The Complete Guide To Accessorizing Wedding Dresses and What to Avoid

It probably seems like once you “Say Yes to the Dress” your job is over. But wait, there’s more! Finding your wedding dress is only the beginning. Wedding dresses must be accessorized appropriately to look their best and complete your look.

Key wedding dress accessories include the veil, belts and sashes, undergarments, and how their placed to come together seamlessly. These essentials have a huge impact on the overall style and look you’re trying to achieve. If you want a grade A, complete bridal look, follow our bridal guide below for tips and best practices when accessorizing your wedding  dresses.


Part One:

Wedding Dress Veil

Whether you’re a bride that’s set on wearing a veil or are slightly skeptical, there are some very important things you should know and consider when veil shopping.

1. Simplicity Is Key

If your dress is covered in lace or has a lot of bling and embroidery, you should pick a veil that is more simple. The same goes for a wedding dress is simple. You want your veil to be simple and delicate like the dress.  

For example: A complete silk or satin dress with no embroidery should also be paired with a simple veil (without an overbearing lace pattern or crystal design). You never want the veil to over power the wedding dress. That’s not to say that you can’t have ANY detail on the veil, just make sure it’s not overpowering or distracting. You want your guests to look at all of you, not just stare at your veil.

2. Match The Veil Color

Wedding dresses come in a variety of colors which makes matching not only important but challenging, especially if you do not know the exact color of your dress. White doesn’t always mean “white”.

Don’t make the mistake of buying an ivory wedding dress and pair it white veil – the two will not match with a color difference that is very noticeable in both photos and when wearing the two together.

To show you an example, refer to the picture below to see what ivory, off white and white look like next to each other:

Matching your wedding dress to your veil Mistakes To Avoid When Accessorizing Wedding Dresses Gourmet Wedding Gifts Personalized Wedding Guest Favors And Customized Bride and Groom Gifts

Photo: Weddbook

As you can see, there are many different shades of white and ivory, which is why color matching is so important to consider.

Getting the wrong colored veil is easy to avoid with these tips:

  1. Ask to bring your dress with you: Call the store you’re planning to shop for your veil at ahead of time. Ask them if you can bring your wedding dress with you to compare coloring and details. Many bridal stores will allow you to bring your dress with your which makes veil shopping much easier!
  2. Ask your seamstress for a fabric sample: If you do not have your wedding dress with you because it is getting altered, ask the seamstress for an extra piece of fabric to keep with you for comparison.
  3. Call the bridal store: If your dress is getting ordered and you do not have it in your possession, call the bridal store you bought it from and ask them what color the wedding dress is. This will keep you from guessing and give you peace of mind as you shop.

3. The Length Of The Veil

The length of your veil has a big impact on your overall look. There is an art to pairing the shape and style of your wedding dress with the your wedding veil length. “That means finding a style that complements your overall silhouette – you don’t want your veil to break up the flow of your look.” Libby McCarthy, The Knot.

Veil lengths Mistakes To Avoid When Accessorizing Wedding Dresses Gourmet Wedding Gifts Personalized Wedding Guest Favors And Customized Bride and Groom Gifts

Photo: Yuri C. Wedding Shoppe

Veil pairing tips based on your dress style:

  1. Veil Pairing with a Ball Gown: A ball gown usually pairs best with a cathedral length veil or a fingertip veil. Wedding dresses that are big, need a big veil! Never pair a tiny blusher veil with a ball gown – the styles do not complement each other.
  2. Veil Pairing with an A-line Dress: The great thing about A-line wedding dresses is that they can be styled in many different ways. A-line wedding dresses can be paired with any veil length, it just depends on what kind of look you are going for and what style you like the most.
  3. Veil Pairing with Mermaid or Trumpet DressMuch like an A-line, mermaid or trumpet wedding dresses look nice with almost all veil length. The main style to avoid when pairing with a mermaid or trumpet would be the Waltz length as it can be distracting to the dress.
  4. Veil Pairing with a Sheath DressSheath wedding dresses usually pair well with any veil except for the chapel veil. This is because chapel veils that end right at your feet, without a train, make it look like you’re stepping on it. If you want a romantic look with your sheath wedding dress, a cathedral length is very beautiful and gives the illusion of a train since this dress does not have one. It can also make for some beautiful photos.
  5. Veil Pairing with Short or Tea Length DressThere are only a few styles that pair well with short or tea length wedding dresses. These dresses look best with elbow or shoulder length veils, or a bird-cage veil. The reason for this is that pairing a long veil with a short dress can take too much attention away from your dress.

Get inspired on our Wedding Veils Pinterest Board


Part Two:

Wedding Dress Belts

Adding belts to wedding dresses can dramatically change their style. Belts can help brides customize a wedding dress, give you the look you’re aiming for and be your waistline’s best friend, all at the same time. For example, if you don’t have a defined waistline, adding a belt can instantly create the illusion of an hourglass shape.

If you do decide to add a belt to your dress, make sure to follow the tips below to avoid common mistakes:

1. Matching Belt To Dress Style

When you start looking for a belt, it’s important to consider and match your dress style. Be careful not to buy a belt just because it catches your eye. For example, if your dress has a soft and delicate look, make sure that you’re looking for a belt that matches those features. Just like the veil, you do not want a belt to take the focus away from your dress. The goal is to make the belt look like it was always a part of the dress not added to it.

Here are a few examples of belts done right:

lace wedding dress with belt Mistakes To Avoid When Accessorizing Wedding Dresses Gourmet Wedding Gifts Personalized Wedding Guest Favors And Customized Bride and Groom GiftsWedding dresses with belt Mistakes To Avoid When Accessorizing Wedding Dresses Gourmet Wedding Gifts Personalized Wedding Guest Favors And Customized Bride and Groom Gifts

PHOTOS: World of Bridal

2. Colored Belts

Much like veils, it’s important to match the color of your belt with your dress color. If the ribbon show through on the belt, make sure it’s the same color of the dress.

If you want to add a colored belt, consider your choices carefully. Colored belts can look beautiful if done right, however, if done wrong, they can take away from the wedding dress itself or look misplaced. If your wedding dress is a pure white, avoid pairing with warmer tones like champagne, baby pink or gold. Instead go for a cooler tone such as silver, grey and baby blue. On the other hand, ivory wedding dresses pair very well with the warmer tones mentioned.

If you want your belt to be your “something blue”, avoid using a bright blue. Instead, choose a softer blue which looks more romantic. As with other wedding dress accessories, it’s important to remember that the goal is to complement your dress, not distract from it.

Here are some great examples of colored belts done right:

Wedding dress with colored belt Mistakes To Avoid When Accessorizing Wedding Dresses Gourmet Wedding Gifts Personalized Wedding Guest Favors And Customized Bride and Groom Gifts

Photo: Pinterest

Something blue wedding dress belt Mistakes To Avoid When Accessorizing Wedding Dresses Gourmet Wedding Gifts Personalized Wedding Guest Favors And Customized Bride and Groom Gifts

Photo: Brit + Co

3. Belt Placement

Once you’ve picked out your belt, you have several options on its placement. If you decide to sew your belt directly on to your dress, an option that is very common, make sure the seamstress places it at your natural waistline!

If the belt is added below your natural waistline it can make your waist appear wider than it really is and if it’s added higher than your natural waistline, it can make your dress look too small and your torso look shorter than it really is.

”As for width, consider your proportions: If you’re short-waisted, petite or super curvy, a wide belt will take up the entirety of your torso and make you look like a chest on top of hips. Slim belts, on the other hand, will balance you out. If you’re long-waisted, skinny belts may look a bit too skinny, but wider styles will create great proportions. As a fallback plan, a 1 ½ – inch-wide belt works on most figures.” Sally McGraw, Star Tribune.

If your belt has a flower decal, the best option is to put the decal on your right side as it will flatter your waistline and look good for pictures. Consider that your right side is in view for both the camera and your guests when you’re standing at the altar.

Get inspired on our Wedding Dress Belts Pinterest Board

Examples of belts worn to the side of wedding dresses:

MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN ACCESSORIZING WEDDING DRESSES GOURMET WEDDING GIFTS PERSONALIZED WEDDING GUEST FAVORS AND CUSTOMIZED GIFTS - 7

PHOTO: Lucky Bridals

MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN ACCESSORIZING WEDDING DRESSES GOURMET WEDDING GIFTS PERSONALIZED WEDDING GUEST FAVORS AND CUSTOMIZED GIFTS - 8

Photo: Pinterest


Part Three:

Wedding Dress Undergarments

When it comes to choosing undergarments, there’s often a lot of confusion among brides. Many brides don’t consider the importance of the right undergarments and what effect they have on how the dress lays. If the correct undergarments are not worn it can cause some problems.

1. Long-Lined Corset Bra vs. Bandeau Strapless

There is no question that a bra needs to be worn, especially if you’re wearing a strapless dress. Some brides think that a strapless corset wedding dress means they don’t need to wear a bra – this is a common mistake. Wearing a long-lined corset bra with any dress will only serve to help you. You’ll be thanking yourself by the end of the night and likely as soon as the dancing and starts.

”A long-lined bra is a bra that extends down to the waist or hips…The main advantage of a long-lined bra is that the extra wide band provides more support than a regular bra. Many long-lined bras also offer shaping for the waist.” Linda Becker, The Bra Lady.

Wedding dresses also appreciate the extra boning that a long-lined bra offers. Because wedding dresses are typically heavy, this type of bra will aid in helping the dress stay up. Essential to avoiding the common problem we see brides struggle with as they spend their wedding night constantly pulling and tugging at their dress to keep it in place.

The long-lined corset bra will also help your wedding dress lay nicely on you. The boning in the corset pulls everything in and flattens your stomach.

As a general rule, avoid a bandeau bra which often causes wedding dresses to roll underneath the breasts and around the torso.  

Long line smooth strapless bra Mistakes To Avoid When Accessorizing Wedding Dresses Gourmet Wedding Gifts Personalized Wedding Guest Favors And Customized Bride and Groom Gifts

Photo: Her Room

2. Slips

The type of slip you wear is just as important at the bra. Whether you’re wearing a huge ball gown or a sleek sheath dress, a slip should always be worn. In the bridal world, there’s something called the “bridal wedgie”, which is when the wedding dress starts to go in between the bride’s legs as she is walking. It can be very uncomfortable, make it hard for the bride to walk, and can be unflattering to the dress as well as photography. Fortunately all of these problems can be treated by wearing the right slip.

Slips For Full Wedding Dresses:

For Ball gown, A-line and Mermaid/Trumpets wedding dresses, wear a slip that has extra crinoline. Don’t worry it doesn’t add a lot of extra weight to your dress, if anything, it makes it feel lighter. The extra crinoline on the slip will help the dress from resting on your legs. It will also help the dress lay nicely on the bottom so that you don’t have to fluff the dress as much during the ceremony and pictures.

Wedding dress slips Mistakes To Avoid When Accessorizing Wedding Dresses Gourmet Wedding Gifts Personalized Wedding Guest Favors And Customized Bride and Groom Gifts

Photo: Your Dream Dress

Slips For Sleek Wedding Dresses:

For a sheath wedding dresses, or if crinoline does not sound like your friend, the best option is to wear a straight slip. It should still be a long slip but one that goes straight up and down. This will help avoid that dreaded “bridal wedgie”.

3. Not Wearing Undergarments

This is a huge no-no. The only scenario that calls for dropping a bra from your wardrobe is when your wedding dress has a low enough back that it restricts you from wearing one. Otherwise, if you normally wear a bra during the day, you should be wearing a bra on your big day.

Additionally, as you’re dancing the night away, undergarments serve as a sweat barrier and help keep your white dress stay white. Let your undergarments be the unfortunate ones.

Get inspired on our Bridal Undergarments Pinterest Board


There are so many things to consider when accessorizing your bridal look. There’s so much to choose from when it comes to wedding dresses. Whether you decide to wear a veil or not, to add a belt or not, or decide to wear undergarments, it’s always good to know what your options are!

What’s your favorite wedding accessory?

Leave us a comment below and let us know your style!

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2 Comments

  1. I have to say, as a bride who just picked my dream wedding dress, this article is SO helpful. I knew it was not 100% complete and now I know what steps to take to accessorize my dress! Thank you

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