Bridal capes are the most coveted cover-up for S/S 2012 weddings. Tulle or sheer with a lace or silk trim, these capes are key to adding a little glamour to your gown, without taking away from it. By Karen Birney
A few weeks ago I managed to get over to Harrogate in Leeds for the British Bridal Exhibition. Ne'er have I feasted my eyes on so many breathtaking bridal creations of diverse styles and shades, nor seen so many ways to wear a headpiece. However there was one moment which stopped me in my somewhat vigorous tracks –a moment I clocked a nonchalant, raven haired model gliding from one end of the room to the other, confusingly trendy and at the same time almost regal looking, draped in a floor-length sheer and lace bridal cape. I was mesmerised.
So much so that I spent maybe a little too much time scouring the net to find the most beautiful sheer and tulle capes for inspiration for the spring/summer bride.
Short and Sheer
Short, sheer capes are designed to sit just over the shoulder and just below the bust line. They are perfect for covering the tops of your arms if your dress is sleeveless and you don't want to feel too exposed at the ceremony or if you don't like the look of your arms in photos. Short capes are for a more casual-style, and will look beautiful for an outdoor ceremony, or for pre-dinner cocktails in the gardens of your chosen venue.
Mid-length Sheer/Tulle/Organza Bridal Capes & Cover-ups
If you are having a little bit more of a formal affair, a mid-length cape is the perfect cover-up. These sit either on the elbows or on the wrists and are a little more suited to brides with a fuller bust than their shorter counterparts. Most mid-legth capes we found were finished with silk or lace to tie in with the gown beneath, and to add some extra detail.
A swing cape like Kristi Bonnici's Eternal Love Cape (top right) with it's silk organza body and silk satin band hem is a timeless new-era look, while Ritva Westenius (stocked in Kadee Bridal Boutique and The Bridal Rooms, McElhinneys) Radiance cape (bottom left) with its high neck lace collar and graduated length gives a vintage-feel, also timeless in nature.
Full-length Tulle Capes & Cover-ups
If you're looking for the wow factor for your S/S bridal cover up, you've struck oil. Sheer, floor-length capes are the embodiment of elegance and glamour with a smidge of 'diva' thrown in for good measure. They're not for everyone, obviously, statement pieces like this rarely are (more than one person has reminded me of my nan's net curtains when I've shown these images to them) but if you have the height and the confidence to pull it off, there’s one for you.
Jesus Peiro's high neck floor length bridal cape has to be my favourite choice for tall brides. Jesus Peiro is stocked in White Orchid, Swords, and The White Room, Mullingar. Please check availabilty with stockists before visiting.
Left: Victoria Jane for Ronald Joyce, Italia | Right: Mon Cheri Bridal
Alternative Sheer & Tulle Bridal Cover-ups
Of course if you're going with a sheer or tulle cover up, it doesn't need to be a cape. Elasticated tops with long sleeves are a gorgeous alternative for a beach wedding. You could also go for something like the alternative Maria Lluisa Rabell Diosa, which is all at once modern, Celtic, and gothic, with its sheer shirt collar, unfinished hem and natural draping. Maira Lluisa Rabell is stocked at Myrtle Ivory, Dublin City Centre.