Blonde woman having her hair styled

Deciding on your wedding guest hairstyle can be a source of unnecessary stress if you’re hoping to create a good impression.

With the rise of non-traditional weddings and the relaxing of certain conventions, working out how to do your hair as a wedding guest is trickier than ever.

With that in mind, we’ve put together some of the most popular wedding guest hairstyles depending on wedding theme and formality, from classic black tie to more unconventional boho-chic styles.

Wedding guest hair etiquette

Are hats appropriate for weddings?

When it comes to headgear, the authority on British etiquette, Debrett's, says: "While it’s true that a hat can elevate an outfit from ‘garden party’ to ‘elegant wedding,’ many women simply prefer not to wear one - whether for comfort, taste, or because they want their outfit to do the talking."

Traditional wedding hats aren’t as popular as they used to be, but they can still take your outfit to the next level. Just be sure to take them off when indoors and spritz some hairspray lightly across your style beforehand to avoid the dreaded ’hat hair’.

Brunette woman wearing a hat

Can I wear my hair down to a wedding?

You can definitely wear your hair down to a wedding – as long as your finished style looks smart and complements your outfit. This is not the day for trying out a grungy ‘bed head’ look.

If you want to wear your hair down, consider classic half-up, half down styles, including half-up hair twists, or half-up claw clips with a delicate, sparkly accessory.

Can wedding guests wear hair accessories?

You certainly can wear hair accessories to a wedding - but make sure they reflect the theme of the day and they don’t detract from other members of the wedding party, e.g. the bride. Subtle, diamante clips, pearl-studded slides and anything which looks classy and discreet should be fine.

Fascinators are fine at more formal weddings but may look slightly overdone at semi-formal occasions.

Bridesmaid wearing a sparkly hair accessory

Formal wedding guest hair etiquette

‘Black tie’ dress first came into force in the Edwardian era as the default evening look, and is the formal dress code for a social function that starts after 6pm. Black tie is usually for weddings held later in the day, although take note: there should be no hats or headpieces worn after this time.

Hair should be well groomed. You want to look dressy, sleek and polished - aim for short, slick side partings, barrel tonged waves, ballerina buns and textured updos.

Hats should be replaced with hair accessories (try pearl or Swarovski barrettes), because when you're wearing a formal outfit, you don’t want an oversized hat spoiling your silhouette.

Beautiful blonde woman at formal function with curled hair

Formal wedding guest hair ideas

  • If you have short hair, try a minimalist slick-down for a neat, model-esque look. For a flawless finish, use a glossing mist to add a subtle shine to your ‘do.
  • If you have medium length hair, opt for the super slick side part – use straighteners to ensure you’re black tie ready - and finish with a sparing dab of hair serum to add shine and protect against frizz.
  • If your locks are long, try a barrel tong wave or a classic Hollywood wave, and style with a thickening blow-out spray for volume, texture and ultra-refined locks. Top it off with a dainty metallic hair crown or headband.

Wedding guest with long hair having her hair styled

City wedding guest hair etiquette

City weddings are usually super-chic and elegant affairs. The reception venue for an urban wedding can vary, and may take place in a hotel, upscale club, restaurant or even a local bar or pub. As a result, the dress code depends on the time and place, but you can usually afford to go a little trendier and less formal than black tie.

Can I wear a hat to an indoor city wedding?

City weddings usually take place indoors, so hats may be a no-go – wearing a hat inside is considered rude, no matter what the occasion is. Instead of wearing a hat, pull your hair into a sleek chignon and accessorise with some elegant hair clips, silver bows or bands that have interesting metallic tones.

Young woman with a chignon hairstyle

City wedding guest hair ideas

  • If you have short hair, semi-styled waves are the way to go – pair with subtly-smouldering eyes and nude nails for a refined, urban look. Use a curling tong and a dab of hair serum to add shine and polish to the ends.
  • If you have medium length hair, go for a slick bob or lob, and straighten for a fashionable, inner-city vibe.
  • If your hair is long, try accessorising with clips, either worn loose or in an updo. If you’re adding clips to fine hair, don’t forget to texturise with thickening hair mousse to give the clips something to grip on to.

Two guests at a city wedding

Country wedding guest hair etiquette

Country weddings are the time to celebrate all things rustic, vintage, and a little bit shabby-chic. In recent years, a lot of country weddings have gone down the rough-and-ready route of being held in barns or fields, but they can also be more grand affairs in a marquee, stately home or country hotel.

Styles differ depending on the couple’s taste, but generally speaking, country weddings are a little less traditionally-formal than black tie or city weddings – so you can be more liberal in your dress and hairstyle. If you’re in a marquee, think about using natural or faux flowers in your hair, weaved into a half-up, half-down style. If it’s in a stately house, draw inspiration from iconic vintage or art deco styles for polish and poise.

Blonde woman with wildflowers in her hair

Country wedding guest hair ideas

  • If your hair is down to your temples, try swooping it up in a quiff. Apply a small amount of hair gel to damp hair before combing your upwards. Spritz a few pumps of hairspray evenly through your quiff, and use a blow dryer to blow it into shape.
  • For medium length hair, try an exaggerated side part, which looks chic and edgy at the same time. Comb your desired parting with your fingers, then use a thickening hair spray for additional volume.
  • Finally, if you have long tresses, twist or plait your hair and roll into a low messy bun – it’s a lovely option for a relaxed updo hairstyle, and it'll keep your hair out of the way if there's any dancing later on.

Woman with dark blonde hair and a messy bun

Rustic wedding guest hair etiquette

Bohemian or rustic weddings are all about being unconventional and non-traditional, while still channelling a seemingly-effortless elegance. Boho weddings have become extremely popular in recent years, especially among free-spirited and creative couples. Etiquette wise, you definitely don’t need to worry about formality – but you still need to make an effort and engage with the day’s theme.

A lot of boho-style weddings take inspiration from romantic mythical and fairytale settings. Boho is about rule-breaking so don’t worry about hair being perfect. It’s all about the fly-aways and letting your hair down. Flowers, pearls, braided hairstyles, Grecian crowns, and ribbons – anything goes.

Girl with a flower crown at a bohemian wedding

Boho wedding guest hairstyle ideas for curly hair

With a long day of outdoor ceremonies and receptions in store, frizzy hair can be a huge worry for curly-haired wedding guests.

After preparing your curls with Frizz Ease Dream Curls Shampoo and Conditioner, apply a small amount of Dream Curls Curl Defining Crème for a salon-smooth finish.

If your curls need a little extra help, refine and moisturise your hair with a curly hair styling spray or a styling foam for curly hair after washing.

Boho wedding guest hair ideas

  • If you’ve got short hair, pixie cuts can be left undone and fluffy. Gently twist and ruffle your strands to add texture and volume, and apply hairspray to keep everything in place.
  • For medium length hair, wavy, tousled bobs are the order of the day. Keep everything in place with a touch of hairspray and ask the bride about the wedding’s theme – an accessory which matches the day’s colours and tones will make your beachy waves pop.
  • If you’re working with long tresses, you could try a messy top knot, half-up, half-down with a roll or plaits, or even surf-girl waves. Anything that moves or prettily cascades goes perfectly with a relaxed vibe. Finish with a spritz of hairspray to keep your look fresh from dusk until dawn.

Young woman with curly hair at a rustic wedding

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