There is nothing more classic than a bride in pearls. The traditional necklace for walking down the aisle, pearls have been associated with marital harmony for thousands of years. So what pearl jewelry is perfect for the big day? The answer is simple: whatever the bride likes best, but here are some tips for choosing the perfect piece.
Knowing the basics about pearls is the best place to start. Because pearls come in a variety of shapes, tones, colors and styles, there is a piece to match any wedding theme. Traditional brides like Queen Elizabeth II and Jacqueline Kennedy wore classic akoya and white South Sea strands. Modern brides often select a white South Sea pendant. Have a beach wedding? Explore Tahitian or golden South Sea pearls for a playful twist.
It's All About the Bride
Above all, the pearls should complement the dress and reflect the bride. Necklace lengths should be determined by the cut of the neckline, with choker and princess lengths ideal for high necklines, and matinee or even opera length necklaces suitable for lower cuts. Petite figures typically select pearls 6.5 to 7.5mm in size, while moderate figures can wear 7.5 to 8.5mm pearls well.
Considering earrings? First decide on a hairstyle. Long earrings look best with an up-do, though pearl studs can make a classic statement. Depending on the length of your earrings, you may not need a necklace for a complete look. Don a pearl bracelet instead.
Pearls can be your something old, something new, or even something borrowed (you’re on your own for something blue). Many brides wear heirloom pearls passed down from grandmothers and mothers, or opt to start their marriage with a new piece. Pearls are where tradition meets grace.
Wedding dresses come in about as many shades of white as pearls do. Go pearl shopping with a swatch of your dress fabric or an easily portable item that closely matches in color. You won’t want to carry around the actual dress! Finding two whites that complement each other will definitely create a polished look.
The Bridal Party
For continuity, keep the pearls flowing throughout your bridal party. Classic graduated strands or pearl stud earrings make for thoughtful bridesmaid gifts. Distinguish your maid of honor with pearls of slightly larger size or longer length than your other bridesmaids. Young flower girls look perfectly charming in necklaces or bracelets of smaller pearls.
Mothers, grandmothers and mothers-in-law are often quite involved in the planning and expense of a wedding. Show your appreciation with a necklace of slightly larger pearls, which best complement a mature woman, or necklaces of matinee or opera length.
Don’t forget about the groom and groomsmen. Pearls can be set into cufflinks or tiepins for a dapper, tailored look.
Setting a Budget
Pearls can be quite attainable on any budget, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed when shopping. Here are some tips for getting started. Variations in size, luster and length can help you find a piece that’s just right. One way to cut down on cost is to ask your mother or mother-in-law if she has a pearl necklace to lend you. You will make her feel especially included while saving money for other facets of your big day.
Enjoying the Day
The most important part of your wedding is the commitment you’re making with your loved one. Your bridal jewelry will be a reminder of that love and may be worn at special times for many years to come. Pearls are pieces for touching occasions.