Bump your wedding look up a notch with these unique bridal accessories ideas for brides (and grooms)
I photograph unique weddings, so it makes sense that I’ve gathered some darn cool, unique bridal accessories and accessory ideas during my years of photographing all around the globe. Hey…why be boring?
Wedding accessories can be purchased everywhere from crafts stores to Amazon these days, but for something truly unique…well, read on and find some amazing local craftspeople who are setting new 2021 trends in the wedding industry.
Whether you’re searching for nontraditional bridal shoes, vintage wedding hair accessories, or a Scottish horseshoe charm (never heard about this one before!), this list of 25 unique bridal accessories (for guys, too!) is sure to give you a few wedding ideas.
Eloping? Having an intimate ceremony on the beach? Hosting a 300-person wedding? No matter your wedding day, you’ll find ideas for a unique wedding accessory in this list, perfect for your day. Ready?
35 unique wedding accessories for brides AND grooms
1. Flower Crown – Sometimes you don’t want to carry anything, but want to add some color and beauty to your look. A flower crown is perfect! Light, perfect for short hair or long, and gorgeous, it means you can have your flowers without having to hold a thing. I love, love brides with flower crowns—and sometimes you get the whole wedding party wearing them!
2. Hat – If you never thought to wear a hat on your wedding day…well, you’re not alone. I personally can’t pull off a hat, but if you have the right vibe and love hats…why the heck not? At the very least, wearing a hat for your engagement session is adorable. For your wedding, get a professional milliner like Z Malan in NYC to make you a custom wedding hat for your day.
3. Wedding choker – Chokers were in in the 90s, but they made a resurgence in the late 2010s. Wedding chokers are different, and this metal wedding choker necklace is stylin’! Paired with matching gold earrings, you’ve got a statement look.
4. Flower Veil – Why go plain when you can have a unique wedding veil? This custom flower veil was made by me (Seriously! I have an artsy side.), and the bride I made it for loved tossing it in the wind for photos. Plus, a colored silk flower veil makes every look come alive.
5. Leather Jacket – Okay, a faux leather jacket. Wearing a leather jacket with your wedding dress can be super chic (and super warm). It’s all the rage now to have it embossed, but rest assured—you can wear it whether it’s personalized or plain.
6. Unique Wedding Shoes – Custom Converse are all the rage, whether they’re rainbow pride shoes or blue sequins. No need to twist an ankle in stiletto wedding shoes! For tall brides who want short wedding shoes, these padded flats are a no-brainer.
7. Hiking Boots – If you’re doing a fall/winter hiking elopement, the last thing you want is to be cold. Break in your pair ahead of time, or if hiking just a short bit, get a warm, faux fur-lined pair and some cozy wool socks. Skin-colored leggings underneath will add warmth when it’s time to change into something nicer. Or heck, just keep the boots on!
8. Cat/dog Bowtie – Okay, but how can you not buy a bowtie for your pet after you see these below? You can use a human one so you match, or order a specialty one at a local pet store. If a wedding bowtie for your dog isn’t quite enough, try adding dog cufflinks to the mix.
9. Dog/cat Wreath – Don’t forget your pets! Make a dog wreath or order a fresh one from your florist to match your colors. I’m no girly girl, but the cuteness is, like, overwhelming. Look at them!
10. Tiara – No, you don’t have to look like a Disney princess on your wedding day. Tiaras are sophisticated and still the rage now, and you can go Cinderella big or smaller and more subdued—the choice is yours! Just know that the choices out there are immense, ranging from clear rhinestones to colored gems and intricate wiring.
11. Custom Cake Topper – While not exactly a bridal accessory, a custom cake topper is a great conversation piece, AND you will support a local craftsperson. You can send in an idea (your pet ferrets), or a photo of you two, and get back something you’ll have on your mantle forever. How cute!
12. Engraved Tie Clip – It’s something small, but it can be worn again and again. For gals or guys wearing a tie, this is a great way to avoid dragging your tie in the icing while having a date or nickname engraved on something you’re wearing.
13. Bridal Collar – For strapless dresses that need a little something extra, or for those who don’t like wearing jewelry, a handmade collar or “dress necklace” is perfect. My bride Stephanie wore one for her elopement in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and her sister handmade the collar!
14. Reception Dress/Rehearsal Dress – Do you NEED a second dress? No. But are they cool? Of course! Whether you’re switching from an Indian Saree into a Western-style wedding dress, or a wedding dress into a jumpsuit, having a second wedding dress just has a different look and feel. Plus, you can use it for your wedding adventure sessions! And that brings me to point #15 (next, of course).
15. Re-Make Your Mother’s Wedding Dress – As more brides are wanting to incorporate their families into their days, or have a piece of their loved ones with them, re-doing your grandmother’s or mother’s wedding dress is a way to keep those not with you anymore close by. And sometimes your mother just wants to see her dress re-purposed. The result? A one-of-a-kind piece that can never be purchased off a rack, but that has meaning to you for the rest of your life.
16. Boho Headpiece/Hippie Headpiece – If you enjoy the boho bridal look, then a “hippie headpiece” is the perfect boho wedding accessory for you. Want a veil, too? Try a boho veil (I made this one, too!) with a gold headband for that boho wedding look.
17. Sunglasses – Yeah, it’s not the craziest of ideas, but if you have them printed with your names & date, or order some for all your bridesmaids/groomsmen, it can make for a fun photo opp! Fun bridal accessories are sometimes staring us right in the face (sorry, walked into that one).
18. Flower Trinket – Adding a little charm or photo to your bouquet is a lovely way to remember someone special on your wedding day. You can just put the locket on a string and ask your florist to add it in—or tie it in yourself when your bouquet arrives.
19. Cape – Capes and capelets are all the rage now, and really add flair. Plus, it’s perfect for warmer weather. I can’t get over how posh a capelet looks!
20. Custom Suit – Why not splurge on a specialty suit for your wedding day? Unlike a wedding dress which is perhaps not the most versatile of clothing, a suit can be worn for almost any function. Guy or gal, head to a bespoke suit maker like Michael Andrews Bespoke for a suave look, and get your wedding date engraved while you’re at it!
21. Hoop Wreath – Sometimes you just don’t want to carry a heavy bouquet around everywhere. An unconventional wedding idea is to use a hoop wreath, which is easy to carry, light, and more simple than the 10-pound bouquets-masquerading-as-gardens brides tend to carry around these days.
22. Custom socks – You can wear something special and not have it showing! Case in point: Fun, customized socks for guys and gals. You can even take a shot of your pet and have it printed on socks! Hey, not everyone can bring their pet chinchilla to their wedding.
23. Crystal Hairpieces – Local artisans have been crafting hairpieces for a long time, but these days the rage is specialty quartz hairpieces. Artist Michelle of Forever Brooch Bouquets makes each one by hand, and I love the interest they add.
24. Engraved sign – Engraving a wood wedding sign yourself can be done at a local workshop, by a local craftsperson, or by yourself on a simple woodburning toolkit!
25. Homemade flower bouquet – Look, putting together bouquets make look easy, but it isn’t! Wedding florists have a real eye and skills that they’ve honed over years and decades, so chances are…your bouquet won’t look like theirs. That said, if you’re getting married somewhere where no florists are nearby, or you want to buy flowers at a farmer’s market and make your own, you sure can! Remember to buy wire, ribbon, and pins as well, and have scissors and shears handy. Keep those flowers out of the sun to keep them alive longer!
26. Wedding Fascinator/Birdcage Veil – Why, oh why, is this piece named a fascinator? Sure, it’s fascinating, but I can never for the life of me remember what it’s called. Aside from an un-memorable name, it’s a darn cute accessory, and helps “wedding up” your look whether you’re wearing a green dress or a white suit. Wedding fascinators can give you a punk rock look, a demure British look, a more androgynous wedding look, or a wedding vibe for those with short hair. It’s a cool and maybe even vintage wedding accessory that can really show your style mark.
27. A Cultural Tradition: The Scottish Horseshoe – I just learned of this unique wedding idea myself! Says bride Darian Bender, “In Scottish tradition, you are given a horseshoe on your wedding day. It brings luck and fertility in to the marriage. My photographers had never heard of the tradition but made sure to capture it, just for me. If you are wanting to implement any cultural pieces in to your wedding, I high recommend explaining to your photographers how important it is for you.” Photo by Janae Baca Photography.
28. Vintage Jewelry – A perfect piece that you can’t buy in 2020? You’re thinking vintage jewelry. Get a unique piece at an antique store, thrift store, or local rental company like Refined Ruffian for that one-of-a-kind vintage wedding jewelry.
29. Cowgirl/Cowboy Boots – If you own a pair of boots and want something sturdy to wear on your wedding day, wear boots! I’ve seen brides and grooms wear cowgirl/cowboy boots for their weddings all over the country and world. It really doesn’t matter if you live in Texas or not. If you like ‘em, wear ‘em.
30. Wedding Umbrella/Parasole – Want to be unique? Get an antique wedding parasol as your accessory du jour! It’s oh-so-theatrical and romantic…and Edwardian?
31. Fan – Not enough folx think about fans as a great wedding accessory. But believe me—when you’re in hot weather, it comes in handy! Plus, there are unlimited designs to choose from. Or, make your own.
32. Pocket Watch – Many brides get their other brides or grooms a watch as the “pre-wedding gift.” But why not get a cooler, more steampunk wedding accessory like a pocket watch?
33. Indian Headpiece – For South Asian brides, desi hairpieces are an important adornment. Plus, they’re darn beautiful. Gold hair accessories are most popular for Pakistani and Indian brides, but there are practically limitless options, styles, and colors.
34. Pantsuit Train – Wearing a dress? Wearing a pantsuit? You don’t HAVE to have it bustled. An alternative to bustling your dress is having a detachable train. You can tie it on, snap it on, or have it elastic over your waist. This kind of transforming wedding outfit is perfect for gals and guys who want something extra that can come off for dancing as well.
35. Mink Stole – Get a faux mink stole of course! They’re available in a variety of colors, and perfect for winter weddings or cold fall days. If you’re eloping on a helicopter in Alaska or exploring ice caves in Iceland (just saying…I have dream elopements to photograph, too), then a wedding stole is a must.
So there you have it! 35 ideas for unique bridal accessories you may not have thought of. Whether you’re eloping or throwing a huge wedding party post-COVID, these wedding accessory ideas are sure to add flair and personality to your wedding day.
Kathryn Cooper Weddings | Creative Wedding Photographer | New York Wedding Photographer