You’ve settled on the groom, the dress, and the venue. Now on to the most important wedding-day beauty decision: how you’ll wear your hair. We’ve got 17 gorgeous hair ideas—updos, half-up, flowing, and short styles—to say “I do” to.
“What makes this appropriate for a wedding is the detail around the face; it’s those sculpted waves,” Cranford says. To steal Dianna Agron’s perfect S shape, try Cranford’s trick: After setting curls, pin a piece of tissue paper to that spot where the wave curves. Spray with hair spray, and go over with a blow-dryer on medium heat before taking the clip out. “It molds that shape. The curls are really intact in the front, without looking too precise.” Pair with a birdcage veil, and you’ve got a stunning vintage look.
It’s the best of both worlds: Loose hair that’s pulled off the face, but not as traditional as a half-up style. Just take a page from Brooklyn Decker’s book: “A small twist at the hairline is a great way to keep your hair out of your face, especially if you’re getting married on the beach,” Gibson says. While this works for most hair textures, you’ll want to soften supercurly hair first. Make a side part, and work in a small dab of anti-frizz pomade (Gibson likes Aveda Brilliant Anti-Humectant) to eliminate flyaways as you twist a half-inch section along your hairline. Secure with bobby pins. “It just looks so simple,” he says. “Like it’s something you just did yourself, and that’s really appealing.”
Eva Longoria’s vintage-style curls are just as polished for a fancy affair as an intricate updo. It’s important to find a part that works for your face shape (a side part for narrow faces, an off-center part for fuller faces) before you begin curling. “You want your curls to stay put,” Cranford says. She recommends two coats of thickening spray (we love Redken Body Full Volume Amplifier Thickening Lift Spray) before wrapping sections of hair around an iron. “If you put too much product in, you can always go back, brush them out, and go over them with a blow-dryer,” she says.
Big, Bouncy Waves
“Big, sexy hair always works,” Gibson says. Minka Kelly’s voluminous waves are all that and swingy, too. “There’s no crunchiness to them,” he says. To get that texture, he advises staying away from beachy salt sprays, instead prepping dry hair with a shine cream (like his Tame It Shine Lotion) or oil (we love Moroccanoil Oil Treatment, but those with fine hair should just use a drop). Brides with short hair should curl with a half-inch iron, while those with longer lengths can use a one-inch iron.
If you have short hair, you don’t have to grow it out for the big day. “You want to look like you on your wedding day,” Gibson says. But if you’re planning on making Ashlee Simpson’s cut your “something new,” visit a stylist no less than two weeks beforehand and ask for a graduated bob and long, eye-grazing side-swept bangs. On the day of, blow-dry hair with a smoothing spray, like Living Proof No Frizz Straight Making No Frizz Styling Spray for Fine to Medium Hair and a flat brush, polishing any unruly strands with a flatiron. As for the shine, Gibson recommends a one-time allover spritz with L’Oréal Professionnel Texture Expert Perfect Shimmer—it won’t leave a sticky finish—before you walk down the aisle.
“When wearing your hair half-up, it’s all about the profile shot,” Cranford says. And Diane Kruger’s glamorous side detail creates a stunning one. Prep hair with a round-brush blowout, parting it on the side, then use a medium-barrel curling iron to create waves, and brush out the curls. “If your hair is prepped correctly, the curls will stay put. Brushing them out just softens them up” so you avoid the dreaded tight, sausage curls look, Cranford says. Drape hair into a C shape on the side of the part with more hair, and pin to the crown. The opposite side can be simply swept back and pinned in the same spot. To mold that swoop, place a piece of tissue over it, pinning it at the curve with a long silver clip. Spray with hair spray before removing both the tissue and clip. Tease the crown for a little lift. “A bit of height—that’s the key to a beautiful profile,” she says.
“I’m saying it now: The twist is the new braid,” Gibson says. “And hair cascading down the middle of the back is great for a beach wedding.” After parting hair down the middle, section off a half-inch piece on each side and twist, wrapping it toward the back of the head. Depending on how embellished your dress is, you can keep the twists in place with a sparkly pin or barrette. To keep soft, romantic waves like Jessica Chastain’s from falling flat before cocktail hour begins, spray with a light-hold hair spray, like Ted Gibson Beautiful Hold, before you begin curling; mist hair again with spray afterward to help curls set.
If you have naturally straight, smooth hair, this polished take on the ’70s-hippie twist at seen at Valentino’s fall 2012 show is a beautiful way to show it off. “The symmetry makes it really elegant,” Cranford says, though she wouldn’t recommend this for brides with thick, coarse hair.
“The French twist is a classic,” Gibson says. “But that doesn’t mean you can’t make it even more twisted.” Frieda Pinto’s soft, pretty take is different because it doesn’t start at the nape of the neck. “That’s usually what gives the style its tightness,” he says. “Starting the roll higher makes it looser. It’s not as aging.” And don’t worry about taming every last flyaway: Keeping a few stray strands adds to this look’s effortless appeal.
Sleek Side Part
This timeless bun, positioned above the nape as seen at Diane von Furstenberg’s fall 2012 show, is chic and simple but requires smooth hair to start. “Tools are going to be your best friend in achieving this,” says Gibson, who suggests flatironing hair first. While a side part works for every face shape, you’ll want to adjust the placement if you have a face that’s round: It should sit higher on the head to offset the width.
Close to the head in front of a headband and volume behind it give Alice Eve an edgier take on a classic style. Cranford suggests that a French twist in the back would be a perfect complement. To keep the volume on top from looking stiff, place a few hairpins in the teased back section. It creates an airy, raked-with-your-fingers look.
“A few light highlights around Blake Lively’s hairline and some shorter pieces framing her face make this style look so soft,” says hairstylist Teddi Cranford of White Rose Bride in New York City. To fatten up strands, mist on a hair powder first; Cranford likes Sachajuan Volume Powder. Part hair on the side and pull into a ponytail. Leave a section an inch thick free. Braid the piece that’s left out of the ponytail, secure the bottom with a clear elastic, and pull on the braid with your fingers to loosen it up a bit. Using a larger elastic, tie the braid into the bigger ponytail. Wrap hair into a bun, keeping it in place with U-shaped pins. If you choose an updo, don’t wash your hair the day of the ceremony. “It won’t stay,” Cranford says. Her trick? Get a blowout the day before for your rehearsal dinner. Then, for your wedding day, your hair will be prepped and ready to style.