Your wedding dress will be the highlight of the big occasion, so it's important that you make the right choice.
A wedding gown may look great on a model or in a bridal magazine, but it may not match your figure or your personality.
The fashion conscious bride will not only want to make sure her bridal dress fits like a glove, but she will also want to look good too.
The wedding gown you choose will need a cut and style that flatters your shape, so it's time to get clued up on dress design and make sure you look your best on the big day.
We are all blessed with different shapes, and it is vital to choose the gown that works for your silhouette.
Let's take a look at the designer wedding dress shapes that are on offer and see what style may suit your figure best.
THE A-LINE WEDDING DRESS
The A-Line dress has a fitted bodice that flares out sharply from the waist to the ground to create an uppercase A shape. The A-Line is the most forgiving and will flatter most body shapes. It will balance out a top heavy body and hide a fat tummy, but a tight bodice may not sit comfortably on brides with a large bust size. The Princess is an elegant variation on the A-Line where vertical panels bring the skirt a little closer to the body.
THE BALL GOWN
The Ball Gown is the choice of those who like a traditional fairy-tale wedding look. It has a tight fitted bodice with a full-length bell-shaped skirt that flairs from the hips and makes a dramatic sweep to the floor. This dress is best suited to taller brides with a fuller figure. It's unlikely to look good on shorter, more petite women as the full skirt can overwhelm brides of smaller stature.
THE EMPIRE WEDDING DRESS
This wedding gown style has a high waistline position with the seam set just below the bust and a skirt that is not overly flared but falls gracefully to the floor. The Empire is a very forgiving style that helps create a slim silhouette for most body shapes but looks best on tall brides. It is often the choice for those with a small bust, and pregnant brides will find the Empire a comfortable style to wear.
THE MERMAID WEDDING GOWN
The mermaid style is much as it suggests, a body-hugging dress that flares out abruptly at the knee. It looks great on women with curved, shapely, hourglass figures. The mermaid may also suit brides with a petite frame, but the flare can make you look shorter, so some caution is needed here. A variation on the Mermaid is the Trumpet, which flares a little higher from mid-thigh. Neither shape will suit overweight brides as they do demand a flat tummy.
THE SHEATH BRIDAL DRESS
The Sheath wedding dress style also called the Column, falls straight down from the neckline to the hem. It's a sleek, body-hugging modern look that will flatter tall brides and those with petite frames provided that have a slim silhouette. It may also suit brides with an hourglass figure as, correctly cut, it can enhance the curves. It's not the dress of choice for the fuller-figured as the narrow cut will accentuate those extra inches.
THE TEA-LENGTH RETRO LOOK
Retro Tea-Length wedding dresses hark back to the 1950s. The skirt flares out gently from waist to knee, and it's a great look for showing off shapely legs and stylish shoes. The Tea-Length is a less formal dress that combines sophistication and fun. Tea-Length gowns dresses can look well on any body shape and are always comfortable to wear. Sometimes called the Ballerina this style of dress is more manageable on the big day and is popular with brides planning outdoor garden or beach weddings.
Whatever your body shape you can be sure of finding a dress style that suits you. When buying a wedding dress be patient and don't rush things. Shopping for a wedding dress can be hugely exciting but also an overwhelming experience. We hope this small glossary of wedding dress styles will help lay the foundation for making that all important choice and facilitate your search to find the wedding dress of your dreams.