What to Look For in a Wedding Dress

wedding dress

A bride’s wedding dress is one of the most important fashion decisions she will ever make. It will be worn for just a few hours and then, hopefully, preserved for generations to come in countless photographs. It needs to express her personality, fit her body type, compliment the aesthetic of her other wedding choices, be feminine without crossing into provocative, be bridal without being matronly, and be as extravagant or as practical as she wants.

The dress also has the unique responsibility of conveying a symbolically significant message about the relationship between a bride and her future husband. It marks the passage from the virginal springtime realm of girlhood into the fertile maturity of marriage, where she will produce children and carry out the duties of her role as wife and mother. Throughout history, brides have reflected this theme in their choice of dresses.

As with all other wedding attire, the gown reflects each era’s cultural and economic influences. When the world was at war, many brides opted for simple gowns made of cheaper fabrics rather than expensive couture designs. It was not until Queen Victoria’s influential white wedding dress in 1840 that brides became accustomed to the idea of wearing white. Prior to that, it was not unusual for a bride to wear red, pink, blue or even black while saying their vows.

Besides a bride’s personal style, a gown’s fabric is one of the most essential elements to consider. Different materials are designed to produce a certain look and feel, and they can change the way a dress hugs your figure, moves with you, or holds its shape. For example, a crinoline or petticoat can give a skirt a fuller, puffier appearance, while a sheer bodice can offer an unexpected, sexy lace-up effect.

Sleeves are also an important element of a wedding gown and can change the look of a strapless or strappy dress. A fuller, voluminous sleeve is ideal for a winter wedding, while a flutter sleeve can be a flattering option for summer. Sleeves can be worn on their own or layered with a cap or boleros.

A skirt’s opacity can be changed by adding layers of tulle, organza or chiffon. A sheer lining can add a subtle sheen to the surface of a dress, while an opaque lining is often used to create a fuller silhouette in ball gowns and A-line dresses.

As sustainable fashion and a desire to celebrate individuality have found their way to the altar, more and more brides are choosing to forgo traditional white for a gown that speaks to them as a woman and as a human being. For some, this means embracing a bright, floral-inspired print, while for others, it might mean opting for a rich jewel tone. Whatever color you choose to wear, it is most important that you are comfortable and happy with your choice because after all, it will be your special day!

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