things like makeup and bridesmaid hairstyles in a way that won’t make them feel like they have to go out and change themselves? In a word: considerately. Here’s what I recommend starting with.

how to talk to your wedding party about bridesmaid hairstyles

Establish who is paying for hair and makeup and how that will be taken care of. There are no absolute rules, but it’s always nice to make the offer (if it’s in your budget). Considering that your wedding party has most likely paid for their dresses, given you gifts at any showers and prewedding events you might have had, and possibly even traveled to get to your wedding, taking care of hair and makeup is a nice gesture to make.

If it’s not in your budget (and that’s fine!) it’s equally important to be clear about that from the beginning. You can say something like, “I’ll be having my hair done by [stylist] on the day of the wedding. If you guys are interested, here’s the contact information—but unfortunately, it’s not in our budget to pay for it.” Another idea? Phone a friend. A lot of us know that one person who lives and dies by Sephora. If you’ve got one of those (heck, they might even be in your wedding party), ask if they’d be willing to help out, and then make sure you include a gift card to MAC or something with your thank you note.

But remember: if you’re not paying for your wedding party to get their hair and makeup done, it’s perfectly acceptable that they do their own (and hence, they will probably not be doing any complex styling).

hot pink and light pink bridesmaids with mismatched bridesmaids hairstyles and flower crowns

Clearly communicate expectations. Most of us are trying to be considerate of our friends when putting together a wedding party. But there can be such a thing as being too nice. Your friends might not care as much about how they look as you think, or vice versa. So read the temperature of the room and make sure everyone is communicating clearly. You can say something like, “Hey, I want you guys to feel like yourselves at our wedding. Would you rather pick out your own hair and makeup, or have more direction from me?” You may find that your wedding party really just wants to be told what to do (sometimes it’s easier that way) or that they’d rather have full control over their own aesthetic. It’s way better to ask than assume.

On the flip side, if you really care about how things turn out, be honest about that. Try something like, “Hey guys, I’m really into this particular vibe for the wedding. Is everyone on board for that?” Or even, “I have a pretty clear vibe in mind for hair and makeup, but I still want you guys to feel like yourselves. Is there anything you absolutely don’t want?” The worst thing you can do is pretend you don’t have an opinion when you do—it just makes more work for everyone.

rainbow bridesmaids with curly briesmaids hairstyles and flower crowns

But be realistic: If you do have preconceived ideas about how you want folks to style their hair, try to keep in mind the realities of your friend group. Does everyone have the same texture and length of hair? (My rough guess: probably not.) Do you already have a good idea of who will want to DIY their hair and who will want to get it professionally done? If most of your wedding party has similar hair, then try to choose styles that can be easily DIYed (bless the braid trend). That way the people who want to get their hair professionally done can, and those who want to DIY won’t end up a stressful mess over a hairstyle that should really only be handled by professionals. And remember: cohesive doesn’t necessarily mean the same. Your wedding party members know their hair better than anyone else, so if they’re all rocking something different, your best bet is probably to trust them to do their thing.

back of bridesmaids linking arms showing off different bridesmaids hairstyles

Don’t ask your bridesmaids to radically change themselves. It bears repeating: It’s not cool to ask someone to be in your wedding party… and then ask her to dye her hair a different color, cover up a tattoo, or take out her nose ring. (Unless it’s, say, a requirement of your venue. In which case, mention that ish before you ask her to be a bridesmaid and make sure she’s down for it.) You also don’t want to ask your friends not to cut their hair so they can pull off the long wedding braid you had in mind—it’s their hair, and they own it. If you love your friends and want them there, then let them be themselves.

30 bridesmaid hairstyles you can use for your wedding

Bridesmaid Updo Hairstyles

vintage inspired bridesmaid updo hairstyle

Jose Villa via Style Me Pretty

braided updo for short or medium hair

Photo and Tutorial via Hair Romance

natural bridesmaid updo hairstyle

Photo by Zoe Allamby

braided chignon bridesmaid updo

You Look Lovely via Style Me Pretty

natural updo bridesmaid hairstyle

Photo by Natural Meze Curls

curly roll bridesmaid hairstyle tutorial

Photo and Tutorial via Hair Romance

high bun bridesmaid hairstyle

Sock-Free Bun Tutorial via The Art of Hair Book

braided bun bridesmaid hairstyle

Braided Bun Tutorial via A Practical Wedding

bridesmaid updo for black hair

Erika Layne Photography via Munaluchi Bridal

braided updo bridesmaid hairstyle

Jen Huang via Style Me Pretty | Hair and Makeup by Chaili Meng

easy curly hair bridesmaid updo

Photo and Tutorial via Hair Romance

sideswept roll bridesmaid updo

Vintage Sideswept Roll Tutorial at A Practical Wedding via The Art of Hair Book

curly side bun bridesmaid hairstyle

Loose Side Bun Tutorial via A Practical Wedding

braided crown bridesmaid hairstyle tutorial

Photo and Tutorial via Hair Romance

fishtail braid bridesmaid hairstyle

Photo by Pabelona Studio via 100 Layer Cake

Bridesmaid Half-Up Half-Down Hairstyles

simple half up half down bridesmaid hairstyle how to

Braided Hair for Beginners Tutorial via A Practical Wedding

curly hair half up half down bridesmaid hairstyle

Carmen Santorelli Photography via Style Me Pretty

natural bridesmaid hairstyle half up half down

Natural Updo Tutorial via A Practical Wedding

half up half down bridesmaid hairstyle with bangs

Koman Photography via Style Me Pretty | Hair and Makeup by 10.11 Makeup

natural bridesmaid hairstyle with hair jewelry

Photo by Muse’s Uniform

half up half down bridesmaid hairstyle for asian hair

Simple Half-Up Half-Down Tutorial via A Practical Wedding

short hair half up half down bridesmaid hairstyle

Alexandra Grace Photography via Style Me Pretty | Hair and Makeup by Jein King

medium hair half up half down braided bridesmaid hairstyle

Blue Rose Photography via Wedding Chicks

curly half up half down bridesmaid hairstyle tutorial

Photo and Tutorial via Hair Romance

Bridesmaid Down Hairstyles

natural afro bridesmaid hairstyle with floral crown

Michelle Scott Photography

straight hair bridesmaid hairstyle with jewel crown

Julia Kaptelova via Style Me Pretty | Hairpiece by Muse for Me

finger waves bridesmaid hairstyle tutorial

Lazy Girl Finger Waves Tutorial via A Practical Wedding

braided wave bridesmaid hairstyle

Photo by Ciara Richardson via A Paper Proposal | Hair and Makeup by Hair & Makeup by Steph

braided headband bridesmaid hairstyle

Lace Headband Braid via Missy Sue

smooth curls bridesmaid hairstyle

Smooth Curl Tutorial for Naturally Curly Hair via A Practical Wedding

How is your wedding party wearing their hair for your wedding? Already married? Share a photo of your own bridesmaid hairstyles in the comments! And for more tips, check out how to choose a hair and makeup stylist for your wedding.

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

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  • sofar

    I’m glad the 90s-prom up-do is going the way of the dodo. It is still alive and well in certain circles and regions, but I hope it dies out completely very soon.

  • CMT

    Man, I wish I could get my hair to do cool things.

    • Twila Morgan

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  • BDubs

    Holy Moly, that photo of the bride in the gold gown at the beach with her maids is giving me a fresh wind! <3

  • BefWithAnF

    My mother didn’t hold back from expressing her disappointment when I gave up acting & chopped all my hair off. I think she’s secretly hoping I’ll grow my hair out “for the wedding”. This article helps to give me verbiage to remind her that I get to be myself on my wedding day (especially on my wedding day!!! Those pictures are forevsies). So thanks, y’all.

    • Kelly Adams

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  • my bestie and I still laugh about the time when I was her bridesmaid and ended up with a weird 90’s prom meets bird’s nest updo with braids. But when you’re pressed for time and it’s not your own wedding what can you do? I just laughed and went with it!

  • DetectiveMunch

    On ‘being realistic’, I’m glad the author mentioned the need to take into account different hair textures! This is one thing (in my experience) that is often forgotten about completely, and can have super awkward and sometimes disastrous results for bridesmaids with curly or coily hair. I’ve unfortunately endured those awkward moments when you’re excited for a fierce ‘do, but the stylist immediately frowns in exasperation upon seeing you and pulls out a straightening iron (when no one asked). There are lots of talented stylists that are confident and successful at working with diverse hair types. Find one! Or, let your ladies know to go with whatever stylist (maybe themselves) that they feel the most confident with.

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  • vinay

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  • vinnu

    apractical website is looking good with with various types of Bridal Makeup with lot of designers.

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  • Olivia Fair

    Simple but gorgeous hairstyles.
    I am getting married in 6 weeks and I hate my blondish highlights in my brown hair. I’m wearing my hair up for the day. They are too chunky and even if I redo my roots I still hate the colour. Should I ask my hairdresser for an all over colour or is toner what I need? Here ideas what I want http://newaylook.com/best-ideas-on-brown-hair-with-highlights/
    Can anyone give me advice? I know they won’t be covered completely but I just want look as natural as possible! Thanks!