Wedding Blog > Bridal Makeup & Hair

Popular Updo Hairstyles for Brides

From the chic chignon, to pretty ponytails, fishtail braids and messy buns, ABIA has the low-down on the latest wedding upstyles and trending bridal hairdos.


Image Pearly Hairstylist

If your wedding dress is the centrepiece of your bridal style, your wedding hair is the crowning glory. In fact, according to one well-meaning bridal magazine, the right hairdo should complete your look, highlight your gown and enhance your features while still staying true to your personality and fashion sense (no pressure there!). Fortunately, for those seeking a wedding hairstyle for long hair or medium-length tresses, there’s a timeless solution — Tanya Bywater talks to some of ABIA’s most experienced wedding hair stylists about the enduring allure of the bridal updo.


Style Pearly Hairstylist | Image Theodore & Co Photographers

Why choose an updo hairstyle for your wedding day look?

From the smooth sophistication of a French roll, to the casually-coiffed charm of a low boho bun, when it comes to wedding updos there really is a style to suit everyone, and it’s this versatility that has seen the bridal upstyle stand the test of time.

“Opting for an updo offers practical benefits as well,” points out Melbourne-based wedding hair stylist Pearly Obeid, of Pearly Hairstylist. “With its lower maintenance requirements, an updo can withstand the long day and still look impeccable.”

“Weather is definitely a factor in choosing an upstyle,” agrees Adelaide-based Carmen Tasovac Hairstylist, a bridal hair specialist. “An upstyle is less likely to drop or fall in the face and is one less thing to worry about on the day.”

Style and image Evalyn Parsons

How to choose the wedding upstyle that suits you

Both Pearly and Carmen concur there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to choosing the perfect updo hairstyle for a wedding though, and often suggest a hair trail so that they can take into account natural hair texture, overall look, dress style, wedding theme and comfort in designing the best upstyle for each of their brides.

“I check my bride’s happy showing her ears or covering parts of her face,” Carmen explains. “It’s important to feel confident.”

Given wedding photographers will take photographs from every angle on the day, Pearly suggests looking at trial results from different perspectives too. She also encourages her brides to carefully consider their wedding dress style and to choose a hairdo that complements.

“Bridal updos are a good choice for many types of gowns, especially those with high neck, intricate back or shoulder details, or lots of sequins or beading,” Pearly points out. She adds, “If your dress is simple and plain, adding a statement hairpiece can elevate the overall look and add that extra touch of glamour”.


Style and image Pearly Hairstylist

What to consider when choosing a wedding hairstyle

Selecting the ideal do for your big day isn’t necessarily as simple as settling on a Pinterest pic you really like. Here are some of the factors you may want to take into account when considering your wedding day hair design.

  • Your hair texture
  • Your hair length
  • Your hair cut
  • Facial features
  • Your wedding gown
  • Veil or headwear
  • Jewellery and other accessories
  • Your wedding theme
  • Your wedding dress code
  • Your wedding location
  • Weather conditions on the day
  • Your overall style


Accessories Michelle Pagonis Bridal | Image Silas Chau

Types of updo hairstyles

Clearly the guidance of a wedding hair stylist or hairdresser will prove invaluable but, in choosing your wedding hairstyle, it’s wise to have an idea of what you do and don’t like from the outset. So, while there’s plenty of scope for creativity and crossover when it comes to wearing your hair up, here’s a closer look at some of the most popular wedding updo styles.

The Low Bun or Chignon

Wondering what the difference is? It's generally suggested that a bun is wrapped around, while a chignon is worn low and tucked under. Given the word ‘chignon’ is French for ‘hair bun’ though, we’ve opted to combine them.

Bridal Bun Hair

Style Evalyn Parsons | Image Tay & Francis Photography

After all, by any name, these styles worn at the nape of the neck vary dramatically — from precision-perfect ballerina classics to highly-textured sweeps, structured knots and relaxed, mindfully-messy creations — making them ideal for every occasion from rustic or laid-back beach weddings right through to those with black-tie and formal dress codes.


Style and image Pearly Hairstylist

Pearly admits the low bun, in all its variations, is her go-to wedding updo. “The versatility of the low bun is simply unmatched, making it the ideal choice for any bride looking to achieve a timeless and refined look on her special day” she explains.


Style and image Evalyn Parsons


Style and image Pearly Hairstylist


Style and image Evalyn Parsons

The High Bun

Worn higher on the head, or even as a top knot, the high bun is another classic updo that caters to almost any style of wedding celebration.


Style and image Pearly Hairstylist

Ranging from sleekly-structured, to loosely-piled, this wedding hairstyle can add height and is ideally suited to showcasing elaborate hairpieces and crowns.


Style and image Carmen Tasovac Hairstylist

“Brides can pair the high bun with a silk slip dress, with a high halter neckline or a v-neck gown adorned with a statement necklace,” Pearly suggests, adding that the look serves to beautifully lift-up and accentuate facial features and highlight a bride’s choice of earrings.


Style and image Pearly Hairstylist


Style Evalyn Parsons | Image Luke Middlemiss Photography


Style Airlie & Co | Image @montanawilsonphotographer

The Ponytail

A relative newcomer to the wedding hair scene, the humble ponytail has been making waves in recent years for all the right reasons.


Style Evalyn Parsons | Image Shae Estella Photo

Glamour ponytails are trending at the moment, according to Carmen, who considers the style one of her signature updos for brides. “I love a pony,” she emphasises. “They are fun and I’m getting more and more requests from brides wanting to change to a 'party pony' half-way through, to give them a fresh, playful look for the wedding reception.”


Style and image Carmen Tasovac Hairstylist

Executed well the ponytail can make for a modern, sophisticated or relaxed bridal hairstyle, naturally drawing attention to statement earrings and hair accessories, and adding height and emphasising cheekbones when worn high on the head.


Style Sarah Neil Hair | Image Ash + Stone

The Braid

From pretty plaits, to intricate fishtails and flowing mermaid-inspired forms, the braid has stood the test of time when it comes to bridal styling.


Style and image Pearly Hairstylist

Often used to add interest and detail to buns, ponytails and other wedding upstyles, the braid also carries itself as a standalone design, particularly suited to beachy or boho wedding vibes.


Style Glamour Empire Makeup & Hair Studio | Image Lilly at Dawn Photography

Braids pair perfectly with dainty florals and statement hair accessories and can range in form from defined and tightly-twined, to loose, whimsical, romantic cascades.


Style and image Airlie & Co


Style Evalyn Parsons | Image Jennifer Oliphant Photographer

Style Evalyn Parsons | Image Naturally Jek Photography

Hair Twists, Tucks and Rolls

Iconic updo styles like the French roll, the French twist and the Gibson tuck define this category of bridal hair, but the versatility of these hairstyling techniques blend beautifully with many other styles too.


Style and image Airlie & Co

Twists, tucks and rolls, combine effortlessly with buns and braided looks — often adding an individual touch of charm, shape and aesthetic appeal  —  and invite the inclusion of pretty pins, ornate combs and purely decorative hair accessories.  


Style and image Carmen Tasovac Hairstylist

When smooth and perfectly-coiffed, these styles are ideal for formal occasions, but worn loose and textured, they’re adaptable to almost any variety of day or evening wedding.

Low braid bun bride

Style and image Kate Roxby Hair & Makeup Artist


Style Airlie & Co | Image Matt Ashton Photography


The Half-Up Half-Down Look

For brides with long or medium-length hair who prefer to wear it out, but also appreciate the practicality and ease of an upstyle, half-up half-down styles offer a delightful compromise.


Style and image Pearly Hairstylist

“If you're wearing a gown that's very simple, an updo may look too plain at the front,” Pearly points out. “For brides who still want that hair-down look, but need it to be partially put up, a half-up style can be a wonderful choice”.


Style Missy's Magic Styles | Image Timeless Creations

Half-up styles pair beautifully with accessories too, and can add more interest, volume and height than a completely free-flowing, all-out bridal hairdo.

Half up half down bridal hair

Style and image Bella Rae Cosmetics & Artistry


Style and image Carmen Tasovac Hairstylist

half up half down bridal hair with braids

Style Evalyn Parsons | Image The Love Archives

How to make a wedding hair statement

Updos offer boundless opportunities to show off your taste and personality, and the right wedding hair stylist will provide you with a wealth of knowledge and inspiration. If you’re after truly memory-making wedding hair though, here are some ideas to help add a touch of individuality.

Frame it

While updos tend to focus attention to the back, consider soft whisps or hair tendrils, to add interest and shape while beautifully framing your face.

Framing face bridal hair style

Style Amanda Higl Hair & Makeup | Image Chasing Moments Photography

Add accessories

Be it a traditional veil, some pretty pins, an elaborate hair comb or a theatrical tiara or crown, perfectly placed bridal hair accessories can instantly up your look’s wow factor.


Accessories and image Forever and Again Bridal and Beauty

Take a side

An asymmetrical approach is an easy way to add extra interest and personality to ponytails, braids, buns and the like. A side hairstyle can be appreciated from the front and back, and can prove an ideal way to cover imperfections, or highlight your ‘good side’.


Style and image Pearly Hairstylist

Visit vintage

Whether it’s a traditional Edwardian-era Gibson tuck, early 20th Century finger waves, 1940’s victory rolls or a 1960’s beehive, revisiting vintage hairstyles can be a striking way to enhance a period theme, or stamp your style on your wedding day.


Style and image Coastal Style Mobile Hairdressing

Go floral

Who can resist flowers? And whether you go fresh or faux, dainty or completely over-the-top, hair florals can prove an ideal way to complete your wedding day look. What’s more, if you chose blooms that complement your other wedding flowers, you’ll instantly achieve a cohesive aesthetic.

Bridal Hair with Flowers

Style Evalyn Parsons | Image Jennifer Oliphant Photographer

How to find a wedding hair stylist

To find a quality wedding hair stylist in your area, visit the ABIA Directory, to search for vendors that have been reviewed, rated, recommended and vetted by recently married couples who used their services for their own weddings. You’re almost guaranteed to find the perfect person to style your wedding hair, and you can check out all manner of wedding inspiration — including makeup artists, beauty servicesflorists, photographerswedding cars, MCs, entertainment, bonbonniere ideas and even a digital wedding registry — while you’re there.