Before you even begin to look around, do some research. Looking through bridal magazines is useful to find the designers and styles you like, but the only way you will really know if a dress suits you is by trying it on. Whether you are considering off the peg, altered to fit, made to measure or a couture dress, it’s essential to get professional advice on what styles suit your figure, budget and type of wedding.
Wedding dresses vary considerably in price from 150 to 15,000 and also in terms of what you get for your money. From the quality & shade of the fabric, to the style & tailoring of the bridal gown, your dress will contribute to the glamour preserved in your pictures. The end result is that you look and feel a million dollars in our photos.
Wedding dresses are made in several different silhouettes. Before considering anything else, know which type of gown will flatter your figure the best.
Ball gowns have very full skirts and generally will look beautiful on any body type, unless the bride is very short and small. In this case, it may be overwhelming to her small frame. Ball gowns generally either have crinolines built in or a slip you must wear to support the shape of the gown. Be advised that this extra fabric can be heavy and bulky and will require extra care to wear.
A-lines usually have a fitted bodice with a skirt that flares gently from the waist to form an “A” shape. They generally work for everyone as well, and are a terrific choice for someone who would like to hide lower body flaws, but does not want a ball gown. A-lines are not as full as ball gowns.
Sheaths flatter women with slim, balanced figures. They shouldn’t be worn by brides who dislike their figures. This gown will not hide any flaws. If you think your thighs or butt are too big, you’ll be miserable in this type of dress. Don’t try to pull it off because you found a gown you love in this style. You don’t want to risk being uncomfortable or self conscious on your wedding day, or regretting your choice every time you look at wedding photos. Picture yourself on your wedding day. What are you wearing? What silhouette is your gown? What fabric? Is it embroidered or beaded? What color is it? But keep an open mind as the one you choose will probably surprise you and not quite be what you originally had in your head.
A wide variety of factors can affect what makes a particular dress appropriate to the occasion. Formal ceremonies usually call for floor length gowns and long trains, while informal ceremonies (especially destination weddings) are a terrific place to wear a shorter gown without a train at all (or a “sweep” train, which just barely brushes the floor). Another example: in some cases, strapless gowns are considered inappropriate for very formal ceremonies. If you’re getting married in the winter, you may not want to be a very light, thin fabric unless you plan to be inside the entire time. If you’re having a beach wedding in the middle of July, you may not want to wear a heavy fabric like duchess satin.
While the most traditional ceremonies will call for a white gown, in many cases, wedding dresses don’t have to be pure white anymore! Many women choose dress colors that best complement their skin tones, ranging from diamond white to ivory to champagne to actual colors (pink, blue, red). Pick the color you feel most beautiful in.
When deciding on your budget, you don’t need to set a very specific price. Just make it a general range as you can always break this rule later if you’re able to and really want to. Just be sure to remember that “attire” includes not just the gown itself, but the other stuff: veil, shoes, slip, jewelry, gloves, etc. All of these things are optional, of course (except for the slip, which is usually necessary to keep the dress from going between your legs when you walk). But you’ll have to just remember that in the end, it’s your wedding, and you CAN do what you want. However, if you have a religious ceremony, you may need to wear a little jacket or wrap to stop the Rabbi frowning.
When you actually go to wedding gown store they will often not have the dress in your size. You may need to make a decision based on a dress which is too large or too small. All wedding dress stores have seamstresses who can alter a dress to fit you, but save some stress by telling a little white lie and giving them the date of your wedding one month earlier than it actually is!.
Many of our clients visit designer boutiques such as Suzanne Neville, Johanna Hehir, and Castigliano. For mother of the bride try Eric Way in Crawford Street.
Hayley Lehmann a Licentiate of BIPP since 2001, a Professional Wedding Photographer and Bar Mitzvah Photography.