Tip of the Day #56: How to Find the Perfect Wedding Dress

Tip of the Day #56: How to Find the Perfect Wedding Dress

First and foremost, I would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday and New Year!  After a week filled with exuberant self-indulgence, the thought of fitting into festive dresses to ring in the New Year makes me weak in the knees.  Thank goodness for Spanx, right?

Holiday binging aside, I have certainly witnessed enough brides shopping for wedding dresses and watched enough episodes of TLC‘s “Say Yes to the Dress” to know when a bride hits a home run versus a major swing-and-a-miss during wedding dress shopping.  I believe that all brides should live by my “Five F’s:” * Fit * Fabric * {F}otography * Funcitonality * Family & Friends *

It’s no secret that certain dresses flatter different body types, skin shades and heights.  If you have your heart set on a certain dress style, go for it girlfriend.  Try on as many dresses as you need to in order to find “the one” and keep an open mind throughout the dress shopping process.  Take a quick glance at my guide for flattering dress styles based on body types as a start in the shopping process.  I’d like to welcome back my old friend, the body infographic from Tip of the Day #26: How To Dress Your Wedding Divas.


Mermaid: The mermaid gown is typically most sexy and form-fitting.  The mermaid dress is form fitting through the bodice and flares out below the knee.  The mermaid dress accentuates curves {primarily hips} and is a total show stopper.  The mermaid dress helps to play up faux curves on “rectangle” bodies and can be incredibly flattering on “hourglass” shapes.


A-Line: A-line wedding dresses are fitted through the bodice and flare out slightly at the hip.  They’re a great option for “pear,” “hourglass” and “apple” brides to showcase curvy assets.  For the “rectangles,” the a-line dress effectively creates an illusion of flattering curves.


Cocktail/Tea Length: Tea length dresses are typically universally flattering and less formal than long gowns.  Many second time brides opt for tea length dresses.


Princess/Ballgown: Ballgown dresses are typically a universally flattering style.  Many women view their hips & thighs as “problem” areas and ballgown dresses are great for hiding these areas.  Ballgowns are particularly flattering for showcasing a tiny waist or “hourglass” figure.


Sheath: Sheath dresses are typically most flattering on “rectangle” shaped bodies.  Tall, slim, lean, sporty bodies carry the lines of a sheath dress beautifully.


Although many brides don’t focus as much on fabric, it is a crucial component that should be factored into finding the perfect dress.  Some fabrics are more forgiving than others and some look more expensive than others.  When selecting a dress don’t skimp on seeking out quality fabric.  Cheaper fabrics are often less breathable and don’t photograph as well.  With over 10 standard fabrics available including silk, brocade, charmeuse, lace, chiffon, organza, satin, taffeta, and tulle to name a few, the possibilities of finding a killer dress are endless.  In addition, if you find a dress silhouette that you love in a less than great fabric, wedding dress suppliers will often work with you to modify a dress with updated fabric or color shade.


One thing that brides don’t always consider when trying on dresses is how a dress photographs.  Some dresses that look great in-person may not live up to expectations when photographed.  Some wedding dress materials {Ahem…silk…ahem} don’t always look as flattering in photographs because they pick up light from a camera flash or create unflattering shadows or creases in the stomach area.  If you think you’ve found “the one,” make sure to have a friend photograph the dress from every angle in both dark and bright lighting settings.  You will be ambushed by cameras on the day of your wedding from all directions so your dress should stand up to the mafia of flash bulbs {unlike the shiny dress below}!


Although it seems like a no-brainer, some brides overlook the fact that some dresses are designed for specific weddings and types of brides.  Whether the difference is in season, ceremony and reception setting, or age of a bride, there are a few things to look out for when choosing a dress.  If the fabric is a heavier material it is typically a great option for a fall or winter wedding.  Many dresses can weigh up to 20 pounds with an internal bodice and layers of fabric so make sure you are comfortable moving around in the dress.  Beach brides should shop for light, flowy dresses and fabrics {read: NO princess/ball gowns!} and vice versa for mountain babes getting married in the winter time.


A bride in Las Vegas should dress much differently from a bride in Manhattan.  Your dress should fit the “vibe” of your wedding.  If your wedding is designed to be romantic, lace is a nice option.  If your wedding is on a beach or in the countryside, a minimalist dress is appropriate.  If your wedding is in a church and you’re hosting a reception in a ballroom, a traditional gown is best.  If you’re getting married in a lounge or swanky restaurant, a glamorous dress will compliment the atmosphere.  If you’re the anti-bride, go for a nontraditional dress with unique accents in an interesting color or fabric.  A modern dress silhouette will compliment a classic metropolitan wedding.  If you’re putting a ring on it at city hall, try an adorable tea length dress.  No matter what the setting, there is a dress style for every bride.


Family & Friends
These days, everyone has an opinion.  Do not let your family members or friends influence your dress shopping experience.  If you fall in love with a dress and it feels right for you, disregard any negative feedback from friends and family.  You never know if they have ulterior motives if they sling out less than kind words {jealousy, having a hard time letting go, stresses with paying for the dress, etc.}  Although your friends and family should be the most supportive people during your wedding planning process, it is not uncommon to run into issues.


Above all, keep in mind that you only {hopefully} get married once.  Make your dress timeless, elegant and uniquely you.  Happy shopping!