Once you’ve found the perfect dress, you need the accessories to go with it. Shoes, veils, hosiery and jewelry are must-haves, but you also have the option of adding gloves, a tiara, a garter, or a matching clutch or bag.

Shoes and Stockings

Your shoes should not only be sexy but sensible; you'll be on your feet for hours, dancing and mingling with your guests. Avoid any shoe which is uncomfortable when you try it on, has a heel you are not totally comfortable walking in, or is tight through the toe.

If you regularly wear a fairly high heel and feel comfortable walking and standing in them during your workday, you should feel free to choose a higher or narrower heel. If you do not usually wear heels, you may want to choose a shorter and/or chunkier heel. A low-heeled pump will still allow you to walk with the grace of a heel, but will lessen the chance of an unfortunate wedding-day spill. Remember, you likely won’t be able to see your feet as you are moving about in your wedding gown, so be sure to choose a heel you are comfortable with.

A wise choice is a silk or satin pump that can be dyed to match your gown. You can dress the pumps up by covering them with matching lace or by attaching a jeweled clip to each shoe. (Clips are available in many shoe and department stores.)

Depending on the couple's height relationship, some brides wear ballet slippers. These can be purchased at bridal salons, shoe stores or dance supply stores. The humble ballet slipper can rise to the occasion of a wedding if you have it covered in lace, studded with baby pearls or appliquéd with satin roses. But, be aware that you will walk differently in flats than pumps.

You will need your shoes in order for your dress to be properly hemmed if the gown is floor length. So make sure you have you shoes well in advance.

Another good reason you have your shoes a month or so early is that you will have the chance to break them in. Regardless of how well new shoes fit, they still have a tendency to hurt your feet if you try to wear them for hours without breaking them in first. Try to wear your shoes in a clean carpeted area where you can be on your feet for a couple of hours at a time until they are pliable and don’t pinch.

Most gowns will cover your shoes and stockings for most of the day, and some brides are tempted to wear non-traditional shoes. This is only a problem if you do not want your guests to see the shoes you are wearing. As long as you are comfortable with your guests knowing that you wore slippers or sandals beneath your gown, feel free to wear what you are most comfortable in.

Hosiery comes in many shapes, sizes and quality levels. Many brides want something special to wear for their wedding day. High-quality stockings look great and feel different from everyday hosiery. An expensive pair of stockings can be a great way for a bride to treat herself on her special day.

Choose stockings that you are comfortable wearing. If thigh-highs are new to you, but you would like to wear them on your wedding day, try a couple of pair first before you decide for sure that is what you wish to do.

Above all, be sure that your stockings fit. Hosiery that is too large or too small is more likely to run or sag. Your best bet is to buy a couple of pairs of the stockings you want and try one pair on to make sure they fit as they should. This extra pair can also serve as your back-up for your wedding day.


Jewelry

It's best to keep your jewelry simple: you don't want it to compete with your dress. If the neckline of your gown is open, a single pendant or strand of pearls may complement the dress perfectly. If your dress is simple, more intricate jewelry is perfectly acceptable.

Diamond or pearl earrings are elegant choices. If you don't own anything appropriate, you might ask a friend to loan you a pair. Something must be borrowed, after all.

You should also feel free to wear costume jewelry. Since you will likely only have to wear the pieces once, the price for costume pieces versus the authentic equivalent is much less, and often costume jewels look just as good as the real thing.

Many brides choose to wear vintage jewelry. Whether it is a family heirloom or a recent purchase, vintage jewelry is an elegant and beautiful addition to a bridal ensemble.


Gloves

Long gloves may be worn with a sleeveless formal gown or if the gown's sleeves are short. Short gloves are generally worn with longer-sleeved gowns.

Many dresses now have matching gloves available. If your chosen dress does not have these available or you choose different gloves, you can have them dyed to match your dress when your shoes and any other accessories are done.

Gloves are available in a variety of fabrics including lace and satin and a variety of styles such as above the elbow, elbow length, wrist length and fingerless. Be aware that gloves made of materials with some elasticity will be much easier to get off than traditional fitted gloves that button at the wrist.

Be sure to remove your glove from your left hand – unless it is fingerless -- before the rings are exchanged in order for the ring to be placed on your finger. Your maid or matron of honor can hold the glove for you.


Veils and Headpieces

There are so many options when choosing a veil and/or a headpiece for your wedding day. You can easily wear either or the two in combination.

Headpieces can include silk flowers, pearls, ribbon or clear or colored rhinestones in some combination. They can be colored, but traditionally are white or cream to match your dress. Headpieces can be attached with a clip, comb or hair pins.

You also have the option of choosing a tiara. These work well for both brides who plan to wear their hair up or those who choose a more natural style. Tiaras can include rhinestones, which can be colored or clear, pearls or small flowers. These are normally attached with combs.

Some veils come in combination with a headpiece of tiara, while others are made to simply attach to your head as a part of your hairstyle. Veils come in all shapes and sizes from plain, short veils that cover little more than your hair to intricately designed veils made to trail down the aisle with your dress train. Most veils, though, are waist length or come to mid back.

Your veil can be plain, have a design woven into the lace around the edge or rhinestones or pearls can be sewn to the veil. Colors vary and finding a veil to match your dress should not be too much of a challenge.

Overall, your veil or headpiece should compliment your dress. Avoid choosing a casual headdress with a very formal gown and vice versa.

Be sure to do a trial run on your hair and headpiece or veil before your wedding day. This will give you the time to perfect your look and make sure the veil or other adornment fits as you want it to.