Sure, your wedding dress may be the star of the show, but the right accessories will elevate your look and add a personal touch (or three). But between jewellery, shoes, veils and other pieces, there can be a dizzying amount of choices to make, and you don’t want to go overboard. So before you buy anything, read our top style rules for accessorising your wedding dress.
There is no rule of thumb here, but the main thing to remember is: Don’t let your jewellery steal the spotlight that should be on your dress, or you. Making your wedding-day look work is a balancing act, and the secret is “teamwork” — each element should complement the rest and, together, you should feel like the star.
Your starting point should always be the gown. “I would recommend for brides that have chosen a simpler gown, to pair the dress with a beautiful diamond necklace with matching diamond studs or statement drop earrings.
You’ve found your wedding dress, and now it’s time to think about those little details to complete your bridal look. Your choice in bridal earrings and other wedding accessories will set the tone of your bridal look. You can instantly transform a sleek and minimalist wedding dress into serious wedding goals with the addition of statement floral drops. Prefer a more classic look? You can’t go wrong with classic pearl drops or crystal earrings.
The challenge is not to over-accessorise and to choose key pieces that will anchor your look. You don’t need to look or feel like a Christmas tree. Sometimes just a headpiece, veil or a set of statement earrings might be all you need.
When we offer advice to our brides, we always look at three things – your wedding dress, the neckline and your bridal hairstyle. These details will impact the overall silhouette as well as the vibe of your look.
Saying “I do” at Vogue Ballroom is an elegant and luxurious affair.
Table of Contents
- 1 Match Your Metals
- 2 Less Is More
- 3 Know Your Veils
- 4 Top It Off
- 5 Wedding Jewelry Do’s and Don’ts
- 5.1 DO mix borrowed with new
- 5.2 DON’T wear a necklace with this season’s asymmetrical gown trend
- 5.3 DO bring your headpiece when trying on earrings
- 5.4 DON’T wear a watch
- 5.5 DO mix finishes: your ring is its entity
- 5.6 DON’T over-accessorize
- 5.7 DO give yourself enough time!
- 5.8 DON’T compromise personal style
- 5.9 DO incorporate colour into jewellery
- 5.10 DON’T cut corners — quality lasts a lifetime
- 5.11 DO wear your wedding jewellery after the big day
- 5.12 DON’T wear wire earrings
- 5.13 DO change jewellery for the reception
- 6 Consider the Neckline of Your Dress
- 7 Coordinate With Your Dress Color
Match Your Metals
You may not realise this, but some metals look better with certain dress colours. As a general rule, ivory is best paired with gold since it highlights the creamy tint of the fabric. For a pure white dress, choose accents in silver or platinum or with pearl detailing—gold may clash with brighter white hues. You can have your pick with a diamond-white gown—this barely off-white colour looks amazing with yellow gold, rose gold, silver or pearls. If the dress you chose is already embellished with beadwork, let that dictate the colours of your accessories. For example, if your gown has gold beading, pick a necklace, bracelet or earrings with a gold base.
Less Is More
You don’t need a veil, tiara, earrings, necklace and a sash. Accessories add a unique touch to your look—which we love—but one too many can be downright distracting. Before you start buying, take an inventory of your gown’s standout features and then base your choices around them. If your dress has an ornate neckline, opt for a pair of drop earrings instead of a necklace (that might look too busy). For a gown with a simpler style, try a bold statement necklace or fascinator. When it comes to earrings, take a cue from your hairstyle. If you’re leaving your hair down and over your ears, small studs or drops will do. But for an updo, you might want something a little more dramatic, like a pair of chandelier danglers. It’s always a good idea to avoid designs that closely mimic the embellishments on your gown—you don’t want to look too matchy-matchy.
Know Your Veils
The veil is the iconic bridal accessory. From flirty bird cages to regal cathedral-length styles, there’s no shortage of options. But there are a few things you should keep in mind as you narrow down the type of veil you plan to wear. First of all, you’ll want your veil to match the exact shade of your gown (colour blocking is better left to your day-to-day look). And be mindful when choosing a style—if your dress has a lot going on, stick with something simple that won’t steal the spotlight. If showing off the back of your dress is a must—say, you have gorgeous embroidery or beading—choose a sheer veil rather than one with two layers of tulle. Lastly, Consider your body type: Longer waltz or floor-length veils will elongate a petite frame while mid-length styles, like fingertip or elbow-length veils, can visually cut you in half, making them a better pick for taller brides. Short styles, like a birdcage or bandeau, work for all shapes and sizes and lend a fun, retro vibe to your gown.
Top It Off
Are veils not your thing? From hair combs to fascinators, there are plenty of other ways to top off your look. Choose your hairstyle before you pick your accessory since some types will look better with updos than others. A flower crown, for example, is best with loose locks. You should also consider your hair type—dainty accessories may be perfect for fine hair, but won’t be as noticeable in thick waves. Most importantly, make sure whatever you pick feels secure while you’re moving around.
Wedding Jewelry Do’s and Don’ts
DO mix borrowed with new
Long gone are the days where everything is matchy-matchy. Boring! To look put together, cohesively express your style. The finish of your jewellery should be similar, but feel free to mix and match, as long as the general shape and/or era echo the same tone. This is the perfect opportunity to blend your something borrowed (think: heirloom) with a new piece. You can incorporate your grandma’s vintage brooch or your mom’s favourite bracelet and still exercise your style.
DON’T wear a necklace with this season’s asymmetrical gown trend
A one-shoulder gown is already a statement in itself. Adding a necklace to your look is a definite no-no. Not only will it have you looking unbalanced, but it ruins the interesting line of the gown and stops the flow of the eye to your face. Opt for a spectacular pair of earrings and a bold cuff.
DO bring your headpiece when trying on earrings
If you’re wearing a headpiece, make sure you bring it when selecting jewellery — especially earrings. You’ll need to consider proportion and the finish of the embellishments, not only against your face but also against the line and style of your gown. The goal is to enhance your look, not add competition.
DON’T wear a watch
We know you have a schedule to keep, but this is your day, so skip the watch and let your planner or family handle timing. Think of all the close-up shots of your hands — at the altar, with the bouquet, your wedding bands — there are few things less elegant than donning a wristwatch. Choose a shimmering bracelet instead.
DO mix finishes: your ring is its entity
Pay no mind to the finish of your wedding band when selecting a finish for your bridal jewellery. What you should think about is the “season” of your skin, the colour of your gown (I’m partial to antique finishes for ivory and pastels), the colour of your gown embellishments and your wedding vision (go shiny for classic and modern, antique for rustic and vintage, etc.)
The last thing you want to look like is you and your 5-year-old niece were playing Pretty Pretty Princess before walking down the aisle. For extreme-chic looks, I love the “less is more” concept. If you want to make a statement, choose one part of the body to accentuate with a large piece, and balance the rest with small baubles. For a traditional affair, you’re almost always safe with earrings and bracelet combo.
Check out our post on How do you accessorize a wedding? to get more ideas.
DO give yourself enough time!
Bridal jewellery is all too often lumped into the “accessories” category and barely mentioned against its counterparts: shoes, hair and handbags, yet it’s such an integral part of pulling together your look. Make sure you select your jewellery for three months (minimum!) before the wedding. This way, you’ll have time to receive your order (pay attention to delivery times for custom jewellery), try it on during your gown fitting, and make any necessary exchanges.
DON’T compromise personal style
This isn’t the day to try something new or go out of your comfort zone. All too often, I’ve seen brides head for trends, rather than expressing their true style. There’s enough to stress about on the day, much less adding the feeling you’re out of your skin. Go for classic beauty, and you’ll walk tall and enjoy your pictures for a lifetime.
DO incorporate colour into jewellery
It was shades of pink, and now it’s passionate red. Or is it Tangerine Tango? Whatever your colour scheme, incorporate matching or complementary hues into your jewellery. If you’re walking the aisle in white, but want to add some pizzazz, try fun jewel-toned earrings. Or, gift your bridesmaid’s colourful pieces that can be worn in everyday life too.
DON’T cut corners — quality lasts a lifetime
Every girl has her budget — especially in this economy –, but your wedding is not the time to go cheap on accessories. Those to-die-for Jimmy Choos you’ll only see in that wedding shot where you lift your dress? Awesome. Teen store earrings in every shot? Not so much. Choose quality pieces you can wear again and maybe even pass on to your daughter someday.
DO wear your wedding jewellery after the big day
Unlike most everything you’ll purchase for your wedding, your bridal jewellery is something you can wear on multiple occasions: your honeymoon, anniversary, formal events — and depending on the style — perhaps just to dress up an everyday look. Again, if you buy quality, it’s an instant heirloom.
DON’T wear wire earrings
Unfortunately, wire earrings often fall under the category of handmade (and of course, cheap, which I’m fully against). I don’t mean to discourage the DIY girl or a wonderfully thoughtful gift, but here are my two cents: wire earrings are too informal. Just don’t do it.
DO change jewellery for the reception
By now, you know that simply changing your jewellery can completely change the look and feel of your wedding style. So even if you aren’t letting your hair down or changing dresses, this is the perfect opportunity to try those statement earrings you loved or add bangles to make a stack (after all, you won’t have to worry about clanking noises once the party’s started)!
Consider the Neckline of Your Dress
The neckline of your wedding dress is one of the most important things to take into consideration when picking out your wedding day jewellery. The jewellery you choose, whether it be a necklace, earrings or bracelets, should complement the neckline of your dress.
Should rarely overlap or touch your dress, so think about the length of the necklace you’ll need for your particular neckline style. Also, if there are any intricate details on your dress, especially around the bust area or neckline, your jewellery should aim to enhance rather than distract from the adornments. Here are a few popular wedding dress necklines and the jewellery types that will best flatter each:
Strapless wedding dresses are one of the most popular styles that brides choose. With this type of neckline, you have a decent amount of exposed skin to work with, so there are quite a few options when it comes to jewellery for strapless dresses. Common necklace options for this neckline are elegant yet bold pieces. Choose something that has sparkly diamonds covering the entire necklace, but make sure the length of the necklace lies halfway between the neckline and your collarbone or above. Otherwise, if the necklace is too long, it could end up looking unbalanced. Pair this sparkly necklace with a pair of simple diamond drop earrings, so you don’t overwhelm with your jewellery selection.
Sweetheart necklines are a classic, elegant style that’s perfect for a wedding dress. Whether you are well endowed or have a small bust, sweetheart necklines accentuate your curves to show a little bit of skin without making you feel overexposed. When picking jewellery for a sweetheart neckline, it’s best to choose something simple that will highlight this flattering cut. A beautiful drop necklace with a dangly pear-shaped diamond surrounded by a few marquises cut diamonds on either side will give your sweetheart neckline just a little something extra. Add matching pear-shaped diamond earrings to complete the look.
Halter style necklines tend to take up quite a bit of space on your neck, so wearing a necklace might be difficult with this style. If you opt to skip the necklace altogether, frame your face with a pair of chandelier earrings. And, since there won’t be any sparkle around your neck, this is the perfect opportunity to wear a diamond or pearl bracelet to add some extra flair to your wedding attire.
Straight necklines are a simple, classic wedding dress option. Dress up this simple neckline with a larger statement necklace that adds a little glitz to your dress. If you’re going big with your necklace, match it with understated diamond or pearl stud earrings.
Wedding dresses with a V-neck neckline can be a classy and more formal option. A simple pendant necklace with a single gemstone will look great paired with a deep V. Pendant necklaces create a sort of V shape on your neckline by hanging from your neck, and this matching shape is a fantastic way to showcase this elegant neckline while not distracting from it. Pair it with some short, dangly earrings to bring added sparkle to your ears as well.
Coordinate With Your Dress Color
Of course, you think that your wedding dress is white just like every other wedding dress out there. While yes, that may technically be true, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of different shades of white when it comes to wedding dresses! Some of those shade variations may end up clashing with the metal colours you choose for your wedding jewellery. Here are a few wedding dress colours and the best metal colours to go with them:
A true white dress can be one of the most difficult colours for brides to wear. The starkness of this pure white can wash out the majority of fair to medium skin toned brides. It does, however, tend to work well on those with darker skin tones which can contrast the bright shade. If your wedding dress is true bright white, stick with very light-coloured metals like platinum and pearl. Stay away from gold hues as it will likely clash with bright white.
If you know you want a bright white dress, but pure white just doesn’t seem to work well with your skin tone, then champagne white is another stunning light white option. Champagne white is a few shades darker than bright white, and it can be a little easier to wear. When wearing a champagne white dress, brides look like they’re wearing bright white, but because the colour is just a little off-white, it’s less prone to washing you out. Champagne white looks good with just about any metal colour. Feel free to experiment with rose gold or stay classic with yellow or white gold hues.
Ivory happens to be the most universally flattering shade for brides to wear. However, even amongst ivory whites, there is quite a bit of variation in the colouring. Some have warm, cream-coloured undertones, while others can have a slight pink undertone. Try sticking with metal colours that complement the undertones of the ivory shade in your dress. Yellow or cream undertones will pair nicely with yellow gold, and pink undertones will look fantastic with rose or white gold.
Candlelight white is on the darker side of the ivory spectrum. The colour refers to the fact that it appears white under candlelight, and is a great pick for an evening or sunset wedding. Yellow and white gold will accompany candlelight dress colours marvellously as it tends to take on a more yellow undertone.
If you’re looking for a less traditional wedding dress colour, Ecru is an excellent option. Ecru is the deepest shade of ivory, and it can sometimes even look beige. The name Ecru comes from the raw colour of linen before it’s bleached. This dark ivory tone will most certainly look best paired with yellow or white gold.
Choosing the perfect wedding jewellery to complement your dress can be difficult if you haven’t seen the jewellery in person. Certain styles and colours may look good on the models online, but you have no idea how it will look on you until you see it for yourself. We get it. Everyone has different skin tones, body shapes and even different styles that fit them. When it comes to purchasing your wedding jewellery, try it on in person before jumping head first into committing. If you can, it will be extremely helpful to wear a top that has a similar neckline to your wedding dress to your jewellery shopping excursion. This will help you to know exactly how a certain necklace will lay on your neck, and you’ll get a better sense of the overall look the jewellery will have on your attire.