If you're getting married outdoors, in the winter, or you just feel the cold, bridal cover ups are going to be the most important of all wedding accessories for you.
You can use them to add drama to a simple wedding dress, to create two looks in one when you remove a cover up for the evening reception, or make a sexy wedding dress more modest for a religious ceremony. You may have fallen in love with a strapless dress but feel that covering your arms better suits your personal style.
Then, of course, there are the practical benefits. If you're getting married in autumn or winter, a bridal cover up is essential to keep you cosy. You may even want something for a spring or summer wedding in the UK, as evenings can be chilly.
On the other temperature extreme, if you're having a beach or other destination wedding outdoors, you can get some lovely light-as-air bridal cover ups to protect you from the sun, particularly if you're prone to burning.
There are as many gorgeous bridal cover ups as there are wedding dresses, from chiffon shrugs to fur capes. When making your choice, think about the silhouette and neckline of your dress, as well as your personal style and the effect you want to achieve. We always advise trying on your cover up with your gown ahead of the big day, to check the whole thing comes together perfectly.
To help make your decision easier, we’ve assembled our favourite bridal cover ups. Plus, we asked Liu Coll, founder of bridal accessory specialists Liberty in Love, to answer all of your bridal cover up FAQs.
Bridal Boleros & Shrugs
A bolero is basically a cropped jacket. It's usually structured in terms of the silhouette, and is associated with a more formal bridal look. A bolero traditionally has long sleeves, but you'll find bridal versions with short sleeves, too. A shrug is a similar type of bridal cover up, but the term refers to looser styles in softer fabrics.
1. Ostrich Feather Bridal Bolero - £230, Liberty in Love
The short sleeves mean this ostrich feather bolero isn't the warmest option, but it's a perfect bridal cover up if you want a glamorous finishing touch.
2. Pure Cashmere Bridal Shrug - £135, Not on the High Street
Nothing says winter luxury quite like cashmere, although this classic shrug is light enough for autumn, too. The sleeves are trimmed with silk, as an extra luxe touch.
READ MORE: 41 of the Best Winter Wedding Dresses
3. Bridal Faux Fur Bolero – £115, Helen Moore
Fancy a bridal cover up but don’t want to cover your dream dress? We’ve got you. This bolero will cover up the tops of the arms without overshadowing the dress.
4. Blush Pink Feather Bolero – £87, Liberty in Love
Add a touch of colour to your bridal ensemble with this blush pink feather bolero. This wedding cover up scoops under the arms and adds just the right amount of coverage and warmth on cooler days.
If you prefer a sleeveless style, a cape is a versatile option. They come in all kinds of styles, and can give your bridal look a polished yet romantic finish.
5. Terani Couture Palmer Cape - £145.54, BHLDN
Terani Couture's Palmer cape is a delicious combination of contemporary design and timeless romance. We love the gold and pearl embellishment against the sheer fabric. As it's sold through BHLDN, you'll have to allow for shipping from the States.
6. Crystal Tulle Cape - £328.94 Approx., Sibo Designs
Based in The Netherlands, Sibo Designs create bewitchingly pretty handmade bridalwear, like this tulle cape. The beadwork is truly exquisite.
7. Faux Fur Bridal Cape - £129.99, Etsy
If your wedding style has a distinct winter wonderland vibe, this long cape is the bridal cover up to reach for. Remember to include some hood-up poses for the photos.
8. Jolie Silver Capelet - £495, Britten Weddings
Want to switch up your look between day and night? Simply add this beautiful bridal capelet for a subtle dose of sparkle, handmade from silver and glass beads in the UK.
9. Bridal Chiffon Drape Cape - From £79, Wildest Dreams Bridal
This draped cape is a stunning alternative to a veil or wedding dress train. All the interest is at the back, so we suggest wearing it for the ceremony and drinks reception, then remove in the evening for dancing.
10. Chocolate Faux Fur Cape - £115, Liberty in Love
A rich, dark colour makes for a stylish contrast with a white wedding dress. But as well as looking gorgeous, this Liberty in Love cape feels amazing too - it's lined with duchess satin that's silky-soft against the skin.
11. Feathered Wedding Cape - £155, Not on the High Street
Feathers can add a note of opulence to a bridal look, and this feathered weather cape is a prime example. This is the kind of bridal cover-up that works with any winter wedding dress, from embellished beaded styles to pared-back designs.
12. Style CP25 - £POA, Allure Bridals
Not only do Allure Bridals have some stunning wedding dress collections, they also design some utterly enchanting accessories - like this full-length cape. If you want to amplify the romance, this is the style to choose.
Loving the cape look? You'll find even more styles to browse in our guide to the best bridal capes.
A bridal jacket is a great option if you don't want your look to be too soft - good tailoring can add a contemporary feel to a wedding dress. Of course, you can keep it pretty by choosing an embellished, feather or faux fur style.
13. Lace Bridal Bomber Jacket - £POA, Martina Liana
Give your wedding dress a casual-cool injection by adding a bomber jacket. This lace jacket from Martina Liana still feels bridal thanks to the fabric, but adds a carefree note to a formal wedding look.33 Chic Wedding Suits for Women to Buy Now
14. Custom Leather Jacket - £142.41, The Brodie Bride
If you love the idea of a bridal leather jacket, Etsy is the place to go, with a huge range of custom designs. We found ourselves particularly drawn to the elegant simplicity of this faux leather design, which also comes in white and can be customised with different fonts.
15. Blush Pink Feather Jacket - £225, Liberty in Love
Be stylish and cosy in colder temperatures with this blush pink bridal jacket, created from strokeably soft marabou feathers. The flatter-all colour is so romantic.
16. Wool Bridal Jacket – £80, Chic Feet Designs
We’re getting sixties vibes from this high neck wool bridal jacket. A funnel neck gives a high fashion feel and long sleeves make it the perfect choice for winter brides. We’d team this with a simple wedding dress for maximum effect.
17. Gabriela Hearst Alice Jacket – £1,650, Selfridges
Crafted from linen and lined with silk, this puff sleeve jacket would make a great cover up for a summer or destination wedding. Light and fitted, this modest jacket would sit beautifully over the top of a simple gown without feeling too heavy or hot.
18. Barrie Oversized Cashmere and Cotton Jacket – £3,980, Selfridges
What could be more luxurious than a cashmere bridal jacket? We love the decadent and on-trend feel of this piece with silver hardware and embroidered trims.
19. Me and Em Fringed Bouclé Jacket – £225, Selfridges
This bouclé jacket gives us major Blair Waldorf vibes and who wouldn’t want to look like the princess of Manhattan on their big day? Team it with an ivory or gold bridal headband and complete the perfect preppy wedding day look.
20. Alessandra Rich Bouclé Wool Blend Jacket – £1,445, Matches Fashion
We can see this long length jacket over a short wedding dress for a laidback city or registry office wedding. We adore the gold and pearl buttons as well as the braided trim and would totally wear this after the big day too.
21. Sequin Jacket – £79.99, Zara
Modern and on-trend, this cream sequin jacket is the ideal choice for fashionista brides. The sequins will catch the light as you walk down the aisle or hit the dance floor and the gold buttons add a luxe feel.
22. White Cropped Textured Jacket – £139, Mint Velvet
23. Untamed Petals Mrs Denim Jacket – £168.40 Approx., BHLDN
Wedding cover ups don’t have to be formal, just check out this bridal denim jacket. Crafted from a faded denim fabric and with an embellished pearl MRS on the back, this would look amazing paired with a laidback gown.
Find even more gorgeous ideas in our edit of the 25 best bridal jackets.
A bridal topper is, quite simply, a top that goes over your wedding dress. This is not to be confused with a top-and-skirt bridal separates combination - the idea of a topper is that it changes the way your dress looks, often adding sparkle or embroidery. Toppers are for style rather than warmth, so you'll probably still need another bridal cover up for autumn and winter.
24. Lily Tulle Cover-Up - €104.02 Approx., Engaged Apparel
This off-the-shoulder tulle topper adds interest to a simple wedding dress, with that lovely lace trim across the neckline and sleeves.
25. Daniel Top - £POA, Halfpenny London
This sleek bridal top lets the dress underneath sing while adding a fashion edge thanks to those trimmed sleeves.
26. Allegra Cord Lace Topper – From £99, Bridal Boutique Designs
Corded lace and a scalloped hem give this topper a traditional feel while the V-neck has a decidedly contemporary feel. The V-neck allows plenty of room for a statement necklace and we reckon this is the perfect piece to add to a simple strapless gown.
27. Self Portrait Cap Sleeve Lace Top – £305, Matches Fashion
A lace wedding cover up with a modern twist, this guipure lace topper is giving a high fashion bridal feel. We adore the crystal embellished flower buttons and the layered sleeves.
28. Lace Cover Up – £252, Britten
29. Bridal Long Sleeve Overlay Jacket – £75, Olive Lane Limited
30. Catherine Deane Uno Topper – £302.36 Approx., BHLDN
Voluminous sleeves are having a moment right now and this sheer bridal topper is a gorgeous example of the trend. Tying just under the bust, you can style this to fit and ensure your dress is still on full display.
31. Society James Emilia Topper – £172.11 Approx., BHLDN
The soft, barely-there lace of the Emilia topper will add a romantic feel to any gown. We love the eyelash trim and modest mock neck.
32. Jenny Yoo Fiona Topper – £122.44 Approx., BHLDN
Scattered with hand-sewn pearls, this light and sheer bridal cover up will sit beautifully over the top of a cami style gown.
33. Amsale Lauretta Topper – £336.94 Approx., BHLDN
This cap sleeve lace topper will add a romantic and feminine touch to a simple gown. Light and breathable, it’s a great choice for weddings on warmer days.
Bridal Cardigans and Knits
For a laidback feel or simply a cosy alternative to a bridal jacket, why not choose a bridal knit? From cardigans to jumpers, we've selected our favourite wedding worthy knitwear.
34. Self Portrait Embellished Cropped Cardigan – £260, Selfridges
This cropped cardi will show off your waist and allow the skirt of your gown to be on full display. The pearl and diamanté buttons give it a girlie feel while the padded shoulders add structure.
35. Kenzly Pullover – £356.64 Approx., BHLDN
Non-traditional brides will love this puff sleeve, embroidered bridal pullover. It looks adorable with a short, layered skirt but we reckon it would look just as good paired with some bridal trousers.
36. Olivia Rubin Mika Cardigan – £296.96 Approx., BHLDN
There’s something effortlessly cool and chic about an oversize knit thrown over a wedding gown. Sprinkled with sequins and featuring sparkling heart-shaped buttons, this cardigan is glam enough for the occasion yet slouchy enough to give that thrown-on vibe.
37. Knitted Cropped Cardigan – £29.99, Mango
A cropped cardigan is perfect for covering the arms and shoulders without taking away from the gown. We love this fluffy cardigan with pearl buttons from Mango.
38. Openwork Knit Sweater – £69.99, Mango
For a laidback, boho vibe, we think this openwork knit works perfectly. Drape it over a cami dress or a tulle skirt for a thoroughly modern bridal look.
Alternative Bridal Coverups
If none of the traditional options suit, there are other beautiful bridal cover ups to consider, from catwalk-inspired styles on the high street to glamorous bridal designs.
39. Bow Coat - £POA, Halfpenny London
This sheer bridal coat will add interest to any wedding outfit, and it's light enough for spring and summer.
40. Mid Blue Long Faux Fur Stole - £110, Liberty in Love
This Liberty in Love stole is available in different colours, but we're keen on the blue, so your bridal cover up can double up as your something blue! What's more, the style will bring some old-school glamour to a winter wedding.
41. Ivory Long Feather Bridal Wrap – £210, Liberty in Love
This feather wrap is giving us serious vintage glamour vibes and we’re totally here for it. Drape it over both shoulders for a cosy feel or over just one for a subtly sexy look.
42. Loyola Shawl – £360, Grace Loves Lace
For boho vibes, choose a relaxed shawl like this one from Grace Loves Lace. The floral silk burnout fabric and tassel trim make this the perfect pick for summer or destination weddings in exotic climes.
READ MORE: 39 Beautiful Beach Wedding Dresses
Everything You Need to Know About Bridal Cover Ups
We chatted to Liu Coll, founder of Liberty in Love, who told us everything we need to know about cover ups, including what's trending right now and how to choose the perfect piece for you.
What Can I Wear to Cover Up at My Wedding?
“If you're looking for a gorgeous cover-up to top off your bridal ensemble, you have lots of options. Cover ups come in all sorts of shapes, fabrics and sizes. Think classic stoles, wraps and boleros, which are perfect for a traditional bridal look. Other great options are capes and jackets, which are available in a wide range of silhouettes and styles. In terms of fabrics, you can take your pick from cover ups crafted from faux fur, feathers or intricate lace,” explains Liu.
How Can I Hide My Arms in My Wedding Dress?
“The cropped shape of boleros and stoles are good choices for covering the tops of your arms while (crucially!) allowing you to show off your beloved dress," says Liu. "For a practical solution in colder temperatures, a larger cover up, such as a jacket or cape, is ideal for warding off the chill.”
How Do You Wear a Bridal Wrap?
“To wear a bridal wrap, simply drape it around your shoulders and allow the ends to hang loose. Lighter weight wraps can be tied at the front. If your bridal wrap has fastenings, wrap around the shoulders and neatly fasten into place,” Liu suggests.
What Do I Need to Consider When Choosing a Bridal Cover Up?
“The two key things to consider when choosing your bridal cover-up are the season you're tying the knot in and your bridal style," says Liu. "For summer weddings, lightweight fabrics such as tulle and lace work best. In contrast, cold weather celebrations call for heavier weight fabrics, like faux fur or feathers - which are perfect for channelling a luxe winter wedding vibe. In terms of style, choose a cover-up that speaks to your personal tastes, as well as complementing your dress (silhouette, fabric, embellishment, neckline).”
Which Bridal Cover Ups are Trending Right Now?
“Our feather bridal jackets are getting a lot of love right now," offers Liu. "With a modern yet glamorous aesthetic, a feather jacket will instantly elevate your outfit - and is super flattering, too. They have the added benefit of being wearable after the wedding day, too.”
Don't forget the finishing touches that can make a big difference to your bridal look - we've put together an edit of the 53 most covetable wedding hair accessories.