Accessorizing Your Bridesmaids

Every great dress deserves the perfect accessory. Here are some ideas to help your bridesmaids sparkle on your special day.
by The Knot

Your bridesmaids love the dress -- now complete their look. Here are some ideas for accesorizing with style.

Leave It Up to Them

You chose your bridesmaids. They're important women in your life -- your best friend from childhood, your future sister-in-law, your officemate. Let their individuality shine through. Especially if they will all be wearing the same bridesmaid's dress, different accessories can help liberate them from a cookie-cutter look. Ask your bridesmaids to choose their own necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and purses. You can give them some parameters -- stay in the pearl family, wear crystal accessories. You can also give guidelines, for example, wear a necklace and earrings, no bracelets please. You might also want to add a note about necklace and earring length. It's probably a good idea for you to reserve veto power over what your bridesmaids choose for accessories. Then you'll avoid being surprised by a fake fur collar on your wedding day. Another note: consistency is not necessarily important -- some bridesmaids can choose to wear pearls, others may go bare-necked. It all works.

Barely There

Another option is to ask your maids to forego accessories altogether, except for maybe a pair of simple earrings. Maybe the bridesmaid's dress is iridescent and a sparkly necklace would be overkill. Which brings up another point: when accessorizing your bridesmaids, remember that simple is elegant. They don't need to be dripping in jewels. One single sparkling bracelet on your maids' wrists can make a stunning statement, and beautifully complement the sleeveless or strapless dresses that are so popular right now.

Theme Me Up

You can also try to have your bridesmaids accessories complement, not duplicate, your own on your wedding day. If you will be wearing a chunky pearl choker, they can wear a simple strand of pearls. If you will be wearing ethnically-inspired accessories, they can mirror that theme. If you are wearing several pieces of sparkly hair jewelry as a part of your headpiece, your maids can each wear one such clip in their hair. Try crystal butterflies or dragonflies. Similar accessories can help unify the feeling of your wedding. Think of using floral accessories -- jewelry shaped like daisies or other flowers. Try a geometric motif for your bridesmaids. Or go for an antique (or faux-antique) look. The idea is to create a unique look that works together aesthetically.

Neck And Neck

A word about necklaces: makes sure that they work properly with the neckline of your maids' dresses. A good length that works with almost every neckline: about 14 inches.

Tick Tock

Ask your maids to leave their watches at home. Your wedding day is not a day to worry about time ticking away. It's a day to enjoy and savor, so you don't want maids frequently checking their wristwatches.

Be Creative

Accessories don't have to be limited to necklaces and earrings. One bride chose a tree theme for her wedding to symbolize life, strength, growth and nature. The bride, and her bridesmaids, had small twigs woven through their hair as accessories to carry out this theme.

A Shoe In

Shoes can be a sticky subject for bridesmaids. After spending the money to buy the dress, they may not want to part with more funds to buy the pink sandals you chose. If your maids will be dressed in the same frocks, it does look good if they wear the same shoes. Try to find a lower priced pair of shoes that still have great style and spare your maids a heart attack. This is not the time to choose Manolo Blahniks or Prada. You can find stylish shoes, let's say a pair of trendy, strappy sandals, that your maids might love to wear after your wedding. As for color, shades of platinum and gold would go with various colored bridesmaids dresses, and would be good colors for future use. A low-priced, simple pump that can be dyed any color is also a good way to go. Also, a moderate heel height, two inches, is a nice choice for your maids who want to be comfortable and not teeter. Try to stay away from flats, especially if your maids are under five-foot-eight. Shoe height helps give hips and legs and extended look, complementing most bridesmaids' dresses.

If your maids will be wearing different dresses, they can also wear different shoes. In this case, you might want to check their choices before the wedding. If the maids will be similarly dressed, but the dresses are floor-length, it might be okay for them to wear different shoes. You decide.

Purses

Your maids can bring small purses to your wedding for their lipstick and Altoids. They can bring their own evening bags, which do not have to match the other maids. Ask them to choose bags that complement their wedding day attire in color and style. Some purse styles that are hot right now -- basic drawstring pouches, retro-looking wrist-strap bags and clutches. Emphasize that small is better for purses. Your bridesmaids won't need their cell phones on your big day.

Gift Time

Accessories are a great idea to give as bridesmaids' gifts. Your gang of maids can wear those dangling crystal earrings to your affair, and they'll think of your big day when they wear them in the future. If you really want your maids to wear a specific necklace on your wedding day, why not present it to them graciously?

Accessory Party

You can gather your gaggle of maids together to make their own accessories. How about meeting at a bead store for an informal bridesmaids' get-together at which you and your maids all make your own matching, or unmatching accessories? Or, if you're having trouble finding the perfect jewelry for your maids, you can go to the bead store and make them yourself to give as gifts. That's what Rebecca Romijn did when she married John Stamos, and the result was beautiful crystal earrings and necklaces that her maids could wear on wedding day and beyond.

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