Today's headpieces are works of art, accented with sparkling rhinestones, or soft and romantic with feathery additions. Myra Callan, owner and designer at headpiece company Twigs & Honey, says that soft lace headbands are in, to give the bride a feminine flair "with plenty of grace and charm." Here are some of the top new trends in wedding headpieces and hair accents:
--Fascinators. After the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, brides across the country become fascinated with fascinators, those ornate, artistic hats, veils and pinned-in hair accents worn by members of the royal family and royal wedding guests. The unique designs of fascinators have become one of the biggest headpiece trends for 2012, with the top bridal gown designers showing them on their collections' runways in place of traditional tiaras and crowns. Now brides want a little touch of that British elegance for their big day. Fascinators are most often larger pieces worn on the side of the head for effect.
--Old Hollywood glamour. Brides are styling their hair with soft, romantic waves a la Grace Kelly, and choosing vintage glam hair accessories with plenty of rhinestone sparkle. The look of Old Hollywood is captured in vintage-style hair pins, barrettes and clips adorned with plenty of glittering stones affixed in the bride's up-swept, wavy hairstyle. For the popular style of the side chignon, a larger vintage hair clip worn on the side brings drama to the look.
--Birdcage veils. These chin-length veils emerge from a cap or clip, encircling the face with a stiffer mesh material that holds its rounded shape, as opposed to the hang-straight veils of traditional years. Now birdcage veils come in white, ivory, light and even bright colors for the artsy bride and may be adorned with rhinestones, fresh or faux flowers or feathers.
--Feathers. The popular wedding website TheKnot.com shows plenty of feathery accents in their headpiece gallery this season, and while feathers first made an appearance a few years ago, they're far more popular now, as delicate, feminine touches to headbands or as clipped-in accents paired with a subtle lace effect. Airy feathers with lift may be seen attached to a high chignon or a romantic upsweep as part of a fairy tale look that matches an ethereal wedding gown. The bridal accessories website With This Bling calls the feathery fascinator "a main alternative to traditional veils." Feathered accents are also seen on birdcage veils.
--Hair bands. As Callan says, soft lace headbands are now being chosen to coordinate with the delicate lace that's so popular in this season's wedding gown designs, particularly gowns inspired by Kate Middleton's lace sleeves and neckline. A romantic lace headband may be worn unadorned or affixed with a sparkling clip, or again, a tuft of feathers. With This Bling says, "Within the past three years, headbands made a comeback," inspired by celebrities like the cast of "Gossip Girl" and Zooey Deschanel, especially headbands with a side accent, such as a tuft of flowers or feathers, appliques or ribbon details. In certain designs, the look is reminiscent of a 1920s style of dress and is considered one of the top trends for wedding hairpieces this year.
--Skinny hairbands. In contrast to the fabric headband, consider these to be the skinnier version of the tiara, with a metal headband arch accented with fresh or fabric flowers, pearls, sparkling rhinestones, or even tiny ceramic flowers. The delicate style of this headband allows for a veil to be attached, as it would be to a tiara, but then the headband remains when the veil is removed for the reception.
--Hair combs. Vintage-style, ornate hair combs with plenty of sparkle may be tucked into the bride's hairstyle, with smaller combs chosen to accent a more detailed hair "sculpture's" twists and turns or a larger, more dramatic hair comb tucked sideways into a French twist or inserted above a classic low chignon (also a classic Grace Kelly look!).
The bride's headpiece always needs to conform with what TheKnot.com calls balance, working with the bride's chosen hairstyle, wedding gown style and accents (such as rhinestone or bugle beads) and jewelry. "I had a lot of rhinestone in my bodice and was wearing diamond dangle earrings, so I chose smaller, less ornate Old Hollywood-style pins in my hair so that I didn't overdo it," says recent bride Tara Chayka.
And one final headpiece trend: Brides are choosing a second look for their reception, removing their traditional ceremony tiara and veil and putting on a feathery headband or slipping in sparkling hair clips for their dramatic entrance to the reception.