Wedding dress shopping is not what it once was. Even before the pandemic restrictions came into play, ushering in small, low-key ceremonies, brides were erring towards more contemporary, eco-conscious and affordable wedding dresses.
This in turn has led to many brides eschewing the traditional tiara and veil on top: with a less dramatic dress comes a more practical approach to hair styling and accessories. Cathedral-length trains are, unsurprisingly, intended for cathedrals full of people. What then, for the quaint Airbnb cottage ceremony, the chic inner-city registry office or the tea and scones reception in your parents' back garden?
“Weddings are now more relaxed, intimate and adventurous, so opting for more fashion-forward accessories really complements this shift in bridal style,” says Victoria Percival, the accessories designer who recently shot to fame after her headband designs enthralled viewers of the Netflix hit TV series, The Duchess. Percival advises brides not to discount bold designs, and to bravely experiment with shapes, colour and styles. “Headbands are so versatile and they can be worn with hair up or down,” she notes. “They can also be popped on without any fuss.”
Many of Percival’s designs are crafted from sparkling crystals and pearls in saccharine shades, but others are thickly beaded in black, red and gold. “The most brilliant thing about them is that they instantly transform a bridal look into something very chic - and they can be worn again and again after the big day,” she adds.
Another designer gathering a cult following on Instagram for her celestial-inspired hair accessories is Sally Thomas, of Tilly Thomas Lux, whose headpieces and hair jewels are intricately embellished with Swarovski crystals. Her hair clip designs include stars, oversized pearls and gilded petals, which can be eclectically mixed and matched. “I love that my brides also wear their pieces again afterwards; hair clips can be worn on a night out or for an anniversary, or even pinned to the lapel of a jacket and worn as a brooch,” she says.
Thomas also suggests that if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for, it might be worth going to designers such as herself for bespoke creations. “You can find a modern shape you love but incorporate the traditional sparkle you desire, to get the best of both worlds,” she suggests.
New York-based brand LeLet NY is also offering personalised pieces, from hair pins to headbands and their new velvet bow barrettes, adorned with pearl or crystal monogram letters. “I think people are trying to be more thoughtful about their purchases and want to own things that will be unique to them,” says founder Sara Bieler Sasson. “Choosing something monogramed gives the accessory more weight - you’ll want to have it with you for a long time as a keepsake."
You may have always envisaged being swathed in the wispy folds of a full-length veil, but most brides tend to remove their veil after the ceremony anyway - leaving you free to dance, sing, and well, live happily ever after, unencumbered... and perhaps with an accessory you will cherish forever.
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