Though you’ve been dreaming about it for your entire life, the pursuit for the perfect wedding dress begins in earnest once the engagement ring slides onto your finger.
Your search will likely take you to department stores and bridal shops far and wide, where a trail of bridesmaids follow, dispensing both words of wisdom and not-so-constructive criticisms. And while television will have you believe there’s an endless amount of drama inherit in wedding dress shopping, saying “yes to the dress” can be a glamorous and fun time if you go into it with an idea of what you want and what you know looks good on you.
Luckily there’s a wealth of information all over the Internet that can help you know what to look for, even before you begin looking. One source in particular has even developed a wedding dress quiz to help you decide if your dress of choice is an A-line, mermaid, tea length, etc.
But even before taking a quiz like that, it’s a good idea to learn about the many varieties of wedding dresses and other crucial bits of information before making a final decision on what very well might be the most important dress you’ll ever add to your wardrobe.
- What Are The Different Types of Wedding Dresses?
- Firstly, they’re called wedding dress silhouettes and they represent every body type across the human spectrum. While there are dozens of wedding dress silhouettes, let’s focus on the top six.
Ball Gown: This is the dress you see in your head when you think of the word “princess.” This dress features a fitted bodice along with a full skirt. While great for all body types, petites and very small frames could get lost in this all-encompassing gown.
A-Line: Ideal for all body types, here’s the flowy version of a ball gown, complete with a fitted bodice at the waist and a cascading lower half. It’s called an “A-line” because it resembles an uppercase “A.”
Trumpet: Also known as Fit-and-Flare, the trumpet is fitted through the body before flaring out at mid-thigh. This is perfect for hourglass figures and petite body types that want to accentuate a small waist.
Mermaid: This style fits on the body from the chest down to the knees, where it flares out. A dress that’s definitely from the sleek and sexy department, it’s ideal for brides that want to show off their curves.
Column: Also called “sheath,” this dress flows straight down from the neckline to the hem, making it perfect for lean, athletic body types. Hourglass frames can also pull off this look, as it accentuates their curves.
Jumpsuit: Somewhat a newcomer to the world of wedding dress silhouettes, the jumpsuit is a one-piece garment. The bottom is typically either pants or shorts and it sometimes even boasts a train from the back. This one works with all body types.
Tips Before Wedding Dress Shopping
Don’t just run out into the world of wedding dresses without preparing yourself for the adventure! Take a moment—and a few deep breaths—and consider these tips before commencing your wedding dress search.
- Do Some Research
- Once you announce your engagement, friends and family will overload your inbox with links leading to various wedding websites and bridal boutiques. Not only that, people will just hand you stacks upon stacks of wedding magazines, thick with pages of inspiration. Comb through those links and rip pages out of those magazines in an effort to compile a visual profile of the very best wedding dresses. Also look into celebrity weddings and the type of dresses famed brides are wearing these days.
Open Your Mind
There’s a good chance you’re going into your wedding dress search knowing exactly what you want. And even though you’ve had this dress in mind for a long time, be prepared for the possibility that your dream dress isn’t as dreamy as you thought it would be once you try it on. If this happens, don’t fret—a new love will reveal itself to you if you’re open-minded.
Shop To Your Size
Most brides make it a mission to shed a few pounds before their special day, but when dress shopping, do so to your current size rather than shopping for a smaller dress. It’s so much easier for a seamstress to take a dress in than try to manipulate one that is too tight on your body.
Know Your Budget
Who’s paying for the dress? Your family? The groom? The groom’s family? You? Knowing what your wedding dress budget is will go a long way in directing you toward a specific type of dress. Talking about money can be uncomfortable, but it’s important to hammer out those details before hitting the bridal boutiques.
Make An Appointment
Don’t think of wedding dress shopping the way you do with standard retail excursions. It’s rare to be able to walk into a shop and just thumb through racks of wedding gowns. Instead, call ahead and make an appointment—this way a consultant can be on hand to help you select the various styles you want to try.
Make It A Day
Don’t expect to spend a half hour at a wedding boutique and have your dream dress just reveal itself to you—it can be time consuming to try on gown after gown before coming to the realization that this one is the perfect dress. Don’t make a rash decision, either. Gather your bridesmaids and any other friends you want to invite, grab some brunch—maybe a beverage or two—and make your way to your appointment for a few hours of bridal fun.
Bring Your Bra & Shoes
You’re probably not going to wear your sports bra on your wedding day (no judgements if you do), so be sure to bring that fancy bra you’ve been saving for the big day. Or bring a nude thong, strapless bra, and perhaps a pair of Spanx. Also, make sure you wear the shoes you pan on wearing for the wedding, or at least a reasonable facsimile of those shoes. This will help you see exactly where the dress lands and if you need to consider any length adjustments.
For some brides, it can be easy to bend to the will of those around you. If you’re the type of bride that wants to please people—or if you just happen to have pushy bridesmaids—keep one important point in mind: this is your special day! No one else's. Go with what you love and what feels right. (Trust us, you’ll know which dress was meant for you.) Before anyone else loves your dress, you have to love your dress. All in all, if you follow this vital step, you can’t go wrong!