How to Choose a Wedding Dress?

On your wedding, you’d want to look no less than a beautiful princess.And your wedding dress is a very important part of your appearance on the day of your wedding. The dress complements the lovely bridal glow that the lights up your face.

So, how do you choose the best dress? Here’s an in-depth guide to help you make a wise decision.

Your budget

Wedding gowns are available for a range of budgets. So, to begin with, set your budget. Allocate the maximum you can spend on the dress. Your budget should include not only the wedding gown, but also accessories such as the tiara, veil and undergarments.

According to a recent survey, Canadian brides spent an average of $1,798 for wedding dresses in 2012-13. So, you might want to allot between $1,000 and $2,000 for a good gown. Custom made gowns can cost up to $3000. You can buy cheaper gowns at clearance sales and discount bridal stores.

You might incur another couple of hundred dollars of expenses on getting the dress altered. You might also want to embellish the dress further with little florets, lace, pearls or other such decorative.

Often, brides make the mistake of calculating just the cost of the dress and not including the essential add-on expenses. As a result, the total costs overshoot the budget limit. Don’t make this mistake when you choose your bridal dress.

Where and when is the wedding taking place?

The place and time of wedding is one of the major considerations when you choose your wedding dress. For example, wedding dresses with meters of train and heavy embellishments look odd in a beach wedding. You might want to choose something that looks slightly casual, such as a knee length dress.

Outdoor destinations might be windy. So, you might want to avoid lightweight dresses that billow out like a parasail because of the wind and make you look awkward. Veils are also not good options for outdoor weddings. You need to choose a slightly weighed down gown that can endure windy conditions.

Conversely, a short and simple summery wedding dress does not suit a formal church wedding. You need a formal ball gown if your wedding is in a cathedral or in a formal place.

The choice of wedding dress depends on the season of the year and climatic conditions at the time of the ceremony. If you are getting married in the winter, you can choose a full sleeved silk, Mikado or crepe dress with multiple layers in the skirt to keep you warm and comfortable.  

In summers, choose lighter fabrics such as organdy, Charmeuse, Georgette, Duchesse Satin and tulle. You can embellish the dress with satin and silk. The bottom line is that you should be comfortable in what you wear so that you can truly enjoy the ceremony. Also, choose a dress that flatters your body instead of being inflexible about the fabrics used.

Learn about the different cuts and patterns

Although bridal dresses are available in a wide range of cuts and patterns, they are done in accordance to one of the five basic types – A line, Empire waist, ball gown, sheath and mermaid.

An A line dress flows in a single seam from your shoulders to the skirt. The dress does not have a marked waist line. The skirt usually flares out to make an “A” shape.

Empire waist dress has a very pronounced waist line, starting from right under the bust line and flaring out to the end of the skirt. The dress skims over your body in a comfortable fit.

Ball gowns are formal dresses that have full multi-layered skirts. The bodice is well fitted. These floor length gowns look very grand and regal.

Mermaid dresses follow the contour of your body and fit your body perfectly until the lower part of your thighs or the knees. Below the knees, the dress flares out.

Sheath dresses wrap your body like a sheath. This dress has no flares and no specific waist. So, make sure that you choose a well-tailored sheath dress so that you can walk comfortably.

Whatever is the pattern and cut of the dress, you can customise the sleeves, bodice and neckline. For instance, you can choose among from off-shoulder, one-shouldered, sheer, sweetheart, scoop, high neck, halter, V, scoop, bateau, strapless straight across, strapless sweetheart, Queen Ann and square.

Different sleeve styles include strapless, short sleeve, long sleeve, cap sleeve, ¾ sleeve, straps and spaghetti straps.

Your body type

Not all wedding dresses are suitable for everybody. You need to choose a dress based on your body type.

Based on the structure of their bodies, women can be categorized into four sections – apple shaped, pear shaped, hourglass shaped and straight shaped. So, whether you are plus sized or small sized, the trick is to find a dress that balances out the slimmer and heavier portions of your body to make it look like an hourglass.

Apple shaped women – Apple shaped women have a heavier top body and a slimmer lower body. If you belong to this body type, you should choose a dress that has a scooped or plunging neckline. The neck of the dress should be broad. An A-line sweetheart neck strapless gown also looks great. Keep in mind that the upper bust line of the strapless dress is not straight.

Avoid using heavy, crushed or glazed fabrics on the bodice because it draws attention to your heavy chest. Instead, use fabrics with sheen on the skirt or bottom part of the dress so that attention is diverted from the heavy top body.

Pear shaped women – If you are pear shaped, you have a heavy hip and mid-section. The top part of your body looks smaller than your hips. To camouflage the heavy hips, choose an empire waist dress since it flares out from the bust line and hides bigger curves at the hips. You can have the dress clinched at the waist section in order to highlight your slim waist.

A-line dresses are also good for pear shaped bodies. Go for strapless dresses with a straight upper bust line in order to accentuate your bust and draw attention to it. Spaghetti strap dresses or a deep V neck bodice highlights your slender upper body and makes you look very attractive.

Ball gowns are a favourite for pear shaped brides because the huge skirt camouflages the large hips. You can take advantage of your smaller upper body by embellishing the bodice heavily. You can experiment with crushed fabric as well.

Hourglass shaped women – If you have an hourglass shaped body, you are lucky because you can carry off almost any type of dress. Try wearing a mermaid dress or a sheath dress to show off your perfect curves. Experiment with different unique cuts and patterns.

Straight shaped women – Straight shaped women are not curvy. So, they need to work on making their bodies look curvier. To begin with, wear padded underwear. Avoid mermaid and sheath dresses. Instead, choose a ball gown. Since the dress is voluminous, you are going to look naturally curvy.

Make sure that the fit is right

Whether you are plus sized or on the slim side, you need to make sure that your dress fits you well. Plus size brides usually make the mistake of squeezing into smaller dresses in order to look slimmer. However, such dresses have the reverse effect. Instead of making you look slimmer, the tight dress shows off unsightly bulges at the wrong places. So, when you order your wedding dress, make sure that the fit is always right.

For your first fitting, which is usually scheduled about six weeks before the wedding day, the objective is to ensure that the size, color and design are suitable for your body type. The seamstress examines the dress on you and decides on the required alterations in terms of shortening, lengthening, taking in or letting out the fabric in different places.

During the first fitting, talk to the seamstress about any discomfort you feel at any part of your body. Take a close look at any out-of-place bunching, puckering or bulging. Also check the embroidery and embellishments.

For the second fitting, which happens around a month before the wedding, bring your entire wedding trousseau including undergarments, shoes and jewellery. This fitting is meant to ensure that all the issues that were highlighted in the first fitting are corrected. The dress should allow you to move freely. It should not bunch, wrinkle or pull when you walk. Also, you need to observe how the dress looks with all the accessories. If any part of the dress feels uncomfortable on you, tell the seamstress about it.

The final fitting takes place around a week before the wedding. Take along your mother or the person who is going is going to help you get dressed on the wedding day. Your helper needs to know how to fasten the buttons, set the train or veil, and help you wear the dress perfectly. After your final fitting, you should not have any problem with your wedding dress.

With these important aspects in mind, you can choose a lovely dress and look like a queen on your wedding. Good luck!