As Jewelry Shopping Guide editors, we write about things that we love and we think you’ll like too. We often have affiliate partnerships, and may generate some revenue from these links at no cost to you.
While there are many options for bridal head jewelry, the tiara has been growing in popularity of late. If chosen well, a tiara can be the crowning touch, setting off your overall look and bringing out the beauty of the bride and the dress.
But how do you go about choosing a tiara? And is a tiara even the right choice for you?
In this guide, we answer these questions and more as we take you through what you need to know before you choose your wedding tiara.
Why Choose a Tiara?
First things first, why choose a tiara at all? After all, aren’t tiaras only for princesses and royalty? If these sound like questions you’re asking yourself, we’ve got good news for you.
Tiaras are no longer the prerogative of royalty. Here are some reasons we love the choice of a bridal tiara:
The History of Tiaras
Since ancient times, brides used to wear a bridal crown on their wedding day, typically made of leaves. This is one of the oldest known forms of head adornment for women. Over time, tiaras became more elaborate and valuable. They became a status symbol and were worn by ladies of the royal and noble classes. Tiaras as we know them today originated in the 18th century and were made using precious metals and gemstones. Today, tiaras are commonly worn by brides, as a nod to the tradition of bridal head adornments.
Prestige of Tiaras
Wearing a tiara evokes a sense of prestige as traditionally this form of head dress was only worn by royalty and the upper echelons of society. In modern times, we sometimes see wealthy celebrities and socialites donning the regal head dress. This is probably the only time that most of us can don one of these head pieces without feeling like we’re playing dress up.
Symbolism of Tiaras
We generally see tiaras as symbols of wealth and status but there’s more to it. A tiara symbolises the loss of innocence ‘to the crowning of love’ which is why historically wearing a tiara was a big part of the bridal look. Tradition dictates that tiaras are supposed to be worn only by brides on their big day and by married women.
Beauty of Tiaras
A tiara is elegant and feminine and is an excellent accessory for your bridal attire. Because they come in a variety of styles, there’s bound to be one to suit any bride’s taste, be it minimalist or maximalist. A well-chosen tiara is a stunning addition to any bride’s look.
Is A Tiara Right for Me?
With the weddings of Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle, tiaras have cycled into fashion as an increasing number of brides opt to go down the royal path. But does this mean that a tiara is right for you?
To answer this question, you need to consider several factors, such as how formal your wedding is going to be and your overall style. For example, a traditional tiara will look over the top and out of place if you wear it in a casual setting. Likewise, if you’re someone who doesn’t like wearing a lot of jewelry, a large tiara may not complement your look and may make you appear uncomfortable.
You might also be wondering whether wearing a tiara is too traditional, outdated or cliched. However, to counter this worry, you only need to look at the variety of tiaras available on the market today to see that tiaras can work for a modern woman.
Stunning modern bridal tiara from Nordstrom. See it here.
Many tiaras are made to suit modern brides. They showcase different materials and unique, avant-garde designs.
The important thing is to find the one that’s right for you.
Types and Styles of Wedding Tiaras
Most of us think of a high pointy crown when we think of tiaras, but in fact there are about five different styles of tiaras that you can choose from:
Wishbone tiara with pearls. See it on Etsy.
A wishbone tiara is a traditional style that curves around the side of your head neatly, rising to a point at the front. They are delicate, petite and quite versatile.
Regal tiara with an elaborate design. See on Etsy.
Regal tiaras are quite imposing and formal, and most brides tend to avoid them as they can be quite over the top. They are also quite high in size and can be difficult to secure on your hair, especially for long periods of time. However, a beautiful regal tiara like the one featured above can look stunning on a confident bride.
Double Band Tiara
A double band tiara looks like a regular head band. Unlike regal tiaras, they aren’t imposing and go well with most hairstyles. As the name implies, there are two bands in this type of tiara.
Headband tiara with cubic zirconia crystals. See on Etsy.
Wearing a headband tiara is like wearing a classic headband. These are often made of crystals and pearls and are very feminine in appearance.
Wreath tiara featuring leaves. See on Etsy.
A wreath tiara takes its inspiration from nature, showcasing flowers, vines and/or leaves. Wreath tiaras evoke images of Greek goddesses or forest sprites and are quite romantic with their links to nature. They are perfect for someone who wants a bohemian or natural style for their wedding.
The above tiara styles can be adapted to suit a modern or traditional wedding. This is important as you want the tiara to work with the overall theme and style of your wedding.
Check out these beautiful Royal Tiaras from around the world showcasing various styles.
How to Choose Your Tiara
Now that you’ve had a look at the different styles of tiaras, you have to pick one that suits you. A tiara may look stunning on a model or in a photo, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right one for you.
Here’s how to pick the perfect tiara:
Consider Your Wedding Dress
Experts recommend that the tiara and the dress should complement each other, rather than compete. It’s important to decide which of the two are going to take the limelight and to then give it that focus.
If you want the focus to be on the dress, keep the tiara on the minimalist side. If, however, you want your tiara to be the focal point of your look, then opt for a simpler dress.
This is what we saw with Meghan Markle whose tiara took the stage while the dress remained quite minimalist. If both the dress and the tiara are equally loud and attention-getting, it will be difficult to see the bride shining through.
Find a replica of Meghan Markle’s tiara on Etsy.
You might be wondering:
Should I choose the dress first or the tiara?
Needless to say, the dress comes first. It’s likely going to be easier to find a tiara to match a dress than the other way round.
When matching your tiara to your dress, take style cues from the dress itself. For example, if your dress features pearls, a tiara with pearls would look beautiful. If the dress has a touch of color, try incorporating that tone into the tiara too. In this way, you can create a cohesive look from top to toe.
Tiara vs. Bridal Jewelry
If you do choose to wear a tiara, avoid wearing large jewelry. A statement necklace or chandelier earrings will tend to clash with the tiara and can end up looking too loud and overdone.
Less is more in this case.
As we mentioned, it’s best to decide which accessory you want to be your feature piece. If you want a statement necklace, then minimize the tiara. If the tiara is your favorite piece, it’s a good idea to keep the focus on the tiara as your crowning accessory and let the other pieces play second fiddle.
Consider Your Face Shape
It’s important to choose tiara that complements your facial features and brings out your best look.
If you have a round face, it’s best to choose a tiara that has some height, like a wishbone tiara. This will elongate your face, without adding to the roundness.
If, however, you have a long face, go the other way and choose a tiara without height such as a headband or double band tiara to avoid elongating your face.
For a bride with an oval or heart-shaped face, it’s generally a good idea not to choose a tiara with a peak. Again, tiaras such as wreaths and headbands will complement this face shape.
To Veil or Not to Veil
If you plan on wearing a veil, you need to choose a tiara that works well with it. Traditional tiaras go well with veils but a contemporary style doesn’t always suit.
If you opt for a contemporary tiara, you may not really need a veil because the tiara becomes your design feature in place of the veil.
Match Your Hairstyle
Your hairstyle and your tiara must be a match made in heaven if you want to achieve your best look.
If you’ve got thick, curly locks, a delicate headband tiara may get lost in there and won’t really shine. Likewise, a sleek, fine hairstyle may not suit a statement tiara.
For short hair, a headband or a double headband looks better than a traditional tiara.
Not every tiara works well with all types of hairstyles so ensure that there is balance between your hairstyle and your tiara when you choose them.
How Much Should I Spend on a Tiara?
Tiaras come in a range of prices:
- Low-cost tiaras can be found for as little as $20 and are typically made of rhinestones and plastic. These tiaras will not contain jewels or precious stones and aren’t valuable. However, they do serve the purpose. If you are aiming for an economical tiara make sure the workmanship is of good quality.
- Mid-range tiaras range from about $50 to $200 and are made using better materials. These are typically made of metal and crystals with better workmanship and a more expensive appearance.
- Higher-end tiaras can cost between $200 to about $700. Designer tiaras would fall into this category.
- Super high-end tiaras (if we say so ourselves) are those that range in the tens of thousands like this one. These can encompass antique tiaras that are highly valuable and of heirloom quality. Most of us wouldn’t be searching for tiaras in this category.
When picking out a tiara, one point to note is that many modern day tiaras are detachable and can be taken apart to form necklaces and even earrings and bracelets. This ensures that if you do decide to splurge on an expensive tiara, it won’t be used just for that one day. Rather, you can utilize it over and over again.
We recommend starting your search on a site like Etsy which have a range of bridal tiaras to suit all tastes and budgets and then take it from there.
Best Tiara Alternatives
If you decide that a tiara isn’t what you really want after all, there are many gorgeous alternatives to adorn your bridal head with. You can choose to wear flowers, stylish hair pins or a pretty comb.
Flowers are currently in vogue, as more brides opt for floral designs in their hair. You can also choose a floral headpiece like the one featured above, very much like a Greek goddess.
Jeweled Halo from Nordstrom. See it here.
If you have a tiara in the family, why not have it adjusted to suit you and wear that instead? That way, you’ll be keeping a tradition alive and giving more meaning to the piece.
Or you may decide that you don’t want any bridal headpiece and would rather focus on a statement piece of jewelry instead.
Where to Buy a Tiara
Most bridal stores stock tiaras so finding one shouldn’t be too difficult for you. You can also search online for your tiara. The benefit of shopping in store is that you can try on your tiara and make sure that it fits perfectly before you buy it.
However, if you do decide to purchase online, you can spend time browsing through the large collections on platforms like Etsy or Nordstrom which have an excellent range of bridal head jewelry. Make sure you begin your search early so you can return the tiara if it doesn’t suit and buy another one. You’ll also be able to find more competitively priced pieces online.