30 Understated (But Stunning) Hairstyles for Wedding Guests

Wedding Hair

 Image by Free People

When it comes to wedding hair, it's not only about the bride. Guests also need to put a little thought and effort into styling their tresses for the special occasion—and the ensuing Insta posts. But with so much to plan for—the gift, the travel arrangements, the outfit—hair can sometimes take a backseat. That's why we're bringing you our roundup of the most inspiring hairstyles for wedding guests.

Without having to commit to a complicated updo or even enlist the help of a professional, we’ve found incredibly chic and easy hairdos for you to DIY in no time. We even tapped hair industry pros Sarah Potempa and Lee Stafford to let us in on their favorite hassle-free styles. So whether the nuptial ceremony is a black-tie affair or more of a beach shindig, you're bound to find a look that will get you there.

Meet the Expert

  • Sarah Potempa is a celebrity hairstylist whose clients include Camila Cabello, Ana de Armas, and Emily Blunt. She is also the founder of BeachWaver.
  • Lee Stafford is an English hairdresser and the creator of his eponymous haircare line, also known as "the pink brand."

Straight ahead, check out the 30 gorgeous hairstyles you’ll want to try this wedding season.

01 of 30

Fishtail Crown

Fishtail Braid Crown

Astrid Stawairz / Getty Images

A crown braid is ideal for weddings; it's utterly romantic and can dress up any beauty look, especially your everyday makeup. But instead of going the traditional three-plait route, try a fishtail for a trendy, cool-girl vibe instead. 

02 of 30

Flipped-Out Ends

Half-Up Pony

@grandykat / Instagram

If you're a wedding guest who's single and ready to mingle, flipped-out ends read as fun and flirty. Go for a half-up, half-down style to get some double-tiered flip action. FYI it pairs perfectly with side-swept bangs—just saying.

03 of 30

Classic Beach Waves

Gisele Bundchen beachy waves

Michael Loccisano / Getty Images

If you're headed to a wedding with a more casual vibe, polished beach waves are the way to go. For curls that will hold from pre-ceremony to post-dance party, Potempa recommends using a 1” Beachwaver curling iron ($129). Her pro tip? "Be sure to always curl your hair away from your face, and allow the curls to cool before touching. For a more glam look, gently brush out the curls," she advises.

04 of 30

High Fashion

Nathalie Emmanuel curly bob hairdo

@nathalieemmanuel / Instagram

Nathalie Emmanuel could have just worn her curly bob loose, but we wholeheartedly support her decision to pin it back instead. "The hair behind the ears creates a soft hair look, making it flattering and easy to wear for anyone," comments Stafford.

  • Apply Lee Stafford For The Love of Curls Custard Cream ($10) to wet curls.
  • To create the two sections, run an end of a comb from behind one ear to another.
  • With the top section of hair, scrape back from the forehead to form a small ponytail at the back of the hair.
  • Twist the ponytail and place upwards (this will create the hair height at the top), then secure with a claw clip.
  • Spritz a leave-in conditioner over the curls to keep them moisturized.
05 of 30

Half-Up Boho Waves

Half-up, boho waves
OnceWed.com

Boho waves are tricky when it comes to special events because they are casual by nature. But by simply tying half of your hair up you go from hippie to hip. For a serious lived-in look, don't skimp on The Doux Mousse Def Texture Foam ($15).

06 of 30

Bantu Knots

Bantu Knots
Imaxtree

Embrace your natural hair with a protective style like Bantu knots. This is minimal elegance at its best. Remember: how many knots you decide to go with will depend on hair length, knot size, and personal style. There's no exact formula, so have fun with it.

07 of 30

Chic, Low Bun

Chic low bun with pearl adornments

@theweddinghaircompany / Instagram

A chic low bun is the definition of elegance and ease. "This is a quick and easy hairstyle that also keeps hair off the shoulders at a summer wedding," adds Potempa. The best part? No bobby pins needed.

  • Pull hair into a low ponytail.
  • Put the ponytail through The Beachwaver Co. The Wrap Up (Note: This product is currently out of stock. For something similar, we recommend Beaute Galleria Magic Hair Bun Maker, $8).
  • Roll upwards and pinch both sides into a bun.
  • Beach-wave the front pieces.
08 of 30

Braided Updo

Cornrow Crown
Imaxtree

We're so obsessed with this look. If you've already got long cornrows simply wrap them atop your head for the most modish of updos. Secure with bobby pins and a douse of hairspray.

09 of 30

All-Over Curls

Angela Bassett curly hair and blue eyeshadow

@lacyredway / Instagram

When love is in the air, there's nothing more romantic than a head of free-flowing curls to go with it. Just make sure to invest in a quality product like Only Curls Hydrating Curl Creme ($22) for defined coils. Blue eyeshadow is optional, although highly encouraged.

10 of 30

Slicked-Back

Olga Kurylenko slicked-back wet hair look

Karwai Tang / WireImage / Getty Images

Bond girl Olga Kurylenko makes a strong case for trending hairstyles with this slicked-back number. Its straight, sleek style gives off an elegant air that would pair well with a more formal dress code.

11 of 30

Braided Bun

Bubblegum pink braided updo

@alexandralee1016 / Instagram

Bubblegum pink hair looks surprisingly sophisticated in this braid-bun hybrid. Opt for Lee Stafford's temporary Kiss of Colour Playful Pink Treatment ($4) for the perfect rosy hue. And when it comes to styling, Stafford offers some advice: "Don’t try on freshly washed hair without any product because it simply will not work and won’t hold in place.  A lot of prep work is needed for this style so be patient!"

  • Generously spritz sea salt spray all over dry hair, targeting the roots and crown area.
  • Using the tail of Lee Stafford's Hair Up Styling Brush ($4), section the hair into five vertical parts by running the end of the brush down the head from top to bottom.
  • With each section, separate into two pieces and loosely twist round each other, adding sections of the hair underneath as you are twisting.
  • When you have nearly reached the bottom of the section, tie with an invisible, snag-free band. Repeat for the remaining five sections and remember to gently pull bits of your twisted hair out to create that loose look.
  • Once all sections are tied in bands, bring them together with your hands and starting from the bottom, roll them up to your neck, and secure them with bobby pins.
  • Finish off with a spritz of flexible-hold hairspray.
12 of 30

Pearl Topknot

Pearl topknot

@ange_liah / Instagram

Topknots can range from model-off-duty to red-carpet-ready. This look belongs to the latter thanks to its slicked-back crown and pearl adornments. It's also a humidity-proof hairstyle, making it ideal for those steamy summer weddings.

13 of 30

Sleek, Low Pony

Sleek Low Ponytail
Imaxtree

We're taking a cue from the runway to elevate what would normally just be a simple low ponytail. To make it really sleek, apply a small amount of Fekkai Brilliant Gloss Multi-Tasker Perfecting Crème ($20) and tie it with a black velvet piece like Kristin Ess's Bow Slide ($14).

14 of 30

Power Puff

Dressed Up Bun

@_ammamama_ / Instagram

We're deeming this look "the Powerpuff" because, well, need we explain why? Style roots and mids with As I Am Smoothing Gel ($10) to achieve a super sleek crown that gives way to a gorgeous burst of volume and texture.

15 of 30

Afro Bun

Woman wearing an afro updo with styled baby hairs

@salimar._ / Instagram

You can also wear your afro puff high atop your head to really show it off. And even though it's the star of this look, you should still show your baby hairs some love. Shape them using a toothbrush and Aveda Control Paste ($32) for a decorative hairline.

16 of 30

Hair Claw Updo

Claw clip updo

 Free People

This is arguably the most simple updo. Just pick a chic-looking clip, like Forever 21's Claw Hair Clip ($4) in Nude, and you'll look put together in less than 10 seconds. Regardless of your hair type or texture, this is one foolproof style that anyone can pull off. 

17 of 30

Slicked-Back Ponytail

Maya Jama low, slicked-back ponytail

Mike Marsland / WireImage / Getty Images

A low ponytail doesn't have to be boring. Case in point: this slicked-back 'do. Pair with a side part like Maya Jama or consult our guide to figure out which parting best complements your face shape.

18 of 30

Half Up With French Braid and Fishtail

Margot Robbie beach waves with fishtail braid

@sarahpotempa / Instagram

While there is no such thing as the perfect summertime 'do, this one comes pretty close. According to Potempa, this look is great for a more formal summer wedding. "It looks extra special and will keep your hair out of your face in the warm weather," she adds.

  • Curl hair with a 1” Beachwaver curling iron. (Pro tip: Curl hair with the ends in the clamp to create a more polished wave).
  • Apply Braid Balm ($11) to the sections you’ll be braiding.
  • On one side, create a French braid (right over the middle, left over the middle).
  • On the other side, create a fishtail braid (small section from the left, pass it under and add it to the right section).
  • Pancake the braids to add volume.
  • Grab both braids and pin in place in the back.
19 of 30

Crown Braid

Rita Ora crown braid

Mike Marsland / WireImage / Getty Images

A crown braid never fails to impress. Not only will it keep hair up and off of your neck but it will also have you looking like bohemian royalty. Wear it to the nuptials of your hippie-chic friends.

20 of 30

Half-Up, Half-Down Genie

Winnie Harlow sleek half-up, half-down hairdo with sparkly cuff

Victor Boyko / Getty Images

Straight, sleek, and oh-so-shiny, Winnie Harlow's half-up, half-down style seems to be genie-inspired. Apply a shine-inducing product throughout your tresses to get her glossy finish and adorn with a glittery cuff because we could all benefit from more sparkle in our lives.

21 of 30

Wet Chignon

Wet chignon

@erickinvisible / Instagram

You've seen the wet-look before. You've seen a chignon before. But a wet chignon? Mind-blowing. Rather than rock the super slick-back, this look opts for an edgier textured finish that you can achieve by using a wide-tooth comb—or even your fingers. According to Stafford, "Those with a strong jawline or a heart-shaped face would suit this look beautifully, however, anyone can wear this style."

  • On towel-dried hair, apply a general amount of volumizing mousse onto the roots and scrunch.
  • Brush back your hair with a paddle brush to get rid of any knots.
  • Take a pea-sized amount of Lee Stafford Messed Up Putty ($4) between your hands and start scraping the hair back from your forehead while gently fluffing with your fingers (This will create a little bit of texture and softness of the hair).
  • Once hair is styled back, twist it into a low ponytail and wrap around the base of the pony to create a low bun. Secure with a hair tie or grips.
22 of 30

Headband on Headband

Curly hair with headband

@leletny / Instagram

Sometimes a simple accessory (or two) can up your hair game. Take this layered look by hair accessory brand, Lelet, for instance. It pairs a padded headband with a metal one for a style that is unique and eye-catching.

23 of 30

Voluminous Ponytail

Low, textured ponytail with braid
Blog.Vpfashion.com

Dress up a ponytail by wrapping a braid around your hair tie. Then amp up the volume with a good dose of Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray and whip out the crimper (yes, you read that right) for the ultimate rock-chic tresses.

24 of 30

Pull-Through Braid

Pull-through braid

@sarahpotempa / Instagram

This chunky, undone braid is visually—and literally—effortless. "[It's] perfect when attending an outdoor spring/summer wedding because it keeps your hair off of your shoulders. The best part is that you don’t have to be a great braider to easily achieve this look," comments Potempa.

  • Curl hair with the Beachwaver curling iron for texture.
  • Create a half-up ponytail.
  • Create a second ponytail from the top, then split it in half, and secure it underneath the original ponytail with a small elastic.
  • Continue this pattern all the way down.
  • Pancake the braids to create more volume and texture.
  • Beach-wave the hair around the hairline and front layers.
25 of 30

Simple Chignon

Simple, chic chignon
Lulus.com

When in doubt, do a chignon. It's more interesting looking than a tight bun and gives you that easygoing vibe that's still put together. 

  • Gather hair at the nape of your neck and twist.
  • Coil the twisted tail into a bun and secure with bobby pins.
  • Use your fingers to pull the bun outward and loosen as desired.
  • Finish with hairspray.
26 of 30

Box Braid Ponytail

Blue ombre braids tied with a bow

@kristiness / Instagram

We are blown away by these blue ombré box braids. They're lovely and low-maintenance. All that this look entails is simply tying your box braids back into a loose ponytail and packaging with an oversized silk bow.

27 of 30

Double Buns With Hair Pins

Double vertical buns with pins

@leletny / Instagram

These double verticle buns are the perfect mix of classic meets contemporary. Throw some hairpins in the mix to hold everything in place while also adding to the "pin party" aesthetic.

28 of 30

Adorned Afro

Natural curly afro with gold headband

@theweddinghaircompany / Instagram

Go natural and wear your afro as-is or throw on a gold headband adornment if you're feeling fancy. Work in some Charlotte Mensah Manketti Hair Oil ($55) to keep strands hydrated (read: sans frizz). A few drops are all you need.

29 of 30

Bubble Braid

Tessa Thompson bubble braid

@lacyredway / Instagram

Give your classic pony a modern makeover with a bubble tail. Depending on the wedding's formality, you can either dress this look up with ribbon like Tessa Thompson or go with elastic ties for a more casual-cool vibe.

30 of 30

French Twist

Modern French twist

@kendalldorsey1 / Instagram

This gorgeous French twist styled by the fabulous Kendall Dorsey is textured and timeless. Be sure to spritz it with texturizing spray for that must-have mussy finish.

  • Sweep your hair to one side and secure with bobby pins down the back-center of your head. 
  • Take loose hair and brush toward the opposite side of your head.
  • Twist your hair up in the opposite direction that you brushed it.
  • Tuck ends into the twist.
  • Insert hair pins and spray with hairspray.

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