Ladies, there are a couple of ways to approach accessories. You may make the dresses the focus and choose understated accessories or decide to go with simple dresses—of which there are more inexpensive choices—and focus on shoes, sashes or belts, scarves, wraps, bags, etc. Either way, there are a variety of techniques for stretching the budget.
1-4) Any fashion diva knows shoes deserve a special mention! Consequently, they get a post of their own. Click over to The Secret to Finding Inexpensive Wedding Shoes for four footwear-specific ideas.
The Sashes or Belts
5) Make your own belts or sashes. Both generally cost much less to create yourself than buy, and you can accomplish the project with only a few sewing skills. Research first to figure out what look you want and which will work with your or the bridesmaids’ dresses. You may decide to choose satin, organza, tulle, lace, or other special-occasion fabric for your base material. Various styles use beaded ribbon, satin, wide ribbon with a finished edge, lace, and embellishments such as pearls, beads, or rhinestones. You can purchase supplies online or at local fabric stores, eBay, or craft stores. (Alternately, one of our affiliate merchants often has bridal belts and sashes for under $30.)
6) Make your own veil. This not only saves money but also allows you to choose exactly how your veil will look. You can watch my video series or read how to make your own veil in five steps here.
7) Buy from a wholesale-priced merchant or get an unadorned veil and dress it up yourself. In either case, you can find very inexpensive veils such as these, each under $20.
These are entirely optional but can come in handy to hold personal supplies such as energy bars, tissues, lipstick, or tampons.
8) Choose the bags ahead of time and then wait for sales at the already low-priced stores. This can work well if you need more than one of a kind. Watch the bridal brands online. (Brands such as Nina, Coloriffics, and Touch Ups, and others, for example, have handbag styles as of this writing). Or, look for special-occasion bags at your local stores. Look for coupon savings as well.
SavingsTip: Choose any of the styles from Shoebuy, then save 10% by using the code SHOEBUY at checkout. Handbags are here.
9) Buy-one-of-a-kind or non-matching clutches from multiple sources. When items do not have to match, this opens the door to finding savings from more than one retailer or auction site.
Bonus idea: You could also try to make your own clutch. That sounds scary to me, but it’s your call.
Wraps and Scarves
A wrap or scarf around the shoulders can provide warmth during a cool-weather wedding or add interest to a simple dress. Wraps can generally be found in the same places you look for the wedding gowns. Other options include:
10) Look for faux fur wraps or other special-occasion coats during cool-weather clearance, usually January or February. I’ve also seen the women in the wedding party—even the bride—wearing nice cardigans.
11) Make a lightweight wrap or scarf. This style is simply a rectangular piece of fabric either draped over the shoulders and through the arms or secured in front with a brooch, clasp, decorative pin, or other closure. After experimenting with dimensions, you could simply finish the edges with a piece of lace or other material, perhaps add a fastener, and you are done. For the narrower varieties of wraps, table runners may also work, depending on the material and style. (OK, I admit, that last is a long shot but the point is, think outside of the box!)