Modern Wedding Hairstyles for the Cool, Contemporary Bride
For some brides, the traditional wedding updo just doesn't feel right. It's not that there's anything wrong with the classics, but they don't always suit your wedding dress style or overarching vision for your big day. If you consider yourself a modern bride, you're likely looking for a hairstyle that fits into the contemporary category, right alongside your trendy wedding décor or your fiancé's nontraditional tux. Luckily, you're not the first modern woman to challenge the wedding hairstyle status quo.
Ahead, you'll find a wealth of brides that took their locks to the next level. They ditched the traditional bridal chignons and blowouts that have become so synonymous with wedding hairstyles, and went with different braids, twists, and alternative updos instead. You'll discover that a cool, contemporary hairstyle doesn't necessarily imply a more intricate, involved look or added accessory (like a colorful flower crown!). The majority of these brides chose simple, understated styles, like wispy loose buns, messy fishtail braids, or low, deconstructed ponytails (like this incredible half-bun, half-ponytail creation by Katie Culleton).
Simplicity might be the theme when we talk about modern wedding hairstyles, but that doesn't mean that you're limited to looks that lack variety. We're loving how these brides styled their different hair types and lengths into something that felt completely imagined. From natural curls and pin-straight locks, to bobs and bangs, there's a modern hairdo out there that works with your specific look. Click through to discover the modern wedding hairstyle you'll wear on your ultra-cool big day.
The New Top-Knot
If you love the top-knot, but don't dig the tight, formal feel the look often requires, make like Sandra Lovisco and go rogue—the hairstylist added volume back into this bride's high bun by allowing natural bumps and ends to show through.
A modern wedding hairstyle doesn't necessarily require splitting (entirely) from the classics. Take this structural chignon, for instance. It's to-the-side positioning and swirled composition help the signature style feel fresh.
Want to keep your curly hair off your back (to show off your wedding dress' incredible detailing!), but don't want to go full-blown up do? Consider the under-braid, which keeps hair up sans formal styling.
Redefine the wedding ponytail with a loose, twisted version, like this one by BE.NYLA.
Over the Ears
Bohemian Milk Maid Braid
Modern bohemians, this messy milk maid braid by Chiali Meng is for you.
Simple beach waves feel infinitely more contemporary on platinum-blonde locks—especially if those locks also feature a subtle pop of millennial pink. Kristen Byron of PageBoy Salon was responsible for this bride's style and color.
It's hard to imagine that a bun this voluminous could be more high-drama—and then Sami Knight went and added in fresh orchid and wildflower accents.
A middle part instantly adds modern vibes to just about any hairstyle—even simple beach waves. The secret? It all comes down to symmetry.
Lock and Key Updo
This Samara Toby creation is as intricate as it is sculptural—the way the right side of this bride's updo fits into the left reminds us of a lock and key.
French Braid Bun
A modern hairstyle calls for a just-as-contemporary accessory. Since tiaras are best reserved for classic brides, opt for the new-age version to dress up simple waves: A golden crown of bejeweled leaves.
Perfection isn't necessarily the goal when it comes to more contemporary bridal hairstyles. Notice how this chignon by Makenzi Laine flows naturally through the crown and features plenty of wisps at the base.
Reverse a crystal headpiece and wear it below (instead of above!) your high bun, like this one by Beauty by Keena Queen. Curly fringe adds another dynamic element.
Determined to look like you on the big day? If you've made tousled waves—they're not tight enough to read as beachy—your signature style, reprise your day-to-day look for your walk down the aisle. Just be sure to take Flawless Faces by Alicia's lead and use plenty of product to keep subtle waves in place.
Show of a contemporary wedding dress style—like one with an open back—with a low updo that (literally) ties your hair all the way up. This knotted bun was created by Makeup by Quis.
A low ponytail can look lived-in and free with the right touch. Ask your stylist to rethink the classic style (which typically involves wrapping an inch of hair around the base to hide the elastic) with a twisted, rolled detail, instead.
If you wear your natural curls in a pixie cut, let your bangs fall over onto your forehead, à la this bride.
A teased, windblown ponytail (like this one, by Katie Livingston) is a great way to show off a pair of modern earrings.
Sleek Top Knot
A classic pick for the cool-girl bride? The famous top knot, which this bride pulled off perfectly with help from hairstylist Vanessa Afshari.
Low, Messy Bun
Sleek Low Bun
Love the look of a pulled back, sleek, tight bun? Make it your own by opting for a uniquely-wrapped bun style, like this one by Professional Makeup Artistry.
Braided Half-Up, Half-Down
Add in a pretty plait to make the half-up, half-down wedding hairstyle feel fresh. Amy Clark created this simple but fresh half-up half-down hairstyle, which was held up by a twisted braid.