If we say that finding the perfect wedding dress is as challenging as finding the perfect groom, will you agree?
The wedding fashion scene presents an overwhelming variety of options in wedding dress. This, of course adds to the excitement of dress shopping; however, wait till you set foot in a bridal shop, and all this variety will only add to your confusion.
Nevertheless, you must find a way out and reach your goal—a “dream wedding dress” perfect for the most special day in your life! And for this you must know what your options are and direct your attention to choices most suitable for you.
Clever brides know that the wedding dress search begins with choosing the right wedding dress silhouette.
So, join us as we explore this first step in detail. In the coming sections, we will look at different wedding dress silhouettes and identify which of these is best for you based on your body shape.
Let us begin!
Chapter 1: Wedding dress silhouettes—how are they different from regular clothing?
Wedding dresses are very different from regular clothes in the following ways
They are complex garments that have internal boning and other special elements like corsets and heavily layered fabric. These features hold the gown up by creating its structure and shape and allow it to drape perfectly. You will rarely see these features in regular clothes.
Most wedding dress silhouettes involve intricate and elaborate details like embroidery and lace appliques. This type of fine work is often hand-embroidered.
The fabric used in designer wedding dresses is of high-quality, expensive and made of the finest fabrics.
Look closely at any designer wedding dress. You can see the impressive quality of work at each level. Everything from how the seams are made to the definition of details will be impeccable.
This video will help you better understand the extent of work that goes into the construction of a wedding gown.
Shopping for your wedding dress is only half the work. Alterations are the next essential step to get your dress ready for your wedding day.
Although wedding dress alterations are not as complicated as wedding dress shopping, they present their own set of challenges. Preparing for the task in advance will help you get the best results. From our experience of many years in providing alteration services to brides, we have compiled this list of the important do’s and don’ts to help you ensure your alteration services progress smoothly. Take a look at what they are.
DO select a service that specializes in wedding dress alterations
It isn’t wise to entrust your wedding dress alteration to anyone other than a professional seamstress who specializes in wedding dress alterations. Unlike regular dresses, wedding gowns are complex garments. Not all tailors are adept at handling the complexity of such garments. They may also not have the tools to handle this task. So, you risk the outcome unless the dress has a simple silhouette and or simple details when you ask a regular tailor to do your alteration.
DON’T forget to check reviews
Wedding dress alterations are expensive. However, if the task is done well, it is worth every penny you spend. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Before you finalize a person for the job, make sure you check their reviews. Experienced and professional alteration services will have happy customers who provide good feedback. Also check around for recommendations from family and friends. Finally, don’t be hesitant to ask for samples of previous work from the alteration service provider, if you are unsure.
DO set aside enough time to complete all the fittings properly
Rush jobs often result in poor results. So, set aside enough time to properly complete your alterations. You will usually need two to three fitting appointments to complete the task. Make your first appointment at least six weeks before your wedding date. Schedule the rest of the appointments after consulting your seamstress. Make sure that your appointments are spaced well, so that your tailor has enough time between sessions to complete the intended tasks on time. Follow this wedding dress shopping timeline on the Knot for best results.
DON’T forget to factor in the budget for alterations
When you plan your wedding dress budget, don’t forget to include the cost of alterations. The expenses will depend on the size of dress you buy and the changes you desire. Some types of alterations are more expensive than others. For instance, custom changes like extra embroidery, moving of the hemline to another height or adding extra fabric to a dress can amount to a decent amount. Account for alterations into your planned dress budget, and you needn’t worry about your dress costing more than you anticipate.
DO schedule your final fitting closer to the wedding date
Your wedding dress is supposed to be perfectly fitted to your exact measurements. It is highly unlikely that you will retain the same shape or weight throughout your engagement, especially if you intend to lose weight in time for the wedding. Although you should schedule your fitting sessions weeks early, plan the last one just a week or two before your wedding day. This will allow your seamstress to fit the dress to your exact measurements so it drapes perfectly on your special day.
DON’T get the size wrong
If you are on a major weight loss program, it is important that you switch to a maintenance program at least two weeks before your wedding day. Accept how your body is at the time, and have your dress adjusted to the exact measurements. It isn’t likely that you will lose considerable weight during the time left. And if you do, you won’t look great in a dress that just hangs loosely off your frame. So, once your last dress fitting is done, say goodbye to your weight loss plans as well.
TIP: When you go dress shopping, never select a dress that is smaller than your actual size. Although you are sure to lose weight and fit into it in the months that come, it is a risk. If you do, your tailor can take in the extra inches and make it fit you correctly. However, if you don’t lose weight as intended, it is extremely difficult to add extra inches to a gown. This can ruin the finishing of the dress and hence isn’t advisable.
DO take the suggestions of your professional seamstress seriously
Your tailor will have had enough experience in carrying out alterations. So, she ought to give you the best possible advice regarding custom changes and size alterations. Go with her suggestions and don’t compel her to make changes she thinks aren’t possible. Remember that your seamstress can weigh several factors like fabric quality, placement of embellishments, your body type etc to figure out what changes are right and what aren’t. Accept her suggestions and choose to do alterations that she thinks will fit you best.
DON’T rush with custom changes or they can end up as a mess
It is possible that you want to make your dress truly unique through custom changes that alter the appearance of the dress entirely. If you decide to do this, remember that this usually involves more work than regular dress fittings. Discuss the necessary time with your seamstress and schedule your appointments accordingly. Make sure you leave enough buffer time before the wedding day to make sure the dress is ready and complete with all necessary alterations in time for your wedding.
DO remember to wear your wedding shoes to your alteration session
One of the things you should get right at your wedding dress fitting is the hemline of the dress. A hemline that is too long is an invitation for disaster. It can cause you to trip and fall, apart from making your dress look less than perfect. On the other hand, a dress that is too high ruins the entire bridal look. A floor-length gown should simply graze the ground as you walk. The height of your heels affects this greatly. Your dress can end up being too short or too long depending on the heel height. So, wear them to your dress alteration session.
Make sure you go shopping for your shoes soon after you complete dress shopping, so they are ready to try on by the time of your alterations. If the original shoes aren’t available, at least wear a pair with the same heel height that you intend to wear on your wedding day.
DON’T take too many people with you when you attend your fitting session
You may be tempted to invite your friends, bridesmaids and family to your fitting session. However, this isn’t a great idea. Not only can this be a distraction, it will also spoil the surprise of how you will look as a bride. Ask just a bridesmaid or your mother to come along to your alteration. Entrust the task of learning how to bustle your dress to this person. You can communicate what you want with your tailor on your own, and leave the rest of the work to her to handle.
DON’T hesitate to speak up your mind
Although you may not know much about wedding dress alterations and the details it involves, you should openly discuss your ideas with the tailor. Be flexible with your ideas and let her make suggestions that you may not have thought of. If you aren’t happy with the suggestions your seamstress makes, discuss this with her. This will allow her to make other suggestions that appeal better to you. In either case, open communication will allow you to clarify your doubts and find a dress that fits your vision perfect.
DO make sure you can comfortably move in your dress after it fits correctly
Alterations are intended to make sure the dress fits you closely. It should match your exact measurements, so the dress drapes on your figure without any bits hanging loose or bulging anywhere. While the dress ought to fit you like a glove, it is nonetheless necessary that you be able to move around in it. It shouldn’t be too tight that it stifles your movement. You should be able to walk, turn around and dance in it. Make sure this is possible at each of your dress alteration sessions. This is very important especially if your dress silhouette is a snug-fitting one like the mermaid, that tapers towards the feet and constricts free movement.
DON’T forget to check how the overall look comes together at the final session
Make sure that the big reveal on your wedding day is perfect, by checking it out for yourself at your fitting session. Book your hair and makeup trial on this day. Head to your bridal boutique after getting your hairstyle and makeup done as you would on your wedding day. When you try your dress on, you can see how the overall look comes together. This gives you the opportunity to tweak or change your style if you deem it necessary.
DO learn how to bustle your dress during the fitting
Bustling your wedding dress is a complex, but essential part of your wedding day. Ask your maid of honor or another bridesmaid to understand how to do it correctly after the wedding ceremony. For this, ask her to accompany you to one of your fitting sessions. Your seamstress can demonstrate the process and teach her how to do it correctly. If there are any questions or concerns, this opportunity will also allow you to clarify it and get it done without issues on your wedding day.
DON’T forget to wear the right undergarments to your fitting session
If your wedding gown must fit you exactly, it is important that you wear the same undergarments to the fitting sessions as you would on your wedding. Find perfectly fitting, functional undergarments that create the right silhouette, for this purpose. Make sure that it doesn’t show from beneath the white color of your wedding dress. It is advisable to pick nude colors for this. Wear it to your fitting sessions, so your seamstress can alter the measurements correctly based on this factor.
DO find a reliable pressing and steaming service for your destination wedding
If your wedding is at a faraway destination, you will have to travel with your gown. Handling the gown during the journey can cause wrinkles, especially if the fabric is stiff and structured. Locate a reliable steaming and pressing service at your destination. They can get the wrinkles out and refresh your dress after the long journey. If you are lucky and the wrinkles are minimum, you can get them out by hanging it in a steamy bathroom.
TIP: If you must travel with your wedding dress, choose one with lightweight, breathable fabric that does not wrinkle easily. Also keep the embellishments to a minimum to avoid the chances of damage to it. For more ideas on how to pick the right dress for your destination wedding, take a look at this article on the Brides website.
DON’T forget to check your dress for any signs of damage that need to be addressed
Take a close look at your wedding dress before the conclusion of every session to make sure it is free from damage. If you find any stains, tears, frayed threads or embellishments that come off, have the damage rectified at your fitting session. Don’t overlook this step at this stage. It will not be easy to have it fixed if you discover such damages later, if you find it on your wedding day.
Tailors specializing in wedding dress alterations have the expertise to do dress alterations. Stores like Best for Bride that offer custom wedding dress designs will have seamstresses with experience in custom stitching of wedding dresses. This will help greatly in ensuring a better finish for your completed wedding dress. Check out our alteration service at Best for Bride and the price rate for each change at this link to our website.
Wedding dress shopping is one of the most exciting wedding planning tasks for a bride. We like to think of it as a wonderful and unique journey where brides explore diverse options and finally find a magical dress that transforms them into the beautiful brides they always wanted to be.
However, the path to finding this one and the only perfect wedding dress is not simple. It is fraught with challenges and the options are endless. So, it is essential to plan for the task and avoid drowning in the endless variety of dresses presented to you.
Over the next chapters, we will tell you what to expect at each stage leading to wedding dress shopping. We will also tell you how to navigate potential issues so you can enjoy the shopping experience, just like you deserve to.
Let us begin!
Step 1: Factors to consider when shopping for your wedding dress
Are you unsure of how to begin planning for wedding dress shopping?
Don’t worry, for we know exactly what will help you set your shopping criteria. These are practical factors or constraints, that directly affect your dress decision. Start by considering these factors and you will be able to narrow down your search. So, here they are!
Venue and theme
Have you decided on a wedding theme yet? Your chosen theme will determine your venue choice and directly impact your wedding dress selection. We’ll tell you how.
Imagine you have your heart set on a beach wedding in summer. Would it be practical to wear a heavy satin gown with an elaborate train to this venue?
One of the primary focal points of every dress is the neckline. Choosing the right neckline will draw focus to the beauty of the natural facial features of the wearer and enhance the overall appearance of the dress style chosen. It will draw attention to the most attractive features or camouflage the less desirable traits, when chosen appropriately.
When choosing bridesmaids dresses, it is no longer stylish to choose a single dress for your entire bridal party. This is because your girls won’t be the same size or have the same body shape. Instead, we suggest you consider a range of options, and mix and match dresses to suit the individual traits of each of the girls in your bridal party.
One good mix and match option is to vary the neckline of the dress, while keeping the colors or silhouette constant for the entire group. This gives the group a super-stylish and modern look. It is quite easy to do, as most collections offer the same shade for a number of dresses. So you can find suitable silhouettes and necklines for each of your bridesmaids, while keeping the color uniform.
In this guide, we take a look at the most flattering neckline styles for different body types. Use this advice to choose the best neckline styles for your bridesmaids dresses. We are sure it will help you come one step closer to making your bridesmaids happy with your dress choices.
The best necklines to choose from for your bridesmaids dresses
The structure of this neckline is such that it elongates the torso and makes the wearer look tall and slim. The V-neckline is a universal favorite that can be designed in a range of fashions to suit various body types. The depth and width, when varied, will suit different body shapes. Women who have broad shoulders and are heavy in the upper body look good in V-necklines, as it balances out the wider proportions. Small and high V-necklines are suitable for thin women as it widens the upper body and makes it look bigger. Plunging V-necklines are fashion-forward. However they should be worn only by women with a medium bust and paired with suitable innerwear to avoid any wardrobe disasters.
The boat-shaped neckline extends from one shoulder to the other, exposing the collar bones but not showing any cleavage. This feature draws attention to the neck and jaw area. The bateau neckline is best on women with slighter body proportions, as the high neckline style adds more bulk to the upper body. It is modest, even while being stylish. The bateau should be avoided by bridesmaids who have a heavy upper body, as it can add more bulk to this area. Modern bateau necklines are often created with illusion details that are elegant.
Another versatile neckline style, the scoop resembles a U-shape. It can be low or high, and the effect of this feature in the dress varies according to this depth. Wide scoops look good on women with narrow shoulders as the round shape creates the illusion of more curves. Small scoop necklines help women with thicker upper bodies create the illusion of a smaller bust. This neckline generally makes the face look rounder.
This neckline style is closely associated with the goddess look and looks ethereal and romantic. The neckline drapes towards one shoulder, leaving the other one exposed. This beautiful style looks good on almost any body type. However, since the focus is on the one shoulder that is exposed, women with very thin or thick upper arms should avoid this style. It is perfect for women with toned arms and slender shoulders. This neckline exposes the collar bones, while it modestly covers the bust area.
Often fashioned with lace and sometimes with embellishments like rhinestones and sparkle, illusion necklines are a big trend on the wedding scene. This modest neckline may be paired with a sweetheart or strapless bodice, but has a mysterious effect because of the sheer layer. The illusion neckline suits almost all body types, and is a good choice if you want a similar style for different body types. It can be paired with almost any dress silhouette and made to look beautiful.
A traditional favorite, the sweetheart neckline is a feminine and romantic dress feature that is common in bridesmaids dresses. This neckline is preferred over the strapless style as the gentle dip in the center of the neckline makes it more attractive. It may or may not be paired with sleeves. Since the sweetheart neckline exposes a big area of the chest and decolletage, it is a good idea to first check if your girls are comfortable in this style before finalizing it. The open neckline may also be better if you pair it with suitable jewelry to avoid a bare look. It accentuates cleavage, and draws attention to the upper body. Hence it is a good choice for women who wish to distract from their waist and hips.
A common complaint about bridesmaids dresses is that they are all too simple. An off-the-shoulder neckline instantly adds a touch of style to a dress. This neckline falls parallel to the shoulder line and draws focus to the neck and shoulder area. This style is very glamorous and modern. It may be paired with sleeves or straps. The off-the-shoulder neckline looks best on women who are slender and have attractive collar bones. It should be avoided by women with thick necks and shoulders.
The halter style looks modern and smart. It closes around the neck and usually features an uncovered back. The halter neckline features a strap that runs around the neck. This may either go around the neck using straps or buttoned in place. Since the high halter neckline covers most of the upper regions of the neck and bust, it doesn’t require any other decolletage decoration. The halter should be avoided if your bridesmaids have large busts, as it will further add more bulk to this region. It is best used when the shoulders are slender and arms are well-toned.
This neckline covers the entire chest area and is a popular feature in bridesmaids dresses. While it creates a classic look for a long gown, it looks stylish and sexy on short gowns. The neckline usually cuts straight across the chest, and is a good choice for women who are busty. The straight strapless may also be paired with spaghetti straps for added support or for an extra touch of glamour. It is absolutely necessary that straight strapless styles and sweetheart necklines be fitted perfectly for it to look neat and feel comfortable.
As the name suggests, this neckline resembles a square and cuts across the chest in a straight line. It may be wide or small. When the square is wide, it reveals more decolletage. It can also be high and draw attention to the collar bones and neck area. Wide squares are suitable for women with medium to large busts, while small square necklines are better suited for women with smaller busts. It is not recommended for those who are heavy in the upper torso, as the structure creates the illusion of added width.
The versatile neckline
Many brides do not want to risk the cohesion factor by allowing their brides to pick dresses from different collections. This has inspired designers to come up with the option of bridesmaids dresses with necklines that can be draped in different ways. Here, the same dress can be worn in strapless, single-shoulder, V-neckline or halter style. This is a good option if you have zeroed in on a color that will look great on most of your bridesmaids and still want to follow the mix and match trend.
It is very important that you pick colors that suit most of your bridesmaids complexions when you choose a single color and only vary the neckline. Be wary of colors that clash with their skin tone or hair color, as it can make your bridesmaid look pale or ill. Best choices include dark colors like navy and black, or neutrals like gray. Go with the neutral color in your wedding palette when choosing the colors for your bridesmaids dresses and it will most likely not go wrong. You can add the brighter colors in accessories like the bouquet, shoes and jewelry to complete tie their looks to the color theme.
2.Make sure the necklines are comfortable for each of them
One of the biggest benefits of varying the neckline is that you can ensure all your girls are comfortable in the ones they choose, and achieve a cohesive look. This mix and match style allows you to satisfy the fashion tastes of both bold and modest bridesmaids easily. While the more demure of them may prefer sleeveless styles and high necklines, the more fashionable women can go with strapless styles and off-the-shoulder looks.
3.Choose the same fabric for uniformity
The neckline is one variable that you have chosen. If you were to vary the fabric and color as well, it would be very difficult to achieve cohesion between the different bridesmaids looks. Even when the color is the same, the effect can vary drastically according to the fabric of choice. For instance, a crepe gown would look entirely different from a satin dress, even though they are both in the same color. So, keep to the same fabric if you want to get the style right. If you must vary the colors, make sure that they are all from the same color family to get the closest possible matches.
4.Unless the colors are same, pay attention to the length
Like we mentioned before, you shouldn’t have too many diverse factors that can jeopardize the overall look. The differences become exaggerated when the variables are focal elements. When you have the same color, you can vary the neckline as well as other factors without affecting the overall look. However, if you intend to use several colors as well as vary the neckline, keep the length constant. If the bridesmaids dresses vary from short to floor length, it will obviously look too disjointed. Differing lengths create an unfinished effect and do not look great in photographs either. Either choose full length gowns for all the girls or ask them to keep it between knee-length and calf-length for uniformity.
5.Keep the overall theme in mind
All the mixing and matching that you do with the bridesmaids dresses should go well with the overall theme you have at your wedding. Consider the formality and style of your wedding when choosing bridesmaids dresses, as just matching the color and design may not tie it to the theme. Be realistic about the extent to which you can permit variations, so it still fits your wedding vision. The dresses your bridesmaids choose should also be formal enough for the style of wedding you have planned.
At Best for Bride, mixing and matching bridesmaids dresses is a breeze. We have plenty of designer bridesmaids collections for you to pick from and meet all your expectations. With several dress designs in different colors from the same designer collection, finding combinations with varying necklines but similar dress features otherwise is no longer difficult. Check out our bridesmaids dress collections by visiting this page. You can also find attractive discounts on bulk bookings, alteration services and quick delivery options. Book your appointment by visiting our website today and start the selection for the best bridesmaids dresses for your wedding.