Before: The Jewelry

7 Aug

Choosing my big-day bling

Along side the shoes, another all-important wedding accessory decision to make is the jewelry. (Far more important than shoes since, well, people can actually see your jewelry.)

My plan for many years had been to wear the necklace and earrings set that my fiancé had given me for my first birthday with him as a couple, when we were in a long-distance stage of our relationship (while I searched for a job so I could return to his country). A highly poignant story and highly beautiful jewelry, but sadly not high-quality pieces – the necklace chain has a kink in it and repeated professional cleanings have been unable to stop the pendants and earrings looking dull and scratched.

So the process of hunting for wedding jewelry began! It is custom in my fiancé’s culture for the bride and groom to exchange gifts the morning after the wedding, but we decided to move that forward: me getting him a top-notch SLR camera (which he wanted in time for a vacation abroad), and him treating me to some nice jewels for the wedding day. This gave me a bit more budget to work with!

I knew I wanted for my jewelry a set with earrings (I’ve always felt pierced ears with nothing in them look somehow naked and unfinished) and a necklace (to fill in the space above a strapless dress, and – since I’m approaching, gulp, age 30 now – to cover up those horrifying neck wrinkles). Since my dress has a lot of diamante beading around the neckline, it was obvious early on that diamond jewelry would be too flashy with it. And when I happened to wear (totally fake) pearl earrings to a dress fitting, I saw that white pearls look amazing with my dress! I didn’t own any real pearls, so pearls seemed like the way to go for my bejeweled wedding gift.

Be vewwy vewwy quiet, I’m hunting peawls…
I was on the pearl prowl! I checked out jewelry stores all over the city, and on finding little I liked I turned to the interwebz – perusing online stores in my adopted country, home country, and in fact any country where I could speak the language on their website. From sifting through catalogues, I quickly realised that I wanted a pearl pendant on a chain rather than a pearl strand (strands just say “grandma” to me), and earrings with a bit of dangle (studs aren’t exactly “shazam!”). This made for slim pickings, especially when it came to sticking to my budget – including not going too far under it. I loved statement chandelier earrings (so the jewelry is more visible in photos) with a larger pearl and some bling around, but these types of jewels are very expensive – because you’re paying for every little stone, and that quickly adds up!

My dream pearl set, from Ikecho Pearls in Australia

The first pearl set I fell in love with is this one on the left. Gorgeous! Fabulous! As all the wedding magazines gush, “swoooon-worthy”! However, the metal is sterling silver (which contains nickel and usually causes my skin to freak out) and the bling is cubic zirconia – all meaning that the set cost a quarter of my fiancé’s camera (though we’d agreed to spend equally). All fine by me really, but the set didn’t then seem very appropriate as my special wedding gift. However, I loved them so much that I decided to find another pearl set that would bring the budget up to the correct amount, so that I could buy both. At last I found another set I loved (though not as much!), shown below, which did the trick.

The Plan B set, from Ernest Jones in the UK

So! My plan is to wear the cheaper, gorgeous-er set of jewelry on the wedding day for as long as I can until any nickel allergy kicks in. (I’ll stay away from any nickel jewelry in the week before the big day, to make sure I’m in top, fighting condi- tion for it!) If it becomes a problem, I’ll then switch to the other set during the course of the day. I will also wear the Plan B set to our farewell breakfast the following day, to make sure they get some deserved exhibition time in case of an allergy-free wedding day!

Watch out!
Another wedding day jewelry piece that seems to attract controversy is the watch. Certainly, many watches don’t match the formality or style of a wedding dress, like watches with fabric straps or colorful plastic pieces. However, I have a delicate silver dress watch that’s quite stylin’ (or, at least, I like to think so!), with the same color metal as my jewelry. I will definitely be wearing it!

To watch or not to watch? It’s your wedding day, so do what you feel comfortable with. Everyone says that on your big day you should let other people worry about the time for you… but I’m a highly-strung worry-wart control-freak (to put it mildly), and if I can’t check the time easily on a highly logistics-driven day, I may implode. We also are not able to run late for our wedding ceremony, as we only have our ceremony site for a very limited amount of time, and even a fashionably late entrance of five minutes could throw things off. So – my apologies, nay-sayers! – but I am rocking a timepiece on my wedding day.

How did you choose your wedding day jewelry? Are you wearing a watch on your special day? Best of luck in your own prowling for big-day bling!

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