Ultimate Guide To Wedding Dresses

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Having watched several friends get married this year, I cannot stress the importance of the wedding dress and its ability to loom over the day, becoming the be-all and end-all. It is fair to say the first thought that comes to mind the minute that ring goes on the figure has to be the bride’s dress. Whether she has known the exact wedding gown since the age of six, or it has been a fleeting thought that never quite amounted to deciding what she wants, the wedding dress may have the greatest impact.

The pressure put on the bride to live up to family and friends’ expectations and to find a dress that encapsulates the entire wedding while still making her feel and look better than she has before is stressful beyond belief! However, this process does not have to have you pulling out your hair and cursing the day you decided this would be a good idea. There are a few simple things you need to address when searching for the right dress, and hopefully, this will make your wedding days a little easier.

Colors – That’s Right, Plural!

White white white white white. Well, no, not if it looks awful on you. Of course, for those that demand complete tradition, this is the way to go, but others of you may want to consider the shade and color of your dress either to suit you perfectly or to make a statement.

White can be harsh color and the crisp reality of this may not suit everyone – and there are ways around this. If you want to keep it as close to white as possible, there is the option just to tweak the shade. You can opt for ivorys or creams, toupes, almond, champagne, antique white, eggshell, pearl, and so on. Don’t think you are limited in color there are many options, and with a little bit of trying on, you will find the one that best suits you.

For the more daring out there, who said you have to wear white? Us girls are no longer bound by tradition or expectations, and if you want something, a bit different, don’t hesitate. This, however, is a slightly trickier situation. Where do you start when you have the free range of the spectrum?

It’s vital to know which colors will work with your skin, hair, and eyes. If your skin’s got pink or red undertones, then you’ll suit cool shades (those with a blue tinge, such as lilac, white, aubergine or turquoise), while skins with peach, yellow or golden undertones are warm and need colors with underlying red (including orange, aubergines, and dark browns). If you’re unsure whether a color is warm or cool, hold it next to something blue or red to see whether it has similar tones.

These basic rules will help you discover the tone to suit you. With these, it is simple to choose your favorite color and the colors for the wedding remember to choose the right tone for you and you’ll be looking your best in whatever color you choose. Of course, if you want to take another thing off your plate, cheat and go to a color consultant.


All dresses are puffy with layers of tulle right? No! Just to make our lives harder, wedding dresses come in a variety of different styles and fabrics, and your choice can make or break the look. The fabric can also lend itself to your wedding theme or the feel you get from the dress.

  • Satin: the quintessential ideal when thinking of a wedding dress, oozes glamour and class, it is a strong basis for many shapes and a rich glossy base that can see additions of beads and embellishment.
  • Taffeta: yes I know your thinking 80’s disaster, but this is a good stiff material usually made from silk. This is great for the ball gown appeal
  • Silk: beautiful flowing material with a medium weight, it is a great material for simple gowns with movement, the natural texture making it perfect.
  • Chiffon: a light matte fabric perfect for layers, transparency, sleeves or wraps. A great contrasting material.
  • Brocade: a heavy rich fabric with raised texture, which can be in same or contrasting colors. This is a very different fabric and can make a great impact, especially on heavier dresses.
  • Tulle: essentially a fine mesh netting. Usually used to add volume to the dress or in combination with other fabrics
  • Lace: a gorgeous fabric can be used for slight decoration or the entire dress. Is a great material to add a vintage appeal or a fine delicate material for finishing touches.

Of course, these are just a few of the more traditional materials used, this is your day and ultimately, the choice of fabric is your preference just remember there are only so many fabrics you can add to one dress before it looks a mess.


If the choice of fabrics has still left you uninspired, don’t worry; choosing the style can define the dress, and all other considerations simply come along with it.

  • Column: also called straight cut, this is possibly the most practical design. An evening dress in sumptuous fabrics, makes for a very glamorous bride and an understated elegance. Do beware though the nature of this dress shows everything, body confidence is the key.
  • A-line: likely to be the most popular shape as often suits most, a good solid shape. It can be tailored to a larger skirt or trail more on the column dress side but either way is fitted at the top and glides into an A line skirt skimming the hips.
  • Empire: a beautiful shape cut under the bust drapes down to the floor. Great for comfort, great for hiding anything, great for a Grecian theme, great for a pride and prejudice feel. Great.
  • Princess: similar to the A line without the seam at the waist, this is a good flattering, versatile shape. I’m sure the name itself would appeal to many a bride.
  • Fishtail: also called the Mermaid dress. A fitted dress hugging the waist and hips, it flicks out at the bottom giving the illusion of a fishtail or a mermaid (hence the name). A sexier dress with a lot of sophistication but another body con.
  • Full: the ultimate design for a 50’s look. This can be in the style of a long or short skirt and as the fullness is at the hem it can skim and hide the hips well.
  • Gathered: the fussiest dress of them all can be interpreted in many ways. Can be referred to nicely as the fairy take dress or not so nicely as the meringue. A large volume skirt with gathers or pleats.


Knowing your style is useless if it doesn’t suit you. There could be nothing worse than a beautiful dress on the wrong person. You need the dress that right for you. The following will help you narrow down your search.

  • Pear shape: bigger hips than top half. Avoid bulk around hips this will only make you hippier. To hide, use full skirt or A-line. Also could work well in an empire line which is good at hiding all and emphasizing a small section of your body. To emphasize, use a mermaid with detail at the top to balance out shoulders and hips. Go with strapless or v-neck.
  • Rectangle shape. Quite a solid shape with equal proportions shoulders, hip and waist. We want to make the illusion of a waist so an empire line is great for this also a waist with a v shape, which makes your waist appear smaller. Avoid bulk around the waist.
  • Triangle shape. This is about balancing out the hips to the shoulders, a very model like shape can take the column dress effortlessly, or easily a full skirt with focus on the skirt not the top.
  • Hourglass. Curvy but in proportion, hips and shoulders equal with a defined waist. Don’t cover up, this will make you look bigger an hourglass needs to be emphasized in a mermaid or full which is well fitted with defined waist. Avoid high necklines.
  • Short: empire lines can add height effect because of where it cuts across the body. Anything too fussy or too large will lose you in the dress and you will look bigger than you are. Simple dresses can look great and shorter full skirts may look cute.
  • Tall: you have the height to pull off full dresses, make the most of this, you can handle more detail and more material but don’t smother yourself in this, you still want to keep the top fitted.

Too often, brides become consumed by tradition and expectations, which leads to an ugly dress that does not suit the wearer. Another factor you need to get rid of is what is on trend, recommended in a magazine or just expensive. This doesn’t mean it will look good on you! You also may need to let go of the ideas you had when you were a child a tulle-filled meringue dress may look cute when you’re eight but not when your twenty eight. Let go of the past and work with what you have now; our shapes change and I really hope you don’t look the same as you did when you were a child. The final tip I can offer is if you are still scared of the idea of a wedding dress how about stop thinking about it as a wedding dress, it is simply a dress, all you need is something that suits you and makes you happy, maybe taking the name away will eliminate some of the fear.