Accessorizing with the Perfect Accents

Bridal accessories are fun and easy items to shop for and they add a bit of personality to any wedding. From shoes and jewelry to toasting glasses and cake servers, accessories are important details on your wedding day.  As you begin planning the major aspects of your wedding, keep an eye out for special or unique items that will reflect your own personal style, hobbies or passions.  Though it may be tempting, avoid procrastinating on these seemingly simple purchases. Some selections may require special order, so be sure to allow several weeks for shipping.


From Scratch

If you’re creative and have the time, handmade accessories are a wonderful addition to any wedding.  A hand-sewn ring bearer pillow that matches the flower girlís basket is a lovely touch. Craft shops and fabric stores carry the necessary supplies to fashion the perfect accessories or enhance store-bought items.

Special Somethings

Bridal accessories almost always fulfill the “something old, something new, something borrowed something blue” requirement. Carrying your grandmother’s bible or prayer book as you walk down the aisle would be your “something old.”

Your “something new” is easy to achieve, taking into consideration your shoes, your gown or a lovely pair of pearl earrings that match your “something borrowed” pearl necklace. Handkerchiefs, garters or lingerie with accent colors usually provide the “something blue.”

Accessory Checklist

For the Bride

  • Garter
  • Handkerchief
  • Jewelry
  • Keepsake Bag
  • Shoes

For the Party

  • Aisle Runner
  • Cake Knife
  • Cake Server
  • Cake Top
  • Cocktail Napkins (engraved with names and date)
  • Favors
  • Guest Book and Pen
  • Matches (engraved with names and date)
  • Toasting Glasses
  • Wedding Cameras (one for each table)
  • Wishing Bubbles

Other Accessories

  • Attendant’s Gifts
  • Flower Girl Basket
  • Pew Bows
  • Ring Bearer Pillow
  • Unity Candle and Holder

Many bridal salons carry limited selections of guest books, toasting glasses, cake knives and cake servers. For a more extensive selection of these items, visit a bridal store that specializes in bridal supplies and accessories.

Should you receive a wedding accessory as a shower or pre-wedding gift, make sure that you use it in the wedding.

Gown Silhouettes

When beginning your search for the perfect gown, arm yourself with the language and knowledge of wedding gown-speak.

A-LINE: The A-line silhouette has a fitted bodice, and the skirt flares out gently from the waistline to the hemline. This gown style gets its name from the “A” shape it creates: small at the top and larger at the bottom. Good for: Almost every figure.

BALL GOWN: The ball gown is the most traditional silhouette (think “Cinderella”) and features a fitted bodice and waistline with a very full skirt. Good for: Drawing attention to a small waist and hiding full hips.

EMPIRE: This silhouette features a high waistline that is right beneath the bust line leading into a slender skirt. Good for: Hiding a thick waist and adding length.

/Volumes/BACK UP DISK/SM_D4/Output/D4_HighRez/.SM_D4_Shot 9_JSM1333- 075.tifMERMAID: The Mermaid silhouette is a form-fitting style that accentuates curves and flares at or just below the knee. Good for: Tall & slender frames and adding length to a petite figure.

PRINCESS:  Similar to the A-line, the Princess silhouette includes a sculpted bodice and skirt that flares gently to the hemline, and it’s vertical lines mean basically no waistline. Good for: Elongating a short waist and petite figures.

SHEATH: The Sheath silhouette features straight lines that follow the curves of the body. Good for: Slimmer figures, both tall and petite.


Fitting Your Body Type

Fitting Your Body Type

We’re all different (thank goodness!) and it’s important to find a dress style that flatters your body. Emphasize the positive aspects and minimize you less-than-ideal areas that we all have. Select the best description(s) for your body below, and we’ll point you in a suitable direction. These are suggestions, and are NOT set in stone. The bottom line: try on many different styles – you’ll know the right one when you see it.

PETITE / SHORT: Sheath, A-line, or Mermaid are all flattering styles on a petite figure. To add height, combine a short sleeve or sleeveless dress with long gloves. Also consider a dress with a high neckline and empire waist to elongate your figure. Big ball gowns and veils that are longer than the floor can overwhelm a petite frame.


FULL FIGURED: Ball gown or A-line styles are especially flattering on fuller figures. The fitted waist and full skirt of a ball gown emphasizes your beautiful curves, and hides any figure “issues” below the waist. An A-Line silhouette will flatter practically any figure. Consider a neckline with beading and other details to help draw the eye upward, and balance your silhouette.

LARGE BUST: The following necklines work well with a large bust: keyhole, high, v-neck or illusion yoke. You may also want to consider finding a gown style that allows you to wear a bra with straps, for the best support. It’s all about proportion and balance, so consider a dress with beading, lace and other details around the hemline and the bottom half of the dress, versus the bodice.

FULL HIPS: A-line, ball gown, flared skirt, or cinched waist styles are all very flattering to this body type. A broader neckline such as off-the-shoulder, Portrait, Bateau or Sabrina can help balance your overall silhouette nicely.

SMALL BUST: While many styles can be flattering, consider styles that include extra details – layering, beadwork, ruching, lacework, etc – around the bust line for fullness and balance. Have cups sewn into your gown’s bodice so you can eliminate the need for a bra – one less thing to worry about!

HOURGLASS: This “curves-in-all-the-right-places” body looks great in simple, classic styles such as sheaths, mermaid, or a fitted princess gown. Consider a v-neck, off-the-shoulder or scoop neck – these necklines provide nice balance and proportion to an hourglass shape.

INVERTED TRIANGLE: Full skirts or full trains are a great way to balance out your overall silhouette, when you’re fuller on top and through the shoulders. Also consider dresses with bustles, bows, and other adornments on the bottom half of the gown.

TRIANGLE/PEAR SHAPED: Consider full sleeve treatments, padded or pouf sleeve to balance out your fuller bottom half. Also consider a textured bodice with heavy beading, and flattering neckline that will draw focus upward.

TALL: A drop-waisted dress with a lower neckline or any off-the-shoulder style looks great on taller figures. If you’re also slender, a sheath or mermaid style will really show off your slim frame. Sometimes when you’re thin, your shoulders and collar bone can look “bony” – and if so, you may want a dress style that covers those areas more. Something else to consider: pouf veils and up-do’s will add to your overall height.

THICK WAIST OR RECTANGLE-SHAPED: An Empire silhouette looks especially flattering on those body types that are fuller through the waist. Consider using strong detail on the upper or lower body, but not both, to give the illusion of curves.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Looking Your Best

ll eyes are upon you as you glide gracefully up the center aisle. Your handsome groom gazes at you with love and adoration. Everyone wants to take your picture. Once you combine your special sense of style with a few tricks of the beauty trade, you’ll look your absolute best.

Makeup, hair, nails… every blushing bride wants these to be in top form on the big day. We’ve done the research, reflected, and compiled our best tips to help you look completely fabulous for your wedding day!


What to DO

Now is a great time to focus on healthy, glowing skin. If you’re concerned about the health and appearance of your skin, then consider a visit to a dermatologist (for bigger problems) or an aesthetician (for minor issues.) Depending on the severity of your skin problems, start six to 12 months before your wedding day so you have time to treat, heal and achieve good results. After proper analysis and treatment, professionals can assist you in selecting skin care products that will enable you to maintain treatments in the privacy and convenience of your own home.

Facials are a must for all skin types. Facial treatments use deep cleansing, masks and exfoliation to penetrate deep into the skin, killing blemish-causing bacteria, rebalancing the skin hormonal system and stimulating circulation. Regular treatment results in refined pores, smoother facial lines, healed blemishes and a more radiant complexion.

When choosing your hairstyle consider your gown, the level of formality of your wedding, your personal style, your hair and your face shape. Generally speaking, the more elaborate the gown, the simpler your hair should be, or it all simply becomes “too much of a good thing.” Strapless gowns show off their dramatic neckline with up-dos, but this isn’t a rule set in stone. Work with your hair stylist four to six weeks before the wedding to find the right style for you – and bring a photo of your gown with you!

Whether you use a pro for your makeup, have a friend do it or do it yourself, do a trial run before the wedding. In addition to looking in the mirror and getting feedback from close friends and/or family, take photos and evaluate those. Do you like what you see? Do you want to make any changes? Now is the time to practice – not the day of your wedding! Keep it on throughout the day and see how it lasts. How does it look two, five or eight hours later? It is easy enough to touch up?

Regular manicures in the one or two months before your wedding day will get your nails in perfect shape. You can probably avoid using acrylic nails this way, and enjoy the beauty of your own strong, healthy nails.

Have your eyebrows professionally shaped at least two weeks before the wedding. If you’ve never done this before, you’ll be amazed at how different you look with well groomed brows! Some people may experience a red, rash-like reaction, so doing this early enough gives you time to recover if that happens to you. You will probably need to freshen them up a day or two before the wedding with a tweezers.

If you use a professional for your makeup, be sure to have the same colors available to take with you for touch-ups during the day.

Do use waterproof mascara and eye makeup, just in case you shed a tear or two… And use primers underneath your foundation, lipstick and eye shadow, so that your makeup lasts longer. You want your makeup to last!

To take care of the skin and make your whole body beautiful, try a body wrap and waxing. Body wraps detoxify and soften the skin using minerals or other natural substances to help to heal acne problems on the back and chest. Body wraps may include a full body massage to encourage circulation, toning and relaxation. Body waxing is one of smoothest and longest lasting forms of hair removal. Your legs will be smooth and free of razor stubble and, you can even try bikini waxing to get rid of hair on a longer-term basis.

What NOT to do

Don’t alter your style too dramatically for your wedding day look. You want to look like yourself, your best self, and “polished” enough to honor the fact that this is a very special occasion.

Avoid really trendy looks in makeup, nail color and hairstyle. 10 to 20 years from now, these styles will glaringly stand out and look distractingly outdated. One bride who wore a dark trendy color on her nails said she cringes now every time she sees her wedding photos, and wishes she went with a classic, neutral color.

If you’re considering any drastic hair changes, do it a couple months before the wedding. This way, if you don’t like it, you have plenty of time to make changes. If you do like it, just maintain it!

Don’t go too light with your makeup, or you’ll look pale and washed out, especially in photos. Don’t go too dark, or it will be distracting and overpowering. Experiment and practice before the wedding to find the right balance.

Avoid facials for two or three days before your wedding, in case it causes any kind of undesirable reaction.

Don’t overdo the blush. You’ll be emotional, happy, nervous, busy and showing off your groovy moves on the dance floor… So there’s a good chance you’ll have some natural color of your own, and combined with too much blush you could look too red.

Our final, and best, advice

DO strongly consider using beauty professionals for your wedding day hair, makeup and nails. This is one simple way to shorten the list of wedding-day worries! A true makeup artist will know trade secrets not only for fashioning a longer-lasting look, but also for accentuating your features. They will also provide you with great information, advice and tips that will last a lifetime – a beauty investment. A great hair stylist can help you create a look that complements your facial features, headpiece and veil, and do it in a way designed to hold through the last dance. When you go pro, the end result is a relaxed, picture-perfect bride.

Finally, don’t forget your most beautiful accessory: your radiant, love-filled smile.