Bridal accessories – they may be one of the last items on your “to do” list when it comes to your wedding, but getting the right pieces to accompany your gown can take time and a whole lot of searching.

Fortunately, brides-to-be these days are spoiled for choice. Not only are there so many more options than the by-gone days, there are also more ways that have become “acceptable” to style your look.

Gone are the days where it was a uniformed look of a neat drop pendant necklace, a tight cluster of white roses as a bouquet, and a standard frilly tulle veil that sometimes made the bride look more like a silky chicken than a show stopping eye catcher.

These days, the sea of options are so wonderful, yet sometimes overwhelming. But I say there are no REAL rules for what you style your gown with. The only key is to complement, not complicate.

So, what are bridal accessories?  Well, there are the must-haves:your shoes, unless you plan a barefoot beach wedding! Apart from that, I would say that is it for the MUST have; the rest are all down to your personal style, the type of wedding you are having, and of course, what you love.

Take the veil, a very traditional styling accessory that until recent years has featured prominently at most weddings. These days though there are more options, not just in veils but in veil alternatives.

Veils come in so many lengths and styles, beaded, lace trim, short finger tip, regal cathedral, drop or gathered… you get the idea. This is one accessory that really does have to suit the bride’s style and her gown, otherwise it can really change the whole bridal look, and not for the better.

Then there are Chapel length veils, finger tip and even birdcage. One rule that I would adhere to is: have your gown FIRST or at least nearly completed before starting to make a decision on your veil. I always recommend asking your bridal designer or consultant for guidance.

In a nutshell, if you are having a very heavily beaded gown, I recommend having a plainer veil in a really lovely quality tulle that matches the colour of your gown. As an example, Cathedral veils are the crème de la crème of veils. They tend to be 2.5 meters long or longer, depending on your gown; they can be drop – which means sitting flat on the head and secured with decorative hair pins or stitched in to the hair– or gathered and attached via comb. Cathedral veils can be worn with plain gowns or decorative gowns, beaded, have a lace trimming or plain, depending on your gown.

If your gown is heavily beaded or has all over intricate lace, then it’s best to opt for the plainer veil. And the same applies for a plain gown; a decorative edge or beading can really enhance your look.

Gowns that aren’t beaded or have minimal lace details can look great with decorative  edging or – if you’re game – an all over lace or beaded design, but before diving into the “to decorative or not to decorative” your veil, I recommend starting with the length:what will work with your gown?

If you have a very long train, a floor length veil could look a little out of place, whereas a  finger tip veil or a cathedral could be just right.

Once you have the length, decide how you want it to sit on your head – flat “drop”, gathered via a comb, or 2 tiered so you have a blusher that can then fold back.

Consider the decorativeness… would details on the veil enhance your gown’s features or hide them?It’s a fine line between too much and too little, so seek the advice of your designer or consultant. It’s their job to ensure the whole look works while also being something that you love and keeps within your style

If veils are not your thing, that’s ok too. These days it’s totally fine to wear a veil alternative. There are flowers crowns, headpieces, hair clips, even a fascinator, or nothing at all. If it works with your gown, why not?It’s your day, so make it your style.

Alternatively, why not have the best of both worlds? For example, a veil and headpiece for the ceremony, and headpiece only for the reception. There are so many options and choices these days, I can see why it would almost be a daunting task to make the decision, but I am always a firm believer that a bride will know what is right when it is. So, if you’re trying on veils, headpieces, or both, and nothing is saying “I want to stay on your head” and you’re not loving it, then don’t do it.

Then we come to jewellery… do you wear earrings? Drop, studs, pendants, diamontes, costume, silver, gold or something else? How about necklaces, rings, bracelets?Like the saying goes, less is more and you wouldn’t want to wear all of the above and end up looking like a walking jewellery store.

From a designer’s perspective, the gown is always the anchor and all else is there to assimilate and complement. If you want a headpiece, then wear very plain stud earrings work well. If you are wearing a strapless gown and are showing your décolletage, then opt for some drop earrings to add some jazz while still keeping the neckline free and open. Wasn’t that the point of wearing a strapless gown? You’re not about to hide it with  jewellery.

Other accessories that are becoming more common these days include the detachable  skirt, the decorative belt and even a jacket, all of which add a styled look that can be removed on the day to change up your image.

Detachable skirts are great for the bride who wants drama at the ceremony and then something sleeker to move around in at the reception. Decorative belts are also great to add some sparkle to your gown if it’s plain or un-beaded, and a great waist define for those who have a small waistline and want to show it off.

Then there are the outside-the-box accessories, like arm veils, perfect for a bride not wanting a veil but still a bit of drama, or giant bows for a point of difference. Be your style and if you’re adventurous then try something new; if you’re classic then go for subtle; and if you’re a modern type of bride keep it chic; and if in doubt, ask your designer or consultant for advice.

Oh, and don’t forget your bouquet is also an accessory, so remember to keep that in mind when choosing your other additions. While there is no set formula to choosing what and how much to wear, always remember that to create an impact, less is most often more effective.

Cassandra – Guipurean


Photography:  Anna Murray photography/ Studio Paddington

Stella Hours/ Kat Rolling

Models: Lucia Schrink / Ilona Novacek

HUMA: Linda Lubrin / Jess Chapman

Gowns :  Guipurean

Accessories : Maria James / Nikki Witt / Halo and Me