The search for the perfect wedding dress begins the moment the engagement ring slides onto your finger. That auspicious moment marks the beginning of a whirlwind journey—one that ends with you in the wedding dress of your dreams.
Bridesmaids and family members will trail behind, dispensing advice as you sashay from department stores to bridal shops to boutiques. This pursuit of a stunning fashion statement can be stressful, but ultimately, it’s a whole lot of fun and one of the most memorable events leading up to your wedding day. There will likely be some drama—be that either high prices or perhaps a little too much advice from a bridal party member—but it’s truly a glamorous affair that ends with you being adorned in the most alluring dress of your life.
But how can you be sure what dress is right for you? How much research should you do before heading out into the world of wedding dress shopping? Well, it’s different for everyone, but it can’t hurt to have at least a baseline understanding of the different kinds of dresses available and which would best fit your body type and personality.
As luck would have it, you’re not the first person to ever have gotten engaged and fitted for a wedding dress. The Internet is a treasure trove of information that can lend an assist before you even leave your house to find a wedding dress professional. For starters, you can check out this handy wedding dress quiz to inspire you to decide your dress of choice right in the comfort of your own home.
Wait! Just like in school, it’s important to do a bit of studying before taking any sort of quiz. Learn about the many varieties of wedding dresses—this way, you can go into the search as an informed shopper with a general idea of what you want in the most important dress you’re likely to ever add into your wardrobe.
What Are The Various Wedding Dress Options?
The different types of wedding dresses are called wedding dress silhouettes and they encompass every body type, personality, and taste preference imaginable. There are dozens of wedding dress silhouettes—with more being devised by fashion designers whenever inspiration strikes. As the fashion world is constantly changing, let’s place our focus on the top six wedding dress silhouettes.
A-Line: A flowy dress that’s great for all body types, an A-Line is complete with a fitted bodice at the waist that cascades down to your lower half. The name comes from the dress’ resemblance to an uppercase letter “A.”
Ball Gown: Here’s the dress you want to wear when you’re aiming for the princess look. It features a fitted bodice that opens to a full skirt. And it’s perfect for all body types, however, petite or exceedingly small-frame bodies might get lost in this large gown.
Mermaid: Fitted from the chest to the knees, this dress flares out over the legs and gives off a real “mermaid” look. A sleek and sexy dress, it’s perfect for any bride that wants to flaunt their curves.
Trumpet: This dress is also called fit-and-flare, as it’s fitted through the upper body and flares out at the mid-thigh area. It’s ideal for hourglass figures, as well as petite body types that like to accentuate their waist.
Jumpsuit: A one-piece garment, the jumpsuit is a relatively modern entry into the collection of wedding dress silhouettes. Perfectly adjustable to all body types. A jumpsuit can have pants or shorts—and even a train from the back at times.
Column: This dress flows straight down from the neckline to the hem, which is ideal for lean and athletic body types. Also known as sheath, this dress is great for hourglass shapes that desire to show off some curves.
Things To Remember When Wedding Dress Shopping
Do Your Research: Once you’ve announced your engagement, make an effort to visit every possible wedding website, get your hands on stacks of wedding magazines, and ask for advice from those who’ve gone through the wedding-dress process before you. These sources often overflow with inspiration for your wedding-dress journey. Comb through links, rip pages from magazines, jot down words of wisdom, research celebrity weddings, and compile a visual profile of the most desirable wedding dresses you come across.
Keep An Open Mind: You probably know exactly what kind of dress you want before you start shopping—at least you think you know what kind of dress you want! The dress of your dreams might not be quite as dreamy when you try it on for the first time, and a dress you never even thought of might catch your eye. When you keep an open mind, you guard against any unpleasant surprises and open yourself to all-new possibilities.
Shop To Your Dress Size: It’s common for brides to try and shed a few pounds in the run up to their wedding. However, when you’re dress shopping, you should always do so with your current weight in mind. A seamstress will be able to take a dress in—but it’s hard for them to work with a dress that’s too tight for your body.
Have Your Budget In Mind: Having an idea of how much you want to spend on your wedding dress can help direct you toward a specific type of dress or store. Figure out if you're paying for your dress out of pocket or if your family or someone else is helping you bankroll the dress. Get those details lined up before looking into potential bridal boutiques. This is part of your greater wedding budget task we’ve written about in another blog here.
Schedule An Appointment: Shopping for a wedding dress is quite different than randomly popping into a department store for a little black dress. Chances are you won’t be able to just show up and thumb through racks of gowns, so call ahead and make an appointment. When you do this, a wedding dress consultant can schedule time to work with you one-on-one.
Make A Day Of It: It’s rare for a bride and her bridesmaids to spend 20 minutes to an hour browsing a wedding dress boutique before the perfect dress reveals itself. And, you know what? You don’t want it to be that quick! Part of the fun is trying on an array of fancy dresses as friends and family lavish you in attention. Also, you don’t want it to be a rash decision. Take your time and ask advice from whomever goes on this journey with you. Grab some brunch—maybe an adult beverage or two—and make this a day you’ll remember.
Bring Your Shoes And More: It’s a smart idea to bring the bra and the shoes that you plan to wear on your wedding day to the dress fitting. This will help you get the full vision of your outfit in total, giving you an idea of any necessary adjustments.
Be True To Your Vision: You might be the type of bride that likes to please people—or feels obligated to please people—but try to leave that social hang up at the door when heading out for your wedding dress. Keep the advice of other people in mind, but always remember that this is your special day. You’re the one that’s going to be flipping through wedding photos; you’re the one who’s going to relive the day in your head over and over again. Don’t open yourself up to potential regrets. Instead, go with what you love and what feels right.