You want to look back at your wedding and know that you looked your best. You want that for your groom, your parents – and yes, the photo album that you’ll turn to on every anniversary.
On every other day of the week, you may work in scrubs, a uniform or comfortable shoes, but on your wedding day, you should dress like a princess, a sophisticated lady, or whatever fantasy look comes to mind.
The first step in avoiding any kind of mistakes with your wedding dress is to know your body type.
Make sure you understand the definitions of your dimensions. Once you’ve figured out your size and shape, pay attention. It will definitely impact your look:
- Tall: 5 feet 8 inches or taller.
- Petite: 5 feet 4 inches or shorter
- Full figured: starting at 14 women’s sizes and upward to 30 W
You also should recognize the best attributes of your figure and play those up:
- Hourglass: a defined waistline and equally sized shoulders and hips. Play up this shape with a dramatic silhouette.
- Rectangle: Your bust, waist and hips are pretty much the same size. Accentuate one, perhaps with a full skirt to give the illusion of curves.
- Inverted triangle: Your shoulders and bust are wider than your hips. Balance out this shape by drawing attention to your lower half with a dramatic, full skirt.
- Triangle: The opposite of above as your hips are wider than your shoulders and bust. In this case, draw attention to your torso with a frilly halter neckline, a detailed bodice or cap sleeves that add volume.
Do not short-change the calendar
Remember that it can take months for you to get your wedding dress from the time you order it to the time you receive it. And once it arrives, it can take weeks for the seamstress to make the alterations. Ideally you will start shopping a year in advance of your wedding. Be aware that this does not mean you need to buy your dress a year ahead of time. But you should start looking and deciding what you like. By starting early, you may even be able to tap into seasonal sales.
OK, you may want to lose a few pounds for the ceremony, but do not order your dress and then lose 50 pounds. That may be too much of a weight loss to be corrected by a tailor. If this kind of weight loss occurs, find a dress that can be purchased off the rack and altered to your new size.
Leave the bridal party home
When it’s time to venture into a bridal salon, choose carefully those who will go with you. It’s usually a good idea to take your mom, but if that’s not possible, take someone whose opinion you value and trust. Do not take every bridesmaid, flower girl, mother of the bridesmaid, and aunt of the ring bearer if you hope to get some work accomplished. This is definitely a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth. What you really need are a couple of honest opinions from friends, the bridal consultant and the peace and quiet to decide what’s right for yourself.
If the salon will allow it, take a camera with you so someone can photograph you in the gowns you like best. Print the photos and decide over time which ones appeal to you. The salon staff will probably appreciate something to go on when you walk back in to make the final decision.
Set a budget and stick with it
Dresses come in all price ranges, so set a budget – with just a little wiggle room – and then stick with it. There is no point looking at a dress that is $1,000 above your budget. Unless you are very unrealistic, you can find a dress within your range. And if you’re not seeing anything that comes close, ask the salon staff to make some suggestions.
Don’t be a trend setter if you are not normally one
Your wedding is not the place to break out of your shell and show the world your true sense of fashion. If your style is normally conservative, stick with it because you will be more comfortable over the long day. If you’re itching to go a little wild, consider a pair of wilder, lace-up sandals to wear during the reception. On the other hand, if you’re usually the wild girl in the pack, wearing the Madonna veil and a modest dress will create the wrong kind of buzz. The best solution is to be true to yourself, as well as your groom and friends. Let them enjoy you as the bride they’ve come to know and love.
Hoist ’em up
Many brides make the mistake of shortchanging their undergarments. You must wear a bra, but not necessarily the kind you wear every day. Wear a longline corset style bra, or have one sewn into the dress.