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Radley Stories

Style Notes

The Best Wedding Bags: How To Choose The Perfect Bridal Handbags

16 May 2023

Whether you’re a guest or bride, we know how much thought goes into picking the perfect wedding outfit. Then you’ll need to add the final touches - the accessories. To help you answer this question, we’ve created a handy wedding handbags guide.

For The Bride

Venue booked? Invitations sent? Have you said yes to your wedding dress? With those big decisions ticked off your to-do list, it might be time to start thinking about those smaller (but just as important) finishing touches. There’s your jewellery, make-up and hair style, but you’ll also need to find the perfect handbag too. Luckily, you’ve come to the experts.

Coordinate with your outfit

Not just a tip for wedding guests. Brides, we recommend thinking about your outfit-accessories coordination too. 

As much as we love bags, your wedding dress is the main event. So your accessories shouldn’t steal the attention away from it. Instead, your handbag should work in harmony with the dress you’ve chosen, just like your shoes. Also a good idea: choosing a matching bag and shoes for wedding your beau. Whatever you’re thinking, don’t worry because we’re here to help you find the perfect option.

Are you wearing something streamlined and elegant? A bag that is as equally minimal is destined to coordinate with a simpler dress. Think one colour and pared-back detailing. But we’d also say don’t shy away from a handbag with sequins or studs, as they can add some necessary sparkle to your look. 

Or perhaps your dress is more decorative. Has it been beautifully crafted with lace, layers of tulle or hand-finished embroidery? Here, we’d recommend finding a bag that doesn’t clash with the materials you’ve chosen. Too much detailing and the bag could take away from your dream dress. 

Our tip: In the lead up to your big day, we know you’ll have multiple dress fittings. Bring along your chosen accessories so you can see how the whole outfit looks together. This way, you know that it all works together.


Pick something practical

Your wedding day might seem like the perfect opportunity to make a big impact, but we’d leave that to your dress, or the event itself. 

On the day, you’ll want your bridal handbag to be small, beautiful and practical. You don’t want the responsibility of lugging around a large handbag while trying to greet people, dance and enjoy yourself. Think about what you’ll need to carry – probably only a few essential things, like your phone, your hotel room key and some mini make-up items, for those quick touch-ups throughout the day. For these, a mini clutch will do the job perfectly.

Remember, as the bride, it’s completely your prerogative if you don’t want to carry a bag at all. Your friends, family and bridesmaids will be on hand to take care of your essentials if you wish. And if you’ve chosen a few ultra-prepared bridesmaids, they’ll likely have packed their bridal handbags with everything you need.  

Most commonly, people opt for clutch bags for weddings. A small clutch design can be easily tucked under your arm so you can juggle champagne flutes, nibbles and wedding gifts. A clutch that comes with a detachable strap is ideal, so you can go hands-free whenever you choose. 

Keep it comfortable

When picking a handbag, you might not think about comfort, which is why we’re doing it for you. Your wedding bag might be carried in hand or hung by your side. Think about how it will feel, not just to carry it around, but also how you might carry it in photos. You don’t want something that’s uncomfortable to hold when it’s heavy, or more importantly, something that might scratch you or catch on your dress – rhinestones, we’re looking at you. Of course, the best option would be to ask your Maid of Honour to keep an eye on your bag while you’re having your professional photos taken. 

When you find a bag that suits your look, trial it by wearing it a few ways around the house and make sure it’s easy and comfortable to hold, and doesn’t snag your clothes. 


Fashion and function

As mentioned, your wedding bag should hold everything you might need. If that’s only a few things, a clutch with one compartment might do perfectly. But if you’re into organisation, make sure your wedding handbag has those extra pockets. That way, you can stash away some perfume, emergency paracetamol and even plasters, in case your shoes start to rub.

We love any excuse to enjoy new accessories. So how about giving your chosen wedding bag a go, packed with all your on-the-day essentials inside. Try opening and closing it, styling it with the strap (if there is one) and juggling it with a few other items in hand. These practice tests will prove how well the bag does and you can be reassured that it’s the perfect choice for your big day. 

If you’re still looking for your perfect wedding day bag, take a look at our Occasion Edit, or our new-in styles.


For Wedding Guests

If an elegant invitation has landed on your doorstep, you might be starting to think about the outfit you’ll wear to the occasion. Whether you want a matching bag and shoes for wedding photographs, or if you’re looking for something a little different, we have lots of information and advice in our wedding bags guide. 


Stick with small

Unless you’re the wedding photographer, there’s no need for you to have a big bag. One of the most popular choices are clutch bags for weddings. This is because their small shape makes an elegant compliment to most outfits, without being distracting or feeling like a burden to carry around. They may be compact, but they’re large enough to hold all the essentials you need – most likely your phone, some cash, cards, keys and maybe a little make-up. 

Another handbag choice and one that can give you an easier hands-free experience, is a cross body bag. It might come with a slim, adjustable leather strap - or even better, a shiny chain strap for a little more elegance - so you can slip it on without needing to carry it all day. This style also means you can hold a champagne, pose for photos or even dance, without needing to keep hold of your bag. 

A small shoulder bag can also make a great wedding bag as it tucks under your arm and doesn’t interrupt the look of your dress.

A daily favourite won’t do

That slouchy tote bag or casual leather cross body bag that you turn to on a daily basis might be your most reliable accessory, but it’s not the right choice for a special occasion. A casual bag won’t fit in with the elegance of the day – and certainly not with your wedding outfit. Make sure the wedding handbag you pick complements a formal look, rather than clashes with it. To create a look that flows, try a matching bag and shoes for wedding occasions, as this coordination always creates a well-put-together and formal look. 


Pattern or print

Don’t shy away from decorative designs. It’s okay to feel a little bold. Carrying printed or embellished clutch bags is okay, so long as it doesn’t clash with your outfit. Too much colour or too many prints can be overwhelming and busy, so if you’re looking to carry a bold bag, perhaps one in an animal print, we’d recommend choosing a more simple outfit. Think about a one-colour feminine suit or an elegant dress. This way, a detailed bag won’t make your outfit look too busy.   

Our rule? Your bag should complete your outfit, not clash with it.

Or, if in doubt, take a look at more minimal accessories. Those that come in simpler colourways, or with minimal detailing. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a versatile and decorative design. There are lots of clutch bag options with sequins, beading or even embroidery in muted, tonal colours that would be perfect for the job. 


Find your something new at Radley London - from handbags to shoes, we’ve got it all. Or head over to Radley Stories for a little more inspiration from our Summer Occasion Edit.