Wedding Guest Hairstyle Ideas & Etiquette

Your hair is your crowning glory, and you want it to look its best on special days like weddings. But, what do you do when your ends are split, flyaways won’t tame, and your usual go-to hairstyle feels tired and uninspired? Don’t worry — we’re here to help save your style and have your Cinderella moment. 

Styling your hair for a wedding can be daunting, especially if you aren’t the most confident with hairspray and styling tools. However, some of the most beautiful styles are the simplest. So, whether you’re looking for a sophisticated updo with minimal fuss or chic and romantic waves that exude timeless charm, you’re in the right place. This post will walk you through 45 ideas for hairstyles for wedding guests, including what to do with long, short, and curly hair. 

What is a wedding guest hairstyle?

A wedding guest hairstyle is a formal or semi-formal hairstyle that guests can create to attend a wedding ceremony. There’s no difference between a normal formal hairstyle and a formal hairstyle for a wedding. However, a wedding guest’s hairstyle often takes into account the specific ambiance and theme of the wedding, as well as the attire chosen by the guests.

Hairstyles for a wedding as a guest

If you’re looking for some inspiration for wedding guest hairstyles, look no further. Keep reading for a how-to on 45 easy-to-achieve styles. 

Formal weddings

Photo © EJ Hair and Makeup | See their Bridebook profile

Formal weddings usually demand the most sophisticated or elaborate hairstyles of all wedding themes. However, there are ways you can simplify the hairdo: 

For long hair

Long, formal hairstyles for a wedding as a guest include:

  • Romantic waves. Use a hair curler, hot rollers, or a hair waver with a deep barrel to help you achieve romantic waves. Tame your flyaways with a little hair oil and keep it in place with a light hairspray. 
  • Elegant updo. Pull your long hair back into an elegant updo. You’ll need some decorative hair clips or grips to hold it in place, and some hairspray to tame flyaways. Try pulling a few face-framing strands out of the updo to soften your face. Updos are especially pretty if you have a Bardot-style top or off-the-shoulder dress. 
  • Half-up half-down. Gather the top section of your hair into a twist, braid, or bun, leaving the rest of your hair down in loose waves or curls. This style is great for highlighting hair length or thickness. Try curling the bottom half of your hair or adding a flick to the ends for extra glamour. 

For short hair

Short, formal hairstyles for a wedding as a guest include:

  • A textured pixie. This style embraces your hair’s natural texture and is easy to manage throughout the day. Add volume and dimension by adding hairspray at the roots and tousling the hair with texturising spray or wax. Consider adding a side-swept fringe or face-framing strands to highlight your natural beauty. 
  • Side swept waves. Use a deep-barrel waver or curler to add some texture to your hair. Be sure to curl your hair away from your face, then gently brush through the curls with your fingers to loosen them. Sweep your hair to the side or over your ear, and finish with a spritz of hairspray to hold the style in place.
  • Sleek bob. Slick your hair down with hair gel or paste for an editorial look. This style is best for above-ear haircuts. Any longer than this, and you run the risk of your hair looking greasy. 

For curly hair 

Curly, formal hairstyles for a wedding as a guest include:

  • A curly crown. Braid a section of hair on each side of your head, then cross them over at the back and secure with kirby grips or a bobble. Leave the rest of your curls loose, or style them into soft waves for a whimsical finish. Use your favourite curly hair products to ensure your waves look their best.
  • A curly pony. Gather your curls into a high or low ponytail and secure with a decorative bobble. Pull out some curls to frame your face for a soft and romantic look, and use a curl-refreshing spray to revive any droopy curls throughout the day.
  • Defined curls with hair accessories. Follow your usual curly hair routine to make your curls look their best, then add a fun accessory like hair clips, a fascinator, or a hairband to elevate your style. Try using products like mousse, curl cream, and even hair gel, depending on your hair’s texture. This will define your curls and keep their volume throughout the day. 

City weddings

Photo © Siew Gratton | See their Bridebook profile

City weddings are all the rage now, and for good reason! They offer a unique blend of urban charm and modern sophistication. When it comes to hairstyles for city weddings, you want something chic, polished, and effortlessly stylish. Here are some trendy options to consider:

For long hair

Long hairstyles for wedding guests include:

  • Sleek low bun. Smooth your hair back into a sleek ponytail, then twist it into a neat bun at the nape of your neck. Slick your parting down with hair gel or hairspray for a slicked-back look. Use kirby grips to secure any loose strands, and finish with hairspray for a polished look.
  • A high ponytail. Brush your hair up and backwards into a high ponytail. Secure with a bobble, and use a fine-toothed comb to smooth any bumps on your crown or nape. Use texture spray on the pony to add volume and hairspray for extra shine. 
  • Tousled with a statement accessory. Use heated rollers or a deep-barrel waver to add texture to your hair. Use wax or hairspray or tousle your hair for an undone style, then add a statement accessory like a fascinator, hair grips, or headband in a bright colour.  

For short hair

Short hairstyles for wedding guests include:

  • Textured mohawk braid. Create a French braid along the centre of your head, starting from the forehead and working towards the nape of your neck. Leave the sides of your short hair loose, or add some texture with texturising spray for added dimension. This edgy yet stylish hairstyle is perfect for city weddings and is sure to make a lasting impression.
  • Asymmetric bob. If you’re feeling bold, try cutting your short hair into an asymmetric bob à la 2007 Rhianna. It will add instant flair and personality to your outfit. However, it’s more permanent than these other suggestions, so make sure you’re confident before taking the plunge. 
  • Sleek crop. Slick your short hair down and behind your ears for a classy, editorial look. The shorter the hair, the chicer this looks, so don’t be afraid to go bold. Use gel or hairspray for a high shine effect, or wax or pomade for a matt style. 

For curly hair 

Curly hairstyles for wedding guests include:

  • Twisted half-up half-down. It can be difficult to get curly hair to lay flat, so leaning into the ‘undone’ style is a great way to disguise the chaos. Try creating two twists on the side of your head by wrapping two pieces of hair around one another. Pull these around the back of your head until they meet, and secure with a decorative hair clip or bobble. Let the rest of your curls fall loose and style as needed. Pull a few face-framing sections out of the twists for a romantic style. 
  • Curly side ponytail. A side pony is a great way to tame your hair while embracing your natural texture. Pull all your hair onto one side of your head and secure it in a low ponytail just below your ear. Try using a decorative or bejewelled bobble for extra glamour. 
  • Curly French twist. A French twist is a timeless and elegant hairstyle. However, they’re not always the easiest style to achieve. Be sure to put in lots of practice before the big day if you’d like to wear this style. Sweep your curls to one side of your head and twist them upwards, securing them with kirby grips to create a classic French twist. Leave a few curls loose around your face to soften the look and frame your face. If you’re already a pro at creating a French twist, you can leave a few curls out on the top to highlight your beautiful hair texture. 

Boho weddings

Photo © FACE LDN | See their Bridebook profile

Boho weddings are known for their relaxed, free-spirited atmosphere, so any hairstyles you choose as a wedding guest should reflect this style. 

For long hair

  • Half-up half-down with a top knot. Adding a top knot to this classic style adds a touch of whimsy which is perfect for a boho wedding. Part around the crown of your head and brush upwards. A great tip is to create two faux partings in line with the arches of your eyebrows. Twirl the hair gathered into a top knot and secure with either kirby grips or a bobble, depending on the thickness of your hair. Allow the rest of your hair to flow freely. 
  • Side-swept fishtail braid. Fishtail braids can be tricky to achieve, but once you’ve nailed them they’re a beautiful yet relaxed hairstyle for any wedding. Sweep your hair to one side and start braiding a fishtail braid, incorporating small sections of hair into the middle of the braid as you go. Secure the end with a bobble and gently pull on the sides of the braid to loosen it and add volume. Finish with a few spritzes of hairspray to hold the style in place. 
  • Waterfall braid. Waterfall braids are, again, quite an advanced style. However, once mastered, everyone will be asking for your hairstyle tips! Begin by taking a small section of hair near your temple and dividing it into three strands like a regular braid. Cross the top strand over the middle, then the bottom strand over the middle. On the next cross, drop the top strand and pick up a new section of hair from above the dropped strand to replace it. Continue braiding in this manner, dropping and picking up new sections of hair from above the braid as you go. Secure the end of the braid with a small bobble or a kirby grip, depending on your hair thickness. YouTube is your friend with this one — check out some inspiring and handy tutorials to grasp the exact technique. 

For short hair

  • A textured pixie. A textured pixie works well for a boho wedding. Embrace your natural texture and scrunch your hair with sea salt spray or texturising powder for an effortless finish. You can even add hair accessories like floral clips to emphasise the laid-back feel.
  • A headband or scarf. Choose a headband or scarf with a bold and colourful pattern or floral design to complement the boho aesthetic of the wedding. Place the headband or tie the scarf around your head, leaving your short hair loose and tousled for a casual and carefree look. This will instantly elevate your hairstyle and add a touch of bohemian charm to your overall look.
  • Twisted low pony. This one will depend on the length of your short hair. However, a twisted pony is a great way to keep your hair off your face while maintaining a boho style. Gather your hair into a low ponytail at the nape of your neck and secure it with a bobble. Then, twist the ponytail loosely and wrap it around the base to create a low twisted bun. Secure the bun with kirby grips and leave a few strands loose for a soft and effortless look. 

For curly hair 

  • A boho bun. Gather all of your curls into a loose bun at the nape of your neck and secure it with kirby grips. Leave a few curls loose around your face and at the nape of your neck for a relaxed look. 
  • Curly updo. This timeless hairstyle is perfect for curly hair at a boho wedding. Twist small sections of your curls and pin them at the back of your head, creating a loose and tousled updo. Leave a few curls loose around your face and at the nape of your neck for a romantic vibe. You can also add floral hair pins or accessories to enhance the style.
  • Keep it natural. Boho style is all about embracing your natural beauty and being carefree. What could be more carefree than wearing your natural texture? Follow your usual curly hair routine to help your curls look their best and rock the boho vibes. 

Rustic weddings

Photo © Beauty Infinity | See their Bridebook profile

Rustic weddings are characterised by their simplicity and natural elements, so you should focus on reflecting this energy in your hairstyles.  

For long hair

  • Flower crown with loose waves. Create soft, natural-looking waves using a curler or large barrel round brush. Once your waves are set, place a flower crown on top of your head, positioning it slightly over your forehead for a bohemian touch. The colours in your flower crown should complement your outfit. 
  • Volumised curls. Create bouncy curls throughout your hair using a curler or hot rollers. Be sure the barrel of the rollers is wide for more volume. Spray a little hairspray or texturising powder at your roots to increase volume. This is best done on second-day or slightly dirty hair, and will give your hair more texture and longevity. 
  • Rope braid. Rope braids are significantly easier to achieve than a waterfall or fishtail braid. Pull your hair to one side and separate it into two sections. Twist these sections around themselves, and then around one another to create a rope braid. Twisting the hair around itself first prevents the rope braid from unravelling throughout the day. Secure with a thin bobble. 

For short hair

  • Vintage-inspired pin curls. Create small pin curls throughout your short hair using a curling iron or hot rollers, then secure them with kirby grips or small hair clips. Once their hair has completely cooled, you should remove the pins. Your curls should stay in place depending on the length of your hair. If you like the way your hair looks with pins, use decorative kirby grips like pearl or diamante pins along the sides of your curls for a touch of old Hollywood elegance. 
  • Soft waves. Soft waves are the perfect style if you’re going for a romantic or feminine vibe. You can use a curler or waver, but it’s much easier to create soft waves on short hair using a thin straightener. Pull the hair tight between the plates and turn the straightener from side to side to create a loose wave. Set with a little hairspray for longevity. 
  • Fringe French braid. This one will take a little practice, but you can French braid your longer layers and fringe into a pretty style. Secure behind the ear with a decorative clip, and you’re good to go. It’s easier to French braid slightly dirty hair, so try using some dry shampoo if your hair is freshly washed. 

For curly hair

  • Natural curls with twine details. This style is perfect if you’re a natural curlyhead. Complete your usual curly hair routine to make your curls bouncy and hydrated, then add small rope braids sporadically throughout your hair. Secure them with a small bobble and beads for a laid-back look. 
  • Loose curls with a braided headband. Take two sections of hair from above your temples and braid them. The braid should face upwards and away from your face to prevent any bumps in your style. The braid should be about an inch in thickness, so take more or less hair depending on your hair density. Wrap your braids over the top of your head until they reach the opposite side of your head and secure with kirby grips. Allow the rest of your hair to flow free and loose.
  • A side braid with flowers. Sweep your curly hair to one side. Create a three-strand braid and secure it with a thin bobble. Decorate your braids with fresh flowers of your choosing. Daisies or small sprigs of babies’ breath look especially beautiful at a wedding. 

Destination weddings

Photo © PowderBlueArtistry | See their Bridebook profile

Destination weddings are weddings that happen abroad. While beaches and coastlines are popular choices for destination weddings, they’re not the only options available. Destination weddings can take place in a variety of breathtaking settings, including picturesque vineyards, historic castles, or lush gardens. Be sure to match your hairstyle to the location for a cohesive look. 

For long hair

  • Beachy waves. Create loose, beachy waves throughout your hair using a curler or a deep-barrel waver or iron. Accessorise with accents from the destination. For example, small seashell clips or hairpins for a beach, flowers for a woodland wedding, or leaves for a vineyard.
  • Messy bun with twists. Begin by gathering your hair into a high ponytail and loosely twisting it into a bun, securing it with kirby grips. Leave a few strands loose around the face to soften the look and add texture. Incorporate small twisted sections of hair into the bun for added dimension and visual interest.
  • Braided high ponytail. A high ponytail is a great way to keep your hair off your face and keep yourself cool, and incorporating a braid adds interest to the style. Start by dividing a straight section from the front of your hairline to the crown. French braid this section and secure it with a clip or small bobble. Brush the rest of your hair into a high ponytail and secure with a thicker bobble. Add a little hairspray to tame flyaways and some texture spray to your pony for a volumised look. 

For short hair

  • Hair jewellery. Hair jewellery adds a glamorous touch for castle weddings or a whimsical touch to woodland weddings. You can incorporate hair jewellery into any style, so consider using any of the above hairstyles and adding accessories as you see fit. 
  • Curly bob. Curly bobs are great for vineyard or beach weddings. Use a curler with a slim barrel to achieve a pretty, curly look. Finish with hairspray for longevity and add a sparkly hairband or flowers depending on the location. 
  • Textured lob. It’s easy to achieve volume and texture with a lob (long bob), as this hairstyle isn’t weighed down by excess length. Add texture and movement to your lob by tousling it with sea salt or texturising spray. Alternatively, you can create loose waves with a hair curler or waver, then spritz with hairspray for a lived-in look.

For curly hair 

  • Curly Dutch braid updo. Begin by creating a Dutch braid along one side of your head, incorporating sections of curly hair as you braid. Continue braiding until you reach the nape of your neck, then secure the braid with kirby grips or a bobble. Gather the remaining curly hair into a low bun and secure with kirby grips. Leave some curls loose around your face for a soft look and add some pretty accessories or hair jewellery for a finishing touch.  
  • Double low buns. Split your hair down the middle and secure into two low bunches. Twist your hair around themselves until you create two low double buns. Secure with a bobble and then add some pretty ribbons for a feminine touch. 
  • Braided updo. Begin by creating multiple small braids throughout your curly hair, varying the size and placement for a textured and whimsical look. Gather the braids into a loose bun or updo at the back of your head, securing them with kirby grips or a bobble. Allow some curls to cascade down your back for an elegant and glamorous look.

The bottom line on hairstyles for wedding guests

Remember, though your hairstyle is important when you’re a wedding guest, it’s not the be-all and end-all. The best hairstyles for wedding guests are the ones that make you feel beautiful and authentic. Follow the dress code, keep a mini hairspray in your bag, and you’ll fit right in with the vibe of the big day.

In the end, it’s not just about the hairstyle you wear, but also the confidence and happiness you bring to the celebration. Don’t be afraid to add a touch of personal flair to your hairdo, whether it’s a delicate hair accessory, flaunting your natural texture, or sneaking a subtle braid into your updo. If you’re feeling nervous or aren’t especially skilled when it comes to hairstyles, remember that the most beautiful accessory you can wear is your genuine smile!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I wear a hat as a wedding guest?

You can wear a hat as a wedding guest so long as the dress code allows it. However, you’ll likely need to remove your hat any time you enter a building, meaning you’ll still need to style your hair underneath. So don’t think you can hide a bad hair day with the use of a tactful hat!

Can I wear my hair down as a wedding guest?

Wearing your hair down is a beautiful and timeless choice for wedding guest hairstyles — especially if you have long or thick hair. Consider beachy waves, romantic curls, or even a half-up half-down. 

Can I wear hair accessories as a wedding guest?

Accessories are to hair as herbs and spices are to a tasty meal — they should be used in moderation. Less is more when it comes to hair clips, headbands, or fascinators. Opt for one statement piece or a few subtle accents to complement your hairstyle without overpowering it. Remember, balance is key to achieving a polished and elegant appearance. 

Can I do my own hair as a wedding guest?

Doing your own hair is a great way to save money and ensure that your hairstyle perfectly reflects your personal style. With a little bit of practise and the right products, you can achieve a look that’s both stunning and uniquely you. 

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Happy Planning!