Choosing the right jewelry for your bridesmaids may seem like something you can rush through, but as with every other detail of your wedding, it's important to take some time with this. The jewelry your bridesmaids wear is definitely not as high-profile as your diamond engagement ring. However, it's important to remember that every element of your wedding should conform to the look and theme you've chosen, and that includes your bridesmaid jewelry.

Match Jewelry to the Neckline

When choosing bridesmaid jewelry, one of the most important concepts is selecting jewelry that is appropriate for the neckline of the dresses your bridesmaids will be wearing. For example, only choker-style necklaces should be worn with a dress featuring a very high neckline, while a scoop neck or sweetheart neckline will look great with almost any style of necklace. In general, the higher the neckline, the shorter the necklaces you choose should be. With a lower neckline, you can typically choose necklaces of any length as long as they do not extend so far as to touch the fabric of the dress. If you've chosen bridesmaid dresses with a halter-style neckline, it's usually best to forgo necklaces completely, as there is no necklace style that will sit properly around the neck when wearing a dress with this type of neckline.

Earrings, Bracelets and More

Earrings should be chosen with similar considerations in mind as when choosing necklaces. Drop earrings are usually better suited to lower necklines, for example, while studs and smaller earrings will look best with higher necklines. Bracelets can be worn with dresses of almost any style. The only exception is in the case of dresses with sleeves that extend past the elbow. In such cases, bracelets may not suit the style of the dresses.

There are also some lovely options for hair accessories, which will look great with a wide variety of hair styles, and with all colors. There are three main styles to choose from-tiara-style headpieces, hair jewels on long pins that are best for longer hair, and jewels with shorter corkscrew-style pins that are ideal for short hairstyles.

Diamond Jewelry for Bridesmaids

If you have the budget and would love to give your bridesmaids a very special gift of jewelry, diamonds are considered appropriate. Giving diamond bridesmaid jewelry can be a great way of combining two wedding tasks-choosing gifts for your bridesmaids and choosing the jewelry they'll wear at the wedding.

If you decide to go this route, choosing smaller diamonds is best, both to keep your expenses low and to ensure that as the bride, you are wearing the most elegant and eye-catching jewelry. Diamond stud earrings are a better choice than diamond rings, for example, even if the ring contains only a small stone. Whichever pieces you decide on for your bridesmaids, do be sure to choose conflict free diamonds that are mined under ethical and safe working conditions.

Choosing Styles and Colors

The colors you select for bridesmaid jewelry will of course depend on the overall color scheme you've chosen for your wedding, as well as the specific colors of the bridesmaid dresses. You have two basic choices here-you can choose colors that match the bridesmaid dresses for a more harmonious effect, or you can choose colors that complement them, to create accents of color that stand out more prominently.

In general, choosing delicate jewelry styles that feature thin chains and small stones is the best option for most styles of wedding, however there are exceptions. If your wedding is fairly informal, larger, more chunky pieces may be appropriate. Choosing jewelry that complements the location or theme of the wedding can be a great option. If you've decided on a beach wedding, for example, jewelry that includes motifs of tiny shells, or jewelry using coral or pearl, is a wonderful way to complement this theme.

Do make sure to get some input from your bridesmaids as to the type of jewelry they'd like to wear, particularly if you plan to make this jewelry their bridesmaid gifts. You may even decide to give different pieces to each bridesmaid, depending on their preferences. If you decide to do this, just be sure that every piece you choose includes the same basic styles and colors. This will be particularly important if your bridesmaids will be wearing dresses of different styles, as you'll need to choose jewelry to complement the style of each dress.

~ Ben Anton, 2007