BY MARTIE EMORY
As you fall in love with current wedding gown trends that continue to conjure all the “princess” feels, as well as appeal to your sassier side with bow trims and floral embellishments (even 3D flowers) and offer romantic options such as pale lavender and other pastels, remember the one true factor that leads to a beautiful wedding day look: A perfect fit. Enter your wedding gown journey with an open mind and a few words of wisdom to keep you on track!
- First things first! Before your first shopping trip, have a few honest moments with yourself to determine your body type: petite, plus size, hourglass, lean or athletic. Then get to know some basic gown styles: If you’re a petite bride, consider a sleek sheath style or universally flattering A-line style, or even an empire waist, which instantly lengthens the look of your legs. A V-neck will also lengthen your overall look or, if you dare, both a V-neck and a V-back! If you’re more on the curvy side, a Basque or drop-waist style will hug and enhance those curves, while a trumpet-style gown accentuates your figure, but is extremely easy to move in. Mermaid-style gowns are flattering to hour-glass shapes but don’t move around as freely.
- While you’re educating yourself on gown silhouettes, brush up on neckline styles: A sweetheart neckline, like the sheath, is flattering to all body types, while a halter-style neckline works well for fuller chested brides. You’ll be introduced to square necks, scoop necks and strapless styles (typically, strapless styles are most flattering with a straight-across line), and lovely off-the-shoulder necklines, which are perfect for showing off an amazing necklace!
- Time is of the essence! Purchase your gown nine to 12 months before your wedding date, and allow eight to 12 weeks for all alterations to be completed.
- Trust the talents of your expert seamstress, and remember her skills are well worth the cost! Creating a gown that’s a perfect fit is truly an art, and no bride fits perfectly into a standardized size chart.
- The goal of your first fitting is to be sure you’ve found the basic style that’s most flattering for your figure and that your dress is the right size. Be sure to bring along the exact shoes and undergarments you plan to wear on the big day – a slight change in heel height can throw off an entire look. Then, check all beading and embroidery on the gown – is everything well-stitched and secure? Do you notice any puckering in the fabric? Does your hemline lightly brush the tops of your shoes? Look for even those smallest details the first time around.
- Communicate with your seamstress about your wishes for the finished product – that includes a neckline or waist embellishment you’d like to see changed or updated. Hemming is pretty much a given, and adjustments to the bust line are also quite common. But, your one-on-one communication is crucial!
- By the second fitting, you should finalize your accessory choices and take a twirl or two around the room to make sure you can move easily in your dream gown! For your final appointment – and for gown pick-up day – bring along your maid-of-honor, so she can learn how to bustle your gown, if needed, and if any tiny buttons or other closures are particularly tedious, so she’ll be all set for her role on the big day.