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4 Bridesmaid Hairstyles: Updos, Half-up, Ponytail, and All Down

Ann has researched various celebrities and fashion experts to write about stunning hairstyles that could be used for special occasions.

Looking for a hairstyle for an upcoming wedding?

Looking for a hairstyle for an upcoming wedding?

Planning the Hairstyle

As your wedding planning progresses, you may be considering many different hairstyles for your bridesmaids. The hairstyle you decide upon should flatter each bridesmaid's face shape and hair quality, as well as complement the dresses and overall theme of the wedding. The all-hair-down hairstyle might go best with a casual or informal wedding, whereas a complex updo or half-up, half-down hairstyle would be best for a regal ceremony with formal elements. And don't forget the ponytail, whether it be a sweet side ponytail or a high and tight elegant one!

Each bride should talk with both her hairdresser and her bridesmaids to determine which hairstyle will be best for everyone involved. Though this is the bride's wedding, she mustn't be stubborn and dictatorial in her decisions. Her bridesmaids are ultimately going to be the ones wearing and displaying this hairstyle, so it must complement them first and please the bride second.

A very old, and (I believe) thoughtful trend is coming back in which the bride lets each bridesmaid choose the style of dress that will suit her best. Along with this, many brides decide to humor their friends by letting each of them decide what hairstyle they prefer. It is a worthy thing, indeed, for the bride to practice unselfish deference to the dear friends who have stuck by her over the many years.

Curly Bun

Curly Bun

1. Updo Ideas

The updo has long been considered the most elegant and formal hairstyle. In ancient literature, hair that was piled on top of the head was likened to a gleaming crown or the "cherry on top" of the woman's head. A wedding is a very appropriate occasion for this most elegant of hairstyles, whether for the bride or the bridesmaids.

Consider the Face Shape

One thing to be cautious of is each bridesmaid's individuality. Not all face shapes, head shapes, or hairlines can be complemented by an updo. With this in mind, you may allow your bridesmaids to choose their own style of updo, bun, or twist because they know best what will suit them.

Texture Matters

Another thing to keep in mind is the weight, curliness, straightness, or fineness of each bridesmaid's hair. A straight and heavy texture may take twice as long to put up and use twice as much spray and pins as hair that is curly or has natural body. Be sure to factor in plenty of time on your wedding day for styling each bridesmaid.

Many stylists prefer to work with hair that has not been washed within 24 hours because it has fewer variables. Hair goes through many changes as it dries, such as going from straight to frizzy, curly to straight, heavy to light, etc. This could make it very difficult to work with.


An updo is lovely with hairpieces or flower pins tucked into the side of the twist or bun.

2. The Half-Up Look

The half-up do is the most versatile because it looks great on just about every woman. It also has the most variations because both the pinned-up hair and the loose hair can be styled differently and in different combinations.


The half that is pinned up can be parted, braided, twisted into a bun, curled, wavy, or pinned in cascading ringlet curls. The half that is left down can be straight, curled at the ends in ringlet curls, or left in loose waves.

It is also popular to tease the crown of the head before pulling it into the half-up portion. This gives high volume and body, which looks great on most girls.


These styles are best done with hair that is already styled with spray or curled for body (even if no noticeable curl is visible). This is especially necessary for fine or flat hair if nothing else is done to liven it up. Hair that already has wave and body can be interwoven using a loose braid or by tying strands together. Use gel or spray to keep frizzy strands from sticking out.

Half-up, Half-Down Front Twist

Reminiscent of hairstyles from medieval days, the front-twist is simple, sweet, and romantic. Two small pieces of hair are taken from the front, twisted back from the forehead, then gathered together with another piece of hair, which is twisted in again. This is repeated until it resembles a gentle tiara on the top of the head.


3. Variations of a Ponytail

Nothing says spunk and sportiness like a ponytail, which is probably why it has been kept out as an option in the past. But recently, the ponytail has come into wedding fashion as a simplistic and elegant style, with many variations. This has elevated the ponytail from its former status as a non-wedding hairstyle.


The hair can be back-brushed to create fullness and volume or to visually change the shape of the head. Ponytails are also great for showing off complex zigzag parting or weaving, whether below the ponytail or above it. The hair that swings out of the ponytail itself can be curled and bouncy, shaped into one large, soft wave or kept straight and smooth. If done right, any bridesmaid can look great with this style.


Over the usual elastic rubber band that holds the ponytail together, consider a wide ribbon with long ends that reach below the shoulders; a large flower tucked into the side; a hair wrap around the pony to disguise it; or a beaded band that sparkles. Ribbon hairbands or tiaras can also contribute effectively to the loveliness of this style.

4. All-Down Styles

Simplest and cheapest of all is the all-hair-down option. Having all the hair down does not mean it isn't styled, however, as there are many techniques stylists use to get the hair to lay, bounce, or wave just as it should.


Hair can be styled into anything, from tight ringlet curls and long flowing waves to straight, smooth, and shiny. Just make sure that whatever style you choose, it will work for each bridesmaid and will hold itself in place throughout the ceremony and reception.


A cute flower hairband or ribbon band looks great and is an easy way to bring one of your secondary wedding colors into the bridal party's attire.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Mujahid Godil on July 31, 2016:

We need someone who could decorate our would be brides. For more info and to contact plz visit

SEEMA AQUA on February 15, 2014:


i like it 2 and 13 pic thanx

eveln on January 06, 2013:

wow lots of pretty hair styles i love them my sister is getting hiched

louromano on March 19, 2012:

Fantastic hair style ! These are great examples of bridesmaid hairstyles. Thanks for these tips.

jenniferg78 from Philadelphia, PA on March 15, 2012:

Great pictures! I like how you included so many styles.

My cousin is getting married this summer so I am on the lookout for great styles. I am leaning towards somethings half up half down but I am going to bring some of these pictures when I go for hair appointments.

Thanks so much!

mesacleanpools from Mesa, Arizona on March 07, 2012:

Great hub! You did a great job of showing different styles of each type of hair style. And I believe that this is a great resource for brides and high schoolers looking for ways to wear their hair for prom!