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Wedding Dress Basics

By Megan Jenkins
Posted on June 23 2017

When you go for your first shopping appointment, the absolute most important thing you can do to ensure your appointment is successful is to know two things: your budget and the kind of dress you're looking for.

You needn't have a specific dress in mind (though there's nothing wrong with that!) but you do need to have some idea of the kind of dress you'd like to be wed in. 

What colour? What neckline? What style of skirt, what length? Sequins? Tulle? Silk? Satin? 

There's a lot out there to consider, and a lot that has to go into your perfect dress—colour, fabric, style, and fit need to intersect at the perfect spot for you to love your wedding dress.

All that said, there is no wrong dress out there. If you love it, then all of the above requirements have been satiated, no questions asked. Above all, you do you.

Today, let's talk dress styles. A-line, modified A-line, sheath... Terms like these are a great way to narrow down your pool of potential wedding dresses. If you know that your body looks great in sheath dresses, or you want a bigger skirt to balance out broad shoulders or a bigger bust (i.e., a ballgown), go with what works!

A-Line, modified A-Line, and Ballgown wedding dresses

Photo by Tali Photography, and Madeline Gardner.

A-Line, modified A-Line

A-Line dresses are snug through the bodice until they hit the widest part of your hips. The dress then flares slowly, creating an "A" shape from your hips to the floor. This looks great on almost all body types. If you want to minimize your stomach, you could opt for a modified A-Line.

A modified A-Line begins to flare at a point other than the widest part of the hips. For example, your modified A-Line could be snug only to the widest part of your middle, before relaxing and beginning to flare out. Alternatively, your modified A-Line could be snug down to the tops of your thighs, highlighting your rear, before slowly flaring out. The skirt of a modified A-Line also tends to be slightly slimmer.

Ballgown

You know this one. Every princess (at least in movies) has at one point worn a dress with a tight, fitted bodice to her natural waist followed by a healthy helping of tulle, making her upper half look something like a cupcake topper. 

This style is best suited to brides with larger busts, broader shoulders, or lots of hair. Tall slender brides can absolutely rock this look too, but you run the risk of looking swallowed or overwhelmed by your gown if you are too short or too slight. 

Ballgowns can also be super heavy, and that's something else to consider. Do you want to carry around 30 pounds of dress all day, especially in heels? 

Trumpet, mermaid, and sheath wedding dresses.

Photo by Gianny CamposLuna Imagery, and BHLDN.

Trumpet

Trumpet dresses can be some of the most striking dresses visually because they are so structural. The dress is fitted through the bodice until mid-thigh, where it flares out—not too suddenly, but definitely in a big way. 

This cut is ideal for petite brides, or women with hourglass figures and small waists. The mid-thigh cut tends to accentuate the hips, which can add some curves if you'd like to highlight your shape! 

Mermaid

Mermaids are infamously sexy. They hug your body from chest to knees, and then flare out dramatically. They are made to accentuate curves—all of them. Mermaid dresses are definitely worth considering for brides of all shapes and sizes. The dress will give those petite brides a bit more curve—and ladies with a lot of curve (who love a lot of curve!) the dress you will fit you unlike it fits anyone else.

Sheath

Sheath dresses are perfect for the minimal bride. They don't particularly hug your frame, but they are narrow from your chest to the floor. You can opt for a sheath that is looser, or something very snug—the idea is that the dress is one shape all the way down, for the most part. 

Sheath dresses, especially in silk or satin, look amazing without much adornment. We find this style is best suited to women with fewer or less dramatic curves—ie. the small hourglass—so that the dress won't, for example, be snug across the widest part of the hips but billow around a tiny waist.

Short dresses

Short dresses are the party version of your wedding dress! Tea length dresses hit at about the knee, maybe a bit longer, and can have any skirt—snug pencil skirts, or flowy, bombastic ballgown skirts. This option might work better for petite brides, because there's simply less dress to work with! Tea length gowns are sophisticated and classic updates to what is usually a very formal dress code. We love them! In fact, we did a whole post on them!

Mini dresses are exactly what they sound like. Perfect for hot wedding days and sassy brides. Mini dresses are dresses that hit anywhere above the knee and can also be fit or flared. These are often a much more cost effective option, and they look great on almost everyone. Only catch is you've got be ready to show off your stems! And you'd better have some cute shoes

So, armed with that information—start googling! Look into the shapes you think might best suit your body, and take that knowledge with you into your first appointment. What kind of dresses are you looking for today? Hmm... I'm thinking a mermaid dress with a sweetheart neckline and minimal embellishments on the bodice.

Doesn't that sound easy? 

Of course, actually finding the perfect dress may be another story...

xo D&C

PS: Come September, maybe we will have that perfect dress! Stay tuned for more sneak peeks!

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