Trends in Wedding Accessories

Years ago, brides didn’t have to worry much about what kind of jewelry to wear on their wedding day, it was your mother’s pearls and a pair of diamond earrings and there were not too many other choices. Today’s brides have so many choices, it is sometimes overwhelming to try to narrow it down.

In the 1980’s when my career in bridal fashion began, the motto was “More is better”. Turns out, that was not so true, after all. Looking at bridal portraits from the 1980’s with giant poufy veils, shoulder dusting earrings, gigantic cluster necklaces and the chunky, beaded headbands or (God Forbid) huge bow on the back of the head, you have to ask “What were you (we) thinking?”.

The 1990’s saw a departure from the lavish accessories and designers made specific matching bridal jewlery sets of earrings and necklaces that incorporated the same type of stones or jewels as the dress. The tiara was in and the poufs were out… big time!  By comparison, the 90’s were dull. The motto was “Less is more” and brides across the board adapted this as their mantra.


The most recent trend is probably the most fun and exciting, “Be Yourself!”  Sashes encrusted with crystals of varying colors, beautifully crafted vintage inspired earrings with clear or colored stones, large bracelets of small stones and necklaces of every size, shape and dimension imaginable.  Instead of copying a look from a magazine, brides are making their own fashion statement with the use of accessories in every shape and form. It’s exciting, it’s fresh and it is NOW!

Tips to avoid over-accessorizing:

If your earrings are longer than 2″, you might not need a necklace.

If you can afford it, diamonds never go out of style. A simple diamond choker (and earrings) looks as good now as it did fifty years ago.

Choose your style according to the theme. If it is boho, vintage or hollywood glam, stick to it and don’t try to bring in an unrelated peice…. it will throw off the overall look.

Necklaces should be comfortable against the skin. If you have extremely sensitive skin, some costume jewelry may cause an unflattering reaction.

Your headpiece should fit easily into your hairstyle, don’t force it. Not every headpiece works in every type of hair,

Beware of bracelets that snag the fabric of your dress. Test bracelets next to a pice of clothing to see if they are too grabby.

Remember, accessories should accent your overall look, not overpower it.  Have fun with your choices but, remember that your wedding day look should be timeless, whether it is 1953 or 2012.


-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Bridesmaid Shoes – Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Start a conversation with any woman about shoes and you will quickly see a sparkle in her eye. Shoes can singlehandedly change the look of your outfit from quirky to classy, seductive to sassy, casual to elegant. Hard to believe but, it’s true – diamond’s may be a girls’ best friend but, shoes are a close second and they are most definitely the window to  her soul. For many years bridesmaids were asked to take a swatch from the bridesmaid gown  to the store where they would buy a pair of (probably not very cute or comfortable) dye-able shoes, the shoes were supposed to match the gown exactly and believe me… when they were a bit off, the bride would have a fit. Seriously… a fit!  No matter how great the dress was, the bridesmaids would inevitable roll their eyes when the discussion turned to the bridesmaid shoe. Times have changed and now the shoe takes center stage as the single most important accessory for bridesmaids.

How to find the perfect bridesmaid shoe:

Just as you would take the ladies to a salon to try on bridesmaid gowns and find the one dress they all feel or look good wearing, you should do the same with shoes. This is easier than you think since so many salons carry shoes, plus if you are already together, it would make sense to stop by a shoe store, wedding accessory store or your favorite department store as a group and see who can walk in the shoes you all agree look best. There will be some compromising and just as with the bridesmaid dress, you have to have a good idea of what you want before you walk into the store.

Do not get distracted by questions like “Can I wear these again”. That is not the point.  The point is if they will be wearable for this one day, this one event, this one moment in time where they will be photographed endlessly and talked about for eternity.

Be creative with your shoe choices. The current theme is eclectic when it comes to bridesmaid shoes. Think about the brides who choose to have the bridesmaid shoes match their bouquet, the shoes that match another color in the wedding the shoes that are a bright contrasting color but all match one another. Do not have each girl pick a different color shoe of the same style. It might sound adorable  but, the photos do not lie and it winds up looking like everyone got a sidetracked  at a rainbow shoe sale. 

No cork heels. Even of the shoe is sparkly and sassy and expensive. There may be some exceptions like a garden wedding with flirty floral bridesmaid gowns or a beach affair with  a strappy sundress. However, if you have any doubts that a cork heel is too casual – don’t do it. Instead, try a wedge heel which can transition from casual to dressy depending upon the material of the shoe and the style.

Consider making the shoes  their wedding gift. This will ease the pain of having to buy a pair of shoes they may not wear ever again. Instead of begrudgingly having to spring for a pair of pink stilettos, they will be happy to have an extra pair of ‘friends’ in their closet, even ones that they might only wear once a year.

Stay away from strappy shoes. Shoes with thin straps, even if they are made of good quality leather, will definitely hurt by the end of the ceremony and most likely cause blisters by the end of the night. The best solution is to find a less ‘strappy’ version of a similar shoe…. or remember to bring a ton of band-aids, you will need them.

Don’t let the price fool you. More expensive shoes are made of higher quality materials, they have designer labels and are packaged, handled, marketed and sold more exclusively. However, a $800 pair of bridesmaid shoes can still hurt your feet. If you ask your bridesmaids to buy expensive shoes, be extra careful to ensure they are comfortable for everyone. 

Study your shoe designers and the way they fit before you set your heart on something to avoid being disappointed. Stuart Weitzman shoes are much narrower, Manolo Blahnik have shorter vamp, and the list goes on. FYI – toe overhang is the eighth deadly sin.

If you spend a little time doing research, listen to the bridesmaids concerns and stay within your budget, the shoes you help select will be a fashion statement, a great photo op, a conversation point and the perfect accessory for your entire bridal party.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

















If the Shoe Fits – Buy It!

If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, shoes are her lover. Closer to your heart than any other accessory,  more personal and more complicated than any one piece of clothing. This makes buying shoes for your wedding very tricky. You want to wear the 4 inch platform pumps that you fell in love with but, can you manage those shoes for this long period of time?  You want to be stylish and comfortable at the same time but, it doesn’t always work out that way. There may have to be some compromise. 

The trend toward self-service has led to an unfortunate side-effect: not knowing what size shoe you should buy. Almost 20% of all women do not buy the correct size shoe so it is important before you set your heart on a pair of shoes that are not suited for your feet, have your foot properly sized up. In addition to the actual shoe size you will want to make note of the width of your foot and (oddly enough) the length of your toes and the arch.

Buying shoes that fit:

 If you put on a sandal and it feels comfortable but your toes are hanging over the front, the shoe is too small.

If you are trying on a  pair of mules and the back of your foot hangs over the back of the shoe, they are too small.

If the shoe has more than 1/2 inch of space between the end of your toes and the end of the shoe, it might not be the right size or style.

If you can’t wiggle your toes, move on. The ‘toe box’ area should have enough room to wiggle your toes.

If there is space around the back of your heel, this might not be the right style for you.

Consider a wedge heel since it offeres more support for the entire foot.

If you are not comprtable wearing 3 or 4″ heels, don’t buy them for your wedding day. You will be miserable all day long. Try a kitten heel instead.

Dont buy shoes that are snug thinking you can break them in to fit your foot. They should fit comfortably at the time of purchase.

Always try on shoes in the aftenoon or evening. You’ve been walking around all day and your feet are more likely to let you know what feels good or bad.

Do wear the shoes a few times to avoid getting blisters from any new stress points. This will relax them a bit and although it will not change the siez, they will feel more comfortable on your wedding day.

To really avoid foot pain for your wedding, consider buying a second pair of shoes that are attractive and more comfortable. At  he point when your feet become exhausted you can inconspicuously change into the other pair to provide yourself some relief.For the second pair of shoes, select something  that will be comfortable for dancing.

Just like clothing, shoes are made differently and cut for different shapes of feet. A pair of size 7 shoes can fit two pair of size 7  feet very  differently. Talk to the salesperson about how that brand runs. Stuart Weitzman are notoriously narrow and  even buying a bigger size won’t solve that problem.

Style does not have to be thrown out the window to be comfortable if you shop smart and if the shoe fits…… BUY IT!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

The Final Touch – Accessories

Ask any woman and she will tell you : Nothing compares to a nice piece of jewelry. 

The question of “real or fake?” no longer holds much significance since the cost and quality of good costume jewelry can far exceed that of some ‘fine ‘ jewelry. The real problem is how much or how little do you wear.  I think the best way to do this is to think of  your gown as the cake and your jewelry as the frosting. How much frosting do you want? Would you prefer to be a glittering princess, dripping in ‘diamonds’ or would a modest pearl choker suit your needs just fine?

The first step in the process is to decide on a headpiece. Many years ago headpieces were designed to match a specific gown. Each gown was accompanied by its very own headpiece and veil. The designers spent hours creating the total look and they were sold as such but now, gown designers rarely even produce headpieces.

After you find your headpiece and veil it is important to book a hair appointment to have your hair styled with the headpiece and veil. My suggestion is to book this appointment on a day when you can try on the gown, whether it is for a fitting or not. Once you have a picture of the total look, you can get an idea of how much or how little jewelry you want.  If you have a favorite piece of jewelry or a family heirloom you want to wear, bring it with you so you can see how it looks with the entire ensemble.

The most common mistake brides make when selecting accessories for their wedding is listening to other people. Other people do not live inside your body, they do not know what is comfortable to you  on your skin or what is out of character for you or simply put, what you can afford. Find the pieces you like, big or small and go with it. I can tell you I am very uncomfortable with post earrings, they constantly pinch so I spend all night tugging at my ears and finally throw them in my purse. 

Speaking of purses, don’t forget that you might want to carry a small bag with some touch-ups for  your makeup and breath mints (no gum, please). There are so many gorgeous bridal purses that can be transitioned in to evening purses that it would be a shame not to have one. It doesn’t have to completely match the gown  since you will not be carrying it around with you and I have NEVER seen a bridal portrait or wedding picture where the bride is holding a purse.  Something beautiful will work, something embellished that you could carry to a cocktail party or another wedding would be fantastic.

Another sometimes forgotten accessory is the bracelet. You don’t have to worry about which arm to wear the bracelet. Again this is a comfort issue. your wedding rings will be on  he left hand so the right arm might need a little sparkle. But, if you always wear your bracelets on the left, do what works best for you. You don’t want to be speing the evening adjusting and fidgeting at your wrist.

Do not purchase anything that pinches, pulls, tugs or leaves red marks on your skin no matter what anyone tells you.

Do spend a little extra money for something that is of better quality….you will wear it again and again.

At each and every Bridal Expo we have accessories on stage and manyof our  accessory vendors display their merchandise for you to try on. Call 847-428-3320 today to book an appointment to see a show in your area.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago