4 steps tell you how to choose a wedding dress
Before you even begin to look around, research gowns. You should always have a bit of knowledge about dresses (and know some of the lingo) before you even set foot into a bridal shop. There are also many bridal magazines that will provide a ton of information, including Brides, Modern Bride, Bridal Guide, Wedding Bells, etc. All of these magazines have websites, where you can find quick information without paying for the magazine.
2 Decide on a silhouette
Wedding dresses are made in several different silhouettes. Before considering anything else, know which type of gown will flatter your figure the best. Look at photos of each type. You can browse wedding website message boards and member profiles for photos of real women wearing gowns, rather than relying on professional photos of models wearing them.
- Ball gowns have very full skirts and generally will look beautiful on any body type unless the bride is very short and small.
- A-lines usually have a fitted bodice with a skirt that flares gently from the waist to form an "A" shape.
- Sheaths flatter women with slim, balanced figures.
- Empire waist gowns have a skirt that falls from just below the breasts.
3 Envision your wedding.
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? With so many choices for the dress, it can be overwhelming to look through hundreds or thousands of them. Some brides have said that after looking through racks and racks of dresses, they all begin to look the same. So before you even set out to try them on, envision your wedding day and how your dress looks, and jot down a list of things that describe the dress of your daydreams. You don't have to know all the wedding dress terms. Just write down a description of the gown you're envisioning. Example list: "princessy, satin, some shade of white but not pure white, spaghetti straps.
4 Consider the circumstances
- 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.