When every head turns as you walk down that aisle, make sure your wedding dress delivers the goods. Learn which wedding gown styles will accentuate your best assets and minimize any problem areas. From My Fair Wedding: Finding Your Vision… Through His Revisions!, by David Tutera of WE tv’s The Wedding Planner.
First and foremost: Know your body type! I can’t stress this enough. You want to look amazing, stunning, drop-dead gorgeous, and — most important — feel comfortable and confident in your wedding gown. So before hitting the bridal boutiques, determine what your body type is and remember to shun all dress styles that work against it. Look at the shape and style of a gown first before getting hypnotized by all the sparkles. Use the guide below to help you find the dress that accentuates your best assets and minimizes any problem areas.
- Apple. Characteristics include: a full face and neck, broad shoulders, a full chest, an undefined waist, a flat backside, shapely legs, and/or a large-framed upper body.
These brides should look for gowns with cinched waists and fitted bodices for a slimming look if tall in height. Empire or raised waists will bring the eye up, and V-necklines will pull attention from broad shoulders. Avoid gowns with lots of volume (puffy tops and ballroom skirts). And choose a veil that falls between your waist and mid-thigh.
- Pear. Characteristics include: a long slender neck, narrow shoulders, a narrow back, a small to medium bust, a defined waist, curvy hips, full legs, and/or a large-framed lower body.
Pear-shaped brides look best in A-line or flared gowns with necklines that are scooped, V-necked, or squared. Halter tops, wide-set straps, and loose-fitting fabrics such as organza are also flattering. Embellished tops will balance your lower half. Avoid body-hugging styles and full skirts, both of which emphasize curvy hips. And opt for shoes with a thin, rather than a chunky, heel.
- Ruler. Characteristics include: a full neck, a broad back, a regular bust, an undefined waist, an overall balanced figure, and/or shapely arms and legs.
Brides with this body type should look for gowns with dropped or fitted waists to give the appearance of curves. A-line or mermaid cuts are ideal, as are gowns that draw attention to shapely legs. Avoid sheaths, Empire waists or dresses that are too clingy on top.
- Hourglass. Characteristics include: symmetrical shoulders and hips, a full bust, a defined waist, medium to broad hips, and/or shapely legs.
The hourglass body type looks beautiful in many dress styles. Your best picks are gowns that enhance the bust and waist (dropped or basque waists), scooped or V-necked tops, and halter tops to show off sexy shoulders. Avoid short veils and dresses with ruffles at the bustline.
When shopping for gowns, keep your entourage small. This is an exciting time, but having too many cooks in the kitchen giving you conflicting opinions can make finding your dream dress overwhelming and stressful. Only bring along your maid of honor or matron of honor, your mom, and maybe one other close friend or relative. Just remember — in the end, you have to truly love and feel 100 percent comfortable in the dress you choose.
Order your dress early. Many brides don’t realize that it can take from six to eight months before your dress is delivered to you or ready for pickup — and then you have to figure in fittings and alterations.
Consider wearing two dresses — one for the ceremony and one for the party afterward. Some brides want to have an elaborate princess ball gown for the ceremony, but also want to let loose and dance up a storm during the reception. This option lets them do both. The best part about having two different looks for your wedding is that you can go all out by changing your jewelry, shoes, makeup, and hairstyle. As an alternative to wearing two gowns, you can wear a convertible dress that transforms from a full-length wedding gown to a short party dress for the reception.
Find the perfect veil for your perfect dress! Every bride should have at least one spectacular statement piece on her big day. Consider one of these veil styles:
- Cathedral. The most formal veil style, which extends beyond floor length and is often worn with a gown that has a cathedral train.
- Chapel. A long, formal veil that reaches the floor and is usually worn with a gown with a sweep train.
- Waltz. Shorter than the chapel veil, this style falls somewhere between the knee and the ankle.
- Fingertip. A popular veil length that reaches the fingertips when your arms are down at your sides.
- Elbow-length. A veil that extends to the elbows, usually from 25 to 28 inches long.
- Flyaway. A less-formal, multilayered veil that only brushes the shoulders.
- Fountain. Also called a “waterfall” or “cascade” veil, this style gathers at the crown of the head and cascades over the shoulders. It’s typically no longer than elbow length.