Glossary of wedding accessory terms
Updated: Nov 27, 2020
Many of you look at me a bit panicked as soon as I start using wedding accessory 'language!' during your consultations. How are you supposed to know what a hair vine is when you've never done this marriage thing before?! I get it, it's a bit like trying to get my head round what a Yorker is when I've never got into Cricket. So I thought I'd help you out by putting together this glossary of the most common terms you're likely to see, read or hear when picking out an accessory for your wedding day hair.
If you're reading from the US you'll be thinking 'that's a bit obvious Heidi...?!' But where I'm based in the UK we call a bobby pin a hair grip. When advising you how to fix your hair accessory in your hair on your wedding day, you'll sometimes see the advice to pin into place using hair grips or pins, and sometimes using bobby pins. They're exactly the same thing!
Sometimes known as a plait. You can choose to have a single braid, or numerous braids twisted and pinned into place. Braids can be worn loose, twisted and pinned into place, or a combination of both. They can also be pulled out to create texture, and add volume and interest to your wedding day hairstyle. Braids look fabulous adorned with a collection of scattered hair pins as in the picture on the right, or when they have a hair vine pinned through them as in the photo on the left.
The fancy name for a low bun. Chignon comes from the French phrase chignon du cou, which means nape of the neck. Chignons are a simple and elegant way to wear your wedding hair and look perfect accessorised with a veil and a eye catching bit of sparkle tucked into the side.
A full stand up, mainly seen from the front, headpiece, that either fully encircles the head, or almost does so. A crown tends to be the most dramatic of wedding day accessories, and works really well when teamed with a simple, well cut, elegant dress and full length veil.
Edgy and chic, this is a statement look that will tick all your boxes if you want to create a fierce, feminine wedding day look! Check out the Sweethearts Hair faux hawk tutorial on YouTube for a great example of this styling.
A fishtail braid is similar to a French plait, the main difference being that your stylist will be pulling in and crossing two strands of hair rather than three. The fishtail braid looks amazing in longer hair, lends itself well to a more bohemian wedding style and can be used to create the 'faux hawke' bridal hairstyle (see above).
Fishtails look amazing pinned through with pearl or crystal hair pins, or adorned with romantic hair vine.
Image © Slice of Pie Photography
This refers to a hair accessory fixed to a comb. These accessories are very versatile as they can be placed at the back of the head, either side of the head, close to the hair line or set further back. Hair combs can be quite simple and delicate, through to larger more elaborate pieces. They work well with or without a wedding veil. When wearing a comb, think about whether you want your accessory to be seen from the front in your wedding photos, as this may influence where you decide to wear it, or the size of the piece you choose.
Alongside hair pins, the bridal hair vine is probably one of the most versatile of wedding hair accessories. Basically a hair vine is a length of twisted wires, usually gold, rose gold or silver coated, and adorned with seed beads, crystals, pearls, leaves or flowers, or a combination of any and all.
Hair vines can be long or short, are extremely light, and can be pinned almost any which way in and through your wedding day hairstyle. They look great running along your hairline to frame the face, or wound through a bridal braid. They can be seen from the front, side and back, and can be used to accessories long, mid and shorter wedding day hairstyles.
This is an accesory set on a hair pin, rather than a hair grip or a bobby pin. Hair pins tend to be larger overall than a grip, and have two 'teeth' set slightly apart that will slide behind a twist, sit into where the hair crosses in a braid, and can be scattered throughout your wedding day hairstyle for impact.
Hair pins can be made to work in straighter hairstyles, but tend to work best when hooked into the various sections of an up do, or half up do.
Pins can be as small as a single pearl or crystal attached to a hair pin, or feature longer wires adorned with seed beads, pearls and crystals.
Half Up Do
Rather than all your hair being swept up and away from your neck and face, a half up do is a exactly as it says, half your hair is worn up, and half of it down. This style particularly suits hair vines and halos and is a great way of having your cake and eating it! Your hair will look styled without appearing too formal.
Literally speaking a halo is a crown of light, as seen in many an ancient religious painting. In bridal hair accessory terms a halo describes a full headpiece that stands up and away from your head. Halos tend to be more dramatic than their slightly more delicate counterpart the tiara. Halos are quite a contemporary headpiece, and very much suit modern brides looking for a statement finish to a simple, elegant wedding dress.
One of the most traditional and recognisable of the wedding day hair accessories. Tiaras fell out of favour during the early 2000's but three royal weddings, and the most breath taking tiaras adorning the heads of Kate, Meghan and Eugenie, has seen a massive resurgence in their popularity. Today's brides prefer a more modern take on the traditional tiara, but the essence is a full headpiece that can be seen from the front and side, often incorporating romantic patterns, and a bit of sparkle. Tiaras look stunning coupled with a veil, and are a timeless way of accessorising your wedding day look.
Similar to a tiara but rather than all the action being up top, the main focus of the design will be to the side.
Think about which side you want your accessory to sit when opting for this design. Which side will be seen by your guests during the ceremony? Do you have a preferred side that you want the eye to be drawn to?
When all of your hair is sept up and away from your neck and face, this is a wedding up do. They can incorporate high buns, a braided halo, a chignon, a classic pleat and so many variations on the theme. An up do is the most styled of the wedding day hairstyles and will tend to look quite dramatically different than your day-to-day look. Up dos are an excellent way of making sure that everyone knows that you're the bride! This style looks wonderful accessorised with a full tiara, halo or crown, with pins scattered throughout or used to highlight a particular area. They can carry a comb, and look wonderful adorned with a hair vine. An up do can be classically chic, slightly undone and boho, or made to look effortlessly romantic with curls and twists.
Amina Modern Tiara
I hope that helps to debunk and demystify some of those scary wedding accessory terms for you, but if there are still some things you've come across that you have no idea about, feel free to contact me and ask me to explain it and add it to the glossary!
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