30 Unique Wedding Hair Ideas You’ll Want to Steal


For when you're looking for something that isn't all over the Internet (yet)

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

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Photo by Ciara Richardson via Winsa | Hair and Makeup by Hair and Makeup by Steph

If you’re searching for wedding hair ideas, you may have noticed there’s a particular… look that has been prescribed to wedding hair. It’s always long, and requires a certain finesse with a curling iron (or at the very least, hair that responds well to said curling iron). In recent years, the wedding industry has at least opened its doors to wedding braids (and thank the textured gods for that), but otherwise? It can seem like slim pickings. Which is weird, because there are basically as many kinds of wedding hair as there are people getting married. Looking for updo hairstyles? Wedding hairstyles for long hair? For short hair? It exists! In fact, we’ve done roundups of just curly hairstyles and black wedding hairstyles, and today we’re going all in for everyone with thirty wedding hairstyles you may not have seen in the sea of Pinterest.

But! Before you decide on a style that works for you, here are some tips for getting the most out of your wedding hairstyle:

  • Do a trial run-through: You do not want the first time you attempt your wedding hair to also be the day of your wedding. Trials are worth it ten times out of ten, even if your stylist charges extra for them (or you have to bribe your friend who’s doing your hair with extra champagne). You may find that the hairstyle you fell in love with actually doesn’t work with your veil at all. Or maybe it turns out you need to have a conversation with your stylist about what constitutes appropriate hair height (not everyone wants to be closer to God). Bonus tip: Schedule a trial run for another important night, like a date out with your partner, or your bachelorette party. You get an extra night to look spiffy and knock out the trial in one go.
  • Don’t lie to your stylist: Sitting in the chair getting your wedding hair done is not the time to be all, “Oh, I love it!” and then explode into sobs as soon as your stylist exits. Don’t task yourself (or your friends) with fixing something that the expert in the house could have done easily. Speak up and make sure you love the wedding hair you get the first time around. Bonus tip: Part of the reason stylists charge more for brides than bridesmaids is because there’s a certain amount of “I don’t like this, can we redo it?” built into bridal hair that bridesmaids don’t get.
  • Consider the weather: If you’re getting married on a hot, humid day, you may want to plan your hair around it. You know better than anyone how your hair responds to the elements, so communicate that clearly with your stylist.

Wedding Updos

Bottom-of-Post-Solo

Braided Bun Tutorial via A Practical Wedding

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Photo by Sophia Barrett via Munaluchi Bridal | Headpiece by Olivia Headpieces

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Photo by Ciara Richardson via Hair and Makeup by Steph

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Photo by Elizabeth Messina via Munaluchi Bridal | Hair and Makeup by Erin Skipley

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Photo via Elstile

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Photo by Petronella Photography via Munaluchi Bridal | Styling by MODAGE and Vainglorious Brides | Dress by Berta | Hair by Khamit Kinks | Hair Accessories by Olivia Headpieces

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Photo by Avec L’amour via Style Me Pretty | Hair Accessories by Something Treasured | Dress by Bliss Bridal

Danielle Evans Photography

French Braid Twist via The Bride Link | Hair by MOPS Hair Designers

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Photo by Jenny Strebe via Bangstyle

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Photo by Lindsey Orton and Lindsay Shaun via Utah Bride Blog | Hair and Makeup by Hair and Makeup by Steph

Half-Up Half-Down Wedding Hair

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Photo by Lilian Haidar via Munaluchi Bridal | Dress by Tsemaye Binitie | Hair by Mann Morgan-Nance

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Photo by Amanda Watson via Inspired by This | Dress by BHLDN | Hair and Makeup by Malorie Avaline

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Photo by Kelsey Steindler via Tessa Rayanne

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Half-Up Half-Down Tutorial for Super Straight Hair via A Practical Wedding

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Photo by Hair and Makeup by Steph

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Elegant Updo via Wedding Sparrow UK | Hair by Amelia Garwood

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Photo by Made to Be Mine | Tutorial via Boho Bun Crown

Down and sideswept Wedding Hair

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Photo via Emilia Jane Morgan | Hair by Kathy Collins

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Photo by Morgan Wade via Rock n Roll Bride | Flowers by Poppystone Designs | Hair and Makeup by Jennifer Wriston

Curly Hair Bridal

Photo by Michael Radford Photography | Hair and Makeup by Jen Plus Colour

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Photo by Lisa Devine via Love My Dress

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Asymmetrical Curly Updo via Munaluchi Bridal (similar tutorial here)

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Lazy Girl Finger Waves Tutorial via A Practical Wedding

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

Short Wedding Hair

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Photo by Winnie Au via Refinery29

DIY Gold leaf short hair style

Photo by Vivian Chen Photography | Styling by Teri Anne from The Cutlery | Tutorial via A Practical Wedding

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Photo by Michael Clark Photographers via Munaluchi Bridal | Hair by Adunni Easton | Gown by Carine’s Bridal

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Photo by Nicki Fietzer of De Nueva Photography via A Practical Wedding

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Photo by Elizabeth Messina via Munaluchi Bridal | Hair and Makeup by Erin Skipley

how did you wear your hair on your wedding day? Leave a photo in the comments! Or if you’re not married yet, show us your ideas. (we will happily enable you to do that thing everyone is trying to tell you isn’t timeless enough.)

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).

Staff Picks

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  • Eenie

    If you’re having a friend DIY your hair, have a backup in the event that there’s a death in their family, an illness, or other travel related issues. My hair friend wasn’t sure she could make it until the day before due to illness, and even on the day of could only finish half my hairstyle. I booked a salon nearby (that happened to have exactly one open slot which worked with our timeline) with a very generous cancelation policy just in case. Another friend ended up stepping up and finishing the hairstyle in a completely different way than the practice run. It was easily the most stressful part of the wedding process and the only thing that brought me to tears the week before the wedding.

    • Eenie

      Updo with the braid side. It ended up being a side ponytail since no one could secure all my hair up.

  • LadyMe

    Ugh, does anyone have any good styles for long bob hair length? I have a lot of shorty pieces in the hair in front of my ears all around my front hair line which makes any of the pulled-back or braided styles look like a pokey hedehog after an hour or two unless I super shellac it with ungodly amounts of hair gel which then makes it look like it’s been super shellacked which is just not what I’m going for.

    • Sarah E

      How do you usually fix it for everyday? And would you like it all pulled up, or another particular way?

      I had trouble when my hair was between chin and shoulder length, too. My best bet was to fanci-fy what I knew already worked, which meant something like sparkly hair accessories or a small braid here or there just to give some extra detail.

      • LadyMe

        My everyday routine is I run a brush through it and off I go. Which works for day to day, but for the wedding I’d rather have something a little nicer, you know?

        I don’t really know what I want. Everything on pinterest seems to be long hair or pixy cuts. I like braid looks, but so far I’ve been mostly stymied there due to the hedgehog problem. Same problem with sparkly headbands too – I have no idea how to style my hair around it. I look weird with all the hair in front pulled back, but I don’t have long/thick enough hair in the front to pull it back over the headband and have it stay there and look nice.

        • Eenie

          Who cuts your hair? Can you have them try some fancy styles the next couple haircuts?

          • LadyMe

            I cut my own hair. I just take the scissors and snip around until it’s straight enough. I had long hair until about a year ago when I decided to go short. After the initial chop, I couldn’t really square myself with having to pay for a trim every month or two, so I just do it myself.

            I will have to look around for a stylist, I guess, because I am very much out of my depth here.

          • Abe

            Yeah, I’m useless with hair, so I’ve found it really helpful to chat with stylists and have consultations/trials to test out looks in advance. It’s reassuring to me to ask questions of trusted experts in the hair/makeup department, rather than stress out about finding the right look on my own!

        • Sarah E

          As you’re deciding, think about what will annoy you least. For me, I put my hair up because I hate having it on my neck or around my face when I’m trying to party. If it will bug you more to think about whether it’s behaving or not, maybe leaving it down with a sparkly clip or two would work.

    • Amy March

      Does it stay wavy if you add curls/have them already? I love hair that length with lots of waves in it, maybe with one side pinned away from your face with something sparkly.

      • LadyMe

        If I braid my hair while wet and let it dry completely, it will hold those waves for a day or two. If I try to use hairspray and a curling iron, it loses those waves really quickly. The problem with the braiding method is if I braid from the top of my head, the braids are thin and results in really tight kinks and ends up a bit frizzy. If I braid closer to the bottom it gives nice waves, but leaves the top 2/3 straight. Are there other good techniques to get waves?

        • Amy March

          That I can be of no help on. My only technique to maintain any sort of wave or curl for more than 10 minutes is to pay a professional to do it, and usually she needs a whole bottle of hairspray!

          • Kayjayoh

            I just had an amusingly confused moment wherein I immediately pictured the illustrations of Amy March in my childhood copy of Little Women. “Wait, doesn’t she have those sausage curls all the time… Oh. Wait. That’s a fictional character and this is a person with a username.”

            I suppose I should drink more tea? :)

          • Shawna

            When in doubt, more tea.

        • Elaine

          You can look up “sock doughnut” for hair on YouTube. Some women cut a hole in the toe of a sock, put their dry hair in a high pony tail, put the sock around the pony and wrap it around and around to sort of make a bun. They sleep that way. In the morning when they take it out, they have large waves and curls.

          Here another version. You have to get near the end of the video to see how she does her hair. Most of the video is just talking to her fans. (She’s an ASMR star.)

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-98D9E3yZH8

          • Elaine

            Here’s the sock doughnut method.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-A_2ht81Fg

          • LadyMe

            I’m not sure I could manage a sock bun. My hair ends just above my shoulders and doing some google searches it looks like I’d have to do this method: https://youtu.be/SnBHUIXN8QE?t=253 which would just leave me with a ponytail kink and the 2/3 straight hair.

          • Elaine

            Ha! You’re probably right. I wasn’t sure exactly how long your hair is. Oh well. Maybe the videos will work for someone.

        • “I Don’t Knowww, Margo!”

          I have the same problem, and I’ve found the perfect waves for my hair come from two French braids done sort of loosely; that might solve for the tight ends and the upper straight part.

        • Lisa

          Would any of these tutorials be helpful? It looks like some of these might be adaptable to shorter hair.

          • Lisa

            Also loose pin curls might be a good solution!

          • Lady Me

            I might be able to manage some of those! I’ve never heard of setting lotion for hair. I wonder if that would work better than my failed hair spray / hair gel attempts. Thanks!

    • Have you looked into Curlformers? Heatless curling that you can make as tight or as loose as you want.

      https://www.curlformers.com/get-the-look/wavy-hair/

    • Lena SK

      I have a long bob and just posted my hairstyle – I used the third “half-up half-down” picture in the roundup as my inspiration. I get tons of short/frizzy hairs around the front of my hairline too, so it’s easier to hairspray them in place if I go with a hairstyle pulled to the sides instead of straight back.

    • Penny7b

      Yup. I wear a chin length bob normally (and have very fine hair). I grew it to a little longer than chin length (not quite shoulder length though) in the months leading up to the wedding and then got my hairdresser to do some finger waves and tuck and pin the ends into a little roll type thing at the back.

    • Kelly

      I had a longish bob for our wedding and had visions of doing a Gibson tuck… Went to a stylist for a trial and she suggested a simple French twist, which I was initially was hesitant about/thought it would not be “me” but it looked awesome and I was sold. It was actually really quick and easy and secure, and it lasted alllll day from our brunch ceremony through the late night after party. Lots of hairspray was involved, but it looked soft and lovely and just the right amount of fancy.

  • Keri

    Y’all, am I going to regret it if I just put my red curly-ass hair up in a curly bun and wear a jeweled headband and call it a day? My hair has never once looked good after another person has styled it, and I hate having my hair done to boot. I don’t know how to do anything else with my hair, and day-to-day I think it looks good styled that way, but like, wedding and is it #special?

    • LadyMe

      If it looks good, I think that’s what matters most. If you have room for it in your budget, you could splurge on a nice jeweled headband from swarovski or anthropologie or j. crew or somewhere which would be pretty #special and wedding-worthy.

    • Elaine

      I think it sounds wonderful. I also think overdone “wedding hair” is overrated. If you notice, most of the styles shown feel more relaxed, even the up-dos.

      Put some jewels in your hair and you’re going to look dressed up!

    • Lisa

      Do what makes you comfortable! I have curly hair, too, and know too well how awful it can be to have someone else handle your hair, especially when they don’t know curls. (Side note: have you looked into curl-specific salons using the stylist finder on Naturally Curly? I never knew what straight-haired people meant when they talked about coming out of the salon feeling glamorous until I went to my first Deva cut.) If you’re happy complimenting your go-to with a beautiful headband, then you should save the stress by going that way!

      I chose to do my hair myself for the reasons you mentioned. I scrolled through a lot of Pinterest tutorials and YouTube videos to find a few that I liked that I felt I could reasonably accomplish. Then I set out to practice them myself on the weekend when I had some time to restart. I ended up picking two different hairstyles (one up, one half-up) that I could do day-of depending on how my hair was looking. I didn’t have the greatest hair day of my life, but we look so damn happy in all of the pictures that I almost don’t even care.

    • Rose

      A friend did my hair, but it basically turned out to be a slightly nicer version of a half-up style I wear pretty often (she curled it, so basically it was the way that I always wish my waves would look naturally but never quite do; but fairly similar to normal). I thought it was great! There’s plenty of other special stuff for the day of the wedding, if your hair looks and feels good I don’t think you’ll be missing out on the fancy hairstyle.

    • Elizabeth

      That is exactly what I did. It saved me a ton of money and stress during the planning phase. I’m going to be 100% honest; my hair looked fine, but part of me wonders if I paid someone, my hair could have been surprisingly gorgeous in a way it has never been before. But that’s tied up in anxiety about myself and my finances and has very little to do with my actual wedding, which was awesome.

      It sounds like you know for sure that you are not going to like it and therefore will not have the same “what ifs” I have. You will not regret it. Your hair will be great, but it will be of very little consequence compared to the rest of your super amazing wedding.

      • Keri

        Thank you! That’s kind of what I’m hoping for. A lot of days, my hair looks pretty darn nice, and I’ll take those odds for the wedding too.

    • emilyg25

      I loooove curly hair styled this way. Curly hair is so forgiving and it looks soft and pretty.

    • Lawyerette510

      You’ll probably be really happy with it. I wore my chin length curly hair how I normally like to style it and put a few flowers in, and it still felt special because of the flowers but at the same time felt very me and I enjoyed just doing it myself.

  • Elaine

    I can’t stop looking at the perfect makeup in the third photo. I was wondering how they held the rhinestones in the hair, then I got pulled into the face. Perfection.

  • soothingoceansounds

    Mad props for the diversity of teh pretties!

  • Lena SK

    I found the third “Half-up Half-down” picture when looking for my wedding hair inspiration, and I love what my stylist did with it. It ended up a little wavier than the picture, and my hair is really thick so she did multiple twists for extra texture.

  • toomanybooks

    Oooh, pretty hairstyles! I think my favorite is that El Style photo of the vintage looking updo.

    I’ve been thinking I want to do this Lana Del Rey look for my wedding hair. My plan is to get it done by a professional because I don’t know how to do my hair! Does this seem doable (in the hands of a pro)?

    • Hannah B

      totally…waves like this may be done the night before?

  • Megan

    I left my hair pretty natural for my wedding, but LOVED the updo I had for my sister-in-law’s wedding. I told the stylist I wanted something “big and messy” and she knocked it out of the park, especially since I’m not usually an updo person (SIL wanted all the bridesmaids to have our hair up).

    • Megan

      Disqus fail. :( Can’t figure out how to get the photo rotated. Trying again….

  • Shawna

    I have a pixie cut and I was going to get finger waves but decided not to because a) my hair wasn’t long enough and I didn’t feel like growing it expressly for this purpose though I had enough time had I decided to and b) I wasn’t sure I’d like it because it’s not what I normally look like. So someday I’ll have finger waves styled to feel fancy, but I’m really really glad I stuck to feeling like me. I styled my own hair saving boatloads and paid someone just starting out on her career as a makeup artist to do our makeup, which I wouldn’t otherwise have had in budget. So so worth it.

    I wore a birdcage veil for first look and wedding party photos, but because I wasn’t 100% sure about it I took it off for the ceremony and the rest of the day. I could have kept it on and part of me regrets it a little bit, but it was the only succumbing to my mom’s “not sure about this” face (she now feels terrible about it and I’m reassuring her that it’s ok). The rest of the day was wonderful and I was glad I could see my husband’s face with an unobstructed view for the ceremony. We were already squinting in the sun!

    Pictures should be coming from the photographer this week! I’ll be submitting a post to APW yay!

    • Shawna

      Ok, here’s a tiny teaser photo (courtesy of emilymerrillweddings.com)

      • mamaflannelpajama

        Can I just say you look STUNNING! Like a silent movie star. I love your look.

        • Shawna

          Aw, thanks! *blush* That era definitely provided our inspiration.

  • Kayjayoh

    If you are the sort who really, really wants to avoid hairspray and have a decent amount of texture, braids are a good way to go. A friend of mine braided my hair into a crown, and while he gave it a wee spritz to hold back fly-aways, my hair never got that crunch that so often accompanies up-dos.

  • Sarah

    I had to pay full freight for my trial hair and make-up run but found it to be worth it. The stylist realized a hair modification after doing it the first time that made it hold better. And the “short” eyelash extensions made me look like a drag queen/Kardashian.

    • the cupboard under the stairs

      When I had my trial last month, the makeup artist kept trying to push falsies on me! Based on your experience, I’m glad I insisted I didn’t want them.

      • Sarah

        Yeah, I guess it was kinda fun to try them out but they were not a hit with anyone I encountered that day. And they were irritating.

  • Leah Klein

    Having a big bun with texture and my bangs nice and high drew some more attention to my face with a busy dress. I also have very fine hair, so it was nice to have volume!

    • Lizzers

      I love it! PLEASE tell me the designer/where you got your dress?! I have been looking for a dress that is covered in sequins/beading and it is harder than one would think!

      • Leah Klein

        Adrianna Papell for $200 with a coupon at Lord & Taylor!

  • Sara P

    I grew my hair out for a couple of years, but I hate updos/hairspray, so I ended up going back to a pixie for the wedding (it’s asymmetrical, for some style in my very-straight hair). If that’s your jam, I would recommend figuring out when you like it the best after it’s cut (a week or two, for me) and plan accordingly. Then I styled as usual (no veil or anything):

    • Shawna

      I’m considering making my pixie cut more asymmetrical now that the wedding is over and I’m ready for a little change. It’s that or color and I don’t think I can afford the additional upkeep of color just yet. This cut is subtle and really cute!

    • Natasha

      Seconding this – for short hair make sure you time your haircut before your wedding so it looks its best. For me that’s about a week, made sure to cut my hair a week before both my engagement photos and the wedding.

  • Kelsey

    I loved doing my hair for our wedding. I took a shower. I pushed my bangs to one side. I ate a sandwich and drank some champagne. (I did make sure my eyebrows were done and I planned a cut about two weeks prior to the wedding, but day of was prettttty chill, hair wise.)

    • Keri

      Yesssss I need all these getting ready stories. :)

      • Shawna

        Getting ready was absolutely the best part of the day (not that the rest wasn’t awesome). My ladies and I aren’t big drinkers, so we skipped champagne and made a giant pot of tea (or two, for reals) and my bakery-obsessed friend picked up ginormous breakfast sandwiches and a whole box of pastries (who did she think would be eating all of these? I don’t know, but it was fun for the four of us to take bites of lots of yummy things). That breakfast sandwich was the most I ate that day and I was so so thankful for it.

  • I had my locs styled into a twisted updo/low side bun that I loved and was a hit at the wedding. It was really pretty and surprisingly comfy even with all the pins in my hair. If you have locs or natural hair and don’t feel confident doing it yourself, I recommend finding a stylist who specializes in your type of hair, if you can. I did a couple of hair trials before my wedding and this look turned out even better on my wedding day than it did at my trial.

  • emilyg25

    I’m a lifelong short hair girl, but I really wanted an updo for my wedding. It seems like even a lot of updos involve curling, but my hair is stick straight. So I went with a braid–something I could never do on my own! It was so much fun getting it done. (I’ve never had my hair professionally styled before.) My avatar pic shows it.

  • LBWazi

    I was growing out my hair from a pixie when I got engaged, and managed to grow it out to a short bob by the time of my wedding. I didn’t have a lot of options for styling it, but I wanted something a little different than my day-to-day. Even though I have fine, straight hair, I was able to curl it all and keep it curled (with the help of summer humidity and a lot of hair spray!) One thing I didn’t consider, though, was how much dancing we were planning on during the reception and how my curls would hold up after a few hours on the dance floor. They did ok, but they were looking a little weary by the end of the night. In the end, I didn’t care at all–but that’s something helpful to think about as you’re choosing a hairstyle.

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  • kate

    just seconding the advice to not sit silently during your trial if the stylist isn’t hitting the mark – i asked for one thing (messy, loose & low updo) and got something that checked the low updo box and none of the others – it looked great objectively but really wasn’t what i was going for…..and i didn’t say anything at the trial, being sort of overwhelmed by the process and figuring i could give some additional feedback and more photos to copy before the day to adjust it a little. well, despite some emails and photos exchanged between the trial and the day, i got pretty much the same updo on the wedding day (which is maybe where the stylist fell a bit short) and really wish i’d have pushed it harder during the trial. certainly didn’t ruin anything, but i get pangs of jealousy when i see others with the perfectly undone wedding hair of my dreams. :)

  • Reina

    Hey APW, thanks for featuring brides of all stripes and colors. It means a lot to me as an Asian American woman, especially when I see different on my Pinterest home feed. Um, especially when it comes to a topic like hair (?!) My hair is quite the nonconformist.

  • Jun Cav

    I think I should recommend this post to our clients. Lol they have been looking for some hair tips and style. :P

    Regards,
    Junjun – http://www.tagaytayweddingcafe.com

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  • Olivia Fair

    My hair is the longest it’s been in years and I would usually have got it cut but I’m holding back. I don’t want a veil and so my thoughts for my hair were down and curled so longer the better but now I have my dress which has a detailed top, I think I need an up-do like that
    http://newaylook.com/best-wedding-hairstyles-long-hair/ . I will probably have a tiara or flowers in my hair rather than a veil. I love your wedding hair Maddie , something simple can look so elegant and gorgeous.