How To Accessorise Your Wedding Dress – The 9 Rules

With so much pressure on brides to find ‘The Dress’ it can be easy for bridal accessories to become an afterthought. They shouldn’t be! The right touches can add elegance and impact, elevate your bridal look, and marry your outfit to your overall wedding theme.

Accessories have become a significant part of wedding day style in recent years (think of the soaring popularity of bridal crowns and headpieces), so here are the new rules for finding your ideal match.

1. Start With The Dress.

Choosing an accessory before you’ve found your gown can be problematic. You might fall in love with an amazing antique gold bridal crown, purchase it, and while shopping a month later, find your dream dress – which has ornate silver-toned beading. Mixed metals can be fashion forward, but what if the two look just plain odd? You’ll save yourself time (and money) by finding your dress first, and then selecting your accessories. Think of your gown as the star of your outfit –the other pieces you surround it with should complement (rather than clash) and accentuate (not overpower) its style.

Starting with the gown will allow you to carefully select items that tie in with it. Perhaps your gown is embellished with tiny crystal flowers. You could then look for a pair of earrings that echo this floral detail, or a crystal hairpiece that glistens in the same way, adding to the wow-factor of the dress.

2. Take Your Time To Choose The Perfect Veil.

It can be easy to feel overwhelmed when contemplating veils –with so many styles available, how do you know what one is right for you?

There are a few key elements to consider when choosing a veil:


Veils come in a wide range of lengths, from the shortest (birdcage) to cathedral (on average four or so metres long). Have your bridal consultant assist you with trying on a range of different veil styles, so you can get a feel for the various lengths and how they look with your dress.

The general rule is that a short gown will be paired with a shorter veil, but veil choice also comes down to personal preference. If you’re more practical by nature, or don’t want to worry about a long veil hindering your movements, you might be better suited to a short to medium style, such as a flyaway, shoulder-length or fingertip veil.

Traditional brides, brides with longer dresses, or brides who love the romance of a long veil, might opt for a sweep, chapel or cathedral length style. Cathedral veils are particularly captivating when paired with dresses with a long train, or for more formal weddings. If you’re the type of bride who loves to make an impact, this style of veil would be perfect.

Multi-layer veils can be the best of both worlds, and add volume to more streamlined gowns.


Tulle is a classic choice for wedding veils – this material has a soft, romantic feel to it, suits a wide range of dress styles and keeps its shape well. Sheer options like tulle are also perfect for gowns that have illusion-style or statement backs – that way these beautiful elements aren’t obscured by a heavy or detailed veil. Alternatively, if your gown is more classic or simple in style, you could opt for a textured or embellished veil. Veil embellishments can include lace, embroidery, beading, crystals, tulle flowers, pearls or other decorative details.

In most cases, the material of your wedding gown will determine the fabric for your veil. Your veil should complement, rather than compete with your gown. For example, if you’re wearing a lace dress, and have your heart set on a lace-edged veil, it’s important that the lace on both items is similar or complimentary; otherwise the overall effect will look mismatched and odd.

Your Wedding Style

Are you a bride who loves vintage details? Birdcage or blusher veils lend themselves towards a retro feel. If you are a romantic at heart, or a little bohemian, a Juliet-capped veil, or mantilla (a classic lace edged veil, pinned to the side of the head, covering the shoulders) might be your perfect match. If your dress is modern and sophisticated, an elbow length or fingertip veil is an elegant choice.

Do you want a blusher? Your bridal consultant might also refer to this as a ‘drop veil’ – this is essentially, a veil that covers a bride’s face as she walks down the aisle.

Not keen on a veil? Don’t feel pressured to wear one if it’s not part of your bridal vision. There are lots of stylish and modern alternatives – think headpieces, hats, floral crowns or even a tulle headband. Read on for our best advice on headpieces.

3. Know your headpieces.

Headpieces have been a major trend in the last few years, with designers such as Viktoria Novak specialising in signature crowns, and other headwear. Romantic in feel, headpieces can add real ‘wow’ factor to your bridal look and the popularity of this particular accessory shows no signs of waning.

When shopping for a headpiece, it’s important to understand the different types, as that will help you narrow down what you are looking for, and if you’re having a headpiece specially made (another rising trend), you and the designer will be able to quickly be on the same page. Bridal headpieces range from finely detailed or elaborate hair necklaces, to headbands in different materials (lace, feathers, tulle, ribbon etc.), to hair combs and pins of all sizes and shapes, to bridal crowns.

A bride may think she is looking for a ‘bridal crown’ but there’s a big difference when it comes to the different styles within this category – some crowns are more traditional looking tiaras, while others are bohemian-style pieces that sit low around the forehead. Each design can lend the wearer a different look – for example, a coronet or halo (circular) is more etherealin feel than a Cinderella like crown.  Varying styles also mean that your veil will need to be positioned differently.

If you have your heart set on a headpiece, make sure you research the different styles to see what appeals to you. Consider the materials and how they will tie into the look and feel of your dress, and think carefully about how you want to wear your hair on your wedding day –some headpieces suit certain hairstyles better than others – for example, detailed circular hair-combs look fantastic with half-up, half-down hairstyles, or positioned around low buns.

4. Be open to suggestions, but stay true to your personal style.

When you’re trying on your dress, make sure you leave yourself lots of time to look at accessories. Try on different styles and lengths of veils, to see what works harmoniously with the dress. Let your bridal consultant make suggestions – give that sparkly belt a shot, pop on a headband, and be open to accessories that you may not have considered. You might surprise yourself and find something amazing that you might have otherwise ignored. Though trial and error, you’ll quickly get a sense of what feels right, and what does or doesn’t suit your style. The general rule is: if you feel uncomfortable in something, are hesitating over whether it’s ‘truly you’ or don’t feel 100% confident, don’t buy that item. Keep searching – there are so many beautiful and unique accessories out there, so don’t settle.

5. Consider your environment.

Having a garden wedding? A floral crown is a pretty option that will fit in perfectly with the natural surroundings, but if your wedding is more modern in style and held in an industrial locale, a bridal bohemian vibe may look out of place.

With different ceremony spots, comes different considerations – for example, stilettos and sand are not a good match. If you’re marrying on the beach and can’t bare the idea of bridal flats, consider a pair of low heeled wedges or espadrilles. Your walk down the aisle will be much more graceful and you can always change into beautiful heels for the reception.

Take into account the time of year – if you’re a winter bride, think about adding a wrap, shrug or faux-fur coat for your ceremony. Aside from being practical, these cold-weather accessories can look amazing in pictures.

6. Not everything has to be white.

Or off-white/cream/eggshell. In terms of accessories, footwear can be a creative way to incorporate a little colour into your look. If you love wedding day traditions, your ‘something blue,’ could be a pair of peep-toes. If your gown is ankle length, and you like the idea of showcasing your shoes, you could make a statement with eye-catching strappy metallic sandals. Or perhaps you’d like to echo a shade from your colour scheme, or incorporate a favourite colour? Louise, 33, who had a winter wedding in the mountains, had always loved rich burgundy tones, so when it came to choosing her footwear, she had her heart set on wine-coloured heels from Jimmy Choo. The colour perfectly complemented the berry-tones in her trailing bouquet, as well as the picturesque winter surrounds.

7. Your accessories don’t have to be ‘bridal.’

Think of your accessories as pieces that reflect your style and personality. Perhaps you’re known for your quirky sense of humour – Kate Spade, Sophia Webster and Charlotte Olympia all carry bridal bags that are whimsical takes on the big day – think adorable ‘Mr and Mrs’ purses, ‘Marry Me’ and ‘Forever’ licence plate clutches! The fun doesn’t have to be limited to your bridal bag.  An unconventional bride might choose to sport sparkly sneakers under her ballgown, or a pair of bold earrings.

If you’re less quirky, more couture-loving, consider purchasing a timeless designer piece. Melanie, 29, who chose to have a destination wedding in Mykonos last year, felt uninspired by the range of beaded and sparkly bridal bags she saw in stores and online. None of the bags suited her personal style, and she worried that she wouldn’t have much use for an elaborately embellished white purse after her big day. Being a luxury handbag lover, she ended up purchasing a sleek nude Louis Vuitton Louise clutch, which not only perfectly suited her beautiful and simple gown, and the relaxed Mykonos vibe, but also became a much-loved accessory long after the wedding.

8.Try everything on, before the big day.

One of the worse mistakes you can make is not doing a pre-check of your overall ‘look’ prior to your wedding morning. Ensure you bring your wedding jewellery, shoes, and bag to your final few dress fittings. You might realise that those statement earrings are detracting from your gown, or the crystals on your bracelet catch on the delicate fabric of your skirt. If you’re wearing a headpiece, don’t forget to take this to your hair trials, along with your veil – that way you and your hairdresser can position both of these to your liking, and you can check all angles in the mirror. Snap some photographs so you have an easy reference for your makeup artist and hairdresser on the morning of the wedding. The last thing you want is on-the-day panic or confusion over what to wear/not wear, or to make a mistake with your look that will be captured forever in your wedding photos.

9. Lay out your accessories the night before your wedding.

This will save you time the next morning, and lessen the chances that you’ll forget your beautiful bracelet, or not be able to locate your carefully-selected perfume. Your wedding morning will be an emotional occasion, and when you’re equal parts nervous and excited, mental checklists can fly out the window. If you have all your accessories together, you’ll feel calm and organised– plus, it will be easy for your photographer to snap all the pretty details!


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