5 Rules for Accessorizing Your Wedding Dress

Photo: Mary Neumann Photography

You found the gown. Check. Now it’s time to choose your accessories. Adding the right finishing touches to your dress can create a whole new look or help to further define your wedding day style. Whether you’ve already got an uber embellished gown or it’s sleek and simple, here are a few ways to help pick the perfect pairs:

Decide: To veil or not to veil

It’s true! There’s no bridal handbook that states you have to wear a veil, although nothing personifies a bride-to-be more than this airy accessory. Stick to the traditional styling of including a veil and/or go with a headpiece (shop both in our Accessories Department!), but be sure to match the color of your veil to the exact shade your dress. An ivory veil might look worn against a bright white gown and vice versa. If your dress has lots of detail, like a beautiful back that you don’t want to cover up, then choose a sheer veil rather than one that is layered and may steal the spotlight. Lastly, when it comes to the length of your veil: 1.) keep in mind that a floor-length or cathedral style veil works well with petite types because it elongates the body, 2.) mid-length styles, like fingertip or elbow-length veils, balance a tall frame, and 3.) shorter veils that frame the face, like a birdcage veil, work for all shapes and sizes, plus they add a vintage vibe or unique retro flare.

Match your jewelry to your dress

Did you know? Certain metals work better with various shades of white and ivory. Gold accessories can highlight an ivory hue while silver or platinum accents compliment a bright white dress. If your wedding gown has beading already on it, then let that set the tone for the accessories you choose. Pick a necklace, bracelet, or earrings with the same metal base — be it silver, rose, or yellow gold. Remember: Less is more when it comes to jewelry, but don’t be afraid to have fun!

Think about your neckline

Be mindful of your wedding dress neckline when thinking of highlighting key areas, like your décolletage. Let’s say you’re wearing a strapless gown or sweetheart neckline: trade the necklace for a pair of elegant earrings. This keeps the focal point on the dress and helps frame your face. Want more? Add some silk flowers to your hair for a more fresh feel, or some vintage pins and finish with an art-deco-style bracelet to complete the look. You can even add a pop of color. If you’ve got a V-neck dress, definitely decorate your décolletage. A simple pendant or locket is an elegant way to accessorize, maybe incorporate a family heirloom or pearls, or go for a statement piece, like a crystal choker or bib necklace with matching earrings. For a halter style dress, don’t worry about the accessorizing the neckline. A romantic updo hairstyle with hair accessories will do the trick. Add some sparkle with a floral-inspired headband or crown, or try some crystal pins to pull back some of your locks and show off your shoulders (ahem, and gown).

Keep the shoes comfy

While we love a fabulous pair of shoes (shop them here!), don’t forget that your wedding day is going to be a busy one and dealing with angry feet should be the least of your worries. Don’t let a pair of perfect stilettos ruin your first dance! If you’re used to high heels, then find a pair that feels right for you, and if you’re not — go with some sleek flats, wedges or sandals. You could always get both and change shoes for the reception. Add a pop of color, or a “something blue,” by choosing a brightly colored pair, or think back to your metals and other accessories to match a more traditional gold or silver pump or flat.

Consider a cover-up

A must-have accessory if you’re getting married during the colder months or will be in a church setting that requires covered shoulders, a cover-up can come in many forms. From boleros to capes, fur stoles to wraps, it depends on the dress for finding the right fit. You may want to spice up a simple gown by adding a delicately beaded caplet or other embellished bolero — choose something that suits your style. Otherwise, pick a long sleeved lace topper, jacket or sleek chiffon shawl to balance an already ornate wedding dress and avoid competition between pieces.

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