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Our Guide to the Bridesmaid Hairstyles Your Friends Won't Hate

Wedding day hair can be tricky, and we’re not just talking about the decision on whether you’ll go for a beautiful bridal updo or wear your hair free and flowing. When it comes to bridesmaid hair ideas, things could get messy (and not the good, roughly textured kind). With memories of old-school bridesmaid hairstyles haunting us all (and no doubt qualifying as highly flammable, thanks to three cans of hair spray per ’do), picturing a scenario where everyone’s happy can often be hard. What works for one short-haired friend may be a nightmare for your pal with Rapunzel-esque hair. Meanwhile, your dream of everyone wearing cute milkmaid braids and flower crowns could strike fear in the heart of even the most loyal best friend.

Rodarte model wearing floral headpiece
Estrop / Getty

But fear not—we’re here to help. From plaits and braids with added cool, to smart takes on tousled waves and hair accessories that’ll work on every hair length, we’ve rounded up the best looks from the runway that are sure to please your whole wedding party. Ready for the crème de la crème of wedding hair ideas? Start scrolling for 30 of the most inspiring bridesmaid hairstyles fresh from the shows—cool, classic, and quirky all included.

Versace model with straight, middle-parted hair and gold hair pins

Versace offers up a super-simple solution to the bridesmaid hairstyle dilemma. Simply tuck the hair behind the ears and slide a chic gold hair clip into both sides.

Model with pearl clips in hair

Or, what about handing your bridesmaid two pearl barrettes each and allowing them to work them into their own style and texture?

Woman wearing white bejeweled headband

This look has all the trappings of a ’90s hairstyle (low bun, loose strands et al.), but thanks to the bejeweled headband, it feels a lot fresher than something you might have worn in your school years.

Back view of model with long, single french braid

A French plait is a true classic, but you can make it feel more 2018 by rubbing the finished braid with a towel to muss it up a little and loosen some of the strands at the front. A strong but flexible hair spray such as Hair by Sam McKnight’s Modern Hairspray ($32) will keep it at that perfect point of pretty dishevelment.

Braid / bun hairstyle on a model

Fancy a plait but want something a little different to the norm? Try plaiting a small section of hair, twisting a larger chunk, and then twirling them together in a loose half bun, like the team did backstage at Preen this season. Redken Braid Aid ($17) is great at adding extra shine and hold to plaits.

Rodarte model with baby's breath flower crown

Having a more bucolic-themed wedding? Try placing pieces of baby’s breath (aka Gyp) in the crown of the head using plenty of bobby pins.

Model with a mini ponytail

If your focus is on eye makeup, then try slicking back hair with a glossy hair gel and leaving it in a cute ponytail.

Model with messy, low ponytail
Peter White / Gettty

For a super-romantic look, curl hair loosely and then tie it back, leaving strands to frame the face. If your hair is pretty straight, then a texture spray such as Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray ($46) will help create movement.

Model with embellished headband

A Grecian goddess look—just make sure to shop gold-style headbands

Model with long hair ad intricate braids throughout

If cutesy braids aren’t for you, try this edgier take with plenty of texture.

Model with bow pinned to side of her hair

Bows are back, and they work on absolutely every hair length and texture.

Model with a long braid with a bow

See what we mean about bows? They’re perfect for adding a finishing touch to elegant, ethereal ’dos.

Model with thick fishtail braid

Updos can get complicated—not to mention supersized—when there’s long hair involved. This layered fishtail solves the problem. Just invest in a Ghd Tail Comb ($22) to help section hair and pull strands loose at the end.

Model with thin half-up, half-down 'do featuring a braid

Pretty, cool, and incredibly sleek, courtesy of a really reliable hair serum.

Model with milkmaid braid

Update the classic milkmaid braid by roughing things up and adding plenty of wispy bits.

Model with mini braid

Soften up a super-slick ’do by finishing with a folded plait.

Model with updo featuring string flowers

It’s pretty, it’s irreverent, and it can be adapted for most hair lengths. Add a flower, and you’re done.

Model with side parting old-school Hollywood glamour hairstyle

Classic bouncy waves look great on long and mid-length locks. Sweep them to one side for a modern feel.

Model with hair half up, clipped back with colorful accessories

Look past the makeup; this is a playful hairstyle for all ages that’ll look great decorated with small, fresh flowers or hair accessories.

Model with side-parted, sleek hairdo

Super-sleek with a deep parting is an easy way to achieve smart elegance. The wet-look finish will feel modern on the big day without dating your photographs.

Model with french-braided pigtails

Ideal for keeping both straight and curly hair off the face at a wedding abroad or during the summer heat.

Model with hair down featuring a thin, gold headband

Simple yet effective, beautiful hairbands are a quick way to create a sense of consistency between bridesmaids who all have very different hair types or lengths.

Model with a topknot

Swap an overly neat ballerina bun for a topknot with texture. It’ll still look chic while a little less severe.

Model with updo embellished with gold accessories

Hair accessories don’t have to be full flower crowns. Try adding a statement piece like this to chignons, plaits, and side-swept ’dos.

Model with straight, middle-parted hair worn down, featuring two small braids

A boho-wedding dream, this look works on bobs, lobs, and longer lengths with gorgeous results.

Model with half-up, half-down topknot

Compromise between buns and free-flowing locks with this half-knot.

Model with sleek, low ponytail featuring chunky ponytail holder

Add interest to a simple ponytail with chunky hair accessories. Metallics will feel fashion-forward while thick ribbons work well for a softer touch.

Model with updo secured with two long, gold barrettes

An updo with a different twist, this breaks away from overly hair-sprayed creations and feels fresh yet elegant.

Model with updo comprised of several small buns

For the less conventional bride, these knots work on all hair types and look fun, fresh, and modern.

Model with romantic and relaxed 'do

Soft and romantic, this relaxed ’do is perfect for a smarter take on tousled waves.

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