How To Choose A Wedding Dress

Posted by Rachel Donnelly on August 06, 2013

All eyes will be on you on your wedding day so it's important to make the best dress choice possible. Here are some helpful hints and tips to get you started on your search for your dream gown.


Research. Before you even begin to shop around, it’s important to have done some research. You should always have a bit of knowledge about dresses, and know some of the terms used in reference to them as well. It would be a good idea to begin by looking at bridal magazines and websites to give you an idea of what is available as well as the styles you may be interested in looking at. 


Decide on your style. Wedding dresses are made in several different shapes. Again, before you consider buying a dress, it would make good sense to know what style will suit your body shape the best. It would be a good idea to consider the types of dresses you already own and which ones make you feel the most comfortable. Look at photos of different styles of dresses. Wedding message boards and forums and websites such as Pinterest are a great way to see photos of real women in dresses, rather than relying on touched up photos of professional models.

Some common types of wedding dress include: 

  • Ball gowns – generally look great on most body types, unless the bride is very short in which case it may overwhelm her figure. 
  • A-lines – have a fitted bodice and a gently flared skirt. Again, they suit most figures and are a good choice for women not completely confident with their lower body, but who don’t want to wear a ball gown. 
  • Empire waist – have a flowing skirt that falls from just beneath the breasts. They are a great choice for a casual non formal wedding, or for a tropical or beach wedding due to their light flowing fabric. They are also a great dress choice for pregnant brides as they provide extra room in the waist and are comfortable to wear. 

Picture it. Image yourself on your wedding day. What are you wearing? What style is your gown? What fabric? Is it embroidered or beaded? What colour is it? There are so many choices and brides often find it very overwhelming looking at hundreds of different styles. So again, before you even start to try on dresses, envision how your dream dress will look. Look at photos in magazines or online, talk to friends and decide which dress will suit your particular shape. Then write down a quick description of what you’re looking to find. For example, “satin, cream, beaded, strapless, a-line style”. Now that you have a reference it will be a little easier to look for that particular type of dress.


Consider the circumstances. A wide variety of factors can affect what makes a particular dress appropriate to the occasion. 

  • Formal ceremonies usually call for floor length gowns and long trains, while informal ceremonies (especially destination weddings) are a great place to wear a shorter more casual gown. 
  • The weather can play a big part in the type of dress that you choose. If you're getting married in the winter, you may not want to wear a dress made of light or thin fabric. In the middle of summer a heavy satin dress may not be a good idea! 
  • Most traditional ceremonies will call for a white gown, however, in recent years more women are choosing dresses that best complement their skin tones or colours including red, pink, blue or even black. Pick the colour that you like best and that suits you best. After all it’s your day and your choice! 


Decide your budget. When deciding on your budget, you don't need to set a very specific price at the beginning. Decide on a general price range such as $1000 - $1500 for example. Some experts suggest devoting 10% of the overall wedding budget to the bride's attire (the gown itself, as well as the veil, shoes, slip, jewellery etc).

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