What kind of wedding dress should I have is a question that every bride-to-be ponders as they begin their dress search. Sometimes people even wonder about it long before they’re even engaged! It’s fun to daydream about the picture-perfect look you might have on your special day.
When it comes right down to it, the kind of wedding dress you should have is whichever one makes you feel happy, comfortable, and confident as you get ready to take your first steps into married life. Wondering how you go about figuring that out? You’re not alone! Many brides just keep trying on style after style while hoping to fall in love with one along the way, but it is possible to narrow down your options before you dive into the shopping frenzy.
In this article, Avery Austin is here to guide you through everything you need to know about choosing your wedding dress. From styles and dress features to body type, theme, and budget, this resource is a great way to get started with your wedding dress shopping! Of course, if you’d prefer some one-on-one guidance tailored just for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to an Avery Austin bridal expert. No need to go through this process alone! If you prefer to do a little of your own research first though, read on to explore the tips and advice below.
How to Choose a Wedding Dress by Style
There are so many different wedding dress styles out there these days that brides can easily get overwhelmed throughout the process. With so many varying silhouettes, necklines, fabrics, and features, how can you determine which is right for you? To start, it’s worth learning a little bit more about what’s out there. Once you know what kinds of wedding dress styles you can choose from, it’s easier to decide which ones are a hard no, a maybe, or a heck yeah! Then you can focus on the “maybe” or “heck yeah” possibilities when you go to try on wedding dresses. Here are a few guides to popular styles to check out if you need some additional information about dress silhouettes, necklines, fabrics, and features.
- Wedding Dress Styles by Silhouettes: In this guide, you can learn all about some of the most popular bridal gown silhouettes, like a-line, ball gown, mermaid, and sheath, as well as common wedding dress lengths.
- A Guide to Different Wedding Dress Necklines: Here you’ll find information about the most common wedding dress necklines, how they flatter, and how to choose between them to find a style that suits you.
- Wedding Dress Fabric Guide: From lace and satin to tulle and chiffon, learn all you need to know about the weight, texture, and drape of each beautiful bridal fabric.
- A Guide to Wedding Dress Sleeve Types: Brush up on the common sleeve lengths, styles, and tips for choosing your favorites in this guide.
- A Guide to Wedding Dress Strap Styles: Explore the different types of wedding dress strap styles and how to choose the type that’s right for you.
- Wedding Dress Train Length Guide: Top 7 Styles: If you’re considering a wedding dress with a train, this guide can help you explore the different lengths and how to pick a favorite that suits both you and your celebration.
Knowing the available styles is the first step in figuring out what kind of wedding dress you should have. Now it’s time to consider how to choose a wedding dress for your body type, as each style, fabric, and feature will look different on each bride.
How to Choose a Wedding Dress for Your Body Type
When it comes to finding a dress that flatters your figure, it's important to know your body type. Are you petite? Curvy? Tall? Broad-shouldered? Or perhaps you’re one of the popular fruit or shape body types (apple/oval, pear/triangle, banana/rectangle)? Most likely, you’re a beautiful and unique combination of these body types! There are many different types of bodies out there, and each one looks and feels best in certain types of dresses depending on how they want to highlight their figures. For example, a petite bride who wants to appear taller will want to avoid ball gowns, but a petite bride who wants to emphasize her short frame might love the way she looks in a ball gown! To that end, Avery Austin’s got a few suggestions for the wedding dress styles that can celebrate each body type in different ways.
If you’re Petite…
…and want to look taller, go for deep necklines (plunging for v-neck) and styles with a drop waistline, like trumpet or mermaid dresses. Short wedding dresses are also great for highlighting your legs, which gives the impression of length.
…and want to celebrate your height, look for silhouettes that are universally flattering, but with lightweight fabrics that won’t overwhelm you. For example, chiffon a-line wedding dresses are a great way to go, which a ball gown with multiple layers of tulle could easily overpower your small frame.
If you’re Curvy (Hourglass)…
…and want to flaunt your curves, go for fitted bridal styles and fabrics that cling. Think mermaid or fit-and-flare wedding dresses in crepe or stretch satin.
…and want to deemphasize your curves, consider a classic a-line style that softens the curves at your hips and a universally flattering scoop or straight neckline, or even a cowl neckline that visually minimizes the bustline.
If you’re the Apple Shape (Oval)...
…and you want draw eyes up to your bust, try a-line wedding dresses with empire waistlines in soft flowing fabrics like chiffon. Add in a sweetheart or v-neckline that flatters the curves of your bustline or bodice embellishments like lace or beadwork, and you’ve got a style that visually focuses upward and deemphasizes the fuller torso area.
…and you want to draw eyes out to your arms, find wedding dresses with cap sleeves, off-the-shoulder designs, or sleeves with delicate ruching or ruffles.
…and you want to draw eyes down to your legs, look for dress styles with slits or shorter skirts (like high-low, tea-length, or knee-length dresses).
If you’re the Banana Shape (Rectangle)...
…and you want to add definition to your bust, opt for necklines that visually create curves, like the sweetheart or v-neckline. Extra embellishments along the neckline or bodice help too!
…and you want to highlight your straight shape, sheath wedding dresses will softly skim your figure.
…and you want to add definition to your hips, go for princess style dresses that add a little extra volume around the hips, like ball-gown wedding dresses.
If you’re the Pear Shape (Triangle)...
…and want to highlight your curvy hips, look for wedding dress styles that are fitted through the hips, like trumpet or mermaid gowns, or fit-and-flare styles with a drop waistline.
…and want to balance out your curvy hips, check out wedding dresses with sleeves or v-necklines to visually draw eyes up and away from your hips.
If you’re Broad Shouldered (Inverted Triangle)...
…and want to show off your shoulders, consider spaghetti or wide straps, but try to avoid strapless or off-the-shoulder styles that may visually make you too top heavy.
…and want to balance out the broadness, shop for sleeved styles and v-neck gowns. Wedding dresses with beautiful embellishments, like lace or appliques, can also draw the eyes down and away from your shoulders to give you a well-proportioned look.
If you’re Tall…
…and want to appear shorter, go for wedding dress styles with dropped waistlines or sleeveless, high-neck, and strapless styles that draw the eyes toward your upper body.
…and want to celebrate your height, sheath or mermaid wedding gowns can beautifully emphasize your natural shape and height.
Feeling like you might fit into a few of the body types above? Then it might be worth trying on a few of the wedding dress style suggestions from each category that applies to you so that you can get a better idea of which ones make you look and feel your best.
How to Choose a Wedding Dress by Budget
Once you’ve got a pretty good idea of the types of wedding dresses you think will flatter you, it’s a good idea to consider your budget before you jump right into shopping. Wedding dresses can range in price from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand, so you’ll want to set a budget! Brainstorm all of the necessary expenses for your wedding, then include any contributions from family or friends (Will bridesmaids be buying their own dresses? Is a loved one buying you your wedding dress or contributing an amount to the purchase?). After you have a solid idea of how much money you can spend on your wedding dress (with or without help), then you can set your wedding dress budget limit and stick to it!
Of course, if you end up spending less on your wedding dress, then you’ll have more funds to splurge on another part of your wedding, spend on your honeymoon, or set aside for future couple expenses (like a new house). This is why so many brides want to find an affordable, high-quality wedding dress. If that’s you, be sure to check out some tips and tricks from Avery Austin on how to find an affordable wedding dress without compromising on quality! Or you can get right to shopping at Avery Austin where you know you can get bridal gowns of the same quality you'd get in a salon but without the hefty price tag. You can even narrow your search by your budget so you’re not even tempted by more expensive styles. Enjoy budget-friendly shopping with ease when you check out Avery Austin’s wedding dresses under $1000, wedding dresses under $700, or wedding dresses under $500!
With your budget and favorite flattering styles in mind, you’re all set to choose your wedding dress! Unless you’ve got a special wedding theme in mind. In that case, you might want to consider some wedding dress styles that suit your bridal theme too.
How to Choose a Wedding Dress by Theme
Another factor to consider when choosing your wedding dress is the theme of your wedding. If there are certain elements that are important to you for the venue and decor, you might want to also find a wedding dress that fits right in with them too. Here are a few common wedding themes and how to choose a wedding dress to match.
- Modern Wedding Theme: A modern bridal theme is all about minimalist, sleek, and simple designs that keep the focus on YOU, the bride! You’ll likely want to choose a wedding dress with minimal embellishments and smooth fabrics like satin or mikado to keep you as the real star of the show. Shop Avery Austin’s modern wedding dresses here.
- Romantic Wedding Theme: A romantic bridal theme can be all about creating a romantic atmosphere, or it can be focused on bringing a dream to life (like princess-worthy fairy-tale weddings). Choose a wedding dress with lace that’s perfect for a candlelit, intimate gathering or a beautiful ball gown fit for royalty. Shop Avery Austin’s romantic wedding dresses here.
- Beach or Destination Wedding Theme: If you’re traveling to a tropical beach or celebrating at a local seaside venue, you’ll want to choose a wedding dress that’s light and airy so it won't weigh you down in the sand. Flowing sheath styles, short wedding dresses, and flowy chiffon gowns are great options. Shop Avery Austin’s destination or beach wedding dresses here.
- Rustic Wedding Theme: A rustic bridal theme is all about keeping it natural and laidback. That could mean you want to go for a bohemian vibe with lots of beautiful lace and draped sleeves or a country-style vibe with smooth satin, layered skirts, and a kicking pair of cowgirl boots! Shop Avery Austin’s rustic wedding dresses here.
- Sexy Wedding Theme: If you know your celebration is going to be all about luxurious, feminine, and sultry details, then you’ll definitely want to choose a sexy wedding dress to match. Curve-hugging silhouettes, plunging necklines, side slits, and open-back designs are just a few of the options to consider for a sexy style. Shop Avery Austin’s sexy wedding dresses here.
Summary: How Do You Know Which Wedding Dress is Right for You?
You’ll know which wedding dress is right for you the moment you’ve tried it on. You’ll love the way it looks on you, how it feels to move in it, and the way it makes you feel when you wear it. Thanks to the details in this guide, you can shop more efficiently and (hopefully) find that dream dress that’s just right for you a whole lot faster. Simply use all of the tips above for narrowing down your wedding dress options by style, body type, budget, and theme.
Need a little help applying all of that new bridal knowledge? A bridal expert at Avery Austin is happy to be your sounding board and walk you through the process! Simply answer a few questions about your body type, wedding theme, and budget, then get feedback to guide you to the perfect dress for your big day. You can even skip traveling from store to store in search of your dream wedding dress! Talk with the bridal expert (or check out the details online) about Avery Austin’s Try at Home Program. It will start with building a try-at-home box with various samples that will be good candidates based on your conversation. For just $15 a dress, you can try on wedding dresses at home. Sample up to three gowns at once, all from the comfort and convenience of your own home! Just invite the bridal squad over and have someone bring the champagne.
Whether you go about choosing your wedding dress online or in a salon, here are a few more dress shopping tips to help you as you try to figure out which wedding dress is right for you.
- Set Your Expectations: It's unlikely that the very first dress you try on will be “the one” (though if that happens for you, yay!). In fact, you may try on a number of wedding dresses before you find the wedding dress that’s right for you. Try not to get frustrated if it takes you a while to uncover the perfect pick for your big day. After all, you can try on wedding dresses without buying, so feel free to try on as many as you'd like! Enjoy the process and don’t pressure yourself.
- Be Cautious About Trends: Yes, it's tempting to want the latest and greatest in wedding fashion. But many brides regret it later on when they go with something that's trendy but not timeless. A good rule of thumb is to think about whether or not you'll still love your dress in ten years' time when looking back at photos or videos of the event. If the answer is yes, then go for it!
- Keep Comfort in Mind: You'll be wearing your wedding dress all day, so make sure you choose a style that's comfortable for the long haul. Remember that it’s more than just a walk down the aisle. There are lots of photos, mingling among guests, and dancing the night away! The best way to gauge comfort levels is to try on different dresses and really move in them. Strike a few dance poses, walk around, and have a seat. Consider how each dress feels as you try those movements, then decide if you’ll still be comfortable by the end of the day.
As you begin your wedding dress shopping adventure, equipped with all the knowledge you need to choose a wedding dress that’s right for you, remember to have fun! Enjoy the laughs when you try styles that are way outside of your comfort zone, cherish the excitement as you get down to your favorites, and relish the moment when you’ve chosen your dream dress. The entire experience of deciding what kind of wedding dress you should have is full of memory-making moments that you’ll treasure in the years to come.