Wedding accessories tie an outfit together. You’ve found the dream dress, the groom’s tux is fitted and your wedding party has everything they need to look incredible. Now it’s time to add all the personal touches to complete your wedding day look. Common wedding accessories spruce up your hairstyle, add a touch of glitter to your waist or add a striking pop of color with a fun pair of shoes. They can even link your outfits to the wedding’s overall theme.
We’ve laid out a list of wedding accessories to keep on your shopping list as the big day gets closer. There are also plenty of ways to weave personal and sentimental touches into your wedding accessories. Borrow family heirlooms to proudly display as you walk down the aisle or even craft an accessory by hand. These wedding day accessories also make excellent gifts for the bride from the groom before the ceremony or vice versa. Be sure to keep these accessories on your wedding planning checklist as you curate your outfit from head to toe.
General Buying Tips
There are plenty of directions to take your wedding accessory design. Tie them all together or go an individual direction with every purchase. Either way, create a cohesive look by considering:
- Wedding colors
- Wedding dress style
- Family heirlooms
- Bridesmaids and groomsmen outfits/accent colors
- Venue (beach, field, church, etc.)
- Cultural or family traditions
Bridal Wedding Accessories
You get to design your own look on this momentous day. Choose wedding accessories that make you feel ready to celebrate. Let’s dive into each bridal accessory with some tips for finding and buying your ideal adornments.
Even if your dress is more traditional, you can go all out with your shoes to express your style. Always try to balance style, comfort and budget, as you’ll spend a good amount of the day on your feet. What kind of terrain will be at your ceremony and reception? Choose heels that won’t sink into the grass or consider switching out to a pair of flats at the end of the day.
Start brainstorming your shoes as soon as you start looking at wedding dresses. Bridal boutiques will ask you if you intend to buy heels or flats when choosing a skirt length. As far as style and color, longer dresses will mostly cover your shoe choice, so use this chance to add a pop of color—perhaps that “something blue”—or break free with a funky style.
Traditional veils come in several lengths. Birdcage veils are the shortest, covering just your eyes or perching on the top of your head like a fascinator. Blusher veils reach the shoulders and fingertip veils extend just past the hips. For a dramatic entrance, go with a chapel or cathedral-length veil that trails behind you during the ceremony.
Veils match the dress shade as closely as possible unless you’re purposely going a unique direction. Ask your dress boutique to suggest some lengths and styles for your chosen dress or try some out during your fitting. Veils significantly range in price, but you can cut costs by considering a vintage, heirloom or handmade option.
Most couples collaborate with their florists for all their wearable floral touches. This is your chance to either break free from the rest of your design elements or to simply build upon them. You can also add personal or sentimental touches to the stems of the bouquet with ribbon, lace or charms.
Going the DIY route with your wedding design? Build your own bouquet from local wildflowers, blooms made of paper or fabric, or even try out buttons and brooches. Be sure to make a spare for the bouquet toss!
Hints of lace and gemstones go a long way in wedding hair accessories. Determine the style of your hair for the day based on your wedding dress style, the weather and makeup. Your veil will also determine if hair accessories blend with your overall look. Some brides do choose to switch between a ceremony and reception veil if the first is a bit cumbersome.
Popular accessories include beaded and gemstone-covered combs, tiaras, birdcage veils, floral accents or small decorative hair pins. This is an excellent place to check off something “old, new, borrowed and blue” from your list as well!
Wedding jewelry adds a finishing touch of elegance to a bridal look. Choices may include earrings, a necklace, a bracelet or even additional rings. Consider the hue of your dress when choosing between gold, silver, pearl or colorful gemstones. You can even match your jewelry to your floral design and bouquet.
As a meaningful and budget-friendly option, ask your family if there are special pieces of jewelry to borrow on your big day. These also make an excellent gift to the bride from her spouse-to-be.
Nowadays, garters are worn more for tradition than to actually hold up your tights. Pick out a fun option that adds a secret touch of flair to your outfit. If you plan to do the garter toss, be sure to grab one that is easy to remove!
Garters are often sold at wedding dress boutique stores, though you can also find custom garters online or from small lingerie stores. Garters might include gemstones, crystal bows or lace and they come in all ranges of colors. They also make great bridal shower gifts!
Undergarments are often an afterthought, but they are crucial to the comfort of the day. During your dress fittings, bring the type of bra and underwear you plan to wear during the wedding. You want to ensure that you can’t see any straps or seams through the fabric. You should also test out any shapewear you intend to wear, as even the thinnest layer of fabric can affect the fit of a dress.
If there is one time to splurge on a quality set of undergarments, it’s now. Be sure you feel supported and comfortable, and choose a fabric that does well with heat and movement. Visit a specialty boutique for advice on the best options and bring along some pictures of your dress so they can properly advise you.
A small purse or clutch is helpful even on your wedding day, whether your dress comes with or without pockets. When shopping for the best wedding clutch, bring a picture or a swatch of your wedding dress fabric to ensure it pairs well with your outfit. Since you’ll likely not need this during the ceremony, ask a bridesmaid or family member to hand it off to you before cocktail hour.
Wrap Or Cover
Weather in the spring and fall can shift on a dime, so it’s best to have a stylish option to stay warm should the wind change. Choose a cream, white or pastel-colored wrap or pashmina to throw over you if you get chilly. You can even give matching pashminas to your bridal party as an excellent group gift.
You can also speak to your boutique about wraps and stoles specifically made as wedding day accessories. Getting hitched in the winter? Choose a wrap with a bit of faux fur lining to stay cozy.
Some brides play with an extra bit of sparkle in smaller accessories. Add a lace or jeweled fabric belt around your dress, for example. Classic styles come to life or look like new with just this simple addition. Other optional accessories include bridal clothing hangers—great for photos—or a set of matching silk robes for great pre-wedding photos. It may also be helpful to keep a spare pair of flats for dancing at the end of the night.
Groom Wedding Accessories
Find playful and stylish ways to express your personality with groom wedding accessories, even if you take a more classic route with their suit or tuxedo. These extra pieces are just as important as the suit itself in bringing an outfit together.
Grab a new pair of shoes that matches or complements the suit or tux of your choice. Go with the traditional Oxford style or bring back a classic look with wingtips. A pair of leather dress boots is best for an outdoor fall wedding.
Think outside the box with your shoes if you’re throwing a more casual celebration. Some groomsmen buy a pair of Chuck Taylors in one of the wedding colors, for example. If you’re unsure of which direction to go, you can speak to your tailor about the best shoes for your particular suit.
Neck and bow ties are great opportunities to match the bridal party or wedding color scheme. Your choice also depends on the style of your wedding. Black tie affairs require just that—a tux and black bow tie. Different shirt colors also determine the best bet for your tie choice. When you pick out a tie, consider buying it with a set of other accessories such as a pocket square or cufflinks so everything matches.
French-cut dress shirts require cufflinks to latch the sleeves in the place of buttons. Without all the jewelry opportunities as the bride, this is the groom’s chance to add some color to his outfit. Buy a new set of cufflinks with a meaningful symbol or check if you have a family heirloom to work into your outfit. Looking for a great groomsmen gift? Purchase a set of matching cufflinks for your entire group to commemorate the wedding day.
Any formal suit, sports jacket or tux with a pocket should include a pocket square. These are small, often silk squares of fabric that peek out of the top of the breast pocket. Incredibly formal black-tie outfits may include a folded white or black pocket square while less formal outfits can include colorful or patterned squares. As with the tie, you may choose to match this burst of color with your bridesmaids and floral arrangements.
The rule of thumb is that if your pants have belt loops, you should have a belt. This is not the case if you’re wearing a cummerbund or suspenders, though the pants themselves will probably reflect this if bought in a set. Stick with a black belt with black suits and play with shades of brown in your have a tan, blue or gray suit. If you’re an offbeat groom, this is another chance to get a bit creative with colors and patterns.
Match your bride’s bouquet with a small floral arrangement on your lapel. Modern and rustic floral designs are taking unique directions, including succulents, fall foliage, feathers or even things like buttons and charms. Be sure to check your boutonniere before pictures and before you head down the aisle. These little arrangements are notorious for falling off-center.
This is another accessory that depends on the level of formality. Black-tie and black-tie-optional weddings traditionally get the classic look—black socks with a black suit or tux and blue or brown socks with other colors. Nowadays, men are letting loose with their sock choices by going with a superhero theme, funky patterns or bright colors throughout the groom’s party.
There are a few additional ways to spruce up a groom’s outfit. If you’re wearing a vest with pockets, add a pocket watch and chain. If you’re getting married outside or throwing a classic wedding, consider your hat options as well. Top hats pair well with traditional suits and tuxedos while flat cap hats—or “newsboy” hats—work well with more casual themes and outfits.
Wedding day accessories can be just as important to your overall look as the suit and dress. Use these purchases to let loose a little bit. Pull in your own personal style, family history and even your DIY skills in every little detail. You can even wear many of these wedding accessories after the big day is over.