You’ve taken on the (oh so important!) task of celebrating the bride with a shower. Honoring the bride is an exciting responsibility to have, but of course, planning the perfect party is no easy feat. Between the food, decorations and activities, there is a slew of factors to consider. To boot, you have to pick a date, time and a place, and of course, give those guests plenty of notice by sending out the invitations.
While putting together a memorable shower may come with some challenges, a little preparation can go a long way in making sure all goes smoothly. Keep in mind these do’s and don’ts and you’re sure to throw a bash that makes the bride feel super special.
Do get a feel for the bride’s preferences.
Before you do any planning whatsoever, the most important thing you can do is get a sense of what the bride is hoping for. Some brides have a really specific vision, and others might be a tad more carefree. Either way, it’s her big day, so you’ll want to find out what’s most important to her. Does she have a particular theme in mind? Is she imagining a more intimate get-together, or would she like to include all the women invited to the wedding from both sides of the family? Is she more comfortable with a casual affair, or is she dreaming about a more glamorous gathering? Has she been toying with the idea of a Jack and Jill shower that includes the men? Once you have a feel for her preferences, you can start working out the details.
Do plan a separate lingerie shower.
These days, it’s become more and more common to have multiple showers. Why? Well, hardly any bride wants to open sexy underpinnings in front of grandma or the mother-in-law. Keep it PG with a traditional bridal shower, and if you get the feeling the bride would appreciate some luxurious loungewear or lacy underthings to kick off this new phase of newlywed life, then plan a separate lingerie shower with just the bridesmaids and other close girlfriends. If the bridesmaids have to come from out of town for the shower, you might even plan the lingerie shower to be part of the bachelorette weekend in order to minimize travel. That way, she can unwrap her gorgeous bridal lingerie in the company of just her besties.
Do give guests some gift guidance. It’s a good idea to give attendees some tips on what to buy the bride. The easiest way to go about this is to offer the couple’s registry info. But rather than include that directly in the invitation, add an insert with a link to the wedding website or registry. You can also come up with a cute theme for the gifts. For example, a foodie bride will no doubt appreciate a fête where guests give culinary-themed presents.
If you’re planning a separate lingerie shower, you’ll want to include the bride’s sizes to ensure that her gifts fit flawlessly. If you don’t know her sizes — or aren’t 100 percent sure — just ask! Or if the lingerie shower is a surprise, you can ask her fiancée, who can also sneak a peek at some size tags in her collection if he’s not certain. The bride can certainly put together a lingerie wish list for guests to shop from, but even providing guests with the names of a few of her favorite stores will be immensely helpful.
Don’t delay on choosing a date. Typically, the bridal shower will happen about two or three months before the wedding. And it’s crucial to give guests plenty of notice so they can make travel plans, request to take time off work if need be and purchase a gift. So, the first order of business should be to send out those invites as early as possible — at least two months before the shower is taking place if lots of people will be coming from out of town, and at least four to six weeks if most attendees are local. Choosing the date as early as possible means you’ll have more options if you plan to book a venue rather than hosting it at someone’s house. Also, you’ll have far more time to plan the perfect menu, get creative with the decor and add those special touches that will make it a standout shower.
Don’t try to do it alone.
Just because you’re the one in charge of planning the shower, that doesn’t mean you have to take responsibility for every single aspect of the event. It’s a lot to take on for one person — and odds are, if you ask the other bridesmaids or family members to help, they’ll be happy to contribute. Better yet, delegate specific tasks rather than just vaguely asking for assistance. For example, you might enlist the bridesmaids to take on the duty of assembling gift bags or hunting down some fun games to play and ask the mother of the bride or future mother-in-law to call some venues for pricing information.
Don’t be too loose (or too strict) in your itinerary
Most showers follow the same general outline: Guests mingle with some snacks and beverages, they play a game or three and watch the bride open her gifts. That doesn’t mean you have to follow this itinerary, but you do need to have one in place to avoid having people feel aimless or uncomfortable. After all, there might be guests at the shower who don’t know anyone, so expecting them to socialize and make conversation for an entire afternoon or evening may be unrealistic. Have a general idea of how you’d like to kick off the shower, what will happen in the middle and how you’d like it to end. Drawing up a plan will help to maintain momentum and keep guests entertained. Keep in mind, however, that your schedule should be flexible. If guests are having a ball at the DIY mimosa station, let them linger and enjoy without forcing them to participate in a particular activity. Conversely, if there’s a lull in the celebration at any point, it’s good to have a backup plan to bust out, like some classic bridal bingo.
It’s next to impossible to over plan or prepare for a bridal shower, but it is possible to overthink it. Remember: The bride chose you to put together this special day for a reason — because she trusts you.
No guest likes to look out-of-place in a wedding setting. Hence, it is necessary that your outfit is suitable for the wedding style, is stylish and flatters you when you have to attend a wedding. Unfortunately, there is no standard dress code that works for every type of wedding. It is often necessary to change your choice according to the wedding style, location and time of year. This can make your dress selection confusing, and at times, even difficult.
However, you can quickly ascertain whether a certain style of dressing is appropriate for a wedding or not with some attention to details. Use the cues in the wedding invitation to find out more about the wedding. Also consider the weather at the time as a guide to choose your outfit for the occasion.
Let us quickly look at what the phrases on the invitation imply, in terms of what is appropriate to wear to a wedding.
Black Tie: This term denotes a formal event. Black-tie weddings are usually held in the evening. Ideal dress choices would be formal gowns, dressy suits or cocktail length dresses.
White Tie: Usually an extravagant affair with a formal vibe. A full-length dress is a must and your outfit should be stylish and chic.
Semi-formal: This can be anywhere between formal and casual. It is better to choose formal dresses just in case the wedding is more formal than casual.
Dressy casual: Another term that is often used to replace semi-formal. The same dress choices as above are suitable for such an event.
Casual: Simple affair with an informal vibe. Outdoor weddings and the like fit this style. Short and smart dress styles are ideal. You have plenty of options. Nonetheless, jeans, flip flops, T-shirts and casual attire elements are never a good choice, even if it is a casual wedding.
We now have a clear idea of what style of dressing to choose based on the invitation. Here are some do’s and don’ts that apply to all weddings, irrespective of this dress code. Keep these in mind to ensure that you will not be breaking any etiquette norms.
Avoid wearing white or black to weddings, unless it is absolutely necessary. Let the bride shine in her white gown, without your dress being a distraction. Although black isn’t often associated with happy events, it is fine to wear it to a wedding if you have limited options otherwise.
Choose your attire so it is suitable for the venue. This is very important especially if the wedding is held in a house of worship. For church weddings, avoid strapless and revealing styles. Cover up with an accessory like a stole or jacket for the ceremony.
When in doubt, play it safe by dressing in formal attire than sporting an informal dress choice.
Avoid any outfit that is vulgar, revealing or overly flashy. Also avoid cheap, artificial jewelry and accessories even if they are fashionable.
Never wear distressed clothing to a wedding. Although it may be trendy in mainstream fashion, torn and ripped clothing is never suitable for a wedding.
Let us now explore the different outfit options that are ideal for different wedding styles
If the event mentions black-tie or white tie, the wedding is a formal one.
Likely Venues: Formal weddings are usually held in banquet halls, country clubs and similar locations. It can also be held at historical and heritage sites like castles or museums. The wedding setting will be lavish. The wedding ceremony may be held at a house of worship, like a church.
Dress ideas: Aim to dress elegantly. Choose simple, but smart silhouettes in bold or dark colors for best effect. Formal floors-length gowns are appropriate. You can also choose cocktail or tea length dresses. Always try to choose dresses that flatter your body type. Dresses with crisp, clean lines look smart and flatter most body types. Pay attention to the neckline and sleeves to find one that enhances your best assets. All sleeve lengths are suitable for formal weddings. So, make a suitable choice based on the time of year. For contemporary wedding styles, modern dress styles with a color block feature or trendy prints are good.
Accessories, makeup and style: Statement accessories will amp up your style. Pair your outfit with metallic colors like gold, silver or gemstone jewelry. While wearing accessories, make sure that you balance your look with just the right number of pieces. Avoid wearing one of each piece as this can clutter up your overall look. Choose one or two statement pieces that complement your dress style. If your dress is relatively simple, add a belt or scarf. For more ideas on how to accessorize for a formal look, visit this article on the Leaf. Dress up in red-carpet style with elaborate hairdos and bright shades of makeup that flatter your complexion and face shape for a dressy look.
Casual Wedding type
Although almost any outfit is deemed fit for a casual wedding, it is best to plan your dress based on the actual location where it is held. Let us look at the popular choices and what goes for each of them.
Dress Ideas: Dress in a bright summer frock or tea-length dress that looks like it belongs in the setting. Don’t hesitate to experiment with bold tropical prints and fluttering dress styles. Choose light, breathable fabrics like chiffon and cotton for comfort. It isn’t advisable to wear silk or satin in this environment, since they show sweat and can ruin your look. Avoid floor-length dresses that will pick up sand and be difficult to walk in. Off-the-shoulder necklines, strapless dresses and spaghetti strap tops are all good. Separates and mix and match skirts and tops are also good choices for beach weddings.
Accessories, hair and makeup: Choose simple accessories that work well with the outfit you choose. Avoid metallic and flashy jewelry. Opt for flats or wedges for footwear that is practical in the sand. Avoid flip-flops and sneakers since they look too casual. Embellished sandals look good and work great in the sandy beach. Keep the makeup simple and opt for neutral shades for a natural look. Avoid heavy eye makeup as it may spread in the humid environment. Pick a hairstyle that keeps hair off your face. When at the beach, your hair can fly a lot and obscure your face in photos. So, pick a bun or hairdo that keeps the hair tucked away and this won’t be a problem.
Venue: Farm or garden
Dress Ideas: Being outdoor venues, consider comfort when choosing your outfit. As with a beach venue, pick breathable fabrics like cotton or chiffon. The dress hemline shouldn’t extend beyond floor length. Shorter hemlines will make navigation on the uneven terrain easy. Match your outfit to the setting with the choice of colors, accessories and dressing style. Both printed and plain dress styles are suitable. Dresses with floral prints or in lace look good in farm and garden venues. For outdoor venues, sleeveless and strapless necklines are comfortable. You can also pair the dress with a removable accessory like a jacket or stole, for when the evening gets chilly.
Accessories, hair and makeup: Keep your look simple and uncluttered. Avoid accessories that are too heavy. Instead choose small pieces that complement your dress style and colors. A casual wedding is the right occasion to wear bright and big accessories. Flats or kitten heels are suitable footwear. If you wish to truly stand out, consider pairing your dress with boots. Choose waterproof makeup and aim for a simple, natural look that will look good in the natural ambiance of the setting. Simple, fun hairstyles and hair accessories like flowers will add a beautiful finishing touch to your overall look.
Venue: Indoor venue like loft or restaurant
Dress Ideas: It is a good idea to choose a fancy dress if you are unsure of the venue, or if it is more likely to be held indoors. Wear a smart dress or separates that you would wear to a restaurant or to a dinner with your colleagues. Short, flirty dresses, cocktail dresses or tea-length gowns are also fine, as don’t look formal. Keep the look interesting by choosing colors that flatter your complexion.
Accessories, hair and makeup: Aim to look as though you have put in an effort to look good. For an indoor venue and an event in the evening, pick makeup colors that will look bright in the pictures. If you use nude or natural makeup, you may have a washed-out look. Choose colors that not only complement your complexion, but also go well with your dress colors. Balance the details in your dress with the suitable choice of accessories. If your dress has intricate and statement details, avoid too many accessories that clash with it. Alternately, wear bold, bright jewelry if your dress is relatively simple. Pick a hairstyle that will hold throughout the length of the event.
Venue: Country-style or vintage
Dress Ideas: The relaxed ambiance and natural setting of a country-style wedding or a vintage wedding is best complemented by relaxed silhouettes. Simple, but pretty dress details look good too. A-line dresses, sheath silhouettes and fit and flare gowns look and feel comfortable. Lace is a classic favorite for weddings at such venues. You can choose between all-over lace dresses or dresses with lace trims on the neckline, sleeves or hemline. Go for embroidery, sequins or retro-elements and style details that match the setting. Also mix and match tops and skirts for a unique effect. There are plenty of vintage-inspired wedding dress styles in the market today. Find one that flatters your body type and looks perfect in such a setting, if you choose. For ideas on what would work, take a look at this article on the Bustle.
Accessories, hair and makeup: Simple hairstyles like buns, ponytails or braided hairstyles complement the dress types mentioned above. Keep the accessories simple. A string of pearls or a pendant looks good. Pair it with a bracelet or dangling earrings. Studs are also appropriate. For a vintage wedding, consider silver or gold colored accessories. Oversize bracelets or watches, elegant necklaces and earrings are good choices. For vintage theme weddings, try to wear a hairstyle with braids or use a hair accessory that is from that timeline. If the venue is indoors, pair your outfit with colorful footwear that complements your outfit choice.
Finally, let us take a look at three important rules to keep in mind when choosing your outfit. Remember that this applies to any type of wedding, and can also be extended to any other occasion that you have to dress up for.
1.Always choose the right fit: However expensive or beautiful a dress is, all is lost unless it fits you well. Dresses that flatter your figure and are altered to your exact measurements will help you look smart. So, always make sure that the dress you buy is the right size. Further, have it altered to fit you exactly. A good seamstress can alter a dress to your exact measurements in just one fitting session. Do this and you will look much better when you wear the dress.
2.Elegant and classy is always in: If you are unsure of what to wear to a wedding, always go for an elegant and classy choice. Elegant, simple dress silhouettes and details fit into almost any setting. Choose the color, fabric and design so it is suitable for the weather at the time, the venue and what flatters you.
3.Stick to your style and taste: Irrespective of the style of the wedding, always make sure that you pick a dress that reflects your personality and style. Make sure your dress choice matches your age and is an extension of your everyday style.
To take a closer look at all the dresses featured here and also to see more of our collection of evening dresses and dresses for special occasions, head over to the Best for Bride website by clicking here. This is your one-stop destination for everything related to wedding fashion.
Isn’t it odd how bridal showers have such a bad reputation? Despite all the effort and hard work that goes into planning one, not everyone is too keen on attending bridal showers. In fact, it isn’t uncommon for these events to end up as the sad prelude to a fantastic wedding. It is no wonder that the memories of the bridal shower are quickly washed away, especially when the wedding has a better chance of being a bit hit.
So, if you are in charge of planning a bridal shower for your bestie, we know you are up for quite a challenge. You will have to think extra-hard to give the girls at the party a fun-filled and exciting time. Since we understand your difficulty, we are here to help you overcome this challenge with a few brilliant ideas. We’ve crawled around the internet and collected what we think were the most impressive ideas. These should be enough to inspire you to plan your own. So, come along and find out what we’ve picked for you today!
#1 Have plenty of bite-sized treats
Rather than planning an elaborate buffet or plated meal with lots of details and exquisite dishes, the idea is to keep it simple and stunning. Women love visual details, so you have to choose dishes that are as appetizing to look at, as they are tasty. And the smaller they are, the better they will go down. There is something so sinfully attractive about bite-sized food on neat cocktail sticks that is immensely tempting. The other good thing is that not only are they easy to whip up, they are also incredibly tasty. When you serve a platter of tiny delicious treats that are too small to resist, nobody will refuse trying it and you can be sure that they’ll enjoy the experience. Serve up a variety of items, so there is something that everyone fancies. This way, you’ll have an interesting array of delicacies, and it will be both practical and well-appreciated.
Here we have a link with recipes for not one or two, but twenty-two bite-size appetizers that are sure to be crowd pullers. Check it out and make your pick from the lot.
#2 Choose a sweet but simple theme
Too many details can spoil the overall impact, and you may find yourself unable to bring every aspect together to create a cohesive effect. It is much better to stick to a simple theme, with just a few colors and details to focus on. Whether you aim for classic elegance or casual chic, keep it uncluttered. Make sure that you pick all the colored elements in a specific hue, so they all come together beautifully. Don’t use more than two bold colors, and add in plenty of neutrals like white, brown and gray to balance it out. Another point to remember is to stick with an idea, rather than with a design or motif, as it is easier to execute. For example, you can choose pink and flowers as the main subjects and build your theme around these two factors. It will also be easier to find matching elements that will do the job well. Some pretty impressive themes can be seen at the following links:
Another theme that works out well is a beach-themed bridal shower. If the bride is an outdoorsy person who missed the chance to have an outdoor wedding, compensate by throwing her a fantastic beach bridal shower. For tips and tricks on nailing it, check out this article on the Celebrations blog.
#3 Give the dashing bride special attention
The best way to make a bridal shower special, is to make the bride feel truly special. So, apart from planning a big celebration for her, make sure you also do something special to make her feel very important.
Just like there are special bride and groom chairs for the wedding, designate a special spot for the bride at the party, and decorate it to look very special. You could even set up a special area that is highlighted with signature décor to make it obvious. Give the bride a “bride-to-be” sash, that she will wear throughout the day! She may be shy, but trust us, she is going to love it. You could even give her a tiara or something special (but not looking tacky), for that little extra that sets her apart from the guests. Make sure to have her wear this and the sash with great pomp and show, and it will immediately set her spirits soaring and she will look forward to all that is in store for her.
#4 Have a couture cake
You do not need a huge towering cake for the bridal shower, a small stylish one will do. If you are doing it yourself, keep it simple, but attractive with neat and crisp details that add a stylish touch to it. If you aren’t certain about doing the details in fondant, go with fail-safe choices like ribbons, cake toppers and other accessories that can easily dress up a simple cake. If you are ordering it, make sure it ties to the theme but doesn’t look too cluttered with too many details. Gourmet cakes are all the rage now, with pretty little details and designs being more in the limelight than the flavors. So, splurge on that. When placing the cake on the table, highlight it well, by arranging it between well-balanced, neat arrangements on either side. This article on the Knot shows us how a beautiful bridal shower cake should be. Take a look, we are sure you’ll have a tough time deciding which is the best!
#5 Or replace the single cake with an elaborate arrangement of fancy cupcakes
We found this brilliant idea on Real Simple and instantly fell in love with it. If there is something more impressive than a beautiful cake, it is a batch of many small, but beautiful cakes. Good-looking and delicious cupcakes are not only a delight to look at, they are also practical to serve at a bridal shower. Think of it this way—if you have a gourmet cake, you’ll be stuck with cutting and serving it for quite a while. On the other hand, with a tier of delicious cupcakes, the guests can help themselves to the one they fancy. You can also experiment with a variety of flavors instead of sticking with just one. This way, all the guests are likely to find one that they love without much trouble.
#6 Serve a signature drink that matches the party theme
This is your chance to come up with an interesting beverage that will tie beautifully with the theme of the wedding. Since the crowd will be relatively small, it will not be too difficult to have signature cocktails served. You could even display them so they form a beautiful arrangement that will be noticed by the guests. Pay attention to the smaller details, like choosing a beautiful garnish and dressing up the rim with colored sugar crystals, for that luxurious finish. You can make it interesting by matching the color and flavor to the weather, the color and also keeping the bride’s favorite tastes in mind. Also, set up the beverage station separately from the rest of the food arrangement. Consider using custom name tags and interesting décor arrangements that match the theme. If you are unsure about whether it will go down well with all the guests, you can also set up two cocktail drinks of different tastes, so that there is at least one that everyone is bound to choose. From refreshing Grapefruit and mint mojitos to pretty pink lemonades, you will find a range of brilliant bridal shower cocktail recipes on the Martha Stewart website, here.
#7 Have a dress code
Most women love being part of a theme. So, make sure the guests at the bridal shower also have a chance to participate in a theme by providing them a dress code. Keep it simple, so that nobody has trouble finding an outfit that will be suitable. Either go with a color, or give a specific design type like polka dots or stripes somewhere in their outfit, so they have some flexibility in choosing how to incorporate this into their dressing style. The other benefit of having a specific dress theme is that it will unify the party and everyone will naturally be curious to find out how the others have chosen their looks, to fit the suggested theme. It will be an ice-breaker, and can help ensure that your party pictures look very interesting because of this unifying factor. Simple dress color codes that are bound to make it easy for everyone are black, white or silver. It doesn’t even have to be in the dress, you can ask them to incorporate the color or design factor anyway. This may be with an accessory like a clutch or a belt, or else with the dress design or embellishment itself. Or you could ask all the guests to present themselves in a chosen style, like Wild West or vintage 90’s style. This article on the Bridal Guide gives you a quick look at the some color options that look great. Our personal favorite was the red and pink ombre code that was ravishing!
#8 Make it magical with things that shimmer, float and hang from above
Anything that doesn’t isn’t fitted to the ground has a magical charm to it. So, make the most of this idea, by including décor items that hang freely or are suspended in the air. You can consider lanterns, hanging flower balls and even floating balloons in a chosen color to create this magic. Don’t shy away from the idea even if you are conducting an outdoor event. Place the seating under a tree, and have hanging items like lanterns and candle holders suspended from the branches. If this is not practical, consider using table centerpieces with floating helium balloons that rise above the eye-level for an equally attractive effect. Do glitter in the right doses, and use crystals and stones to add a touch of sparkle, and we are sure the bride will love the element of fantasy associated with the entire setting. Mix this up with displays that are placed low, and the impact will be doubled. So, plan to have your decorations kept both high and low, at various levels, for a stunning effect.
#9 Make the setting fragrant
Do you often associate certain events or places with lovely smells that you can still remember, when you just think of them? Crucial to setting the ambiance, make sure that your venue not only looks great, but smells awesome too. Choose a signature scent that is bound to be pleasant, and make sure that the guests get a fair whiff of this scent from the minute they are at the party. Guests often pick on a scent sub-consciously and this plays a great role in making the memories of the day interesting. So, give them an olfactory sensation by choosing a scent like vanilla, cinnamon, rose or sandalwood and adding this odor in lavish doses to the venue. You can do this using scented candles, air fresheners and pot pourri. Perfumed spray can be used on the table linen and napkins. Also, choose flowers that complement the main scent and have the bridal party wear a scent that blends well with the overall fragrance. More tips on adding a fragrance to your venue can be found at this page on Easy Weddings.
So, now you are all equipped to plan a bridal shower with a difference. To pick your attire for this big event that you will be hosting for your dear friend or relative, make sure to browse through our online evening dress catalog at Best for Bride.
If you are newly engaged and beginning your research on wedding dresses, don’t be surprised if you are confused by terms like “fit and flare”, trumpet style, mermaid, etc.. These are all words that commonly float around in bridal boutiques, those that you will hear during wedding dress shows and even see on blog pages like ours.
To be honest, this industry has its own language! Unless you’ve been following it closely, it can sound confusing and you may have no idea what the terms mean. But, as a soon-to-be bride, we think it is essential that you familiarize yourself with some of the most commonly used wedding terms, before you go shopping. This will make you more comfortable and also allow you to understand what your bridal consultant means when she uses technical terms to define a dress. Trust us, it will save you from feeling overwhelmed at your dress appointment.
To save you the trouble of finding all these out by yourself, we have compiled the commonly used words from the wedding world here. This will allow you to describe the dress in your vision in crisp terms to your shop assistant, without having to just search through hundreds of dresses to find what you think you want.
Wedding dress silhouettes
A silhouette basically refers to the way the dress drapes around your body. It is important to choose a silhouette that flatters your figure. When you choose the right one, you can highlight your best features and camouflage the less desirable features.
In the wedding world, the following are the most popular silhouettes that are used in dresses.
A-line: Also called princess-line, this dress resembles the letter “A.” It closely follows the body in the bodice and then flows outwards from the waist without looking too bulky.
Mermaid: Also known as fit and flare, it fits closely all the way down the bodice and waist, till the knees. From here, it flares out into a layered skirt. Since it fits snugly, it is suitable for hourglass figures.
Trumpet: The trumpet is similar to the mermaid and is another fit and flare style, with a fitted bodice and body. But here, the dress flairs at mid-thigh instead of at the knee. Thus, it hides the hips and legs and is good for hourglass and rectangle-shape brides as it emphasizes the curves.
Sheath: A straight cut dress that falls over the body frame naturally and loosely drapes the actual curves of the bride. Suitable for slim figures and hourglass brides.
To learn more about choosing a dress that suits your body shape, check out our previous post HERE.
Wedding dress necklines
As the name suggests, this is how the neck of the dress is designed. Popularly seen styles are listed below.
V-neckline: Seen on dresses with straps or sleeves, the neckline resembles a V that dips down in the front. It can either be deep, high, wide or small.
Strapless: As the name suggests, there are no straps and the neckline cuts straight across the bust.
Sweetheart: A romantic version of the strapless style, this neckline gently follows the natural curves of the bust, and resembles the top of a heart. It is usually seen on dresses without sleeves, but may also be combined with sheer necklines.
Illusion: One of the most popular styles today, the illusion features a thin layer of sheer fabric over the actual bodice. This may be embellished with beads, rhinestones or lace to create beautiful details. It offers a covering to the bust area, and usually ends higher up in a round, halter or bateau style neckline.
Bateau or boat: A wide neckline that extends from one shoulder to the other, and follows the curve of the collarbone without revealing much of the decolletage.
Scoop: It is U-shaped, and the depth may vary from design to design. It looks great on most brides, but is particularly favorable for women with angular features.
Halter: The neckline wraps around the neck like a collar using straps that either go around the neck or are locked at the back with buttons.
Off-the-shoulder: This neckline gently skims the shoulder on the edges, leaving the neckline and top of the shoulders exposed. It is stylish and sexy, and great for showing off well-toned shoulders and necks.
Find out more about choosing the right neckline that is best for your shape and structure, on this previous article of ours.
Wedding dress lengths and train
Wedding gowns come in various lengths, varying from long and dramatic to short and stylish. There are also different train lengths to consider if you choose a traditional wedding gown. Let us look at the various options here.
Royal: Here, the length of the dress extends to 6 feet or more, from the waist. It is a very traditional style, and very dramatic.
Watteau: Here the train attaches to the dress at either the shoulders or the waist, and flows separately from the hemline.
Sweep: Can barely be considered a train at all, as it just sweeps the floor, and extends to a few inches beyond the skirt.
Chapel: Slightly longer than the sweep train, it is a train that is more obvious. Typically between 12 and 18 inches long from the hemline.
Cathedral: This is a formal train, and extends to over 20 inches along the floor. These gowns usually have to be bustled following the ceremony, or in some cases, the train may be detachable.
Ankle-length: Suitable for outdoor and casual ceremonies, the gown ends at the ankles and does not really feature a train.
Floor-length: The gown just skims the ground on all sides, and doesn’t have a train, so to say.
Ballerina: The hemline of a ballerina ends just above the ankles, and the skirt is usually very poufy and fun.
Tea-length or cocktail length: Here the gown ends near the calf, somewhat mid-way between knee and ankle.
Knee-length: The dress ends just below the knee and is commonly seen at casual outdoor events or those with a vintage style.
Wedding dress Fabric
The choice of fabric is important, as it makes the dress suitable for the weather at the time you are getting married, the venue and also the look you wish to portray. While some fabrics are crisp and stiff, others may be soft,flowy and breathable. These are the most popularly seen fabric choices in wedding gowns.
Tulle: Sheer fabric with a net-like appearance. Used for skirts, is rather stiff and has an open weave. This is what veils are usually made from.
Taffeta: Crisp like tulle, but it is smooth and has a softer drape.
Satin: Soft and silky to the touch, satin is characterized by a glossy look and very soft feel. It is heavy and has a highly reflective look.
Chiffon: Soft, semi-transparent and delicate. It drapes well, and falls gently. Chiffon has a light feel and is popularly used in skirts that flow softly to the ground.
Organza: Similar to tulle, but stronger and softer. It is slightly rougher than chiffon, but is crisp and sheer.
We have a detailed post on the different fabrics that are used in wedding gowns. You may like to check it out here.
Wedding gown waistlines
The waistline of the dress is another important element, similar to the silhouette, that can greatly alter the overall look. There are options that highlight slender waists, and also those that hide unseemly bumps in the waist area. Here are the different types available.
Natural Waistline: Here the skirt begins at the natural waist, which falls between the ribcage and the hips. It is not suitable for brides who are bulky in the stomach area. In certain dress styles, the natural waistline may be highlighted with the use of a separating element such as a sash or belt. It basically sits at the slimmest part of the torso, between the bust and the hips.
No waistline: In dresses with fit and flare styles, the waistline may not be defined at all. The dress simply follows the natural curves of the wearer all the way from the bust to the hips or knees, and that is where the skirt begins. This is usually suitable for brides with hourglass figures or those who are slender with a well-toned figure, free from unsightly bumps anywhere on the torso.
Empire Waistline: This is an elevated waistline, that begins just beneath the bust. The skirt usually flares out from just below the bust, hiding the real waistline. It is a good style for brides who wish to hide their mid-section and draw attention to the bust.
Basque: This waistline is a dropped waistline in the shape of a V. The dropped style looks good on brides who are short as it creates the illusion of length.
Dropped Waistline: In this style the waistline ends several inches below the original waist. The skirt starts below this point and it may either been seen towards the center, or else draping outwards towards the side in asymmetrical style wedding dresses. It elongates the torso, and so is suitable for short brides who want to create the illusion of height and a fuller figure.
Asymmetrical Waistline: In this dress, the waistline drapes towards the side instead of the center. It can start high up, at the empire waistline height and end low in a dropped waistline fashion.
Wedding dress sleeves
Wedding dresses may come with sleeves or without. While the sleeveless and strapless style are quite popular among brides, Traditional brides may also choose to go with wedding dresses that usually feature sleeves. There are again several options in wedding dress sleeves, and let us look at what they are.
Sleeveless: The arms are exposed but the dress is held in place with the help of straps that go over the shoulder. The width of the straps may vary according to the design, and this will determine the support it offers the bodice.
Spaghetti straps: Very thin straps frame the shoulders of the dress, and these are usually embellished with scintillating elements to add more drama. The dress resembles a strapless style, with the exception of the thin spaghetti straps on it.
Cap Sleeves: The shortest style of sleeves, these sleeves just cover the uppermost part of the shoulder. It is stylish and modest, without looking too traditional.
Butterfly sleeves: Short sleeves that flail and flutter beyond the shoulder and end a few inches below. It has a romantic and whimsical effect, suitable for vintage style wedding themes.
T-shirt sleeves: As the name suggests, the sleeve ends anywhere between the shoulder and the elbow and is usually fits the circumference of the arm.
Three-fourth length sleeves: The sleeves often end below the elbow and above the wrist. It is slimming, and the sleeves are usually done in lace or illusion style to form an attractive feature on the dress.
Long sleeves: The sleeves reach or extend below the wrist of the arm.
Juliet sleeves: A distinct style that is popular on the runways, these sleeves are puffed at the shoulder and then continue into a slender arm that closely fits the entire length of the bride’s arms all the way to the wrist.
Choosing the right sleeve length is imperative to determining your overall look. Many dress designers offer the option of adding custom sleeves, if the dress you choose doesn’t have the sleeve you desire. You can also consider using accessories like jackets or boleros to add the effect of sleeves, if you aren’t happy with the original sleeve-length of the dress.
We suggest that you take a look at this previous article to read more about selecting the right sleeve length for your wedding dress to look your best on your wedding day.
It may seem like a lot to take in initially. You needn’t study all of them, but just use this as a reference to guide you towards the dress features that you would like to look at. Browse through our online bridal gallery at Best for Bride, and you will not take too long to recognize the various terms used here. It can become interesting and fun, so do try it. For wedding dresses of all styles and sizes, visit us at Best for Bride today, and make your dream vision of being a beautiful bride come true.