39 Pretty Wedding Day Updos To Inspire Your Big Day Look

A model presents a creation by Alexis Mabille during the Spring-Summer 2011 Haute Couture Collection Show on January 24, 2011, in Paris. AFP PHOTO/Francois Guillot (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)

The best 39 of our survey-search for ways you may not have thought to wear your hair on your big day

Classic French braid

Try it with its tail tucked between its legs, schwooped around to one side, or just hanging loose. Skunky highlights optional. 

Messy French fishtail


Dutch halo braid with side knot

A quickie request for pretty much any stylist or go ahead and do it yourself.


Contrary to recent whispers from the fashion world, the practice of securing hair in numerous tight, close braids has been around for, literally, millennia, perhaps since as early as 500 BCE. Bonus: it’ll hold up under extreme dancing conditions better than pretty much anything else. 

Crown of braids

This one calls for longer hair (or extensions) split into two low pigtails braided to their ends and then wrapped and pinned around the head. Anyone for edelweiss? 

Spiral braid

Image: Stilfehler/Wikimedia Commons

Bilateral French braids with pony

Just like you always wanted as a kid. Goes great with a long white dress OR a tux.

Large shell curl bun


Classic chignon

Image: jennadrudi/Instagram

Circumbraided donut bun

Circumbraided or not, it’s timeless and, since the advent of the sock technique, super-easy. (If you haven’t already been riding the sock-bun train, climb aboard immediately. Really. Don’t even wait for your wedding.)

Single fat braid bun

Nota bene: there’s no shame in turning to add-in hairpieces to achieve a single fat braid of this kind of singular fatness. 

Half-shell chignon with braided accents


Fishtail bun

No, not a new smug hipster brunch food.

Ponytail with side-swept bangs


Bouffant with wispy curls


Classic bouffant, pinned at the crown


Unclassic ponytail


Bilateral French braid with chignon


French rope braid writ huge


The occipital nest

Probably best to use other language to describe this to your stylist, but is beautiful, no?


Get it? It’s a PONYtail, but topped with a most excellent (and fancy!) bouffant.

Finger-waved chignon

Finger waves (whether they culminate in a chignon or not) are manifestly retro but not in that creepy, fetishistic way, and definitely DIY-able, too. 

Cascade braid

Image: lovemaegan/Flickr

Old-timey lady traveler


Upswept psuedo-pony


Lace braid

Image: Stilfehler/Wikimedia

Abbreviated bouffant




Woven chignon


Gibson roll with a bouffant crown.




It’s hard to say in prescriptive terms exactly what’s happening here, but the effect is beautiful and clean and decidedly special-occasion and only a vaguely Jurassic.


Something glam for the shorter-tressed, and yes, I appropriated that name from the punctuationiverse.


For brides who’re drawn to ice sculptures but, say, marrying someone who’s averse to ice. Prolly best to enlist a hair professional to undertake something like this on your head, unless you yourself are a hair professional. Or a landscaping professional. 

Ballerina bun

Don’t forget this one! 

Curly pinup

Curl hair (or just let it dry naturally, if that’s how your DNA rolls), pin it up and/or back and you’re done. 

Circumbraided bun


Braided topknot with bangs