Buying your wedding dress can be a daunting experience at the best of times; after all, it's not something you do everyday. Sometimes the sheer choice and number of styles can be something of a disadvantage, particularly if you are not entirely sure what you want?
Although it sometimes seems that there are thousands of individual dress styles and shapes there are, in fact, just five basic dress shapes which are then adapted and fashioned into unique designs. Knowing about these basic styles, and which will suit you best, will put you at a great advantage when searching for the perfect wedding gown.
As the name suggests, this dress shape is based upon the letter 'A' shape, falling from the shoulders and becoming gradually wider towards the hem. This shape of dress reduces the effect of body curves and will also make a petite bride appear taller.An A line dress will also give an illusion of a fuller figure for tall thin types. Ideal body shape: All
If you are blessed with a slender shape the Column dress shape will flatter your figure and accentuate your curves. Perhaps the most versatile of styles, the column dress comes in a variety of strapless and backless combination's.
Ideal body shape: Petite, Slender, Athletic
The classic Empire dress is cut with a high waist band and has a characteristic flowing line, crating an illusion of length and flowing over curves rather than highlighting them. Ideal for petite brides, the high waist can help give you a boost in other areas too! Ideal body shape: Petite, Curvy
Similar in shape to the classic A-line but constructed with vertical panels which give an effect of a contoured shape.Perfect if you have a slim waist and want to add an appearance of a shapely figure. Ideal body shape: Petite, Small waist
The classic 'fairytale' dress shape with a nipped in waist and flared skirt giving an hourglass figure.
Ideal body shape: All
Where to Buy your Wedding Dress
Once you have an idea of the basic style of dress and look you want to achieve you'll need to start thinking about your options as to where to buy your dress?
This can be an entirely personal matter; for some brides the cost will be the most important factor, while for others, the opportunity to try a number of styles and receive the best advice will be more important.
Buying from the internet will often be the least expensive and most convenient option and buying from a specialist bridal shop is likely to be the most expensive; although advice and alterations may be included into the deal, making this a more attractive choice for many?
How Far in Advance to Buy Your Dress
Ideally you should buy your dress well in advance of the wedding day which will give you the necessary time to explore the options and ensure that everything will be right on the day. However, it's a good idea to wait as long as possible before having any final fittings as your body shape will undoubtedly fluctuate as the big day approaches.
If buying your dress from a traditional store then you need to discuss the storage arrangements and particularly what would happen in the event of an accident or the shop going out of business?
If you are buying on the internet and storing the dress at home then make sure it is well protected and ensure that your household insurance is sufficient to cover any mishaps.
Your Dress on the Day
Obviously you'll be ultra-careful to look after your dress on your wedding day but accidents do happen. Charge your chief bridesmaid with dress-care duties by ensuring she has a supply of thread close to hand and, should a spillage occur, to limit the damage by dabbing with absorbent towels. If the worst does occur then mitigate the damages as best you can and seek professional help afterward - don't be tempted to try tricks like treating red wine stains with white wine - it doesn't work and will do more damage than good. There are few disasters which can't be fixed later on, so don't panic.
What to do with your dress when the Wedding Day is Over
The big day has been and gone, now what do you do with the dress? Some brides will prefer to keep their dress as a reminder of the big day while others may want to let someone else have the opportunity of wearing it.
There are many very good services on the internet where you can advertise your dress for sale or alternatively, why not donate it to a good charity. Some major charity stores have their own bridal departments and will put the funds raised to a very good cause.
Whichever option you choose, make sure that you have plenty of photos taken of you and your dress. Even if the dress is no longer in your possession it's always good to look back to your happiest day and you really can't have too many photos of the bride in her dress.
Have a great wedding!