We’ve written extensively on wedding dress shopping, but it’s time to give wedding accessories their due. While the wedding dress is basically the focal point of your entire wedding day, bridal accessories can make or break your wedding look. If you’re the type of bride who wants your wedding guests to see your unique, personal style shining through, and not just 18 layers of lace and tulle, we can certainly empathize. But before you give yourself permission to go on an epic, bauble-buying spree, take a breath, and get the answers to these 10 important questions.
1. How does it accent your dress and shoes? Unless you’re planning your entire bridal ensemble around one statement-making necklace or headpiece, hold off on accessory shopping until the wedding dress and shoes are in the bag.
2. How big is it? A lot of wedding accessories are presented in pictures that don’t actually provide any sense of scale. Make sure to look at a picture of the item on a model, or check out the measurements and find a comparable item in your own collection for comparison.
3. What’s the item’s ETA? Whether you’re shopping for something made-to-order on Etsy, or you’re having fancy baubles imported from overseas, it’s important to know the timeline for receiving your accessories. A popular Etsy vendor will sometimes need a full month to even finish your items, so be sure to read the entire item listing, so you know what you’re signing up for.
4. What’s the return policy? A birdcage veil looked fab on the model, but on your actual head, not so much. If you got something custom-made, there’s a strong possibility that returning it for a refund might not be an option. Even your favorite retailers won’t accept a return if an item is on final sale or clearance – again, read the fine print!
5. What’s it made of? Be sure to figure out whether the necklace you’re eyeing is made of fine crystals or plexiglass before you hit “add to cart”. Costume jewelry sometimes looks a lot better under studio lighting than it does in real life. It’s your wedding day, splurge on something of a better make and higher quality than what you usually buy. (For a little high-end inspiration, check out our 5 latest bridal accessory obsessions.)
6. Does it play well with your wedding colors and design scheme? How will your accessories look against your wedding backdrop? Your reception tables? On the dancefloor? Will they pop in a good way, or in a garish way?
7. Did you budget for this? If this isn’t something you’ve had your heart set on for a while, it might not be a great time for a few impulse buys. You are concurrently planning a wedding right now, after all. Unless…
8. Does it fit in to your something borrowed, something blue, something old, something new schematic? Keep in mind that people will probably lavish you wish small little gifts at your shower or bachelorette party that meet at least one (if not all) of these requirements. On that note…
9. Is this something that someone might like to buy for you? Now obviously, I’m not saying you should ask anyone to, because that’s a little tacky. However, it’s likely that at this very moment, your bridesmaids are all scrambling to find something to buy you as a wedding gift. Gushing over a wedding accessory or two on social media is a nice, somewhat subtle way to throw them a bone. The magic of “social shopping” makes gift hint-dropping easier than ever these days!
10. Is it soul-stirring? I realize this one’s a little abstract, but seriously – does it speak to you on a deep, almost primeval level? The universe is full of shiny pretties, but you should love your wedding accessories almost as much as you love your future husband. I’m just kidding – but you should love it almost as much as you love your wedding dress.
[Photo: Ash & James Photography]