Every bride has her own unique style, but not every bride knows her own style. It can take a few trips to different bridal shops or a few hundred hours searching online to figure it out. It’s important to be firm, though, and not be swayed by anyone trying to strong arm you into following their own personal preferences. Yes, brides should think about everyone else when they are planning their wedding, because that’s the nice and polite thing to do. Except, all of that people-pleasing can be exhausting. At the end of the day, it’s important to stay true to who you are and what you really want.
Sure, some of us have been planning our weddings and picturing our wedding dresses since we started practice walking in a pair of high heels! But, some of us don’t begin planning or thinking about our wedding day until some handsome partner sneaks up on us and pops the question. Whether you are a party planner or a classic procrastinator, bridal accessories are bound to come up on your to-do list at some point in your stressed out bride-to-be life.
My advice is to be confident in your decisions and desires. Don’t worry about doing what everyone else does. Or, find something someone else does that you like, and make small changes to make it more “you.”
Other brides may have been more minimalistic about their overall ensemble, but I have always been a girl who loves accessories. I have piled them on since high school – maybe because I went to a Catholic school and wore a uniform. Purses, shoes, headbands, costume jewelry – eccentric, affordable finds – have always been my jam. Either way, be confident, but also willing to adapt and listen to others. Whether that means taking opinions from your mom, your best friend or an unassuming, thoughtful salesperson, it can’t hurt to hear other people out. They might help you figure out exactly what you want. Just don’t let a pushy salesgirl push you into something that isn’t a reflection of you. You want to feel like you on your wedding day – the best version of you – not some random girl or magazine model you see wearing your dress on Pinterest. What makes you, you? Figure that out, and then accessorize it!
Listed below are my five faves for bridal accessories – they are things I chose to accent my own wedding gown and my bridesmaids’ looks. No pressure to like what I like, and I’m sure you don’t feel pressure from me. I just want to provide you with some options and some ideas based off choices I came to love. They still bring me such joy when looking back at photos. And, here’s the fun part. If you are a sentimental freak like me, you can buy yourself a shadowbox frame and keep your favorite accessories hanging on your wall long after your wedding day. Sure, you have to convince your husband to buy into the feminine decor, but it can be adorable. And, it’s a sweet keepsake.
1. Fingerless Lace Gloves
I was lucky to find a bridal shop with an incredible owner and shopkeeper who really felt like a fairy godmother. She was supportive, helpful and sweet. Whereas other saleswomen at other shops felt pushy and presumptuous, Karen was like family. I’m so sad to say that her shop has closed since then, but I do hope she finds a new home for her magical way of making brides feel spectacular. All that being said, she did a wonderful job helping me take a beautiful dress and make it my own. When I tried on a pair of long gloves she had in her shop at my dress fitting, she and her seamstress Maria helped me pinpoint exactly what I had in mind and what would accent my overall look. They reigned me in a bit, which I needed. It was just enough to make me feel like “me” on my wedding day.
2. Cap Sleeves
One of the quickest ways to make a strapless dress your own is to add sleeves. I added cap sleeves to my dress, which squashed any concerns I had about my dress falling down when I was breaking it down on the dance floor.
3. Veil, Headband or Both
I always loved birdcage veils and was honestly on the fence about getting one. I ended up choosing a two-tiered blusher veil that was the perfect in-between. It also had tear drop crystals on the edges, which was a beautiful, extra touch. I do also love cathedral veils, but preferred to accent my dress and not overpower it, since there was already so much lace and detail on the body of the dress. I chose to wear a headband, as well, because it added something extra and was a sparkly addition once I took my veil off for the reception. Although veils can be expensive, I think they are a lovely accessory because they look beautiful in photos, help a bride feel feminine and classic during the ceremony, and come in a variety of styles to suit every personality and dress. Not to mention – the history behind veils is quite interesting. They helped the bride hide from evil spirits on her wedding day! (More on that in my book, a sweet keepsake for the bridal party).
4. An Umbrella
It turns out that my photographer and I had the same idea. I brought a floral umbrella to my wedding day thinking it would be a pretty accessory to add to our photo shoot. He brought a lace umbrella, which he always carried around, because it was a classic look and photographed really well. I loved his more, and am so happy he and I were on the same page about this accessory!
5. Bridesmaid Fans
I was never huge on flowers and was committed to finding an alternative for my bridesmaids. I had a large bridal party, but it wasn’t just about spending the money on flowers. Okay, that was a big part. I’m a sentimental girl. I like things that last and that can be saved. Yes, you can dry out flowers, but I didn’t want an expensive bouquet to be tossed to the side after the ceremony. They can look beautiful and really soften things, but I wanted to do something a little different. Something vintage yet classic and unique. I asked my florist to add a small floral touch to fans I found online, and it came out perfect. They looked great! And, yes, my mom saved one of the fans and put it into a shadow box, which is currently displayed in our master bedroom.
These are my five faves, but truth be told, I love all accessories. It was so hard to decide on what I wanted for our wedding because I love the look of so many things. I decided on what I liked and saved it in ways that lets me remember our special day every day of our lives. Every bride needs to give herself a gift in that regard.
I hope my recommendations help you navigate your own preferences, and I hope you are able to save your faves in ways that remind you of the happiest day of your life. Special thank you to Gary Flom Photography for taking some amazing photos and capturing our day in the most genuine way – from beautiful portraits to happy candid moments.