The wedding dress is a truly important part of any bride’s day and purchasing one is an incredibly exciting time.
I recently embarked on said shopping trip for my forthcoming wedding next May and realised very quickly that I needed to leave all my pre conceived ideas of styles and looks that I thought I wanted and focus on what made me feel and look the best.
There are lots of different styles, materials, lengths, colours etc so it can be quite daunting but focusing on your body shape, your height and your style, rather than how the dresses look in bridal magazines, will keep you on track.
To help you on your way, here are some of the many different types of dress shapes on offer. There really is a dress out there for everyone, you just need to focus on what suits your frame, height and shape the best.
Ball Gown (Lady Diana Spender)
- This is the ultimate Cinderella dress; it skims the floor with petticoats or hoops to give the skirt its fullness.
- This style is wonderful for a pear shape as you can emphasise the waist and disguise broader hips with a full skirt.
A-Line (Kate Middleton)
- This style has a fitted bodice and the skirt is ‘A’ shaped and can vary in degree of flare.
- This style suits most shapes and has been the most popular dress style of the 21st century to date.
Princess Line (HRH Princess Elizabeth II)
- Similar to the A-Line but the empire is cut so it flows unbroken from top to bottom in to vertical panels creating a clean, minimal and slimming style. This style will suit most body shapes and heights.
Empire Line (Kate Winslet)
- The Empire line has a raised waistline cut beneath the bust with a full dress and has a vintage feel to it (think ‘Pride and Prejudice’). This style is very flattering for a small bust, short legs or pear shaped figure and excellent for pregnant brides also.
Column/Straight (Lily Allen)
- Flattering for tall, slim or petite frames as the slim profile skims the body’s curves.
- It can vary in length from short to floor sweeping gowns.
Mermaid & Fishtail (Kate Moss)
- The mermaid dress is typically figure hugging to the knee, and then flares out to the hem; tall slim ladies will pull this look off the best.
So after my experience shopping for my wedding dress, here are are some practical tips that I think might helpful;
Do not leave the purchase too late; leaving you not enough time to save for a deposit and for alterations, I started looking 18 months before the big day.
Think about the colour and tone of the dress to make your skin glow and complement your hair colour
The dress should make you feel totally relaxed when wearing it and not too heavy for you
Take your wedding shoes with you or shoes with similar height to what you will be wearing on the big day
Don’t purchase special ‘trying on’ underwear (like I did) total waste of money, the bridal assistants really don’t care what your underwear is like.
Choose a reputable shop or designer you feel confident with. I choose a local shop to me, so much easier when going for fittings and paying deposits etc
Consider your overall ‘look’ and think about your hair style, jewellery, head pieces etc when trying on
What time of year is the wedding, will you need to add a shrug, fur coat to your outfit.
Try on every style available so you know what suits and what doesn’t, even the styles you don’t like on the hanger or in a magazine, they look very different when tried on.
Listen to and take the advice of the bridal shop assistants, they are after all the experts.
Don’t settle on the first dress you try on, it’s not ‘always’ the one, trust me!
Don’t get hung up on bridal magazines and the latest trends and styles. Your dress should be about you and your style, a wedding dress should be timeless.
Lastly, just enjoy the moment; it’s the best shopping trip ever!!