By Jennifer Mitchell
Finding the dress is arguably the most important item on a bride’s list. For brides who would rather not break the bank on a designer gown for their big day, a great approach to dress shopping is to select a simple silhouette and style it with fabulous accessories. Choosing items such as killer shoes, a spectacular belt, or stunning jewelry gives you more bang for your buck, as these are all items that can be worn again—seriously. Selecting thoughtful accessories is a great way to dress up a simple dress and make it your own.
A dress without beading and lace automatically brings the price down, but what if you still want sparkle and texture? Amanda Reddy, a manager at Brides of France in Richfield says, “We like accessories the most. If you buy a less embellished dress you can spend a few hundred dollars rather than a few thousand dollars to accessorize with ribbon belts, clustered brooches and bigger headpieces. The accessories dress up the look and give it more of a bridal feel.” The silhouette of a dress is a great canvas to work from: an elegant mermaid, asymmetrical Grecian or classic a-line are just jumping off points for a bride to personalize her look with beautiful garnishes.
Reddy’s favorite way to embellish a dress is to leave the neckline open for a romantic look and wear a larger headpiece with drop earrings. “The look will really pop and not be so close to the dress that it looks piled on.” With retail favorites such as J.Crew, Kate Spade and Anthropologie’s BHLDN adding wedding wear to their repertoire; it is difficult to turn away from such great style at a reasonable price. In this slideshow from New York Weddings Magazine four different stylists tackle the same J.Crew dress and show how a simple shape can be styled to perfection.
Splurging on accessories is a modern bride’s way of getting the most for her money. Not only does spending less on your dress allow you to spend more money elsewhere, it also presents an opportunity to invest in pieces that can truly be worn again. Jennifer Meyer, owner of Che Bella in St. Paul thinks that the best accessory a bride can purchase is a nice pair of earring. “It is something that you can always wear and add to your collection or hand down to someone.” Meyer, who designs and hand makes most of her pieces, finds that headpieces are also a great bridal touch. “A headpiece adds a little something else, a flower or sparkle . . . it’s old fashioned, but it’s also current and so bridal. It adds personality in your hair.”
Reddy has also found headpieces to be particularly popular among her brides. She explains, “We will sell a $300 dress and a $300 headpiece. It is couture-like; instead of using jewelry a one-of-a-kind headpiece has become popular. The whole millinery, Kate Middleton style of little hats is on trend.” Reddy and Meyer also agree that by adding a headpiece or a ribbon belt to a dress it provides a method for incorporating an heirloom piece, such as your grandmother’s brooch. “Wearing a simple dress and adding something really different that is sparkly or large, can take a look from casual to bride, it looks more bridal when there is a little something out of the ordinary,” explains Reddy.
If you are looking to save money and adorn a wedding look, embellishing with accessories can take you from simple to glam; imagine what they can do for the rest of your closet.
Wedding dress, J.Crew; shoes + earrings, Kate Spade; headpieces, BHLDN