The wedding gown is an article of clothing most woman have dreamed about since they were little girls. Looking through magazines, attending Bridal Fantasy and other bridal shows, and window shopping can help you become familiar with the latest styles and fabrics.

More than 90% of the time, your dream dress is the one you’ll purchase because when you finally put it on it will make you smile, confirming that it truly is the one. To protect yourself, and your dream, it is wise to shop with reputable businesses.

We all have heard horror stories of brides that go to pick up their dress, days before the wedding, only to find it missing, or that it has suddenly become a size 4 when it was originally a size 8. If you have friends who have recently married, check with them to see if they were happy with the service they received at the businesses they chose. If so, you’ve got a place to start.

There has been a distinct shift in wedding gown styles. When selecting a gown, the individuality and uniqueness of each bride is now much more important than it used to be.

The runways are showcasing a trend toward simple and more elegant styles. Bridal shops are carrying sophisticated, narrower silhouettes, and off-shoulder dresses that reflect a more romantic style. There is a move toward intricate trims and detailing to make each gown unique.

There are many different dress styles and necklines to choose from. A halter neckline comes up from the bust and goes around the neck while a strapless neckline goes across the bust. A jewel neckline sits high on the collarbone and usually goes straight across. V-neck and scoop necklines are great for girls with a larger bust, while the sweetheart adds a little more of a “princess” feel to your bridal gown.

When shopping for your wedding gown, make sure to utilize the knowledge of the professional in the bridal shop you select. They can advise you on what style would best suit your body type and what fabrics would go well with your wedding theme.

Remember, it is easier to take a dress in than let it out, so keep that in mind when ordering your gown.

Try to take along the undergarments and shoes you plan on wearing on your wedding day. Even if it isn’t exact, you will get a better idea of the fit of your dress and if it will need to be hemmed.

With so many bridal shops out there, it’s difficult to know where to start, but shopping for a dress does not have to be strenuous! You just need to determine what is important to you, whether it be cost, selection, or exclusivity. Most bridal shops will specialize in different areas.

Depending on the dress you have in mind, you can begin your search at a custom design shop, a bridal boutique, or a consignment shop.

We’ve compiled a list of the top styles in bridal gowns. This should give you an idea of what style will suit your body frame.


Fitted bodice with a skirt that gently flares to medium fullness at the hemline, resembling the letter A. Flattering on most body types and good for disguising fuller figures.


Fitted bodice that hugs tightly under the bust line and flares out. Flattering on most body types due tothe style creating an illusion of length and camouflages fuller figures.


Fitted bodice with a straight skirt from the hipline down. Flattering on well-toned brides as it accentuates body curves.


Fitted bodice and hip with a skirt that dramatically flares below the knee. Flattering on hour-glass body shapes.


Fitted bodice with a skirt that flares to maximum or exaggerated fullness at the hemline. Flattering on average height to tall women, as it is a very forgiving style, hiding everything from the mid-section down.


Jewelry should complement rather than compete with the wedding gown. Keep in mind the general tone and style of the wedding as well as the gown neckline, silhouette, and fabric. Heirloom pieces are excellent for weddings.

Gloves: Choose a style that complements your gown; long gloves are excellent for a gown with little or no sleeves, short gloves go with short sleeves, and elbow length gloves look great with a sleeveless gown or one with elbow length sleeves.

Lingerie: Should be comfortable and discreetly hidden. Consider the style of your dress and purchase your lingerie accordingly. A strapless gown should be fitted with a strapless bra, etc. Many brides also purchase garters, garter belts and stockings to complete the entire ensemble. Brides should also purchase special nighties or teddies for the wedding night and honeymoon

Shoes: Brides beware! This one item can make or break your wedding day comfort. The demands of a hectic and long wedding day, plus a night on the dance floor means you must place importance on your footwear. You need to find something beautiful and functional. Break your shoes in before the wedding by wearing them around the house.

Makeup & Hair: Should be done professionally or by a talented friend or family member. A professional makeup application can make a significant difference in the way the bride looks and how the wedding photographs turn out. Both hair and makeup should be rehearsed a couple of weeks before the wedding to avoid disaster.

Headpiece/Veil: Your headpiece and your veil should complement the overall style of your gown. Another thing to consider is your wedding day hairstyle. It’s a good idea to do a rehearsal veil fitting with your hair styled as you want it to be on your wedding day. This allows you to make sure you have the look you want.

Wedding Resource Material