So you've spent a lot of time selecting the perfect wedding dress, going from boutique to boutique to find 'The One'. Now your attention turns to accessorizing your new wedding gown and the choices out there are endless. With Pinterest playing a big part in inspiration these days, the process of selecting accessories is sometimes a tad daunting. Accessorising can play a huge part in your overall look, a floral crown can give you a whimsical bohemian vibe, whilst large statement earrings can provide a dash of glamour and a grown up elegant look. A bridal cape can change everything. Transforming your off the peg bridal gown into a one off bespoke beauty.
Initially there's the decision of 'Veil or not to Veil'. Whilst wedding veils are the traditional accessory of choice for a bride and a sentimental favourite of bride's mothers and grandmother's, many modern day brides are opting out. Perhaps it doesn't suit the contemporary vibe of your dress, or it's simply a little too obvious, the newest 21st century bridal friendly option is the wedding cape.
Now I know what you're thinking............gothic 1980's fur edged satin capes, or worse, medieval style velvet. Alas, modern bridal cover ups have definitely come a long way. Whether it's adding a finishing touch to your bridal look or a more practical nature of covering up during the ceremony, there's something out there for everyone. Contemporary wedding capes can be light and airy with exqusite couture detailing, giving a vintage movie star feel, Grecian vibes or a romantic pretty look.
So, I hear you ask, " What style of bridal cape will work with my dress?" I have some straight talking advice to make it really easy for you to select a cape, making sure everything flows and your cape compliments the style of your gown. I also answer other commonly asked questions from brides.
1. STYLE OF DRESS
The neckline and shape of your wedding dress is really quite important when deciding on a wedding cape. You will want your cape to look like it's made especially for your wedding dress and for everything to compliment each other.
Ball gown - If you have selected a ball gown with a full skirt, then you really want to avoid a silk style train. The drape of silk fabric just won't match, you'll need to opt for a stiffer illusion tulle train, that has similar body and structure to a full style ball gown. It will encapsulate the skirt beautifully and comes in a wider size than silk. Ball gown dresses particularly suit capes that are circular and attach around the neck with a clasp.
A-line or Sheath - This is quite a versatile shape of dress when choosing a cape as it's neither flowing or full of body. You can opt for either silk or illusion tulle as the drape of both work well against A-line styles
Short dress - You've opted for a short dress and your'e probably thinking there isn't an option to accessorize or cover up with a cape? Well that's not the case, short capelets work perfectly with dainty shorter dresses. If you have a full 50's style skirt or tea length dress then a form fitting capelet or circular beaded style works perfectly!
One shoulder - With this option we would definitely recommend going with a one shoulder style watteau train. Anything with coverage on both shoulders will just look silly! A singular train that attaches to the shoulder of your dress is a beautiful adornment and really gives an opulent and elegant edge. Think Grace Kelly in that blue dress in ' To Catch a Thief '.
Strapless - This really is the most versatile of dress styles to accessorize with a cape. You can shoose a short fitted or circular capelet or a long flowing tulle train in a variety of styles. This is probably the most fun neckline to style, you can go with a necklace style adornment, straps that attach to the back and bustline, circular long capes or draped back styles.
2. WHAT LENGTH, COLOUR AND TULLE TYPE SHOULD I SELECT?
Train length - For long tulle capes, you will ideally want your tulle train to be around a 30-60cm longer than your dress train. Anything too much longer will look disjointed and out of place.
Detachable train - If you're thinking of a long cape for your ceremony and you want to take it into the evening, there's an option to have your tulle train detachable from the capelet. This gives you the freedom to dance well into the small hours without the fear of tripping on a long train!
Tulle colour - I have many brides come to me concerned about getting the colour of their cape just right. There are thousands of names for white, ivory and cream but in reality there are only a few shades of each. Your dress is likely to fall into the white, light ivory, ivory or cream category. If you are in any doubt, the best thing to do is take an image of your dress is bright daylight, beside a window. This will give the true tone of your dress fabric and mean matching the tulle colour goes without a hiccup.
Tulle fabric - There are two main types of tulle that we use in our capes - Illusion (nylon) tulle and Silk tulle.
Illusion tulle is most commonly used in bridal veils, it's beautifully sheer and has good volume and body due to it's slightly stiffer handle.
Silk tulle is by far the most luxurious option of the two. It has a soft handle, slightly more opaque look (better for coverage) and beautiful drape. We've included videos of the two different tulles to give you a visual guide to how they look and feel.
3. EMBELLISHED OR SIMPLE?
As a general rule of thumb the more detailed your dress is, the simpler your cape should be. That doesn't mean to say you can't opt for beaded details, although you may need to refine and minimize them to certain areas. It's really important to add the right level of embellishment to avoid going OTT.
With a simple dress you have lots of options. You can add a full length couture cape with an abundance of embellishment, a refined beaded capelet or if you prefer an understated look, team with a plain silk tulle train for a subtle but luxurious mix of textures.
4. LEAD TIMES?
Production times vary depending on a number of factors - The amount of commissions we currently have in place, we are a small business and each design is made by hand in our studio and also the level of embellishment you choose will affect your lead time. Generally most of our designs take around 6 - 13 weeks to create. We do accomodate rush orders occasionally, if this is something you require you should get in touch with us first to find out availability.
If you're thinking of choosing a bridal cape for your special day, just get in touch with us, we'd love to hear from you. We'll offer expert and honest styling advice to make you look and feel amazing on your wedding day.