Starting the hunt for your perfect gown might seem intimidating at first, especially if you have no clue what style you are looking for. This is a guide for those of you who may be unfamiliar with bridal terms and gown elements.
When shopping for a bridal gown, one of the first questions your consultant will ask you is what type of silhouette you are looking for. Here are a few general silhouettes to start thinking about before you start shopping.
The sheath dress is the slimmest silhouette for bridal gowns. It is form fitting and does not flare out. This style is best for sleek bodies as it often looks unbalanced on curvy women. As for petite women, this sleek style adds length.
Fit & Flare
A fit and flare silhouette is fitted through the bodice and flares out at or below the hips. It shows off every curve and highlights small waists. Similar to mermaid style, it is important to make sure you are comfortable sitting or moving in this silhouette.
A mermaid silhouette hugs all the way to the knee, showing off your curves. This style is especially perfect for an hourglass figure. Keep in mind mermaid style gowns can sometimes been tight and constricting.
The A-Line silhouette is very narrow at the top and extends down the body in a shape similar to the letter A. A-Line bridal gowns work well with every body type, making them the most common silhouette. If you’re looking for something that shows off your curves, this is not the style for you.
The ballgown is fitting at the bodice, cinched at the waist, and has a very full skirt. This style is great for boyish figures as it gives the illusion of curves. If you’re a petite bride, it’s best to avoid this style as the skirt is huge and can look overwhelming.
Other Things to Think About..
Another gown element to keep in mind when looking for your dress is the neckline. Do you like the strapless sweetheart neckline, or do you feel more comfortable with more support? Do you want something off the shoulder or do you like the look of a halter neck? Do you picture yourself walking down the aisle in sleeves? Keep in mind, things like a cap sleeve or long lace/illusion sleeve can be added after the gown is purchased, during alterations.
What color will you wear on your wedding day? White is traditional and innocent, but a soft ivory gives a more formal and luxurious look. White is best for richer skin tones to avoid looking washed out while ivory offers a richness to all skin tones. Want something a little more unique? Shades of blush, gold, or nude make ivory or white details pop and look great on most skin tones.
Keep in mind most bridal lines run very differently than your normal clothing sizes. Trust your bridal consultants when they recommend a size based on your measurements.
It is completely fine to start shopping without your dream dress in mind. Avoid making rushed decisions and be open to trying different styles, you might surprise yourself and choose style you did not expect to like. Also, be sure to listen to your bridal consultant’s recommendations too!
Start shopping early to give yourself plenty of time. Most bridal gowns take about 4 months to be special ordered and you need to allow time for any alterations that may be needed. By starting early, your experience will be more relaxing and stress-free.
Photos by Maggie Sottero Designs