Picking out your dream dress can be hard.
You’ve been thinking about your wedding dress since you were a little girl, it only seems right to get everything perfect.
Your dress has to be appropriate for your type of wedding, body shape and personal style. You may also want to spend a few days researching. Ideally, look to buy six months before the wedding. If you buy too early, however, you may fall out of love with it by the time the wedding comes around.
Buying online can be risky, with dresses looking different from the photos, so going to a bridal boutique is safer.
Dos and don’ts
Do take pictures – pose to get all angles to make sure it is what you want.
Don’t forget about the extras – accessories, veils, and shoes all add to the cost.
Do move around a lot – make sure it is comfortable for you.
Don’t limit yourself to one style – you may fall in love with something that you never thought of.
Do remember your budget – don’t buy a dress you can’t afford; you’ll only make yourself upset.
Don’t wear too much makeup, do not wear fake tan, and wear appropriate underwear (nude colours and strapless).
Do consider alterations and have space for them in the budget just to be safe (some shops may be all-inclusive).
A-line is perhaps one of the most popular styles because it suits most body types. It has a fitted bodice with a gently flared out waist.
An empire waist has a waistline straight under the bust, which creates an illusion of a longer body.
A mermaid or fit-and-flare gown has a corseted bodice and a fishtail skirt starting above or below the knee. It accentuates curves and best suits a pear-shaped or hourglass body type.
The ball gown is the fantasy dress with a fitted bodice and a full bell skirt.
A column or sheath is very narrow cut and follows the body’s natural shape.
You don’t have to go full length; you can go knee or tea length (above or below the knee). This allows accessories to make the look (just think about the shoes you can buy!).
The sweetheart neckline is the classic heart shape and is probably the first thought you’ll have when it comes to necklines. There is also straight across the neck, off the shoulder, a scoop neckline and a halter strap. You may also want to think about an illusion neckline (with mesh making it look strapless), spaghetti strap, and asymmetric – where there is only one strap.
Sleeves can transform the entire dress; take for example Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress which had full-length lace sleeves. Capped sleeves are short and slightly rounded over the shoulder, which adds a lovely vintage touch to the dress. Bell sleeves fit close to the elbow and flare out at the wrists. More uniquely there are bat sleeves, which are wide under the arm, attached to the bodice, but narrow at the wrist, and kimono sleeves that are long, light and flowing.
These vary in length; a sweep train is only 6 inches to the floor, a chapel ranges from 12-18 inches and a Cathedral train is a massive 22-inch length. You’ve also got the Royal/Monarch train which is the super length train the likes of Princess Diana wore.
There are three main types of veils. The blusher is a loose veil worn over the face and moved back during the ceremony. A fingertips veil is several layers of material reaching down to the fingertips, and a ballet veil falls to the ankles.
There is tulle; a fine, open weave, net in silk or nylon, which is used for skirts or veils. Chiffon is a sheer, transparent fabric or silk. Brocade is a Jacquard-woven fabric with raised designs like embroidery. Finally, moire or silk taffeta is wave-patterned, designed to glisten like water when illuminated.
Some brides are ditching the dresses for jumpsuits; a one-piece garment either falling into full pants or shorts.
Boho wedding dresses, which are loose and covered in lace, are on the increase. These are best for summer or beach weddings.
If you’ve watched Say Yes to the Dress or I Found the Gown then there is a chance you’ve seen coloured dresses. Some are tinted in champagne, blush pink or dusky blue. Others are a full colour like black, which is a trend thanks to Vera Wang, and red, which is popular in India for meaning good luck.
You should feel like a princess in your wedding dress and being prepared for dress fittings will make the process easier for you. Need any more guides? We also have advice on suits for the groom.