Choosing Your Wedding Dress

Despite the many other elements that make up a wedding, few are more emblematic than the dress. A bride’s choice of what she wears on her big day is often seen as a reflection of her personality, values and relationship to the groom. It’s no wonder, then, that brides spend so much time and money on their dresses. But before you go shopping, it’s helpful to understand why bridal fashion has evolved through the ages, so you can choose the right style for your own special day.

Before the mid-19th century, brides wore whatever they wanted. While white became de rigueur by the end of that decade, it was only because brides had more money to spend on gowns than they did in the past. Before then, even the wealthiest and most royal women typically repurposed their wedding dresses and veils for other occasions, wearing their old Sunday best until it either faded or their styles moved beyond the ability of alterations to accommodate them.

When it comes to choosing your wedding dress, it’s important to start with what you already have in your closet that makes you feel great. This will help you determine what shape works best for your body, as well as give you a good idea of which style of dress to look for in a bridal boutique. Having this information will allow you to ask the boutique’s staff questions that will help guide your decision-making process, and it’ll also make it easier for the shop assistant to recommend dress shapes that are flattering for your figure.

The bodice is the upper layer of your dress, covering your shoulders and bust. The design of the bodice is one of the most important aspects of your dress, as it can dramatically alter how the rest of the gown looks. For example, a strapless neckline can be enhanced with a sheer lace-up corset back, while a sweetheart neckline can be made more dramatic with a scooped-out neckline.

Similarly, the waistline of your dress can dramatically change how the dress looks. A drop waist, which was popular in the 1920s, creates the illusion of a longer torso, while empire waists, which sit right under the bustline, are favored for their slimming effects. And some dress styles don’t have a waistline at all, including sheath and column gowns, which skim your body without a defined waistline.

Whether you’re choosing your own dress or buying one from a store, it’s also worth keeping in mind the environmental impact of your wedding attire. According to online resale retailer thredUP, 2,300 gallons of water are needed to make just one wedding gown. So, if you can save a few gallons of water while still looking beautiful and feeling confident, why not?

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