Here comes the non-traditional bride...
December 27, 2014 8:35 PM   Subscribe

Turns out, neither my partner nor I are wedding planners so we’ve decided to elope on New Year’s Eve. Hurray! So far, we’ve had 6 days to plan since our decision. I’ve acquired THIS lovely dress to wear on the big day. Problem is, I’m not sure how to accessorize it in a way to signify I’m a bride. Looking for some suggestion for styles of jewelry, shoes, and whatnot to help me accomplish a bridal look.

Some useful information:

- I’m a femme lady.
- We are having a civil ceremony in Chicago. It will be cold.
- I have 4 days to acquire items, so no Etsy or online shops.
- Any suggestions about makeup would also be appreciated!

posted by turniphead to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Gorgeous dress! If you're holding a big bouquet and wearing a fancy dress, people will generally assume you're getting married, so the accessory I'd strongly recommend is a bouquet (with corresponding bouquet or boutonnière for you partner).

I wonder if a vintage (-style) birdcage veil or hat might go nicely with that dress and signify "bride" a bit more forcefully. You might be able to find something locally if you have time to pop into a vintage store or two. I'm thinking of something like this (linking for style, not a specific recommendation). I've seen quite a few birdcage-style veils recently. You might be able to find one at a conventional bridal boutique.
posted by Meg_Murry at 8:47 PM on December 27, 2014 [9 favorites]

It's beautiful! I did a fairly non-traditional dress and a courthouse wedding. Below are some ideas I have to dress it up for bride. Take or leave what you will. I'm a sparkly loving person...

Make (or buy) a birdcage veil or sure. I made mine and can give you some tips. You can easily make one with a headband, some tulle, felt, some hot glue and any sort of flowers or sparklies from the craft store.

Also, match your shoes to your veil. I think a cream or off-white would look gorgeous. Heels or flats would be fine. Again, the level of sparkle and detail depends on what you like. I know Payless often carries bridal shoes, otherwise major retailers or malls should have something too. If you let me know what's around you I can help online shop.

Jewelry - I'd go for something a bit simple - especially if you're dressing up with a veil or some sort of hair accessory and shoes. I'd do something a bit higher on the collar bone and V-shaped to accentuate the neckline. I think pearls would look wonderful. Maybe something like this. Simple earrings to match.

A small bouquet is also an option. (Ahem, the crafter in me insisted on hand-crocheting a bouquet of roses but..) You can easily make something beautiful or buy something simple.

A shawl would look wonderful for a winter wedding too. Just a simple cream one would be fine but you could also do a faux fur or something.

I wore a nice trench of my dress that I already had for when it got really chilly - we had an early April wedding. If you have any sort of nice trench or peacoat I think that's totally fine!

Anyway, Congrats and Memail me if you have craft questions or what to share what shops you might be looking into.

EDIT! Don't forget a fun garger and fancy undergarments - sure that's on the inside but it's your wedding!
posted by Crystalinne at 8:51 PM on December 27, 2014 [5 favorites]

Congratulations! That's a beautiful dress, I was going to say veil, but the hat veil idea would be a super addition.
posted by jennstra at 8:53 PM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: That's a gorgeous dress. The traditional signifiers of "bride" are a veil and a bouquet. I'm guessing you don't want a giant poofy veil (but if you do, it would look great with the dress) but I agree that a birdcage veil would go really beautifully with that dress. But honestly, I've had to go down to the New York marriage bureau a couple of times and you see people get married in all kinds of outfits but the thing that usually gives them away is the bouquet and/or the radiant happiness. So as long as you've got the last one covered you're probably good.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 8:54 PM on December 27, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I think a fascinator or some sort of head piece/ small hat would be good. That would make a statement, and you really wouldn't need to worry about other accessories. Some shop in Chicagoland should have something like this.
posted by girl flaneur at 9:06 PM on December 27, 2014

Birdcage veil, white fur cape (elbow length or hip length.)
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 9:24 PM on December 27, 2014 [6 favorites]

Actually since you're in such a big city chances are high you would only have to go to a Nordstrom downtown to find a birdcage style veil. Fascinators, veils. But they're easy to make, too.

The sleeve length on your dress shouts out for a bracelet, I think. Worn on the opposite side to your ring of course. It can be anything but I think simple would be best in pictures and not conflict with whatever bouquet you have . Pearls, or a clean link chain? Something all one neutral color or metallic. I know you're eloping but do you have a friend to borrow a bracelet from, if you don't have something that suits?

Generally the more matching you are the more formal it is and thus the more "bridal", so while I'd normally suggest otherwise, matching the color of your shoes to your dress or bouquet would work nicely. Wear shoes that you can walk and stand in!

Because it's winter and your dress is a retro style, wearing stockings is a good idea. I personally love thigh highs because they're so much more comfortable for me but whatever's in your comfort zone. If it pleases you, something with a texture could be very flattering. Wolford's a nice brand, here's an example.

Makeup is different depending on if you're having professional photography (with lots of flashes and lighting) or not. Since I suspect that's not really the case for you, you don't have to worry about lights washing you out, foundation reflecting too much, or anything like that. Do some local research and find a salon that does event makeup with an attitude that suits you. New Years is a pretty big day for this so people might be booked up, but it shouldn't be too difficult to find. They can do your hair too and place any hair accessories you might have. When making the appointment, stress that it's low key, explain the lack of photographers, use the word "elope". Make it very clear that you want none of the typical wedding hoopla. Even if you're normally comfortable doing your own hair and makeup for a party, it's nice to have this taken care of by other people on this one day. I'd steer away from bright colors for your makeup, unless that's what makes you happy. Make sure your lip color doesn't easily rub off!

Congratulations, and nice choice of date. It'll be hard to forget your anniversary.
posted by Mizu at 9:25 PM on December 27, 2014

GORGEOUS dress. What a pretty bride you will be! Agreeing with everyone else: something on your head, and carry flowers. Voila.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:34 PM on December 27, 2014

That dress screams white fur (or fake) elbow length capelet.
posted by youcancallmeal at 10:05 PM on December 27, 2014 [4 favorites]

I would go, as several above commenters have stated, with birdcage veil (cream/ivory with a bit of vintage sparkle). Then accessorise with some ivory/cream pumps (sparkly example). Finish off with an all white bouquet (peonies, roses, or something like this). You are going to look a million dollars! Ps if you can find a fur or faux fur capelet, PLEASE wear it!
posted by shazzam! at 10:43 PM on December 27, 2014

Best answer: I agree with the birdcage veil or fascinator idea, but with that vavavoom navy dress I would wear jewel tones, not cream or white. I got married in a blue dress, and I wore a peacock feather fascinator (similar to this one: and beautiful gold heels. I bought my fascinator on Etsy, but I've also made a few for other occasions. Large chain craft stores like Michaels carry supplies for making them, including bits of netting for veiling, and it's easy to do.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 2:29 AM on December 28, 2014 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I'd go for a fifties make up with that dress. Here's an online guide. NYX makes makeup for photography and it's cheap at Ulta.

Pearls are a classical wedding accessory. They should fall just at your collar bones. Single strand.

David's Bridal is likely to have shoes and hat veils in stock, there are plenty of locations in the Chicago area. They also have white fur jackets, capes and muffs! They may have this Birdcage veil.

That seems spendy to me and who knows if it's in stock. Here's a tutorial on how to make your own, and I think it would be fun. Joannes or a high end fabric store should have what you need.

DSW will have evening/bridal shoes to pick from. I got my wedding shoes there. Cream pois de sois (silk) shoes. They may even have a match for Navy.

This handbag is available today at Macys at Bolingbrook or Orland Square.

You get the idea. You'll be beautiful. Mazel-Tov!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:21 AM on December 28, 2014

Faux fur is super trendy right now - Forever 21, Topshop, and the other fast fashion shops on Michigan Ave have tons, and I mean TONS of options for faux fur capes, jackets, capelets, etc. Definitely something in a winter white would look amazing with that dress! Congrats!
posted by misskaz at 8:37 AM on December 28, 2014

A bouquet for you and a flower for his lapel will make a big difference and will make the day more festive. If you're looking for bouquet ideas, Pinterest is actually a really good resource. With that dress, I think white or pale pink flowers would look lovely.
posted by colfax at 9:26 AM on December 28, 2014

Best answer: For makeup you could call sephora and schedule a beauty tutorial and they will do your makeup for free. They might be busy NYE but they might not.

I would either go dewy eyes (peachy-neutrals with very dark thick liner that this thicker towards the edge of the eye and false lashes) or semi-smoky like the model in the picture. If you or a friend has any of the "Naked" palettes from urban decay that will do fine for smoky.

You can also get your nails did; again I'd recommend peach.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:21 PM on December 28, 2014

Response by poster: Everyone has given such good advice. Today I picked up some sparkly gold heels, a statement necklace with a ton of bling, and took a trip to Ulta for makeup. I ended up choosing this polish for my nails. I’m going to look for a birdcage veil tomorrow—what a great idea.

Any suggestions for DIY bouquets? Defiantly can't crochet, but I can be pretty crafty.
posted by turniphead at 5:44 PM on December 28, 2014

If you want to make your own real-flower bouquet, I would probably stop by a florist today or tomorrow to talk to them about getting some stems in for you to make into a bouquet--if you give them a color palette they'll know what's likely to be prettiest where you are. Then you can put them into a bouquet, wrap the stems with ribbon and voila. (Or if there's a wholesale flower market where you can go and just see what looks good). I actually like this tutorial from Martha Stewart because you can see how the guest floral designer actually puts the bouquet together rather than it being your typical demo where they put like 4 flowers together and then turn to pick up a finished product. There are also a lot of other bouquet tutorials on the Martha Stewart site. My personal experience with DIY bouquets is you can often compensate for non-professional floral skills by just using a lot of flowers--like, way more than you might think. You could probably either go with cream/white flowers or darker jewel tones depending on your necklace and coat (or what seems pretty at the florist's).

Or if you don't feel like making your own, you could talk to them about putting one together for you--my wedding bouquet was from a supermarket florist and probably cost $50 and it was effing gorgeous.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 3:01 PM on December 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Coming in late because I just stumbled on this awesome headpiece - if you're crafty, you can even add a veil
posted by Mchelly at 7:23 PM on December 30, 2014

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