12 Bridal Accessories for a Vintage Wedding Dress

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Photography by Jodi McDonald Photography

12 Bridal accessories for a Vintage Wedding Dress

A wedding is an occasion that’s been carried across the tides of time, an event that has been created to celebrate the union of families for centuries upon centuries. What better way to celebrate this timeless occasion than with a vintage wedding look that speaks to the eras long passed?

Whether you’ve decided to don grandma’s very own long-sleeved wedding dress, or you’ve found an Art Deco-style piece at a specialty vintage store, you’ll be browsing for a few accessories to really pull of that stylish vintage look. From Weddingful to vintage brides everywhere: here’s a list of 12 great bridal accessories that can add the finishing touch to a vintage wedding dress.

 

Headband

Photography by Stacy Paul
Photography by Stacy Paul

Depending on the era of your vintage dress, a headband can work with your outfit in various ways. A metal or chain headband will take you back to medieval times, while a feathered or lace Gastby-esque headband will plant you in the 1920s. A cloth headband is reminiscent of the Rosie the Riveter 1940s era, while a simple jewelled band like the one shown here will add a touch of classic Hollywood glamour to your vintage look. If you’re not going for a vintage veil, adding a headband that speaks to your era is a great way to top off the look.

 

Fur Shawl

Photography by Nessa K Photography
Photography by Nessa K Photography

Found in the depths of vintage stores, backs of closets, and attics everywhere, a fur shrug, shawl, bolero (and the list goes on!) adds instant vintage no matter what you’re wearing underneath! While most fur shrugs produced nowadays are made to be cruelty-free by using faux fur, you can find the real thing – mink, fox, even pony – by scoping out a few specialty vintage stores – or by asking an older fashion-wise relative.

 

Fascinator

Photography by Tied Photo & Film
Photography by Tied Photo & Film

This type of headpiece adds spunk and drama to a vintage look. Commonly associated with the 1920s and 1930s, fascinators have been worn in all shapes and sizes for centuries. The benefit of this type of headpiece is the way they are designed to adorn your head without messing up your hair or giving you helmet head when you decide to take it off. Planning an up-do for the ceremony and a relaxed look for the reception later on? A fascinator-style veil or headpiece is a great bet.

 

Pearls, everywhere!

Photography by Tony Evans Photo
Photography by Tony Evans Photo

Not much needs to be said for pearls – they’ve long been considered a luxurious and sophisticated accessory, perfect for a bride who wants to have a classically elegant look as she walks down the aisle. What’s more, the creamy, off-white sheen given off by a pearl necklace, bracelet, or earrings blends well with the off-white tones of vintage wedding attire.

 

Red Rose

Photography by Andy Roberts
Photography by Andy Roberts

If you’re searching for a way to add flowers to your vintage wedding look, consider a red rose. While perky pink and yellow blossoms might look a bit punchy against a time-tested vintage dress, a deep red rose offers a rich, romantic, classic image well-suited to a vintage bride.

 

Red Lips

Photography by Katie Kav Photography
Photography by Katie Kav Photography

It’s not just for roses! They say a smile is your best accessory, and sporting a vibrant red lip colour can add all the more oomph to a vintage bride’s glowing smile. If your dress hails from the early 1900s, red lips can help complete your look by adding instant 1920s, 1930s, or 1940s pin-up appeal.

 

A Vintage Entourage

Photography by Bayly & Moore
Photography by Bayly & Moore

Being the bride takes up a lot of your time, from calling vendors to sending out invitations to arranging for lodging for out-of-town guests (and remembering to stay sane in the process).  As you’re developing your vintage look, you can involve your bridesmaids in the vintage fun as well – after all, they’ll be with you all throughout your wedding day. These dressed-up 1950s gals show what a little imagination and planning can accomplish: this wedding won’t just have a vintage bride, it’ll have an entire vintage bridal party to complete the theme!

 

Vintage Ribbons

Photography by Trent Bailey Photography
Photography by Trent Bailey Photography

Ribbons are an easy, quick, low-maintenance way to add a certain nostalgic charm to your look. Instead of searching for slick, shiny satin at a local fabric store or bridal store, you can find more faded, rugged vintage ribbons at a thrift, antique, or vintage store. This example shows how a slightly wrinkled ribbons in a faded blue hue adds a subtle dose of historic charm to a bridal bouquet.

 

Nostalgic Trinket

Photography by Anna Page Photography
Photography by Anna Page Photography

Some brides choose to wear grandma’s dress in order to honour family tradition. If you’d like to incorporate the past into your ceremony without the family dress, you can still keep your family close with a small family heirloom or trinket. This bride has chosen to attach a small locket charm to her bouquet – you can add a key, swath of fabric, or any other trinket that’s important to your family’s story. This is a surefire way to create an authentic vintage look, and to make your grandparents proud.

 

Costume or Family Heirloom Jewelry

Photography by Rebecca Yale Photography
Photography by Rebecca Yale Photography

While a modern or minimalist look might downplay the use of sparkly, dangling, oversized accessories, a vintage dress practically beckons for them! Chances are, your female relatives have more than a handful of interesting vintage and costume jewelry pieces that they no longer wear – search for drop earrings, antique golds, and clusters of crystals that will transport you back through the eras of fashion passed.

 

A Shawl

Photography by Babb Photo
Photography by Babb Photo

Only recently did brides begin to bare their legs, chest, and shoulders on their wedding day – in the past, women usually wore some form of shawl, cape, sleeve, or shrug in order to provide coverage. If you’re going for a truly authentic look, don’t let this shawl or shrug become an afterthought – spend time searching for a style that truly suits the era of the dress. A pleasant benefit of having a shawl on hand will be your ability to throw it over your shoulders once the evening starts to cool off.

 

Period Pieces

Photography by Jodi McDonald Photography
Photography by Jodi McDonald Photography

This 1920s vintage veil and headpiece is absolutely perfect for this vintage bride, along with her short bob haircut, lined eyes, and red lips! If you’ve got the bank for it, you can arrange for a visit to a specialty vintage store, where a specialist can examine your dress and recommend the appropriate period pieces. Likewise, there are artists (try Etsy) offering recreations of many beautiful period pieces. It’s often the case that these specialty pieces don’t come cheap – they’re bound to make a big statement on your wedding day, but they can also make a big statement on your wallet, so plan ahead!

 

If you’re stuck when it comes to planning the logistics, Weddingful  can help. Our online planner is free, and it’s designed to match you with vendors – from photographers to planners to cake artists – who fit your location, budget, and style.

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