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Should I Carry a Handbag on my Wedding Day?

Dear Olivia,

I have a question: wedding handbags? Should the bride have a handbag or not? I've been asked twice in two days about my handbag for the big day. I didn't know what to say. I presumed that anything I might need - lipstick and tissues - would be carried by someone who would be close to me. Now I'm thinking, ‘is this an excuse to get another handbag!'  I do like handbags! I'd be interested in your thoughts! - Louise


I must admit, any excuse to get a new handbag is fine by me! You may just want to get something new and special that you can use for the whole wedding weekend - including your rehearsal dinner and post-wedding brunch. Chances are you won't need it the day of the wedding, and really it will be the last thing that you want to worry about. 

Brides I've worked with that have insisted on carrying handbags ended up having their mothers, maids of honor or bridesmaids carry them - or else they get stuffed under your table in case you need anything from them throughout the reception. If anything, all you'll need is something small to keep just the necessities with you: lipstick, powder, tissues, breath mints and maybe a travel size antiperspirant. If you have a wedding coordinator, she will most likely bring an emergency kit with her with everything you could need, from safety pins, make-up remover, a stain stick and aspirin to name but a few! She will also be able to hang on to any personal items you need access to in case your mom or bridesmaids have their hands full (or happen to be at the bar or on the dance floor when you need something). Keep in mind that your bridal party members will be holding a bouquet too! 

If a handbag is a must, consider the following:

  • If you're shopping specifically for the wedding, most formal handbags are made of fabric and not leather. It should be small enough not to take any attention from your dress.
  • Ballgowns look great with most delicate handbags - think jeweled, beaded or something that hangs from a chain strap.
  • A clutch or structured purse will work with a tailored dress, while a drawstring or curved bag will look better with a soft, flowing gown.
  • Spend time searching for a bag that complements your dress. There are so many places you can look - online, specialty boutiques, department and bridal stores.
  • Think about making a statement with your bag by choosing a color other than white - for example, this could be your something blue! 

Although you shouldn’t expect to carry a handbag with you all day, it may just be a special gift to yourself that you will always look at fondly as it will bring back many wonderful memories from one of the happiest days of your life!  You can never go wrong, with a great purse. 

Love, laughter and happiness,



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