What Goes Into Your Wedding Dress?

When you walk into a bridal shop, the selection of gowns can feel overwhelming. Whether you have an idea of what you want or not, it’s a good idea to try on different styles so that you can find the dress that truly fits you best. You might be surprised to discover a style you’d never even considered before.

From the neckline to the hem, there’s a lot that goes into your wedding dress—but you might not know exactly what that means. Depending on the fabric, your body type and even your wedding venue, one dress can have a completely different look and feel than another. The dress’s design, fabrication and embellishments are what make it a unique piece of fashion. It’s also what makes it an integral part of your big day and a symbol of the love that brought you together.

While a traditional white gown is typically associated with marriage and virginity, it didn’t become the norm for brides until the late nineteenth century, when Queen Victoria wore her 1840s-style lace wedding dress at her coronation celebration. Since then, it’s been a popular choice for brides around the world. The classic, figure-hugging style can be seen on brides from Brisbane to Bangkok, Venice to Vladivostok.

The top layer of your wedding dress is called the bodice, which covers the bust and stomach. The design of the bodice creates a specific shape along your midriff and communicates your personal style. It can be simple, or it could feature intricate details like sheer lace-up corset backs. It can also be decorated with side cutouts or strapless lace ups that reveal your cleavage. The type of neckline you choose is just as important. Portrait, bateau, jewel and sweetheart necklines sit high on the chest to provide coverage for your collarbone and neckline, while off-the-shoulder and halter necklines show more skin (including cleavage) and offer a romantic vibe.

Unlike the casual dresses you might wear in your everyday life, most wedding dresses have a built-in slip called a lining that prevents your skin from showing through to the skirt. The lining is usually a shade of nude or white and can be decorated with beading, illusion lace or other ornamentations.

Wedding dresses are made to order based on the exact measurements of the soon-to-be-wed, which is why they’re often more expensive than standard formal wear. That extra cost comes from the time-consuming construction, far-off fabric sourcing and detailed craftsmanship. Plus, many designers don’t even begin creating the patterns for a dress until a to-be-wed officially places their order.

It’s important to keep in mind that wedding dresses are typically worn in white, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that a bride will wear it on her big day. In fact, many brides opt for non-white gowns for a variety of reasons. Maybe they want to match their bridesmaids’ outfits, their complexion or simply because they prefer a different color. Whatever the reason, choosing a different hue is entirely up to the bride and her personal style.

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