45 Half-Up Wedding Hairstyles To Complete Your Look

There's truly something for every bride.
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Jessica Booth
jessica booth headshot
Jessica Booth
The Knot Fashion Contributor
  • Jessica is a freelance writer who covers topics such as weddings, parenting, wellness, commerce, health and food.
  • Jessica has written for sites including Cosmopolitan, Delish, Bustle, Romper, Refinery 29, Reviewed, Parents, Brides, People, Forbes, The Daily Beast and many more.
  • Jessica has a degree in journalism and lives on Long Island in New York.
Updated Nov 02, 2023

There are so many options for the perfect wedding hairstyle that settling on just one can feel like a challenge. If you can't decide whether you want an elegant updo or soft waves falling around your face, then a half-up, half-down hairstyle might be exactly what you need. Half-up wedding hairstyles allow you to pull back some of your hair so that it's not in your face all night long, while still giving you the chance to show off those gorgeous locks.

Half-up, half-down hairstyles for a wedding can often come off as romantic, bohemian, and relaxed, and they work well for brides who don't want a structured hairstyle or the pain of 1,000 bobby pins. That said, they're incredibly versatile. You can choose a braided halo crown around the back of your head for more of a boho vibe, or you can smooth your hair back into a sleek and sophisticated half-ponytail for more of a classic look. Half-up, half-down hairstyles can be done with long, medium, or short hair lengths, and they look just as great with lots of tight natural curls as they do with loose beach waves.

While you can always model your half-up hairstyle after an iconic celebrity wedding look (Kate Middleton and Ciara are just two examples), you can also find plenty of inspiration below. Whether you want something elegant and chic or more low-key and purposefully mussed up, you'll find a look you love. Be sure to bring inspirational pictures to your hairstylist for your hair trial to make sure they get the look just the way you envisioned it.

In this article:

45 Half-Up Wedding Hairstyles to Show Your Stylist

Half-up, half-down hairstyles can be done on any hair length or type, whether you have lots of curls, pin-straight locks, tons of volume, or rows of braids. Adding sparkling headpieces or dainty flowers for embellishment is always a good idea, and braids are a great way to add texture and an overall whimsical vibe.

Soft Waves and Bangs

Soft Waves and Bangs half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Akiyo

Hair Length: Medium or long

A basic half-up, half-down hairstyle is instantly made more glamorous with soft waves. Part your hair down the middle and let a few front pieces fall on either side of your face for an effect that mimics bangs (or use your actual bangs). This is a classic look that works for almost any type of wedding with almost any style of dress.

Natural Curls

Natural curls half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Angela Tam

Hair Length: Short, medium or long

There's no reason to pull out the curling iron or hot curlers if you have naturally curly hair. Add some styling cream or frizz spray to keep them looking hydrated, and then let your curls do their thing, leaving a few face-framing pieces out. This feels slightly more casual, so it may not be ideal for a very formal wedding, but otherwise, it's a beautiful and low-maintenance option.

A '90s Inspired Look

90s Inspired half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Arianna E's Artistry

Hair Length: Short, medium or long

The '90s have been back and don't seem to be going anywhere any time soon, so it's not a bad idea to incorporate some of that style into your wedding look. This is a more polished version of a popular hairstyle from the '90s, with two small pieces pulled back on either side and bangs out in the front. It's fun and flirty, especially with big bouncy curls.

A Sleek Tuck

Sleek Tuck half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Cecilia the Stylist

Hair Length: Long

If you're looking for a hairstyle that feels more modern, opt for this elegant long hair half-up, half-down wedding hairstyle. Soft, shiny waves feel polished and sleek, and you can tuck some pieces underneath your hair in the back for a look that is both structured and elegant.

Side Bangs and a High Ponytail

Side Bangs and a High Ponytail half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Upper Schelon Luxury Hair

Hair Length: Long

Lots of big, bouncy curls look stunning when pulled back into a half-up high ponytail like this one. Be sure to wrap pieces of hair around the elastic for even more volume at the crown of your head. If you have bangs, a deep side part right in the front creates a gorgeous swoop over one eye that feels just a little mysterious.

A Twisting Braid

Twisting Braid half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Hair by Shayl

Hair Length: Short, medium, or long

Small, dainty braids are beautiful, but a thicker braid makes more of a statement. This half-up, half-down hairstyle features a braid that looks more like a twist than your traditional braid, and it seamlessly blends into the curls in the back. This looks beautiful on shorter hair.

A Half Bun

Half up bun wedding hairstyle
Photo: Crown Luxe

Hair Length: Medium or long

A perfect half-up wedding hairstyle for curly hair, this look features half of the hair piled up into a bun on top of the head. While this does look amazing with natural curls, it's a really versatile choice: you can do soft waves, bouncy curls, or even straight hair.

Three Braids Pulled Back

Three Braids Pulled Back half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Angela Tam

Hair Length: Medium or long

For a more boho vibe, braid your hair instead of simply pulling it back. A single braid is a classic, but this braid trio feels more unique and fresh. Curling the rest of your hair only adds to the look. This one works best with long hair, and extensions are a great addition here to add some volume.

Beach Waves with a Twist

Beach Waves with a Twist half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Emily Hatch

Hair Length: Medium or long

Loose beach waves look a little bit more glamorous when in a half-up, half-down hairstyle. This unstructured hairstyle is perfect for the bride who wants a more effortless look. Twist some of the hair in the back into a very loose bun or twist to keep it more interesting, while leaving some wavy pieces out around your face.

Tight Curls and Baby Hairs

Tight curls half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Upper Schelon Luxury Hair

Hair Length: Long

There's something to be said for lots of tight curls on your wedding night: they feel fun and youthful, and really add to your overall look. Keep it simple by pulling them back into a high ponytail, and gel down your baby hairs around your hairline for extra oomph.

Lots of Twists

Twist half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Angela the Cosmetologist

Hair Length: Short, medium, or long

Instead of just pulling your hair back into a hair tie, try adding several small twists. This creates a lot of volume and texture, and it's a versatile look that can even be done with shorter hair. Choose bobby pins that match the color of your hair to really make this look seamless.

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Curls and a Crossover

Crossover curls half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Emily Hatch

Hair Length: Short, medium, or long

Tighter curls can sometimes look a little too styled when left on their own but a curly half-up, half-down wedding hairstyle is a great way to create a more subtle look. The back of this one features hair crossed over to hide any bobby pins or hair ties, making the look stand out a bit more. This is a versatile option that can be worn for pretty much any wedding style.

Half-Up High Ponytail

Half-Up High Ponytail wedding hairstyle
Photo: Fab Mood Inspiration

Hair Length: Long

A high ponytail can look so sleek and elegant when it's made to look smooth and shiny. If you're unsure about having all of your hair off your neck, get the best of both worlds with a half-up high pony. You can add some curls at the ends of your hair, or leave it straight throughout. Either way, this look feels very on-trend.

Accentuated with a Bow

Bow half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Glow and Co

Hair Length: Medium or long

Hair accessories are always a way to make an otherwise slightly boring hairstyle more exciting and notable, and this look is a great example of that. A classic half-up hairstyle for weddings is just pulling your hair back and adding some volume, and the addition of a large white bow and tiny white pearls makes it even prettier and more feminine. This is a beautiful choice for a princess gown.

Brushed Out Curls

Brushed Out Curls half up wedding hairstyles
Photo: Ivy Perkins

Hairstyle Length: Medium or long

Brushing out your natural curls immediately adds volume and texture to the style you ultimately choose, so take advantage of that with this look. A middle feels of-the-moment, and we love how the natural texture looks even more defined against the slicked-back hair at the crown of the head. Add a sparkling accessory to pull it all together.

A Sporty Braid

Sporty braid half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Hair by Amanda

Hair Length: Long

Looking for something that feels a little more casual? This half-up braided wedding hairstyle is a great mix of sporty chic and elegance. A French braid on the side adds some texture to a half-up ponytail, and loose curls complete this boho-inspired look.

Old Hollywood Waves and a High Pony

Old Hollywood Waves and a High Pony half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Upper Schelon Luxury Hair

Hair Length: Long

Mix up a trendy look (the half-up high ponytail) with a tried and true classic (glamorous old Hollywood waves) for something guests definitely won't forget. This look is both sophisticated and fun and works well for glamorous brides who want an over-the-top wedding night look.

Half-Up Curly Ponytail

Half-Up Curly Ponytail wedding hairstyle
Photo: Hair by Meagan

Hair Length: Medium or long

Half-up ponytails are such an easy and versatile hairstyle that they can sometimes feel almost too simple for a wedding. Adding curls, teasing the hair for volume, and wrapping hair around the base of the ponytail to hide the elastic all help elevate the look and make it feel more wedding-appropriate.

Pearls and Lots of Volume

Voluminous half up wedding hairstyle with pearl embellishments
Photo: Glow and Co

Hair Length: Medium or long

Sometimes half-up, half-down wedding hairstyles can feel a little flat. Teasing the hair at the crown of your head to add maximum volume is always an option. While this look would be beautiful on its own, the tiny pearls studding the pulled-back hair really make it feel extra special. These are great additions if your dress is more minimalist.

A Braid Crown

Braided crown half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Hair by Lydia Robbins

Hair Length: Medium or long

While braids tend to have a more boho vibe to them, they are surprisingly versatile and can work for a variety of different styles. This option feels feminine and fresh. Pull hair into a sort of braid crown at the back of your head for a more updated version of the old braid crowns that used to be trendy. Adding a floral headpiece to the front is a nice way to embellish the look.

An Elegant Accessory

Gold clip half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: INH Hair

Hair Length: Medium or long

This beautiful half-up, half-down wedding hairstyle is an example of how simple can sometimes be best. Using large curlers to curl your hair will produce these big, bouncy waves, and teasing at the crown of your head adds plenty of volume. An elegant hair accessory, like this long gold clip, instantly makes this more interesting and is a nice way to tie in the metal of your jewelry.

Flowers and a Twist

Flowers and a Twist half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Ivy Perkins

Hair Length: Short, medium or long

Can't find the perfect hair accessory? Simply ask your florist for some extra flowers (or buy fake ones that look similar to your real ones), and glue them onto a clip. Add this to the crown of a half-up, half-down hairstyle like this one. It looks best tucked into a thick twist or braid and is just right for the boho bride.

A Wrapped Ponytail

Wrapped Ponytail half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Janie Waves

Hair Length: Medium or long

For something more low-maintenance but still sophisticated, opt for a half-up, half-down ponytail. You don't need to add height or volume with this style, which involves wrapping a few pieces of hair around the base of the ponytail to hide the elastic and create an interesting look. The natural slight wave here makes this look really appear effortless instead of overly styled.

Lots of Clips

Pearl clips half up cascading wedding hairstyle
Photo: Jessica Gemma

Hair Length: Long

Brides who want something more unique and trendy should gravitate towards hair accessories to update a classic style like a half-up, or half-down. Smooth your hair down on either side and at the crown and fasten in the back, then add as many embellished clips and pins as you want. This is a "more is more" look made for modern brides.

A Textured Bob

Textured braided half up bob wedding hairstyle
Photo: Jordan Pomeroy

Hair Length: Short

More casual brides will love this easy half pulled back hairstyle. It's low-maintenance and it's great for shorter hair. Simply pull back half the hair into a messy half bun, leaving strands falling out for the full effect. A small fishtail braid on the side is a great addition while leaving your natural texture adds to the messy chic look.

A Leaf Hair Crown

Leaf Hair Crown braided half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Ivy Perkins

Hair Length: Medium or long

A hair crown is often worn similarly to a headband, and wearing it on the back of your head feels fresh and different. This looks lovely sitting underneath a braid, and lots of curls are a must. A beautiful choice if it ties into other floral aspects of your wedding look.

Long and Glamorous Waves

Long and Glamorous Waves half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Laura Khangeldyan

Hair Length: Long

Long hair half-up, half-down wedding hairstyles give you a wide array of options, and this should definitely be a contender for your big day. You can start with long curls brushed out into softer curls that almost look wavy. Half of your hair will go back into a ponytail, and you can add extra volume by pulling it through to create a perky-looking pony that looks trendy in all the right ways.

A Half-Updo

Braided half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Laura Synder Hair

Hair Length: Short

When you have short hair, an updo isn't really an option without extensions. If you're not into this idea, try this half-updo. Half of your hair is pulled back into a braided bun, with the rest hanging down in beach waves. It's a great mix and works with a classic bridal vibe.

A Fun Bubble Ponytail

Bubble Ponytail half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Lilibet

Hair Length: Long

For a whimsical and unique hairstyle, try this Gen-Z-approved trend: a bubble ponytail, which is a half-up ponytail with several different elastics throughout to create a bubble look. Keep the rest of your hair sleek and straight for contrast. This is ideal for a more casual wedding, maybe one at the beach or outside during the day.

A Half Braid

Half braid half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Love Hairstyles

Hair Length: Short, medium, or long

A braided half-up, half-down wedding hairstyle is a timeless look. But a half-braid? That feels a lot more fresh. On one side of your hair, simply pull a piece of hair back loosely. On the other side, braid a piece of hair. Clip them together in the back and add some piece-y waves for texture, then you've got a really interesting hairstyle.

A Fishtail Braid

Half up fishtail braid wedding hairstyle
Photo: Megan Warnick

Hair Length: Long

Fishtail braids are a fun take on the traditional braid that look feminine and give off a boho vibe and are perfect if you have a lot of long hair. Start by creating a fishtail braid with pieces on either side of your head, and when they meet in the back, do a very loose and large fishtail braid down your back. Accentuating with pretty pins makes this look all the more special.

A Braid with Short Hair

Half up braid short wedding hairstyle
Photo: Ivy Perkins

Hair Length: Short

A half-up, half-down hairstyle is perfect with short hair and is a great choice for hair that seems too short for an updo. Grab two front sections of hair on either side of your head and braid them back, and once tied in place, gently pull on each piece to make the braid appear thicker and larger. Face-framing pieces in the front complete the look.

A High Ponytail and Tight Curls

High Ponytail and Tight Curls half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Richie Porter

Hair Length: Long

Tight curls are glamorous and fun, and they look perfect for a formal occasion like a wedding when pulled into a half-up, half-down hairstyle. Pull half back into a high ponytail right on the top of your head, and you'll feel like a superstar all night long.

A Braid and Curls

Half up braid with curls wedding hairstyle
Photo: Stephanie Bailey

Hair Length: Short

One thing that stands out about this hairstyle is that it uses hair pulled back and braided at the top of your head rather than on the sides. This creates a really pretty volume and texture that looks just different enough while still being subtle. The addition of floral pins like these gives this versatile look a touch of whimsy.

A High Ponytail and Bangs

High Ponytail and Bangs half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: The Cutting Cafe

Hair Length: Medium or long

It's all about the volume with this fun and youthful hairstyle. Pull half of your hair back into a high ponytail on the top of your head, wrapping some pieces around the elastic and curling everything else. If you have bangs, this is a great half-up, half-down hairstyle to really let those shine.

Braids and a High Ponytail

Braids and a High Ponytail half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Touch of Luxury

Hair Length: Long

The mix of tight, tiny cornrows and a voluminous high ponytail is really what makes this look stand out. Gel down your baby hairs around your edges for an extra trendy look, and add lots of big, bouncy curls. This is the perfect hairstyle for the glamorous bride who wants something just a little bit extra.

Curled Half-Updo with Fishtail Crown

Half up fishtail crown wedding hairstyle
Photo: Shane and Lauren Photography

Hair Length: Long

Give off the most boho vibes with this messy but chic hairstyle. Loose beach waves are pulled back in a way that doesn't feel intentional, and a thick fishtail crown in the back adds some texture. This is ideal for the low-key bride who doesn't want a structured hairstyle.

Retro Half-Up Hairstyle

Retro Half-Up wedding Hairstyle
Photo: Jillian Bowes Photography

Hair Length: Medium

Brides who are going for a more retro vibe with their dress and the style of their wedding will want a hairstyle to match. This retro-inspired half-updo features a whole lot of volume, side-swept bangs, and some pretty curls. It also pairs great with a red lip.

Wildflower Laced

Wildflower Laced half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Yellow Feather Photography

Hair Length: Short

An outdoor wedding calls for some flowers in your hair. In this look, the bride's stylist has weaved different varieties of wildflowers into a twisting hair crown for an end result that will make you look like a whimsical fairy princess.

Braided Half-Up

Braided Half-Up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Derek Bedwell Photography

Hair Length: Long

There's no reason to take your braids out for your wedding day. Let them take center stage with this simple half-up hairstyle by loosely pulling a few braids back on either side and securing them with an elastic or a pretty clip. It's fast, easy, and so very pretty.

A Flower Crown Half-Updo

Flower Crown Half-Updo wedding hairstyle
Photo: Sweetwater Portraits

Hair Length: Medium or long

Elegant white flower crowns were made for your wedding day and can look both romantic and bohemian. Pull back half of your hair loosely so it doesn't seem too sleek, curl the rest, and place the flower crown on top. This is beautiful for an outdoor spring or summer wedding.

A Pretty Knot

Knot half up wedding hairstyle
Photo: Koby Brown Photography

Hair Length: Long

Make the back of your head the center of attention with this unique knotted hairstyle. The braid is tied into a Celtic knot, which is a looped pattern that appears to go on infinitely and is representative of your relationship and future. It also has a little bit of a nautical look to it, making this a great option for weddings by the beach or water.

Half-Up Bun

Half-Up Bun wedding hairstyle
Photo: Alicia Ann Photographers

Hair Length: Long

If you want your hair to look timeless and sophisticated, then try a half-up bun. Instead of putting the bun on the top of your head, though, place it more towards the back. Leave out some face-framing pieces and add some loose curls, and you've got a classic hairstyle that looks so elegant.

Loose Half-Up Hairstyle

Loose Half-Up Wedding Hairstyle
Photo: Levi Stolove Photography

Hair Length: Long

Go for a relaxed and low-maintenance look with a loose half-up, half-down hairstyle. A few pieces are just gently pulled back and secured, leaving the rest of your hair long and flowing. This looks best with some waves and curls, and gives off an effortless look that would go well with almost any style dress.

Elegantly Pulled Back

Elegant voluminous half up wedding hairstyle

Hair Length: Medium

A lot of half-up, half-down hairstyles feature face-framing pieces, but that doesn't mean you have to go that route. If you want all of your hair away from your face, simply pull the front pieces of your hair back into a smooth half-updo. Soft waves keep this look romantic and elegant.

Tips for Choosing the Best Half-Up, Half-Down Wedding Hairstyle for You

Finding the best hairstyle that is half-up, and half-down for your wedding means looking for something that will keep you comfortable and feeling your best. You want something that looks great in person and in pictures, but you also don't want your hair to be bothering you all night. Keep the below in consideration when trying to pick your half-up hairstyle.

Hair Length and Texture

Half-up, half-down hairstyles are versatile enough to be used with short, long, curly, or thin hair. Picking the style for your hair type is important when it comes to the end result. If you have long hair, you might want to opt for something with loose waves or curls, or you may want something that includes a braid halo or crown. If your hair is quite short, consider something less extravagant so it doesn't use up all of your hair. If you have beautiful natural curls, do something simple to let them shine.

Bridal Hair Accessories You Want to Include

Thinking of accessorizing with a sparkling hair clip or some pretty wildflowers? These can go great with a half-up, half-down wedding hairstyle. Opt for something with a braid or fishtail braid to weave flowers into. If you're adding a hair clip, you may want to keep the rest of the hairstyle simple so that it doesn't feel like there's too much going on.

The Location of the Wedding

Where and when your wedding affects your hair. If you're getting married by the beach, consider that the salty air and/or wind may mess with a sleek hairdo. Work with that type of atmosphere by opting for something loose and purposefully mussed up, like beach waves or a braid. If your wedding is quite formal or has a black-tie dress code, you might want something a bit more put-together, like a half-up bun.

How Long You'll Have the Hairstyle

Comfort is key on your wedding day. A very tight half-up, half-down hairstyle might make you want to rip your hair out after a few hours. Something too tousled might end up looking a little too messy by the end of a long night of dancing. Think about how long you'll be rocking the look and about your own comfort level.

Your Hair Trial

Once you pick a half-up, half-down hairstyle you love, be sure to try it out during your hair trial and leave it in for several hours. This is the best way to see how it will sit over time, how you like it in photos, and how comfortable it feels.

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