21 Hairstyles Every Wedding Guest Needs to Bookmark

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Okay, so you’re not walking down the aisle (this time), but there’s honestly no better position to be in. As a wedding guest, you have the perfect excuse to get all dressed up, get in on the photo booth action, and snap selfies all night long, without any of the pressure.

Considering you’ll be ‘gramming the night away, your hair needs to be as on point as your outfit. Whether you’re dressing up your go-to LBD or slipping into a formal gown, the hairstyle is key. We tapped Suave Celeb Stylist Jenny Cho for her tips on perfectly pairing your hairstyle with every dress type. Whether you’re going all-out with a backless dress or keeping it conservative with a high neck, here’s all the inspiration you need for a look that’s sure to make a serious entrance—without showing up the bride, of course (because you also don’t want to be that girl).


If You Have A Backless Dress…

If you picked out a completely backless style, you’ll want to show it off—don’t go and cover it with rows and rows of mermaid-length waves. Cho says, “the backless element is the focal feature—an updo can add drama for that over the shoulder shot.” In other words, keep all the attention where it belongs, on your back.

The look: Classic Ponytail

Who said ponytails couldn’t be formal? The secret is to make sure there’s not a hair out of place. Spritz your style with a strong-hold hairspray, and don’t forget to hide that hair tie with a strand of hair.

Try: Tresemme Compressed Smooth Hairspray, $5;



If You Have A Backless Dress…

The look: Double Buns

What’s better than one messy donut bun? Two messy donut buns. To create a tousled texture, work a texturizing spray from roots to tips and style with a few face-framing tendrils. Before the wedding, just be sure to make a craft-store run and pick up some black velvet ribbon. Tie a few tiny bows and use bobby pins to secure them on your ‘do.

Try: Amika Un.Done Volume and Matte Texture Spray, $5;



If You Have A Backless Dress…

The look: Sculptural Topknot

This is an elevated approach to the hairstyle you wear almost every day anyway, but with a dressed-up twist. Pile in the bobby pins to keep everything in place all day (and night).

Try: Sephora Collection No-Slip Bobby Pins, $5;



If You Have A Backless Dress…

The look: Flower Embellishments

Bring the romance with this braided style sprinkled with flowers. Honestly, the star of this style is the blooms, so feel free to switch up the braid placement any way you like before pinning flowers (faux or fresh) to your hair.

Try: Jennifer Behr Swarovski Pearl and Enamel Hair Slide, $210;



If Your Dress Has A Plunging Neckline…

You chose that dress for a reason—now’s not the time to cover up “the girls.” Cho suggests “a sleek updo would be the perfect balance.” Besides, it will leave your neck, décolletage, and chest exposed, and that’s just how we like it.

The look: Fauxhawk

Mohawks are…a commitment. If you appreciate the modern look, this version gives you the illusion, without having to shave your head. Phew! Separate your hair into three sections, secure into mini ponytails and backcomb the ends for added volume.

If you have longer hair, experiment with knots, loops or buns to keep the sculptural, raised-down-the-center look. It’s key to keep the sides as flat as possible, so use a smoothing brush to pull it all into place.

Try: Evolve Perfect Edge Bamboo Brush, $5;



If Your Dress Has A Plunging Neckline…

The look: Embellished Headband

Never underestimate the power of a really good hair accessory. No matter how bad you are at styling your hair, or how simple your dress is—there’s nothing a statement headband can’t fix.

Try: Petite Moments Blair Pearl Beaded Headband, $35;



If Your Dress Has A Plunging Neckline…

The look: French Twist

The French twist is the ultimate wedding-guest hairstyle. It goes with almost every dress style (especially the plunging neckline) and boasts a certain je ne sais quoi. Wear it alone or embellish with a pretty hair accessory.

Try: Missoma Claw Hair Clip, $28;



If Your Dress Has A Plunging Neckline…

The look: Half-Up

Something about this pumped-up pony has wedding-guest vibes written all over it. Some artful teasing (and teasing, and teasing) at the crown and a feminine bow will make you the best tressed at any wedding.

Try: Forever 21 Crinkle Bow Tie, $3;



If Your Dress Has A High Neck…

When you go for a dress that covers so much of you up, take this opportunity to show off your best asset. We’re of course talking about that pretty face. Plus, “a low pony or bun is the perfect way to keep long hair from overwhelming a dress with excessive fabric,” explains Cho.

The look: Glass Pony

What’s more classic than a Grace-Kelly-esque low ponytail donning a crystal accent? We’ll wait. Just know that you can blow-dry, curl, and stroke your hair with the finest boar brush money can buy in search of a glossy ponytail, but it means nothing if you don’t smooth a shine-inducing hair oil first. A few drops will give your locks a regal shine.

Try: Ouai Rose Hair & Body Oil, $16;


If Your Dress Has A High Neck…

The look: Loc Pony

We told you a simple ponytail has the potential for wedding-day greatness, and we’re especially swooning over this wavy loc look. Just be sure to start with a setting mousse to hold your waves in place and add extra moisture.

Try: Lottabody Wrap Me Foaming Mousse, $4;



If Your Dress Has A High Neck…

The look: ’30s Waves

Use your short hair to your advantage and try a Great Gatsby-esque finger wave. It feels feminine, yet edgy and so sophisticated. Just make sure you have plenty of hair gel on hand when creating this look

Try: Moroccan Oil Strong Styling Gel, $20;



If Your Dress Has A High Neck…

The look: Slicked Back

With a tightly wound bun sitting behind your head, there’s no better time to go all-out with your makeup and accessories. Just make sure you don’t have a single hair out of place. Use a hairspray-soaked toothbrush to tame even the shortest, thinnest strands.

Try: C.O. Bigelow Natural Bristle Toothbrush, $9;



If Your Dress Has An Asymmetrical Neckline…

The asymmetrical neckline is all about balance. For example, if you’re wearing a one-shoulder design, try sweeping all of your hair to the opposite side. If your asymmetrical design boasts a ton of volume or embellishments, pull your hair back as to not compete with your dress.

The look: Clipped Back

This hairstyle is more than just an opportunity for a cute barrette placement; it’s the ultimate hair hack. When your hair is lacking a certain something, swipe one side back and position a pretty hair clip. Et voila!

Try: Lelet NY Broadway Gold-Plated Faux Pearl Hair Slide, $128;



If Your Dress Has An Asymmetrical Neckline…

The look: Retro Pony

There’s no better way to show off your perfectly winged cat eye (or an interesting neckline), than sweeping your hair back into a cute, retro-looking pony. Use a round brush to flip the ends out, and you’ll instantly transform yourself into a 1950s Barbie doll. A dressed-up hair bow helps with the illusion too.

Try: T3 Volume 2.5 Round Professional Ceramic-Coated Brush, $35;



If Your Dress Has An Asymmetrical Neckline…

The look: Center Part

A center part is the best way to strike a balance in seconds. If you’re rocking a head of gorgeous goddess locs, simply push them back and behind your shoulders for a romantic, effortless look. Add a balm to refresh locs and add shine.

Try: Carol’s Daughter Loc Butter, $17;



If Your Dress Has An Asymmetrical Neckline…

The look: Ear Tuck

A vintage-inspired wave and deep side part looks amazing on every hair length and has the power to elevate the look of any dress you decide to throw on. Enlist the help of hot rollers (just like grandma used to) for a soft, yet defined wave pattern. To balance a single-shoulder dress, create a deep side part opposite the busy sleeve, and tuck one side behind your ear.

Try: T3 Volumizing Hot Rollers Luxe for Volume, Body, and Shine, $119;



If Your Dress Has An Asymmetrical Neckline…

The look: ’60s Inspired

If you need to pull your hair back and out of your face, but still prefer to wear it down, this mod-inspired style is the hybrid you’ve been searching for. Create a section about three inches wide, beginning at the hairline. Use a comb to slick it down and behind the ears, then tie both sides into a single ponytail at the nape of your neck. Work some volumizing powder on your crown, give it a little tease, and you’re good to go.

Try: Briogeo Blossom & Bloom Ginseng + Biotin Volumizing Root Powder, $24; sephoracom



If Your Dress Is Strapless…

Welcome to the most versatile neckline of all. Strapless styles leave the neck and décolletage completely exposed, which give you free rein to style it up any which way your heart desires. However, Cho admits blowouts are her favorite pairing for strapless designs. “A soft blow dry with some bounce is elegant and always be a timeless compliment to a strapless look.” She also adds, “having your hair down, but pushed behind the shoulders is an elegant way to show off the cut of a strapless, while still keeping the hair down.”

The look: Disco Volume

There’s no doubt a ‘70s-inspired wave is A Look, but something about it also feels effortlessly cool. Pump up the volume and define your curl pattern with a diffuser attachment and work through your curls with a boar brush.

Try: Mason Pearson Handy Mixture Bristle Hairbrush, $150;



If Your Dress Is Strapless…

The look: Classic Blowout

You can never go wrong with a fresh blowout and some soft curls to add a bouncy, hair-flowing-in-the-wind look. Part your hair down the center, and add tons of volume to your hair with a large-barreled curling iron.

Try: T3 BodyWaver 1.75″ Profesional Ceramic Styling Iron for Waves & Volume, $160;



If Your Dress Is Strapless…

The look: Halo Braid

You’re going to a wedding; the name of the game is romance, and there’s nothing more dreamy and romantic than a boho crown braid and face-framing tendrils. If you have slippery hair, a dry shampoo (even on clean hair) will provide plenty of grip and add volume to braided hairstyles.

Try: Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo, $24;



If Your Dress Is Strapless…

The look: Box Braids

There’s nothing like a set of fresh box braids to get you in the mood to dance the night away. Wear them long and pushed forward, or show off your neckline when you push them back, behind your shoulders. Just be sure to massage a hydrating oil into your scalp and edges to moisturize and refresh your braids before the big night.

Try: Cantu Tea Tree & Jojoba Hair & Scalp Oil, $8;


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