The Essential Guide to Mother-of-the-Bride Hairstyles

No, the MOB doesn't have to wear a French twist. Let her be a "cool mom" on your big day!

Contributing Writer
Photography by: Ben Ritter

The image of the mother of the bride (MOB) is a tricky one that almost always involves some sort of a stiff updo with a tendril or two as a finishing touch. While all eyes will be on the bride, that does not mean shunning the MOB thanks to a severely dated or unflattering wedding hairstyle, which is exactly what said stereotype looks like. To keep your mom looking and feeling as beautiful and as current as she deserves, follow these tips (or gently urge her to read this advice) from Josie Sanchez, Master Stylist at Dop Dop Salon in New York City.

Less is more

Leading up to the wedding, you'll likely be tempted to visit your hairstylist for a trim. And "trim" should be the operative word. "Think about how much hair you are cutting off and what you want your hair to look like for the wedding," says Sanchez. "It is easier to have more to work with than less (especially if you envision an updo)." You can always go back for a more dramatic cut after the wedding, but keep things conservative beforehand so you don't limit your styling options.

Be original 

While it might seem fun or easy to copy the bride's hairstyle, #twinning on her day will just be weird/ uncomfortable for the bride—and everyone else. "You don't want to take away from the bride's style," says Sanchez. Or, (gasp!) steal any of her thunder (hello guest in white dress). There are plenty of hairstyles to go around so that you can pick one that feels and looks right for you.

Soften the blowout

Anything tight or stiff reads instantly matronly. The softer your hair, the younger you'll look. If your hair is bob length, Sanchez recommend adding volume and subtle body waves. To take the style up a notch, you can tuck one side of hair behind the ear and fasten with a festive brooch or barrette. If your hair is shorter than bob length, go for a smooth, soft blowout with some wispy pieces around the face, says Sanchez.

Undo your updo

A French twist can be sophisticated rather than stiff if you retain movement in the hair with a more piece-y look and refrain from over spraying it, says Sanchez. "The key to keeping the look modern is to leave hair loose around the face," she says. "Anything too tight will age you, and your hair will be the stiff, sticky, unwanted updo you are not looking for."

Seek timeless sophistication

Another upsweep option for a MOB with medium-to-long length is a low chignon, says Sanchez. It's probably the one updo that will never go out of style, always reads chic, and is never inappropriate. A chignon is timeless and can be made more current if it's done in a looser more romantic way," says Sanchez.

Get DIY Updo Ideas
About the Author

Jennifer Tzeses

As an eight-time bridesmaid Jenny knows just a little bit about mitigating a makeup meltdown and distracting a meddling mom. As a former editor for Martha Stewart Weddings magazine, her knowledge of all things weddings extended to bridal beauty and fashion, etiquette, and honeymoons. Her writing (weddings and otherwise) appears in such publications and websites as Martha Stewart...


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