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10 Fresh Ways to Use Bows Throughout Your Wedding

These feminine loops bring a whole new meaning to tying the knot.

Our favorite childhood hair accessory is all grown up and we're loopy about how it can beautify your celebration in ways both big and small. Part of the fun comes from mixing and matching shapes, sizes, materials, and textures to tie up every detail of the day—from the tiniest favor box to the grandest of entrances.


The other part of that fun? Making these unique bow details on your own. With ideas as simple as adding a few velvet ribbons to your guest book or tying a silk bow onto menu cards, several of these inspiring ideas can be used in more ways than one, and can even be taken on as a simple DIY project before the big day. If you're looking to plan ahead (and outsource!), save-the-dates with bow-inspired calligraphy set a feminine tone long before guests arrive. Whether you choose a bow-backed wedding dress, string loops across a doorway, or tie ribbons into your bridesmaids' hair, the bow-effect is the same: sweet, youthful, and undeniably romantic.


Party in the Back: Talk about making a sweeping statement. Voluminous loops—which feel structural and cloudlike at the same time—transform the silk wedding dress seen above into a stunning work of art. An updo keeps the focus where it matters (and your hair out of the way), and a simple stud earring is the only jewelry you need.


The Details: Carolina Herrera "Fabienne" Satin Gown, $7,490, Kwiat Diamond Earrings in Platinum, price upon request,

From Head to Bow

Beribboned accessories, like the satin clutch, chunky sandals, and velvet heels at left, will add sweet, feminine flair to your big-day look. The motif has also been popular in jewelry, so keep an eye out for vintage pieces like pearl drop earrings or a small brooch. (Your grandmother may even have something to offer for your "something old.") Want to get your bridal party in on the fun? When tied over a ponytail holder or glued onto a clip, as seen on the right, bows feel fresh in your bridesmaids' hair


The Details: Kenneth Jay Lane Paste and Faux-Pearl Earrings, circa 1970, $450, Tory Burch Clara Pumps, $598, Delpozo Sandals, in Sand, $1,100, Kentshire Silver and Paste Brooch, circa 1920, $2,250, Fred Leighton Antique Diamond Brooch, price upon request, 212-288-1872. Kentshire Antique Silver and Paste Necklace, circa 1890, $3,975, Oscar de la Renta Satin Clutch, $1,390, Pleated Satin Ribbon No. 0492, 50mm, in color 65, $27.50 per yard; and 36mm, in color 34, $22.50 per yard, Ceremony by Joanna August "Elena Long" (left) and "Kimberly Long" (right) Chiffon Dresses, $285 each, Satin Ribbon, $3 per yard, Velvet Ribbon No. 2600, 19mm, in color 15, $10 per yard,

Deck the Halls

This high-drama doorway was framed with an ethereal-looking bow made from—you’ll never guess—window screening. The lightweight metal mesh, purchased by the roll at a hardware store, holds its shape beautifully, and the bow is surprisingly simple to create. Just make one large loop, pinch the center, and staple; wrap another piece around it. Attach tails to the wall first using staples or small nails, then add the bow on top.


The Details: Phifer Aluminum Window Screening, 48" by 25", $30, Taffeta Cap-Sleeve Dress, from $126,

Sit to Be Tied

Love the look of our escort cards on the left? Mix and match materials (silk, satin, velvet) and tails (notched, flat, diagonal) for similar place cards that charm. Tie the ribbons around the cards, and hold them in place with an adhesive dot. On the right? Menu cards with graceful silk bows welcome guests to their seats—just be sure to glue them down, especially if the reception is outdoors.


The Details: Bernard Maisner Calligraphy & Fine Stationery Calligraphy, Ribbons from Mokuba, M&J Trimming, and Michaels. Anna Weatherley "Simply Elegant Platinum" Dinner and Salad Plates, $48 and $39, Sferra "Festival" Napkin (similar to shown), $58 for a set of 4, Silk Ribbon, $27 for 5 yards,

Beau Stationery

Bows come in many forms—including the fine-lined swirls, twirls, and curlicues of calligraphy, which add old-world elegance to an otherwise simple save-the-date (and full stationery suite). When paired with a subtle pop of copper and vintage stamps, it's a fitting preview for what is sure to be the classiest party of the year.


The Details: Bernard Maisner Calligraphy & Fine Stationery Save-the-Date and Envelope Calligraphy, price upon request, Metallic-Tissue-Lined Envelope, $40.50 for 200, Champion Stamp Company Vintage Stamps, from $0.25 each, French Double-Faced Satin Ribbon, 10mm, in Light Blue, $1.75 per yard,

Keep Guests in the Loop

Tied or cinched premade bows and adhesive dots are the secret to jazzing up plain velvet guest books, like those on the left, in seconds. For your guests' favors, seen right, it's what's on the inside and outside that counts. Different materials, textures, scales, placements, and knots make each gift feel personal.


The Details: Velvet Raptor Guest Journals, $65 each, Fringe Bow FR005, in Color 23, $6 for 3, Premade Satin Bows, $3 for 50, Ribbons from Silk & Willow, Mokuba, M&J Trimming, and Michaels. Boxes from Paper Mart, Bayley’s Boxes, Paper Presentation, Jam Paper, and Amazon.

Sweet Spotlight

Sugar bows shine on a croquembouche, the traditional French wedding dessert. Show it off with a romantic Cinderella-inspired vignette. It’s as simple as painting a pair of bird appliqués white and attaching them, and the ribbons, to the wall temporarily with strong adhesive dots.


The Details: Francois Payard Bakery Croquembouche, price upon request, Bella Rosa Swallow Bird Appliqués, from $13 for 2, Double-Faced Satin Ribbon No. 1100, 36mm, in Color 14, $9.25 per yard,