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A Complete Guide to Choosing a Wedding Necklace

Mar 12, 2024

Add a little sparkle with the right jewelry.

Jessica Booth is a journalist with over 10 years of experience and a freelance writer whose work has appeared on sites such as Bustle, Insider, and Refinery29.

Photo by Sophie Lin Berard

In This Article

Finding your dream wedding gown is just the first step in putting together a beautiful look for your big day. That's because the right accessories are needed to complete any bridal outfit, as they add extra polish, glitz, and sophistication to an ensemble. This includes obvious items like shoes and hair pieces, but also jewelry, especially necklaces, which are on full display all day and night.

In general, the perfect necklace is a piece that complements your gown and works well with the neckline of your dress. So when shopping for this particular accessory, you want to be sure the types of necklaces you're considering blend well with any other jewelry you've chosen to wear (like earrings, bracelets, etc.), and ones that will fit the overall vibe of your entire look and celebration. With so many options out there, though, this task can feel a little overwhelming, which is why we enlisted help from a professional stylist.

Ahead, read on for the best tips on how to find the right necklace for your wedding day, according to an expert. Be sure to take notes!

Meet the Expert

Grace Thomas is a professional stylist and former buyer for brands like Nordstrom. She is the owner of Built Gracefully, a site meant to help users enhance their personal style.

A necklace might seem like a small part of your wedding day, but it can add a lot to your overall look. This is especially true if you're wearing a very simple and minimalist gown, or if you're wearing something with a low or plunging neckline. That doesn't mean your necklace has to be a statement piece, it just means you should look for something that works well for your overall ensemble.

"Accessories are just as important to an outfit as the dress," says Grace Thomas, professional stylist and owner of Built Gracefully. "They can either complement or take away from your overall look." Thus, she recommends not waiting until the last minute to find a necklace (it's easy to forget about picking jewelry, considering how many other things are on your to-do list).

Thomas also adds that necklaces are "a great way to show off your personality, wear something that has meaning, or lean into fashion trends." For example, a hand-me-down necklace makes a perfect "something old," while a diamond and sapphire piece can serve as your "something blue."

Photo by Tracy Burch

Given that there are many types of necklaces to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start when embarking on the shopping process. Before you get overwhelmed, though, we're here to say that you can (and should) pick whatever works best with your personal style.

Whether that's your favorite simple gold necklace you always wear on special occasions, a splurge item for your big day, or your grandmother's pearls she wanted you to wear, the options are truly endless. And while many brands will make "bridal jewelry" designed with brides in mind, here are the most popular styles you're likely to come across as you shop.

As mentioned above, your dress and necklace should complement each other, which is why it's a good idea to wait until after you find a gown to secure a necklace (if you find the necklace first, you'll have to select a dress that works with your accessory, which is much more complicated).

"Don't compete with your neckline, instead compliment it," Thomas adds. "For example, avoid a chunky princess necklace with a narrow V-neck dress." Aside from that, here are several other tips to remember when finding "the one" necklace.

For brides wearing a strapless gown, Thomas recommends bolder necklaces, like a collar, choker, or multi-strand piece. Since more of your collarbone and shoulders are showing, your accessory will allow you to make a statement without detracting from your gown. This also applies to dresses with an off-the-shoulder and boat (or bateau) neckline.

Wearing a V-neck silhouette? According to Thomas, keep things simple with a small pendant. Similarly, gowns with sweetheart necklines also pair well with pendant necklaces, which have a similar drop as the "sweetheart shape."

Lastly, if opting to sport a gown with a high neckline, it's probably best to forgo wearing a necklace altogether. "It may snag on the fabric or take away from the neckline of your dress," Thomas notes. The same goes for a halter silhouette.

If your gown is embellished with gems or pearls, Thomas recommends matching those embellishments with your necklace. For example, opt for a pearl necklace if there are pearls on your gown and a diamond accessory if your look is embellished with crystals.

On the other hand, brides wearing minimal or non-embellished looks have a bit more freedom when it comes to choosing a necklace style. If this is you, lean into your personal aesthetics, and let the neckline of your dress dictate your final decision.

Photo by Carl S. Miller

You certainly don't have to opt for a trend when it comes to your wedding necklace, but knowing what's popular at the moment may help guide you in the right direction. Specifically, one trend that's huge right now is pearl jewelry. "Pearls have taken over in the past couple of years and still maintain the top of the list," Thomas says. "This is a great time to incorporate vintage finds or pearls in many shapes, tones, and sizes." Pearls are also a nice change compared to diamonds or other gemstones.

What's more, unique shapes are also popular in the wedding world today. "Incorporating shapes like flowers and hearts within jewelry is a [current] trend," Thomas says. "Brides are having a bit more fun playing with these shapes, instead of traditional looks."

Lastly, colored gemstones are having a moment and have been for a few years. While you don't need to go crazy with a bunch of different colors (in fact, that might look like too much), incorporating a unique gemstone is a fun way to add color to your day-of ensemble. Something blue, anyone?

Still not sure where to start? Keep these shopping tips in mind.

Your most common metals are going to be yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and sterling silver, Thomas says. Opt for the metal that goes nicely with your gown, especially if it's embellished. Additionally, think about the other accessories you want to wear. If your headpiece has silver and pearls, for example, you might want to stick with that theme.

Instead of buying a new necklace, see if you can borrow one from a close family friend. This is a sweet way to show off an heirloom or a piece that feels really special to you.

A colored gemstone can look really beautiful on your necklace, but you may want to avoid anything too bold or colorful. With a white or ivory dress, something too multi-colored may clash.

If you can't find a matching set, you may want to try and keep your earrings and necklace similar. Only mix metals if you're comfortable with it, and if not, stick to the same metal and similar embellishments. You can also opt for statement earrings and a delicate necklace, or vice versa (two statement pieces may distract from the gown).

Overall, pick a necklace that works well with your neckline and your dress style—remember that you want it to complement the look rather than compete with it. This should be a way to show off your personal aesthetic and/or put an emphasis on the vibe you're looking to achieve on the big day.