The trick to accessorizing a bridal ensemble is balance. And let's be honest – most brides don't inherit the perfect heirloom piece from which to build a wedding look. From gaudy jewelry to large, nearly unmanageable veils of decades past, brides want to honor tradition by using familial hand-me-downs in their big day assemblage, but the peculiar mashup of an oversized Victorian collar necklace and a headpiece out of a Paula Abdul music video isn't necessarily anyone's preferred look. And even too many accessories in contemporary materials and silhouettes can overwhelm the dress.
The key is to execute with a little restraint. Art deco, big, bold earrings and regal headpieces are showing up in wedding couture. Investing in a statement piece is great, but you don't have to spend thousands on diamonds to create a great look.
A knockout jewelry combination draws the eye upward and is styled with more than one photo angle in mind. New Orleans-based stylist Brittany Schall sees bold wrist accents making an appearance this season. She recommends pairing accessories that are similar in size, both with each other and with the details of the gown.
"If you go with a large cuff, make sure your necklace — or, I prefer earrings — are in the same vein," she says. "If you do a lace dress, make sure your jewelry pairs well by avoiding tiny necklaces and pendants that are overpowered by the lace."
For brides with an amazing brooch that clashes with their personal style or the massive veil that their cousin, sister, mother and grandmother all wore (and now it's your turn), Schall has a few tips.
"Embrace the classical and nostalgic," she says. "Hire a creative (person) and have a think tank to find something that works."
One of Schall's favorite modifications is using something like a brooch in the bridal bouquet.
Wedding jewelry is appearing in some new iterations, with the rise of circlets made of precious metals and stones that are worn in the hair.
"We encourage some asymmetry with the hair," says Amy Casbarian, owner of Wedding Belles bridal boutique. "We've never been a tiara store, but we have seen a more modern take with these really pretty vine-like bands that go in the hair and hair combs of beaded fabric that can be worn under a bun or [on] the side of the head."
Casbarian looks for accessories to complement each other, but not necessarily match.
"We don't do as many neck- laces," she says. "Instead we are doing a lot of statement earrings." A bare neck balances bold earrings. Chandelier earrings are very popular, especially in rose gold with accents of Swarovski crystals or mother-of-pearl.
"No one wants to step too far out of the box," Casbarian says. "A unique piece of jewelry can be very special, like a great heirloom piece, but if it is big, we like to see it be the highlight of the show with dainty accessories around it."