Straight, wavy, curly, natural—if there's one thing all types of hair have in common, it's that they look crazy good with a braid (or braids). This classic hairstyle has experienced a resurgence in interest in recent years, and stylists have responded, offering tons of new ways to rethink the simple plait so that it's wedding-worthy, from soft and romantic to classic wedding hairstyles with a modern twist.
"Braids are the first thing I think of when a bride wants a hairstyle that's special, whimsical, and fun," says celebrity hairstylist Larry Sims. "Plus, you have the major bonus of taking your hair down after the reception and having these gorgeous waves throughout your hair for any post-wedding festivities—or the flight on your way to the honeymoon the next day. Braids are unique but totally timeless, too. You won't look back at your wedding photos in 20 years and regret having a braid in your hair, no matter what style you choose."
Meet the Expert
Larry Sims is a celebrity hairstylist with over 20 years of experience in the industry.
We've searched high and low for some of the prettiest plaits, so whether you're looking for a wedding hairstyle that's light and romantic or on the hunt for something a bit modern, we're certain there's a braided look out there for you.
Keep scrolling for our pick of 39 gorgeous braided hairstyles.
Like an abstract work of art, this bride's braids give some contemporary oomph to a traditional updo. Not a single ounce of natural volume was wasted in the dimensional, twisting design of the braids—bringing enough character to complement the floral-themed two-piece bridal set. (Not to mention those statement earrings!)
Long braids need not sit all on their own. This bride wrapped hers into a sophisticated top knot with a refreshing twist courtesy of the multi-braid texture. This is a great way to elongate the neck if rocking a higher neckline ensemble.
Floral Fishtail Pony
We love the idea of adding a punch of intricate braiding to an ultra-sleek ponytail for that added visual intrigue. This simple fishtail gets an extra dose of boho romance with face-framing tendrils and a floral swag that molds to one side of the head. And that's how you bring in a little bit of vintage sweetness to a modern-day wedding look.
By definition, a waterfall braid features loose strands that cascade from the plait in a waterfall-like effect. We can't help but love how gorgeous these soft waves are paired with the dramatic cascading braid blending seamlessly into the waves. (So much poetic aquatic imagery for one 'do to carry!)
Minimalist Braided Knot
Create a minimal (yet totally trendy) knot by weaving a two-strand braid into the hair and fastening with clips or pins. This look is such an exquisite blank canvas—it's strong and sophisticated all on its own, but it would also look so pretty with intentionally placed embellishments. We recommend injecting some of your own personality and making it all your own.
Use pins or clips that match your hair color to seamlessly secure the coif.
A Triple-Braided Feat
We see you, boho bride! Soft, ultra-long locks cascade whimsically, accented by a veil of multiple braids. The crown is gathered into three tiny, parallel braids that could not possibly be better suited for a night of dancing barefoot along the Italian coast.
Dressed-Up Milkmaid Braid
A milkmaid braid has all sorts of rustic, countryside feels, but that doesn't mean it can't be dressed up with some bridal oomph. We love the addition of a stunning jeweled headpiece, which makes this oh so sweet and demure braid instantly wedding-worthy.
A Braided Faux Hawk
Cool-girl brides, take note. This braided faux hawk makes a serious statement. We love how it's paired with a classic chignon and intricate dress for added elegance. (This beaming groom is a fan for sure.)
Crown Braid au Naturel
Okay, how much do we love this look, which is such a fresh take on the classic crown braid? We can see it already: This carefree wedding hairstyle would look so fab paired with a fashion-forward but chilled-out bridal look, such as a breezy jumpsuit or two-piece, midriff-bearing ensemble. (Destination wedding locale optional.)
Simple Braided Headband
This sweet, simple braided headband would please any kind of bride and works with practically any wedding dress silhouette. The beauty of this braid is how it's so composed and also so understated—you could be the belle of the ball or just heading to the beach. Plus, it offers an adorable mini-me option for those lucky flower girls.
Half-Up, Half-Down Braids and Waves
From the Dutch side braid to those loose wavy locks, there's so much we love about this relaxed bridal hairstyle. But what we love even more is the multitude of options offered by this look. You can continue the plait to the back in a true crown formation or just let it hang loosely from there for a little boho aesthetic.
Undone Crown Braid Updo
Whether you're planning a beach wedding, destination wedding, or beautiful summer afternoon nuptials close to home, this undone braided updo is incredibly versatile. Also, can we talk about how much we love the lush volume of this look and all of its wispy strands?
To make a braid look fuller, gently pull apart the strands to give them more width—or you can sprinkle in a little volumizing powder to get the job done.
A chignon looks good on just about everyone, as this classic updo is all about elegance. Keeping the whole look soft and relaxed—plus the addition of that beautiful braid—gives the updo a romantic, modern twist. It's also a stunning wind-proof option for those easy-breezy outdoor ceremonies.
We love a multifunctional 'do and that beautifully braided chignon we just mentioned has all the versatility. After her classic ceremony, this bride let half of the coif down for a whimsical half-up, half-down alternative at the backyard reception—complete with beachy waves courtesy of (you guessed it) the original braid. Talk about really letting your hair down!
Side-Swept Multi-Strand Braid
While the classic braid has three plaits, it is possible to up the ante from there. A four-strand plait can have a much more textured feel than its traditional counterpart and also adds a little bit of majestic flair. (And that's exactly why we love it.)
French Braid Crown
Regal, romantic, and timeless—we love a crown braid. This bride's look is simply perfection, woven as an elegant French braid that finishes in a carefully tucked updo underneath her cascading veil. Just look at that stunning vow-exchange portrait!
For a more laid-back iteration of the style, this bride opted for a loose twist at her Los Angeles wedding. In lieu of a tight braid, the relaxed twist adds asymmetric volume (and face-framing) before wrapping into a side-swept knot. A few pulls of strands here and there add an effortless feel and fuller look overall.
Loosely Plaited Straight Braid
The classics have withstood a multitude of trends for good reason and with the stunning simplicity of this braid, bedecked with a smattering of baby's breath, we can definitely see why. Could a bridal look possibly get any easier—or any sweeter? If a DIY hairstyle is what you're after, we deem your search complete.
Relaxed Braided Updos Two Ways
We love the synergy of the hairstyles of these two lovely brides, which are each so unique but also so complementary. (Isn't that a perfect metaphor for love and marriage?) Look closer, and in some ways, they're variations of the same look: a pretty braided updo that's gathered into a low knot in the back, framed by bangs and some delicate stray wisps.
Polished Pony Braid
Starting with a clean middle part and sleek tresses, this bride could have gone in just about any direction for her hair. But we adore how she chose a polished ponytail braid, which feels modern but still relaxed. Not to mention, shows off those gorgeous look-at-me pearl earrings.
Draped Crown Braid
While typically crown braids are woven fairly tightly, this relaxed, half-up, half-down look is achieved by keeping the plaits of the braid on the looser side. A good portion of strands was also intentionally left free similar to a waterfall braid. Barrel curls finish the look for a softly ethereal effect.
Classic Halo Braid Updo
Timeless, sweet, and absolutely gorgeous, this plait shows off both the hairstyle's sumptuous texture and the bride's color tones. Looking to tuck a few flowers in there? This tight plait creates quite the precious vessel for those adorable buds. Plus, it's beautifully framed by the gorgeous lace high-neck gown.
Loose Fishtail Pony
We can't help but swoon over this fishtail braid that finishes as a carefree pony. A humble bridal ponytail may seem unexpected with the drama of this dress (and sleeves!), but we find the juxtaposition to be quite refreshing. Anything more ornate could have seemed out of place for a seaside elopement.
Floral Fishtail Braid
An effortless fishtail braid gets a touch of romance with small flowers tucked into the plaits. Baby's breath—which symbolizes everlasting love—is a timeless choice, but other florals that could also work include jasmine, orchids, spray roses, even sprigs of greenery. Get creative with buds that match your bouquet, your surroundings, or hold special meaning to you.
Smooth, glossy locks look oh-so polished in a chic updo. This low, braided bun is further elevated by the ultra-glam halo surrounding it. We love the hint of sparkle against the bride's dark hair at this industrial Long Island wedding.
A Ribboned Plait
No need to overdo things when a simple braid can be positively charming. This bride's sunny locks were twisted back into a half-up, half-down style with the ends adorably wrapped up in velvet ribbon. We're absolutely obsessed with how the bride's natural texture shines through, adding a beautifully boho feel to the overall look.
A Customary Plait
Bride Maanasa wove a whole lot more than just her ample strands into this lush braid. She laced in several ancestral traditions and nods to her South Indian heritage with customary jewelry and sweet-smelling jasmine flowers. If you weren't naturally blessed with such fullness, teasing can help achieve similar volume and provide a good grip for any special accessories you choose to tuck into the plait.
Relaxed Halo Braided Updo
How heavenly does this bride look, with face-framing wisps of hair and a relaxed braided halo? The whole look exudes an easy, natural beauty while still feeling so wedding-day ready. If we weren't already convinced (we were) that a spritely crown or milkmaid braid could be elevated into adulthood, we certainly are now.
This ponytail style is anything but lackluster. With a mega dose of volume, twisted sides, a thick braid, and glittering hairpin, this 'do is effortless and glam all at once. And check out how the subtle V-shaped back of the dress frames the ponytail drop so elegantly.
Braided French Twist
A thick, side-swept Dutch braid created the perfect foundation for the glittery, art deco headpiece this bride wore to her nuptials in Rwanda. The dramatic plait sweeps back into an elegantly woven iteration of a French twist to beautifully complement the sparkly topper. Combined with that incredible emerald dress, this bridal ensemble makes a serious case for a colorful bridal theme.
A Woven Chignon
For her Zambia wedding ceremony, the bride chose a more ethereal vibe with a voluptuous chignon of interwoven plaits. The feminine 'do was aptly punctuated with a lush swag of blush and burgundy blooms. In lieu of the aforementioned emerald silk and crystal headpiece, she opted for a traditional veil and frothy white dress.
Talk about romance: This bride snuck in a delicate braid to add texture (and a hint of surprise) to a lovely updo for her at-home elopement in Brooklyn. And the hints of femininity and glam didn't stop there. With a posie of creamy florals tucked into the chignon and that exquisite birdcage veil, this bridal look couldn't be more picture perfect.
A wraparound braid and half-up, half-down style go hand in hand. Not only does the coif work on any texture and length of hair, but it also fits just about every bridal aesthetic, too. This model bride paired hers with long wavy tresses for a carefree and youthful vibe.
Braid Meets Ponytail
A braid and a ponytail come together in a completely unexpected way. That is to say, the ponytail itself isn't braided. Instead, the front ends are gathered back in a traditional French braid before blending with the bottom pieces into a classic ponytail with a few wraparound twists.
Can't decide between a braid or a knotted updo? Well, who says you can't have both? A sweeping braid adds definition to the profile before hugging an intricate chignon that keeps hair perfectly in place all day—and all night long, too. This type of romantic structure is an absolute must for the unexpected climate of a coastal Italian wedding.
Classics are classics for a reason and the French braid is one of those looks. Always so elegant and equally versatile, this beautiful style is suited for all hair types and textures. This bride's slightly-undone French braid drops into an elegant knot at the base of the neck for her design-forward desert wedding in Zion.
Low maintenance doesn't have to mean boring when it comes to bridal hairstyles. Bride Jasmine specifically asked for a low-maintenance, sleek bun inspired by Tracee Ellis Ross and the winding, braided work of art certainly did not disappoint. “I wanted to feel comfortable on my wedding day and not worry about my hair,” she said of the timeless design with a modern twist.
Ultra-Long Braided Ponytail
Now, this is a glam ponytail. Jasmine's ceremony vibe may have been a low-maintenance classic, but she definitely kicked things up a notch for the reception of her New Orleans nuptials. The sleek crown descends into a glossy, braided ponytail of epic proportions for a look as vivacious as the bride herself.
Sometimes two braids are better than one. This charming composition is created with two braids layered atop one another for a romantic updo that lays horizontally rather than going vertical. We love the extra volume at the crown and sweet tendrils framing the face to balance out the look. This bride is an absolutely whimsical vision of silk, organza, and braids for her Tennessee wedding.
How long will hair and makeup take?
Bridal hairstyling can take 60 to 90 minutes depending on the style, and makeup can take just as long. For bridesmaids, factor in 30-45 minutes for hair and an equal amount for makeup, per person.
Do bridesmaids need to have the same hairstyle as the bride?
There's no etiquette suggesting that bridesmaids should wear the same hairstyle as the bride or as each other for that matter! Consider your own expectations for the bridal party looks (and portraits) and dictate from there. Options included matching hairstyles for all, the bride having her own style but the bridesmaids hairstyle matching, or each person choosing their own coif.
Should I hire a hairstylist?
This depends on the type of hairstyle you are considering and the overall budget. More intricate designs will require the work of a professional (which comes with a professional price tag) while simpler 'dos can totally be done on your own. If opting for the latter, we recommend also weighing the time and stress it may add to your morning over the convenience of having someone else take charge.