20 Easy Wedding Updos That Brides Can Pull Off Themselves

From messy topknots to long braids, these DIY hairstyles are both pretty and practical.

<p>Photo by <a href="http://jana-williams.com/">Jana Williams</a></p>

Photo by Jana Williams

If you’re on the hunt for the perfect wedding hairstyle, an updo checks all of the boxes. From low buns to high ponytails, this type of hairdo is timeless and versatile, suiting every bride's personal style and wedding aesthetic. With a sleek, tight chignon positioned at the nape of your neck, for instance, you’ll evoke an instant air of elegance—while a loose, slightly undone bun elicits a laid-back feel. No matter what type of updo you select, they’re low-maintenance and practical. Gathering your hair away from your face will also draw attention to your attire's defining features, whether it’s an embroidered neckline, a low back, or a pair of statement earrings.

Another benefit of a wedding updo? You don't necessarily need to enlist a professional hairstylist to pull one off. Even a novice can create many of these looks if they follow the right steps—which starts with proper prep, says professional hair and makeup artist Abi Taylor. Before styling, make sure your hair is clean and frizz-free (she recommends applying Color Wow Dream Coat Supernatural Spray to wet strands). Then, you’ll need to rely on a handful of tools: Taylor loves achieving a smooth updo with a tail comb, a soft bristle brush, wax spray, and styling cream, for example. Once you’ve nailed your hairstyle, Taylor advises setting it with Maria Nila Hairspray.


Abi Taylor, the owner of Abi Taylor Bride, is a professional hair and makeup artist based in Glasgow and London.

If you’re thinking about trying your own hand at a big-day updo, we’ve rounded up a list of the best styles you can easily do yourself, plus instructions on how to achieve each look. Read on for 20 easy wedding updos for brides.

Related: 24 Wedding Updos for Every Type of Bride

A Simple Low Bun

<p>Photo by <a href="https://danitoscano.com/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1" rel="nofollow">Dani Toscano</a></p>

Photo by Dani Toscano

One of the simplest updos to do yourself? A chic, slicked-back low bun. This style complements any type of wedding, whether it’s a traditional country club affair or a modern rooftop party. Before styling, Taylor suggests first blowing your hair dry or straightening it to produce a sleek finish. Then, gather all of your tresses in a ponytail, and, using a tail comb or boar bristle brush, smooth out the hair, taming flyaways with L’Oréal Liss Control, says the stylist. Finally, twist the ponytail in a clockwise motion, and seal it with an elastic.

A Natural, Side-Swept Updo

<p>Photo by <a href="https://lediatashi.com/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1" rel="nofollow">Ledia Tashi Photography</a></p>

Another iteration of the low bun is one that embraces your natural hair texture. Instead of using heated tools to straighten your hair first, you can move right to twisting strands into an updo. Not only will you look and feel more like yourself, but you’ll also make the hairstyling process a lot more efficient due to fewer steps. Plus, you won’t have to worry about keeping your look polished throughout the festivities.

A High Ponytail

<p>Photo by <a href="http://jana-williams.com/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1" rel="nofollow">Jana Williams</a></p>

Photo by Jana Williams

Both playful and sophisticated, a high ponytail is a stylish updo that many brides seek out for their wedding hairstyle. Compared to buns, ponytails require fewer steps, which means the look is even easier to replicate yourself. For a glossy look, we recommend using a blow dryer or flat iron to straighten your hair first. Then, gather all of your hair on top of your head and wrap a rubber band around it to hold the style in place. You can even curl the bottom for added volume. We love this updo for long hair, especially if your wedding dress has a mock neck with intricate embellishments.

A Fishtail Braid

<p>Photo by <a href="https://www.brettseay.com/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1" rel="nofollow">Brett Seay</a></p>

Photo by Brett Seay

Braids are another alternative to a bun that radiates whimsy and romance while looking effortless. If you’re pretty skilled at doing your own hair and you want to wear something more elevated than a conventional braid, try your luck at a fishtail. First, divide your hair into two sections. Then, take a thin piece of hair from the left section and wrap it underneath the right section, holding it in place with the opposite hand. Repeat the same process on the right side, and continue alternating until you’ve braided all of your hair. Finally, lock it in place with an elastic. If you’re tying the knot at a campground or farm with a rustic aesthetic, consider this laid-back option.

A Pearl-Studded Topknot

<p>Photo by <a href="http://joshuabrownphotography.com/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1" rel="nofollow">Joshua Brown Photography</a></p>

While low buns are refined and elegant, high buns offer a more fashion-forward look.—so instead of wrapping your hair into an updo at the nape of your neck, arrange the style on the crown of your head. We love how this bride rocked her real texture and added pearl adornments for extra pizazz at her micro wedding in Brooklyn. A trendy topknot is the perfect complement to blazer dresses or jumpsuits at a courthouse ceremony.

A Braided Chignon

<p>Photo by <a href="https://www.madelinebarr.com/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1" rel="nofollow">Madeline Barr</a></p>

Photo by Madeline Barr

A simple low bun is one of the more straightforward updos to do yourself, but if you’re looking for a more meticulous design, consider adding a French braid. Start by braiding the front section of your mane, beginning at your part until you reach the ends. Then, compile all of your tresses in a ponytail and create a low bun. For extra security, tuck bobby pins into the braided piece to hold the style in place. This updo will bring a level of sophistication to coastal nuptials or match an upscale ballroom setting.

A Slicked-Back Sock Bun

<p>Photo by <a href="https://heatherwaraksa.com/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1" rel="nofollow">Heather Waraksa</a></p>

Small, understated buns are a popular option, but if you’re looking for more drama, try a sock bun. The only difference between a sock bun and a regular bun is that you wrap your hair around padding for more magnitude—Taylor advises using a hair donut that matches your hair color. This is an excellent choice if you have long, thin hair since this hairstyle will take up more space. If your hair falls on the shorter end of the spectrum, you can still accomplish this look by adding extensions.

A Glamorous Low Ponytail

<p>Photo by <a href="https://alenkarupovic.com/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1" rel="nofollow">Alen Karupovic</a></p>

Not only are low ponytails fashionable, but they’re also pretty seamless to execute on your own. All you need to do to attain this look is pull your hair back at the nape of your neck and tie it off with a rubber band. If you’re throwing a glamorous soirée, add old Hollywood-style waves and complete your hairstyle with a beaded headband, like this bride did at her regal affair in Barcelona.

A Bun With Natural Texture

<p>Photo by <a href="https://phillipvn.com/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1">Phillip Van Nostrand</a></p>

Just like you can rock your real texture in a low bun, you can do the same with a topknot. Pile your hair on top of your head and secure it with an elastic. Without straightening your strands first, the whole process will take no more than a few minutes, which will help you stick to your schedule. You can even attach a hair accessory that coordinates with your wedding dress and aesthetic, like a floral pin for a garden party wedding.

A Twisted Chignon

<p>Photo by <a href="https://tracyburchphotography.com/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1" rel="nofollow">Tracy Burch</a></p>

Photo by Tracy Burch

Another iteration of a braided updo entails positioning the braided portion down the back of your head versus the side (which we mentioned above). The effect is still dreamy and romantic—just from a different angle. Pull out a few pieces for a slightly undone, relaxed look. Then, decorate your braid with pearl-studded pins, which is what this bride did at her elegant celebration in Malibu.

A Half-Up, Half-Down Style

<p>Photo by <a href="https://www.instagram.com/alicevicenteweddings/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1">Alice Vicente</a></p>

Photo by Alice Vicente

If you aren’t fully committed to tying all of your hair back, a half-up, half-down style is the perfect compromise—and it’s easy to pull off. Start by figuring out whether you want a sleek, straight look or barreling waves. Then, pull half of your hair into a ponytail with an elastic or clip. If you’re wearing a floral wedding dress or your ceremony is taking place in a garden, attach a fresh flower to the ponytail.

A Teased Updo

<p>Photo by <a href="http://www.janinelicarephotography.com/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1" rel="nofollow">Janine Licare Photography</a></p>

Want to bring an edge to your updo? Tease the hair at the crown of your head to create volume. Before shaping the strands into a low bun, take a section of your hair from the back and hold it straight up. Then, place a comb above the root, moving it up and down in short, repetitive motions to generate body. Polish it off by adding face-framing pieces to define your face. Since teased hair screams the ‘80s, rock this look for vintage-inspired fêtes.

A Tiered Ponytail

<p>Photo by <a href="https://hanagonzalez.com/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1" rel="nofollow">Hana Gonzalez Photography</a></p>

We’ve already established that high ponytails are the quintessential cool-girl hairstyle, but to kick it up a notch, try a tiered ponytail. After straightening your mane, tame flyaways and secure your ponytail with an elastic. Then, take several more elastics and wrap them around even sections of your ponytail until you reach the end. This look will have a more pronounced effect with medium to long hair. Paired with oversized earrings and a feather-covered dress, this hairstyle is trendy and playful.

A Beaded Side Bun

<p>Photo by <a href="https://nadtochiy.com/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1" rel="nofollow">Alexandra & Vladimir Photography</a></p>

While most brides tend to position their bun in the center, sweeping your updo over to the side will add allure—and make the bun visible in photos. For a more polished look, slick back your strands with hair wax. If you’re looking to give your updo a glitzy flair, add pearls to the crown.

An Intricate Plait

<p>Photo by <a href="http://www.volvoreta.com/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1" rel="nofollow">Volvoreta</a> / Second shooting by <a href="http://finchphoto.com/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="2" rel="nofollow">Finch Photography</a></p>

Photo by Volvoreta / Second shooting by Finch Photography

An intricate braid is best reserved for those who styling pros. If you've mastered the fishtail braid and want to try something more complex for your big day, combine a half-up, half-down hairstyle with a long braid. First, take half of your hair and wrap it in a rubber band. Then, braid the ponytail and work in the bits from the rest of your mane before adding another elastic at the nape of your neck. Repeat the same process near the lower half of the ponytail. This updo is perfect for low-maintenance brides who aren’t afraid to make a statement.

A Messy Updo

<p>Photo by <a href="https://sharynhodges.co.za/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1" rel="nofollow">Sharyn Hodges Photography</a></p>

Instead of a perfectly polished bun, try a messy iteration. After all, an effortless, imperfect updo still looks elegant—without feeling unattainable. Plus, it’s easy to create on your own. Gather all of your hair on top of your head; twist strands into a bun. Then, loosen the updo and pull out a few pieces to achieve that loosely-done, relaxed look. Consider this style for backyard nuptials or casual weddings by the sea.

A Polished Coif With a Veil

<p>Photo by <a href="https://featherandtwinephotography.com/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1" rel="nofollow">Feather and Twine</a></p>

Low buns are inherently graceful, but what will take this updo to the next level is adding a veil. Doing so will transform your bun into one that’s quintessentially bridal. Choose a veil that works with your wedding dress and venue; try a lace-trimmed, cathedral-length piece with a lace gown for your nuptials at a French chateau or a birdcage veil with a mini sheath dress if you're getting married at a city courthouse.

A Wavy Ponytail

<p>Photo by <a href="https://www.shannonmoffit.com/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1" rel="nofollow">Shannon Moffit Photography</a></p>

To give your ponytail instant texture and dimension, use a curling iron to create waves. You can even pull out the front strands and run the heated tool through them for a cohesive look. Make sure to add a product that holds the curls to prevent your hair from falling flat.

A Glitzy Side Chignon

<p>Photo by <a href="https://www.stanlophotography.com/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1" rel="nofollow">Stanlo Photography</a></p>

If you’re saying “I do” at an upscale, glamorous locale, take your side bun to the next level by adding a bejeweled clip. The beaded elements will match the intricacies of your setting. Bonus points if you’re wearing a wedding dress adorned with 3D features or ornate embroidery. To accomplish this look, slick your hair back with oil, wax, or cream. Pull the look over to the side, twist it into a bun, lock in the pin, and you're done.

A Low Bun With Side Bangs

<p>Photo by <a href="https://www.sasithonphotography.com/" data-component="link" data-source="inlineLink" data-type="externalLink" data-ordinal="1" rel="nofollow">Sasithon Photography</a></p>

Whether your signature hairstyle is side bangs or you’re interested in trying them out for the wedding, a low bun will accentuate these side pieces. After creating the updo, let your side bangs fall in front of your face for more definition. Run a straightener through them to create optimal shine.

Up Next: 20 DIY Wedding Hairstyles Every Bride Can Easily Pull Off

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