Your wedding day is arguably the most special day of your life, and you will treasure the photos forever. While studying for my degree, I was lucky enough to land many girls’ dream summer job, helping to organise weddings at a stately home in South West London.
These weddings were stunning. I mean, really impressive. It was one of the go-to locations for London’s elite. Every detail was carefully considered. From the ambience created by the lighting to the mood evoked by the music in the evening. Menus were planned, colour schemes finalised and timings practised. No detail was left to chance.
The bride was, of course, always front and centre stage. Months, sometimes years of research went into planning the most important outfit of their life. Accessories were no more straightforward, with many wife-to-bes tackling the conundrum of pairing something old (often priceless heirlooms) with their carefully curated jewellery.
I learned a lot from these women — from which metals complimented which dresses to how much is too much. Whatever your budget, take a moment to carefully consider what accessories you want to be seen in on your big day. You don’t have to spend a fortune to mimic a high-end look. It’s all about carefully selecting the right accessories and pulling them together thoughtfully.
Following my experience, I’ve put together a few of the most common pitfalls to avoid when accessorising for your big day:
Mix and match metals
On a day-to-day basis, there are far worse sins than being seen with 8 carat gold in your ears and a sterling silver necklace. But this isn’t everyday, it’s your wedding day!
Consider what goes best with your dress. Thankfully, white goes with anything. For an ivory or cream dress, the tones lend themselves well to gold or pearls; and if your dress has beadwork let those colours influence your jewellery metal choice.
You should also spare a thought to your metal choice when shopping for your wedding bands.
“While your engagement ring and wedding band don’t need to match completely, you should opt for metals of the same hardness so one doesn’t cause damage to the other. For example, wearing a white gold ring next to a platinum band will cause scratching as platinum is much harder than gold.” - Jessica Whitfield, Group Operations Director at Winsor Bishop.
Too many accessories
It’s worthwhile taking your accessories along to your final dress fitting for the ultimate trial run. What looks good in your head may look too much in person. Remember your dress is the lead character and your accessories should feature in supporting roles.
By the time you have your flowers, wedding rings, and any headwear - be it a veil, flower crown or fascinator - you may find that keeping any earrings, bracelets or necklaces minimal and simple is the best approach.
Jewellery that’s at odds with the dress
Jewellery that doesn’t go with the dress will stand out like a sore thumb, and frankly, can ruin your overall look. This includes statement pieces that are making all the wrong statements, and accessories that cheapen the dress.
If you want to wear a necklace with your dress, it is worth carefully considering its neckline.
If your dress is v-neck opt for a thin chain with a simple pendant or even a locket for an understated look. For a strapless dress ditch the necklace altogether and let your decolletage be the star of the show.
Splurging on accessories you will only wear once
If you’re on a tight budget, prioritise your spending. There are times to splurge, and times to save, and this applies to your accessories too, so rein it in girl!
It is easy to go overboard on the wrong things. For example, your wedding bands are forever, so are well worth investing in. Accessories you are only going to wear on your big day, on the other hand, are worth shopping for on a shoestring. That said, be wary of poor quality jewellery, as not only could this cheapen your look, it could result in sore ears, or react with your skin and cause ugly green staining. Ask your grandmother if she has any chic, antique pieces that you could borrow for the day.
Not considering your hairstyle
I am not for a second doubting your wedding planning prowess here. I’m certain you have planned your wedding hairstyle, colour, length and any decorative hair pieces. But you should also take a moment to think how your chosen headwear works with your other accessories.
Sparkly hairpins or fascinators should metal match your jewellery, and jewels should compliment any beading on your dress. Flower crowns should mimic your bouquet, and consider elegant, timeless earrings such as pearls if you are wearing a veil.
Dressing as someone else
Whether you are used to dressing formal or not, sticking to what you know when it comes to accessories on your wedding day will ensure you feel a little more yourself. Not deviating too far from your usual style will help you to feel comfortable and confident in your bridal look.
A great way to do this is to look through your jewellery box, and either wear something you already own (great for the budget) or be inspired ahead of a shopping trip.
Not considering the practicalities
Last of all, I hate to sound like your mother, but consider some practicalities when it comes to your accessories. Uncomfortable shoes can be day-ruining, so wear them in ahead of the big day.
Have a morning schedule for getting ready and allow time for putting accessories on last. Sharp edges on jewellery could be disastrous for your dress! Next, don’t overlook personal necessities like your phone and makeup for touch-ups too. If you’re not having a bag or clutch then be sure you leave your essentials with a trusted bridesmaid.
Finally, we are sure you have checked the weather for your big day more than once, but if there is even a hint of rain it is worth investing in a pretty bridal umbrella - these can look really lovely in wedding pics.