Wedding Hairstyles For Different Dress Types

When it comes to choosing the right hairstyle for your wedding day, it’s not just about what looks fabulous on you–it’s also about what enhances the neckline of your dress. Halter, strapless, cap sleeve… each has design elements that look amazing with certain wedding hairstyles and not so hot with others. “When a bride comes in, the first thing I ask her is what her dress looks like,” says Mar Romero, Creative Director and Founder of TEAM Hair and Makeup, a Santa Barbara, California-based studio specializing in weddings. “Then we can talk about a hairstyle that not only suits her face shape but her gown, too.” When you visit your stylist, bring in a photo of your dress, preferably with you wearing it. That way, she can see exactly how the gown is cut and plan your wedding hairstyle accordingly.

Romero offers these guidelines when strategizing your wedding hairstyle:

If you’re wearing: a spaghetti strap wedding dress
Then go for: a romantic hairstyle with soft waves, bangs pulled off the face, or a low ponytail

“This is a very soft, feminine look,” says Romero. “I like to romanticize the hair the same way the dress is romantic.” She suggests wearing hair down “maybe with just the bangs pulled off the face” or in a low ponytail with lots of soft wave cascading down the back.

If you’re wearing: a strapless wedding dress
Then go for: an updo, half-up hairstyle or all down hairstyle; bangs swept gently to one side.

“I hate when hair is pulled back super tight with a strapless gown. All you see is neck and forehead!” Instead, let bangs sweep gently to one side and play with texture and volume in the rest of the hair whether it’s an updo, half up or all down. One warning: don’t let hair hang down just to the top of the dress. “It will look boxy and blocky.” Loose hair should hit the middle of your breast line, even if that means a few hair extensions.

Claire Danes Updo

Try on Claire Danes’ soft updo
© Sara De Boer/Retna Ltd.

If you’re wearing: a halter or v-neck wedding dress
Then go for: an updo to keep your hair off the dress.

Wearing hair down with these dress styles is tricky. “When your hair covers part of the halter or V neckline, it looks like you’re suffocating your own dress.” Romero prefers an updo to keep you hair off the dress. “A low chignon or elegant twist with wispy pieces falling out is chic, very popular on the red carpet and looks great with a halter or V-neck.”

Gina Philips

Try on Gina Philips’ soft updo
© Jason LaVeris/

If you’re wearing: a cap sleeve dress
Then go for: a simple, modern ponytail, a volumized updo or a side bun.

“This is a very sweet looking dress. Don’t do anything too goody two shoes.” A simple, modern ponytail or an updo with some height on top and soft, wispy pieces framing the face would be the perfect complement.  “The idea is to get hair away from the neckline so you’re not competing with your dress.”

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