It’s an undeniable fact of life that weddings in the Western world are overwhelmingly focused around the appearance of the bride and, let’s face it, that’s a lot of pressure. There are so many things to consider, and that’s before you start looking at wedding magazines or websites for inspiration. When you’re busy obsessing over every aspect of your dress/makeup/bouquet/hair/shoes, it’s easiest to leave the jewellery till last.
I’ve done exactly this, and only just chosen what I’m going to wear, although my wedding is in just over three weeks. Like a lot of brides, I had a couple of family/sentimental pieces in mind early on, but then I got stuck making it work as a whole ‘look’. (To be fair, it probably didn’t help that I changed my mind about my wedding dress three months before the wedding and had to find one to exchange it for… More on that in a different post, probably.)
Anyway, now I’ve (pretty much) finalised what jewellery I’m going to sport on the Big Day™, I’ve got five quick tips for any other brides-to-be who find themselves in similar circumstances…
1) Consider the style of your dress
This sounds obvious, but it’s worth saying anyway. The dress is, naturally, the focal point of your appearance, and it will look better in photos if the jewellery works well with the dress. For example, my dress has a relatively high neck and a very embellished bodice, so I’m not having a necklace because it would be too much, and would get lost in the beading. If your dress is in a vintage style, it might also be worth considering jewellery (real or replica) which suits the era you’re wearing.
2) Stay true to your own tastes and dress sense
If there’s a style or piece of jewellery you see cropping up on wedding blogs or Pinterest, it’s easy to start thinking ‘well perhaps I should wear something like that, too’, but if you wouldn’t wear something similar in every day life, think twice about whether it’s right for you. Of course, I don’t mean if you wouldn’t wear a huge tiara every day you shouldn’t wear one for your wedding, but if, say, the tiara is heavily jewelled and you usually favour clean, simple lines, look for a tiara that fits those tastes.
3) Consider wearing jewellery for sentimental reasons…
‘Jewellery reigns over clothing not because it is absolutely precious but because it plays a crucial role in making clothing mean something.’ – Roland Barthes
Because jewellery is valuable, it’s often handed down through the generations, imbuing it with memories and emotions, so it’s no wonder many brides wear at least one piece that has sentimental value. I’m mixing old with new for my wedding by wearing three sentimental items combined with a new ring I’ve made myself, and a hairpiece I sourced from another Etsy seller.
If you’re struggling to pull your pieces into a cohesive look, consider choosing one material, style or era to make things go without having to be matchy-matchy. For example, I’ve decided to feature pearls in many of the pieces I’m wearing in order to tie the different styles together. I’m also wearing an heirloom brooch on my bouquet because it doesn’t match the wedding colours; including a piece you like but which doesn’t go with your dress on your bouquet is a great way to wear your treasured pieces without compromising on your style.
4) …but don’t feel bound by tradition if you want a shiny new set of jewels
Conversely, if you’re determined for your look to come together seamlessly, or want to create new heirlooms and memories with some brand new pieces, don’t feel you have to wear something old just because it’s ‘expected’ of you. (Let’s face it, there are enough expectations around you as a bride without adhering to tiny ones like this…) This tip is kind of an extension of point 2; essentially, you do you.
5) Try not to obsess over it
I feel this should be the last point on any wedding advice list, and it’s one I’m terrible at following, but it’s so important. Your wedding outfit will never be perfect (especially in years to come when you look back and your gorgeous mermaid gown looks like those puffy-sleeved 80s monstrosities do now), but you should be so happy on the day itself that it won’t bloody matter. The best you can do is to make the choice you’re happy with now, and then try and forget about it (she says, with incredible hypocrisy).
And what am I wearing, after all that? Well…
- My mum’s pearl and haematite earring and bracelet set (from Cellini)
- A new diamanté and pearl hairpiece from this Etsy store
- A new ring I’ve made to match my bouquet, with an asymmetrical setting of two garnets, a pearl and a cubic zirconia
- A brooch The Goblin gave me when he proposed (an actual goblin family heirloom, which doubles as my ‘something blue’ and my ‘something old’)
- My wedding ring, which I also made
Of course, true to indecisive form, I’m thinking of swapping out the garnet ring I made with the one The Goblin gave me for our first anniversary (what a lovely Goblin he is):
Like I mentioned earlier, the dress is seriously embellished, so it’s got to be one or the other. Any ideas? Let me know in the comments…