Crowning Glory

By Sharon Naylor

December 19, 2008 5 min read


Finding the headpieces to complete your bridal look

Sharon Naylor

Creators News Service

The most beautiful wedding gown in the world is made even more beautiful by the crowning touch of the perfect headpiece, veil or tiara. For many brides standing in a bridal salon, wearing the gown that may be "the one," the look is not complete -- nor do the tears of joy start flowing -- until that perfect veil or tiara is affixed to her head.

Today's vast selection of wedding veils, headpieces and tiaras has never been more diverse, which both delights and confounds brides who want the ideal accessory. With so many beautiful options out there, how can you choose the perfect one for your look? Here are your guidelines:

* Consider the formality of your wedding and gown. A formal wedding and traditional gown naturally call for a classic headpiece or tiara -- with or without a veil. Headpieces are most likely white or off-white, with pearl or crystal embellishments in a simple elegance style. An informal or outdoor wedding may inspire just a simple pearl-studded headband, or jeweled hairpins in place of a tiara. An alternative wedding could call for an artsy hat, colorful jeweled pins or a tiara studded with colorful faux gemstones.

* Consider your location. If you'll be outdoors, a breezy day could cause you to fight with your wispy blusher veil, and a long veil that trails behind your dress (such as cathedral or chapel-length) would drag on grass or sand. If length is a factor for your location, it's better to choose a shorter length such as a ballet (which ends at calf-length), elbow-length, or fingertip-length veil. For a destination or beach wedding, a tiara or headpiece is a fitting look, but many brides prefer to just pin fresh island flowers into their hair, skipping the headpiece and veil. Currently, the top trend in veil lengths is fingertip-length for formal weddings and blusher-length for less formal weddings. At an outdoor wedding when breezes are a factor, tiny weights can be sewn into the hem of a veil to keep the delicate tulle fabric from flying around and becoming a hindrance.

* Consider your embellishment style. Traditional, classic brides often choose to keep the veil simpler when the headpiece is adorned with pearls or Swarovski crystals, preferring a simple 1/2" hem of unadorned satin or silk sewn around the sides and end of the veil. Or there is the opposite approach: With a simpler headpiece such as a satin headband, a veil may be adorned with a pretty lace hem, or the addition of crystals at the edges of the veil for an extra bit of sparkle. Lace-loving brides are returning to the mantilla style of veil, a Spanish-inspired circular veil featuring a wider band of lace around the edges.

Keep embellishments to a minimum so that they don't overpower your wedding-day look. Less is always more. A "busier" gown with a beaded bodice, ruching or other fabric design details is better complemented with a simpler style of headpiece and veil.

* Look at tiaras. For the bride who wants that princess look, the tiara is a top trend. Designs range from delicate 2" heights of intricate silver and crystal to more dramatic 4" heights of ornate artistry, compete with colored gemstones and even ceramic flowers. The popularity of this accessory means you'll find a wealth of designs in bridal shops and online, so use an early fitting appointment as your opportunity to try on lots of options.

* Consider your budget. Since this is a factor for most brides, wearing an heirloom piece such as a mother's headpiece and veil or a sister's tiara is fast becoming a brilliant budget and style trend, with brides appreciating the chance to incorporate a sense of family history into their ensemble. They might use just a veil from their mother and affix it to a new tiara, or they can choose to wear it in its original form.

Veils, headpieces and tiaras can also be found a great discount at bridal salon trunk sales and sample sales for up to 70 percent off retail prices (sign onto mailing lists at bridal shops for early notice and members-only sales). Other budget-priced alternative headwear includes hats, jewel-embellished braids and buns, jeweled pins (sometimes a unique wedding-day daughter's gift from parents or grooms) and fresh flowers encircling a low-set ponytail.

Again, just as with the wedding gown, you'll know which headpiece and veil style is "the one" ... and it might not be the style you originally planned on for yourself, so be sure to try on a range of options. Your crowning glory, like you, will be a sight to behold.

Sharon Naylor is the author of "What's Your Bridal Style?" and over 30 additional wedding books. For more information, go to

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