Hair is a big part of every bride’s special day— and it turns out to be pretty much always been that way. However, beauty runs a lot more than hair deep and the evolution of bridal hair exemplifies that.
And while brides-to-be of yestercentury and yesteryear might not have had a Pinterest board full of bridal hairstyles with bohemian braids, lush loose curls, or whimsical flower crowns, however, the ancient to-be-wedded ladies certainly were not short on bridal beauty fads.
From the ancient, unique styles of Roman Empire brides, 1940s victory rolls to the 80s voluminous teased tresses, bridal hairstyles have gone under a significant metamorphosis throughout the years.
And now, without further ado, let us get to the maneevent (pun intended), shall we?
Ancient Rome: Meet The Tutulus
Around 27 BC – 476 AD, Brides of the Roman Empire wore a unique hairstyle they like to call the “tutulus”. This is where the hair was divided into 6 pieces and fastened on top of the bride’s head with a bent iron spear, which was meant to drive the evil spirits out. Brides of this era also wore a wreath of flowers.
Middle-Ages: The Head Coverings
A married woman, during the medieval period, would have covered her head with wimples, veils, barbettes, hats, clothes, hoods, hairnets or a combination of these in order to avoid their hair from showing. Although the church looked down on it, it is seen as fashionable for women and even plucks their hairline and eyebrows since high forehead that time was seen as a sign of beauty.
Renaissance: Those Elaborate Braids
Brides-to-be during Michelangelo’s time— take Genoese noblewoman Somonetta Vespucci of 1940s— pride themselves on intricate braids with headpieces covered in pearls and other gems.
The Enlightenment: Arrival of the Updos
Starting from 1700 – 1800, this is when piled high-hair began gaining popularity among the upper classes of Europe. Female courtiers and royals have their hairstylists construct monumental hair sculptures for special events. These could be covered with fruit, feathers and even models of fully rigged ships.
AS a matter of fact, before the wedding of Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and George III in 1761, the bride had to sleep sitting up in order to ensure that survival of her bridal hairdo.
16th – 19th Century Russia: The Kokoshnik
Russian brides of this time, particularly in the North, wore the kokoshnik. It is an ornate, crest-shaped headdress embroidered with pearls and gold and tied with bridal ribbons.
18th – 19th Century Norway: The Appearance of Bridal Crowns
Bridal crowns from Norway were made of gold and silver often dotted with precious stones. These crowns are heirlooms and are common for all brides of a single family for centuries to wear the same adornment on their heads.
1900s – 1910: Hair Frames
This was the period of hair frames as well as false pieces, giving bridal hairstyles a great deal of volume. Hair was pinned high on the head to deliberately make it look voluminous with hairpieces and fake braids started to be incorporated with a Marcel iron, similar to the modern-day curling iron, which was used to make waves.
1920s: Skull Caps and Bobs
Obviously inspired by the Roaring 1920s flappers, this popular wedding hairstyles evolved towards the sleek angled bobs. Bobbed hair, including the “shingle bob” were famous. It is where the hair is tapered into a “v” shape at the nape of the neck as well as the “Dutch boy” where the hair was cut bluntly below the jawline with dramatic bangs. Longer hairs were tied into soft bund at the nape of their neck.
1930s: Finger Waves
AS the stock market goes down, so did the ability of the bride-to-be of this era to afford expensive haircuts. Shoulder-length hair with soft finger waves replaced the short bobs of the previous decade while cap styles are still popular.
1940s: Introducing the Victory Roll
The era of World War II has brought the short, practical curls that carried over into the bridal scene. The style features the signature “v” shape that inspired most modem-day pin-up brides. In addition, another style called the Queue Curl has made its way, featuring a flat top and a curled back and sides.
1945: Post-War Hair Volumes
Brides after the war started wearing their hair high in a waved roll. During this period, women used the rolled-up old stockings in order to create a foundation for their hairdo.
1950s: Back To Innocent Looks
1950s was the age of innocent, ultra-feminine lace as well as skullcap veils. It is a decade of curls, usually worn pinned on the head. Meanwhile, up-dos were the most famous wedding style while “Betty Bangs”, blunt bangs cut just above the eyebrows, were also sought after.
1960s: Beehive and Bouffant
Taking volume to a whole new level, huge bouffant and beehive styles take this era. Beehive, hair teased into a conical shape high on the head, was pretty popular with lots of teasing and combing. In addition, the half-up-half-down look also comes and is often paired with a puffed and rounded style called bouffant.
1970s: Hair Down
After America allows its hair down in the previous decade, bridal hair trends in the 197s also followed. The feathered look becomes popular where hair was worn down with several layers flicked away from the face and accompanied by wispy and delicate bangs.
Tumbling, soft wavers were also popular for those who wanted a more textured look. Some brides also ditched the whole veil and wore flowers or headscarves to decorate their bridal hair.
1920s: Huge Permed Hairs
After the simplicity of 1970s bridal hairstyles, big hairs with more teasing and backcombing made a comeback and were all over the place in 1980s. Back then, they were accompanied with new accessories including the wreath-style headband which are often dotted with sequins.
Voluminous and shorter asymmetric cuts were accompanied by dramatic bangs with perming a popular method to gain volume and height.
1990s: More Big Permed Hairs
If you think that the 80s were all about big hair, then you need to see the 90s bride (at least the early years). Curled bangs, perms, and lots of hairsprays were hot. However, the sleek and layered style featuring longer bangs to highlight the face started taking over. French roll or sleek ponytails were more common.
2000: Simple, straight Hairs
The turn of the century has seen the return of simple hairstyles. Straight hairs, as well as chignon, was the hairstyle of choice this decade with thick and blunt bangs started to become popular at the end of the decade.
2010s: Birdcage Veils, Traditional Updos and Beachy Waves
And know we have the most recent hairstyles. Starting in 2011, the retro birdcage has come back in a flashy way. Then a year pass and the traditional updo has made some noise with silk and tulle veil as well as family heirloom tiaras offering a polished look.
Then 2013 comes and beachy waves become the rave. Soft, retro-inspired waves are currently one of the most popular bridal hairstyles. Messy chic with hair teased slightly to make a more natural look has also become a favorite.
They definitely look easy and have the “I woke up like this” feel which definitely takes hours to perfect. That and flower crowns and more intricate bridal hairpins and bridal hair combs making their way.