Brielyn Souza donned a cathedral-length veil for her church wedding in 2015, but popped on a fresh floral crown for the reception. With its earthly beauty, the crown fit the laid-back, rustic-glam feel of her barn party, and felt true to a bride who often wore flowers in her hair as a girl.
"It was my version of a bride," Souza, 33, of Dartmouth, Massachusetts, says of the crown. "Some people put on a veil and they feel like a bride. I put on that floral crown and I felt like a bride. I felt complete in my bridal look."
Crowns and other types of headpieces, often made with crystals, rhinestones and pearls, have become more popular among brides in recent years, experts say. Delicate or statement-making, a bridal headpiece serves as a finishing touch, a way to add a little bit of extra glamour to a wedding-day outfit.
"They're really an exquisitely beautiful way to finish your look, and something that's really special, rooted in tradition but really modern," says New York luxury accessories designer Jennifer Behr, whose designs have been worn by many A-list celebrities.
"It's really jewelry for the hair," she said, adding that like makeup, headpieces "bring a lot of brightness and attention and beauty to the face."
With all eyes (and cameras) on the bride, Behr, who has a namesake accessories company, says the headpiece is the bride's most important accessory, and can be worn with or without a veil.
The floral crown, made of fresh flowers or fashioned from metal or silk, is a standout among headpieces, says Shane Clark, senior fashion and accessories editor at Brides magazine.
Behr also offers several golden, metal floral styles she calls "a more sophisticated take on the floral crown. It's a little bit more elegant."
If a crown's not your thing, consider a decorative comb, clip or pins. A beautiful comb can hold your veil in place, or pins or combs could be tucked into an updo or low chignon.
Headbands too, are plentiful. Newer versions, called circlets and halos, which often have ties at the ends, can be worn across the top of the head like a traditional headband or lower down, toward or across the forehead. Hair vines are flexible strands that can be woven into bridal braids.
Tiaras, famously worn by British royals like the former Kate Middleton and Princess Diana, are there for those princess moments, and may soon be making a bridal comeback, Clark says.
How to find your perfect hair accessory? Choose something that complements your gown, wedding venue and hairstyle, and a design that feels natural, Clark advises. "Make it your look, but make sure you feel comfortable," she says.
While a tiara is befitting the bride tying the knot in a ballgown in a castle, a flower crown works well with a boho, romantic gown or a beach wedding, Clark says. A deco or vintage look is often well suited by a comb or a pin.
There are now many choices in metals, Clark notes, with yellow and rose gold mixing in with the traditional silver finish among hair accessory options. A different color gives the same accessory a completely different feel, she says.
Behr says her gold pieces work well with cream or lace gowns. Clark advises matching the metal in a headpiece to the finish of any jewelry. If you're using the headpiece to add color, wear fresh blooms in the same color family as your bouquet and keep the colors appropriate for the season.
Remember to try the hair accessory on with your gown and, ideally, bring it to a trial hair appointment, so the stylist can find the best placement to go with your bridal hairstyle, Clark says.