After I made the decision about the dress, it meant I was able to move forward with all the other little bit’s and pieces that is part of a brides day – including shoes, jewellery, veil and other accessories. I had maxed out my budget on my dress – it wasn’t technically over budget, but let’s just say I didn’t have much change from what I had planned to spend – so it meant I couldn’t be too lavish on my accessories. Turns out some creativity and middle-of-the-night-eBay-bids go a long way!
Tip: If your dress is complicated to get in to/ do up, or your bridesmaids aren’t there with you – ask the shop assistant to record a video of how to do it up for you. Luckily mine was easy!
I had a bit of a nightmare with shoes. I thought I wanted some gold ones (my favourite colour) but I also didn’t want to pay huge amounts for shoes I might never wear again. Let’s face it, I spend most of my life in trainers and so high heels aren’t exactly my thing!
I found gorgeous Dune shoes on eBay (planning a wedding made me an eBay queen!), so grabbed them up. When they arrived I very quickly realised they were much too high for me – my feet started aching in them just minutes after I put them on. Once we decided that we were going to have dance lessons for our first dance (more on this soon!) I knew I couldn’t wear these shoes – I needed something that would keep my feet more secure and have less of a stiletto heel. Also – what was I thinking? I was getting married on GRASS, stilettos would never work.
Luckily my friend Anna came to the rescue. She had ordered her wedding shoes online from JJ’s House and assured me it was totally legit. We spent an evening (and a bottle of wine) pouring over the site together, and taking my list of specifics (not too high, peep toe, ankle strap) and eventually finding the shoes below. For £30 I thought it was worth a shot, so ordered them.
They arrived and were perfect! And you know what, through dance lessons and sinking into the grass on the day (mud/ grass stains), scratches from walking on gravel and trekking through fields for photos – they took an absolute hammering. But for £30 who cares?
I also bought pretty little coral ballet flats from Primark for £3, which I slipped in to on the dance floor. No one even noticed!
I have an obsession with Kate Spade, and I really wanted to wear some of her earrings – but with my dress having so much detail to it, I didn’t want to buy some and then discover they just weren’t right for the dress. I figured simple was best, and I liked the look of pearls too.
Cue eBay again! I found some Kate Spade fakes (for 6 quid, they HAD to be fake) and thought it was worth a try, and you know what – they looked awesome and I loved them.
I had also bought a pearl-look bracelet, but when I tried it next to my dress it wasn’t the right shade of white and ended up looking muted and off-grey, so I decided that simple was better and kept my fingers and wrists bare.
I wasn’t sure what would work with my dress, so I turned to eBay to buy a few hair accessories. I ended up buying 2 silver/ diamante/ pearl hair clips which were too much, but this simple gold one worked perfectly. I kept the other two and sold them on a wedding website in New Zealand afterwards for 4 x what I paid for them!
I knew I wanted a veil (when else do you get to wear one?) and Anna again gave me some very good advice – ALWAYS buy a full length one. She pointed out that if I had gone for finger length or shorter that it would have cut me off at that point, and it draws the eye away. A full length veil allows the eye to see the entire dress through it without distracting with a mid-cut off point.
My bridesmaid Natalie had ordered a veil from a wedding veil wholesale shop online and so I did the same. Bridal stores were close to the £200 mark for veils, but mine was a steal at £45. You can order a sample sheet of the different colours of tulle (seriously there are many MANY shades of white!) before you make your choice which is worth it too.
Tip: order the clip hanger from amazon to save a few quid.
Tip: after the ceremony, when people go to hug you – dip your head as you hug them. Otherwise their arms tug on your veil and you find your head being yanked back. I was happy to be told this tip before the day – it very much came in handy!
I bought a blue and white one off eBay – it was a last minute decision as I felt I really should have one. Even though I only paid a few quid for it, it was a total waste of money. It was hot and scratchy and annoying and I made Jase yank it off my leg when we were having photos (not FOR the photos, just to get rid of it). My advice? Don’t bother with one unless you are making a “thing” of throwing it etc (we weren’t).
With a low V back of my dress, shapewear was an issue! After a LOT of googling I found what seemed like the perfect bodysuit – with poppers in the crotch for bathroom breaks even! However in the weeks leading up to the wedding, I continued to lose weight (not really intentionally – it just happened) and my bodysuit was suddenly too big and gapey in the chest. The irony of having to buy new shapewear because I had lost too much weight for my original shapewear was kind of hilarious!!
I hit up Farmers a few days before the wedding and managed to buy some lovely nude high waisted shorts. I will spare you a picture (not that I have one!). The shorts gave me a much smoother line through the hip than the “briefs” style which created lumps and bumps, and they weren’t so high in the waist that I risked anyone seeing them at the V in the back.
HOT. NOT. Essential? Yes.
This was a must-purchase because, well, see above “shapewear”. And yes, I went budget bride on this too – buying it from Primark for a tenner, rather than bankrupting myself on something ridiculous that would never be worn again from Victoria’s Secret. Trust me when I said Jase had no idea either way…!
Tip: Think about how you are getting OUT of your dress, and consider asking a bridesmaid to stay for a few minutes to unlace/un-do the tricky bits. In theory my dress wasn’t really that complicated – it had 20+ buttons up the back and a zip for the rest of the way. However, with large man hands and a few drinks under his belt, Jase struggled to workout how to undo the buttons – they had elastic snaps which clipped over the button. For a good 30minutes I thought I was ACTUALLY stuck in my dress, and was frantically thinking who I could call to come and help get me out of it…it was 1am!
I loved my dress, but I also loved the idea of jazzing it up even more for the reception. I had seen some amazing huge hot pink and bright coral floral sashes at a wedding show, but I forgot to take the details of the supplier. I searched high and low on etsy but didn’t find quite the same thing.
My bridal store had a local lady who made floral brooches, and so I took in a sample of my bridesmaids dress and asked for one to be made in a colour similar. It cost me £25, and when I picked it up it was a lot more muted than I had wanted/ expected (for some reason the bridal industry favours pastels and soft tones, and don’t really get it when you say BRIGHT LOUD HOT HOT like I wanted!). But in the end, it was fine – it added a bit of colour, which was the effect I was after.
Another 3 quid eBay find – this was originally from New Look (and I’d been eyeing it up so was stoked to find one on eBay) but the one I bought was missing the metal strap. I didn’t need it – it was just a place to store a tissue and my lipstick during the reception really!
While I didn’t THINK I would get cold (I always err on the hot side) I knew it was New Zealand so the weather could do any thing. The last thing I wanted was to have to throw a cardigan over my beautiful dress (and Jase wasn’t having a jacket) so I borrowed a gorgeous coral pashmina off my bridesmaid Laura. I didn’t need it, but my mum did later on!
Ultimately I kept things pretty simple, and I am proud of the way I was able to make my budget go further! I initially found accessories to be one of the hardest things to think about, but in the end simple was the easiest and most effective for me.
How did you accessorise your dress? Are you a shoe person – would you go for stunning heels, or keep it simple and practical like me?
All Photos by Coralee Stone.
Want more wedding goss? Catch up here with the rest of A TOPP WEDDING posts:
A TOPP WEDDING: The Venue
A TOPP WEDDING: The Engagement
A TOPP WEDDING: My Bridesmaids
A TOPP WEDDING: Asking the Bridesmaids
A TOPP WEDDING: The Photographer
A TOPP WEDDING: The Celebrant
A TOPP WEDDING: The Invites
A TOPP WEDDING: The Wedding Coordinator
A TOPP WEDDING: Topp Hens – round one
A TOPP WEDDING: Six Years of Selfies
A TOPP WEDDING: We Got Married!
A TOPP WEDDING: The Dress