Depending on the personality of the bride and the wedding itself, the wedding gown may be the perfect excuse to go nuts with some embellishments – and why not! If you can’t add a bit of bling on your wedding day then when can you?!

So for June’s E post I have delved into the differences between the most common bridal gown embellishments…


Beads, jewels and bling in general come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colours and can be a really nice way to add a bit of texture and umph to a gown. The nice thing about beading is the range of looks that can be achieved – from an opulent, fully blinged-out bodice, to small, subtle, matte beaded designs dotted around the gown, or even a single line of beads along the neckline to draw the eye upwards, beading is an important design tool that can add a little something special to a gown. Having said that, the amount and quality of beading is often proportional to the price of the gown – the more bling, the more cha-ching! If you have to go for less to keep the price down, opt for more beading on the bodice rather than the skirt – they will be more easily seen and admired, and will draw the eye up towards your face.

Collette Dinnigan J.Crew Reem Acra

Collette Dinnigan (FYI This dress is on crazy sale at the moment if anyone is looking…) J.Crew, Reem Acra

Reem Acra BHLDNNicole Miller

Reem Acra, BHLDN, Nicole Miller


Embroidery is the art of working raised and ornamental designs in threads upon a woven fabric. Embroidery is often combined with beading to highlight the designs, but not always, and if you aren’t into beading, embroidery is a great way to add interest to plain fabrics in a soft, subtle way. It is also a great way to add a bit of colour to a white dress as embroidery threads come in all sorts of colours, and the amount of colour used can be easily controlled and as pale or as vibrant as you wish. As with beading, more embroidery usually means a higher priced gown, so again if you have to choose, opt for embroidery on the upper body as it will be more visible and draw the eye up towards the face.

BHLDN JMendel Temperley London

BHLDN, J.Mendel, Temperley London

Sue Wong JCrew BHLDN

Sue Wong, J.Crew, BHLDN


Lace, I love it and so do wedding gown designers. A bride can choose from a full lace gown, to a small piece of lace to enhance a neckline or straps, and everything in-between. There are a huge number of different types of lace and each one has a different look, weight and handle – this site has a great list of laces commonly used in wedding gowns with pictures, but it is by no means an exhaustive list (I am thinking about doing a whole month of lace posts, so I will add that in when I get to it). Lace also comes in a lot of different qualities so make sure to check it out closely before purchasing a gown. Lace can also be very delicate, so take this into account when purchasing a gown – if you are a big dancer, a full lace gown may not be the best choice if you want it to survive the night!

Badgley Mischka BHLDN 2 BHLDN

Badgley Mischka Collection, BHLDN, BHLDN

JCrew Marchesa Temperley London

J.Crew, Marchesa, Temperley London


Floral details are great for drawing attention to a particular part of the body (i.e. waist or shoulder) or to add a feeling of natural femininity to a gown. Whether it is one big flower Carrie Bradshaw style, or a plethora of small blooms all over the dress, florals give any gown great texture and add a new dimension to the silhouette.

Alberta Ferretti Ann Taylor Marchesa

Alberta Ferretti, Ann Taylor, Marchesa

Christian Michele J.Mendel Theia

Christian Michele, J.Mendel, Theia


Sequins can look AMAZING on a wedding gown, and they can also look very tacky, so be careful with this one. Matte sequins are gorgeous and add a subtle texture and pattern to the gown, while shiny sequins are a less expensive way of getting a bit of bling, particularly if you want that all-over look. Avoid sequins with a kind of oil-slick finish unless you really love them, as they tend to go a bit multi-coloured and costumey under lights (unless that is the look you are going for, in which case, go nuts!)

Alice + Olivia Ann Taylor BHLDN

Alice + Olivia, Ann Taylor, BHLDN

Milly Reem Acra 2 Reem Acra

Milly, Reem Acra, Reem Acra


I am not entirely sure about feathers on wedding gowns, but I have seen a couple of brides really rock the look so if you want to, go for it! If you aren’t ready for the fully feathered look, a few in amongst floral embellishments can give the flower a great sense of movement. Either way, make sure they are properly attached; they do have a habit of falling out.

Ann Taylor JCrew Matthew Williamson

Ann Taylor, J.Crew, Matthew Williamson

As for ribbons, they aren’t widely used, but when they are, they tend to be tied in a bow. This can be a really cute and sweet look, just make sure it isn’t too cute and sweet – you are a grown woman about to get married after all!

Collette Dinnigan BHLDN Adrianna Papell

Collette Dinnigan, BHLDN, Adrianna Papell


Obviously this is not the be-all-and-end-all of bridal embellishments – designers are constantly coming up with new ways to make things look pretty, so have a good look around and see which style suits you best.

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