DIY Wedding Hair: Chestnut Bun

When I got married, I never would have thought of doing my own wedding hair, but my friend (and hair genius) Caroline swore this beautiful chestnut bun was simple enough for brides to do themselves. So, I invited her to a West Village wedding shop to explain the steps (and play dress up), and the wonderful Jamie Beck took photographs. Doesn’t the elegant bun look like something Grace Kelly would wear? Would you wear it?

Here are Caroline’s steps, if you’d like to try it out…

1. Gather your hair into a high ponytail and secure it with a rubber band. You want the band to be pretty tight (otherwise the sides of the ponytail will droop after you do step three).

2. Next, slide your rubber band down a little so it’s no longer tight against your scalp.

3. Create a little “hole” in the loosened part of your hair (between your scalp and the rubber band).

4. Pull your ponytail through the hole you just created.

5. Note: Be sure to pull the ponytail UP through the hole (instead of DOWN through the hole, like the topsy-tail we used to do in the 80s:)

6. Pull the ponytail all the way through so it hangs over the top of the rubber band. You may have to fan out the ponytail a little to create an even shape.

7. Next, loop the end of the ponytail under, towards the rubber band. If your hair is super long, you may have to wrap the ends of the ponytail around your hand a few times before you tuck it under. (I did!)

8. Pin the ends that you just tucked using a few bobby pins. Make sure it’s pinned very securely. Then keep pinning the sides and bottom of the bun until it feels secure. You can spray with hairspray for extra hold, and feel free to bring some extra bobby pins for touch-ups throughout the night.

Voila, that’s it! What do you think, my dears? Would you do your own wedding hair? Isn’t this surprisingly simple? xo Thank you, Jamie and Caroline! And most of all, congratulations to all you brides-to-be out there!

P.S. More hair tutorials

(Photos by Jamie Beck for Cup of Jo. In the step-by-step photos, Caroline is wearing an Eberjey robe. In the wedding photos, Caroline’s adorable wedding dress is by Ivy & Aster from Lovely, a bridal boutique in the West Village. Her jewelry is from her own line, Brvtvs, and her red lipstick is Rouge Dior Lipcolor in Red Muse.)

  1. I tried this and my hair just looks floppy, any ideas? Ponytail is pretty tight to start out too.

  2. You can do your own wedding hair chestnut bun with guidance from the post here. Read to know more
    Breast Enhancement

  3. Jill Michaels says...

    I just tried this on my hair. It worked beautifully and it took me all of about 5 minutes! Thank you for sharing!

  4. Anonymous says...

    My hair is too long for this or the Gibson roll to work =/

  5. Just did this before going to dinner with friends. Super quick and easy and it looks very chic and romantic. Keep ’em coming! Thanks! :)

  6. Another absolutely beaUtiful tutorial…love this lovely little “chestnut bun”. Thank you once again!

  7. Very effective material, thank you for this post.

  8. Thanks for the great tutorial.
    I am sharing it on my blog:

  9. That’s a nice hair style even for a night out on the town! Thanks for the tip, I’ll bookmark it for my wife.

  10. Beautiful, beautiful! Thank you so much for these tutorials! It makes me feel like there’s hope for me! Is it really that easy?

    Notes She Wrote

  11. The key with thick hair is to put the end of your pony tail (the tips of your hair) in a second rubber band, but just temporarily. Thanks for the tutorial!

  12. V says...

    Sadly, my hair is way too thin to do this :(

  13. oh my gosh I LOVE this! I’m totally doing my hair like this for work. I’m lazy enough that I hate blow drying my hair, and this looks so simple! love it.

  14. This hair looks amazing, and I think your tutorial is really helpful.
    Hope you can check out my blog too :)

  15. I am loving your hair tutorials! They always seem so doable which is why they are so great. Caroline is so stunning and Jamie Beck, well she is simply amazing.

  16. wow, great tutorial! I would definitely do my own hair for my weeding if I had practiced it and liked the results – and in the case or this lovely up-do, YES, absolutely!

    Caroline looks gorgeous! Coolest bride ever :-)

  17. Agita says...

    I love that! I tried it and it is so easy and chic. I am getting married on New Year’s Eve this year, and I think with this bun I might actually have found my wedding hairstyle! I was planning to do my own hair anyway, but wasn’t sure what to do. So thank you all for this perfect tutorial!

  18. She looks so beautiful, I want to try it out. I doubt my hair will look anywhere close though!

  19. I love everything about this post- her flirty wedding dress, pink flower cluster, and of course adorably simple hairstyle!:)

  20. Anonymous says...

    Hi I love your blog and specially the hair tutorials!
    I think there might be a mistake on the Jamie Beck link it takes you to the for me for you website instead of the from me to you one… I mean I am not sure but those gifs look like the ones found there…
    I wish to see more hair tutorials! they are amazing. :)

  21. the hair is fantastic but those shoes. I want those shoes!! :)

  22. i love these hair tutorials! i’m planning to do my own hair for my wedding next weekend, though i haven’t figured just how i’m going to do it yet. this style is perfect not only for weddings, but also an everyday style to wear during our hot humid summers!

  23. So easy and beautiful! You guys are genius… :)

  24. Wow! This is pretty nice because you need to hire an expert to do it for you because you can easily do it on your own. The model looks fabulous and stunning with her hairdo. Cool!

  25. Just beautiful! The girl, the dress…

  26. This is so great, Joanna! Love everything about it.

  27. caroline is so pretty!!!

  28. This tutorial is just perfect! I’ve been going nuts for new hair styles.. and to be honest, I still have my topsey-tail…

    ps.-it was really neat meeting you (and the little one) at the Chance pop-up this Sunday!

  29. love, love, love! I love her dress and red lips!
    the dress is gorgeous and the bun is totally doable!

  30. another amazing hair tutorial – been wearing my hair in a braided crown ever since your post. this is absolutely beautiful i love it xx

  31. i absolutely LOVE her dress!! it’s so cute :D :D :D thanks for sharing the bun tip. now i wish my hair was long enough to try. when i had long hair, i’d never know what to do with it lol, irony!

  32. Inspired! Beautiful Images, Beautiful lady, Beautiful Bicycle, More please!!!

  33. absolutely, simply lovely! i found you via Kimberly Michelle’s blog, and i think i’m officially obsessed and in love :). looking forward to all of your fabulous ideas.

  34. hmm i feel like it’s beutiful and perfect for someone else, but not my thing. i like flowy, free hair. like my personality. ha

  35. I have to say, it takes some talent to ride a bike in heals; even to pose on a bike in heals. I love her dress :)

  36. What a lovely idea and gorgeous photos! I’m going to try this one!

  37. Hi Joanna. Great tutorial. I think you posted the wrong link to Jamie’s photographs, though. She is From me-To You, not For Me, For You (by Kate Miss), if I’m not mistaken. Both are excellent blogs! xo.

  38. Monika says...

    Beautiful. And i *adore* Lovely (I got my dress there, and it was hands down the greatest shopping experience of my life).

    Question for you, dear Joanna: I plan on doing my own wedding hair (think laid-back summer camp wedding in Vermont), and was planning on wearing it mostly down, or perhaps down with some wavy curls and a random braid or partly gathered on one side…… any suggestions? Thanks! xo

  39. Forget about the wedding day, I would wear that today! haha

  40. I am obsessed with her highlights, calling my hair stylist immediately

  41. I had my hair done at a salon for my wedding in my fave style – bee-hive-esque pouf half up/half down do. I was really glad that I didn’t have to do my own hair – too much pressure to make it perfect! But I’m in a wedding this summer and won’t be going to a stylist so I’m definitely giving this a try! Maybe with a deep side part?

  42. This was the easiest of your hair tutorials to date! It is steaming in Chicago today and my post-bike-ride bun was feeling heavy at the nape of my neck. Thanks for posting, the pictures are especially helpful!

  43. megan says...

    I LOVE your hair tutorials and have tried a few. This one is a must.

    On a side note, have you tried Goody’s SPIN PINS? They are AMAZING and I know you’ll love it and your readers (like me) too!

  44. Love your blog… and love the hair tutorials… always stunning! Unfortunately my thick head of hair alternates somewhere between chin and just above shoulder length, so it’s always too short for the tutorial styles! Tragic… If you and/or Caroline have ideas for us ladies with short/long angled bobs, I’d love to see and hear about them!!!

  45. I just LOVE these hair tutorials, the pictures and gif are great!! beautifuly presented… <3 <3 <3

  46. GORG!!!!!!!! Caroline is my current girl crush.

  47. would LOVE to be able to pull this off for my wedding day, but would def need some help doing it!

    I have no skillz *what-so-ever* in the hair/make-up department (and I’m secure in that!) but will probably take this in to someone to get some expert help on how to make it look as awesome and effortless as Caroline does…..

  48. Julia says...

    Hi Joanna, I *LOVE* reading your blog every day! Here’s a bit of an odd question: do you happen to know what kind of bike Caroline is riding in these pictures?

  49. I’m getting married (this Saturday!!!!) and am doing my own hair. It makes me a little nervous, but I know I can do it well and I’ll be happy with the end product … and I’ll be happy about saving some extra fun money for the honeymoon :)

  50. Anonymous says...

    Do you think your friend could do a tutorial on fishtail braids??? I have read and watched oodles of posts and can never figure it out!

  51. These photos are so adorable! love the hair do… might give it a go tonight just for fun :)

  52. Gorgeous! I love this look. So classic.

  53. I do this same hairstyle in a completely different way! I put my hair in a high pony and make sure that everything before the pony is the way I want (tight to the head, a little volume, messy, etc.) and then move on to the bun part. I take an aligator clip (the size will depend on the amount of hair) and I clip all of my hair in the pony to my scalp above the ponytail. Then I take the ends and stick them through the pony tail holder underneath so they end up inside the bun. Pin and move hair around to keep the bun even.

    I’ll have to try this way as well!

  54. The bun is beautiful, but the dress/red lips/bike combo is to die for! Your friends are so lovely and talented!

  55. your friend Caroline is stunning. i love all her hair tutorial. i don’t know if i am more in love with her photos or the tutorials. and the purple shoes are OMG!

  56. i love the bun! i don’t know that i would trust myself to do my own hair on the big day but this lady looks great! and i love her dress

  57. This is a great tutorial! Last night we watched “All Good Things” and Kirsten Dunst had her hair just like this, except lower, like the nape of her neck. I sat there wondering for far too long how I could do that. This is it! thanks for the great tutorial!

  58. Jaimie, congratulations on your college graduation!!! i would totally recommend pinhole press — you can make photo notepads or photo journals with your favorite photos of you guys together during college; i think they’re so lovely and touching, and your friends will be able to take them with them when they go off on new adventures. i hope that helps!! xoxo

  59. thanks for all these lovely comments!!!! i agree, i *adore* that dress.

  60. kelsy, no way! my friend’s mom used to do that for her :)

  61. Kudos! Brilliant hair :) it looks like how my cousin had her hair on her wedding day!

    I think I’d probably let my hair be loose for my wedding just because it’s so curly, but omg I’d looooooooove that dress :D

  62. I let my husband cut my hair a while ago. He has never cut hair before but reassured me that it would look great and it did. He just put it in a pony tail on the back of my head and cut it straight across. It fell perfectly into layers.

  63. I LOVE your hair tutorials!! Caroline is gorgeous and Jamie takes such AMAZING pictures!! They’re just so wonderful to look at :) Thx for the wonderful blog!

  64. Wow! That looks genuinely easy to do! Thank you xx

  65. Lovely! And Jamie’s photos are beautiful as always! I love doing that pony-tail flip-through move, sometimes I do it with just the top half of my hair gathered and it looks so pretty. Anyone remember the topsy tail? What really got me here though is her platinum blonde streak hidden underneath the rest of her hair. What a wonderful idea! Think I may have to hide a streak under my own hair this summer…

  66. I love this hair style! I’m not getting married but I am going to try it anyway! hahah :)))

  67. love it love it love it~

  68. this is such a nice tutorial! and so very pretty too =) tottaly love it!

  69. hi! i do hope you read this! i’m graduating this saturday and i would really love to get my friends a cute, unique, and memorable gift to thank them for the past four years of college together. do you have any suggestions? hopefully for a college student’s budget? thank you!

  70. I am obsessed with your hair tutorials!!! If doesn’t wasn’t a wash day I’d give this a try….Thursday!

  71. Your friend Caroline is so beautiful and these photos are just lovely. I would SO do this hairstyle were I a bride. My wedding day was 29 and a half yrs ago, but that is not stopping me from trying this great tutorial right away. I love all if C’s fab tutorials for long hair – please keep them coming. They are all so feminine and unique.

  72. Wow! That looks fabulous! I’m going to try that right now!


  73. I must try that hairdo.

  74. How perfect! I absolutely LOVE the dress. She looks like a modern ballerina. lovely.

  75. I’m 15 and won’t be getting married anytime soon. But i will do this just because. Especially because i have lots of bridesmaid things coming up this summer:) love it! thanks so much!

  76. think i’m going to try this for a wedding this weekend, actually! ;)


  77. I love this! I tried it tonight for an event and really enjoyed it. I positioned it a little lower on my head, and it seemed to work well.

  78. So pretty! I just tried it while sitting at my computer and it even worked with my very fine hair that always looks completly stuck to my head when pulled back. Lovely!! Thanks for the great tutorial and the helpful pictures!

  79. beautiful! i did my own hair, actually. the ceremony was early and there was no one nearby to do it! my mom has ZERO skills with hair, so it was up to me – i did a simple, loose center part and a high ponytail. i curled the ponytail as much as i could and then pinned them up. that was it! i actually burned myself on the neck while doing it and was DEVASTATED that it would be in all my pictures, but miracle of miracles, it went away within the hour!

  80. beautiful update to a classic look and easy to do.. lovely pictures, model and idea.

  81. So beautiful! Thanks for another genius hair tutorial. Don’t trust myself for my own wedding, as hypothetical as it may be, but would definitely consider training. Gorgeous hair, gorgeous girl.

    XO/ Christine

  82. ive been practicing your wedding hair do for my wedding in november! once you get the hang of it, it almost seems so do-able.. almost!

  83. Kat H. says...

    So beautiful, chic and sexy! What a pretty gal! Oh, how I wish I could have pulled that off! (and congrats on the wedding Caroline!)
    Missing my long hair at this moment in my own post-wedding-chop!

  84. thanks for all these lovely comments! yes, caroline’s shoes are from valentino–aren’t they beautiful :)

  85. Great tutorial!!! I’ve been trying to do my hair like that for a while and end up going back to the regular old twisted bun. Thanks for sharing!

  86. Her hair looks perfect…and WOW that dress is absolutely gorgeous!

  87. I would love to do my own wedding hair! She looks great. thank you for sharing:)

  88. Anonymous says...

    Yes, I have really thick hair too and I’ve tried and tried but I can’t get it to look even vaguely right. If anyone with thick hair manages this and has any special tips please post them!

  89. This is amazing! In retrospect, I wish I had done my own wedding hair and makeup. She looks radiant!

  90. I never really learned to do my hair growing up. Lately, I’ve been growing it out after having had a boy cut for about 2 years, and trying to learn how to do some things with it as it grows. These posts have been a major inspiration to me, especially when I feel like I just want to do the big chop again! Thank you, Joanna and Caroline (I may or may not have a teeny girl crush on both of you!).

  91. After a horrendous hair and makeup trial, I decided to do my own hair and I’ve been practicing like crazy. It’s this weekend–cross your fingers for me!

  92. So sweet! I’m definitely doing my own hair for our wedding but am trying to find simple, pretty dos for curly hair :)

  93. If only I still had long hair…

  94. Anonymous says...

    OMG Love it!!!! and the great part is that it’s perfect for a wedding and also for work or a date!!!

  95. Joanna, I’ve read all of your hair posts and I just love the photos from Ms. Beck. The whole time I was reading through it I was excited for the cinemegraph at the end. They are so pretty!

  96. stunning!!!! So effortless and stunning photography. We actually just had a photographer come to our humble little home and take some pics of us- now i just wish i was 15 kilo’s lighter, 10 cm taller and in a tiny white feathered dress ;)


  97. I just tried to do this but couldn’t! My hair is super thick! I didn’t get past step seven! I will try again a different day! :D

  98. rachel & mary, the shoes are by valentino. sadly i don’t think they’re available anymore, they were my wedding shoes 3 years ago!
    juila, the bike is just a vintage 3-speed i got off craigslist a few years ago, nothing special!

  99. yeah, yeah, yeah, the hair is great. what about that bike baby?

  100. Mary says...

    Yes! I want to know about the shoes too!

  101. Lovely, but do please tell us about her gorgeous shoes!

  102. MG says...

    I love these tutorials! They’re so clear and easy to follow.

  103. Tutorial for lasses with shorter hair, please?

  104. Loving the hair tutorials! Keep ’em coming!

  105. the photos are beautiful! what a sweet little ‘do! i’m sitting here trying it! haha!

  106. Everything about this post is beautiful, especially the “bride” on the bike. Jamie Beck is so talented.

    I am loving the original tutorials (cheese plates, hair how-tos) on here, they’re all so fun and inspiring! I always see blog tutorials on DIY crafting, which is great and I have lots of respect for, but these are much more relatable for me, so thanks!

  107. this is really really pretty. Thanks for sharing!

    I definitely think I would consider doing my own hair. I mean, I do it every day so clearly I know it pretty well. And most of the time I like it better when I do it than when someone else does it – maybe it’s my inner control freak! Ha!

  108. You’re becoming like me Joanna with lots of photos because it’s too hard to choose, lol! It’s maybe the best compliment as a photographer to see you include so many beautiful (can I say that about my own work?!) images. Such a joy and privilege to capture this story, thank you J.

  109. Amazing! So simple and beautiful. Your friends are very talented!

  110. I just did this to my hair while sitting here reading the post, it’s that easy. And it’s really cute!

  111. Wow. This is so pretty and seems like something I can actually do myself. Definitely going to ‘favorite’ this in my computer for a wedding I’m going to in August!

  112. Anonymous says...

    This is simple and chic and also natural looking. Yes, I would do it – perfect for a wedding day!

  113. Holy smokes, I cannot get over how beautiful these photos are. So simple & lovely- and adoring the red lips!! xo

  114. Oh my goodness, Caroline looks stunning and I really love the chestnut bun. Its simply elegant and perfect for a wedding! So awesome, Joanna. Kisses