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Shape Shifting: Your Wedding Dress Silhouette

One of the most frequently asked questions a bridal consultant is asked usually revolves around what silhouette looks best on a specific body type. While there are no hard and fast rules regarding what will highlight a bride’s personal attributes, there are some general guidelines that may help you through the process of finding that perfect dress when you start your gown search.

First thing is that you need a caring consultant, equipped with the desire and experience to helping you. You are unique! Our team of stylists care about the individuality of each and every bride and know that there are many factors to consider when purchasing the most important and meaningful garment of your life.

Petite Brides 

Petite sized brides tend to measure under 5’3 in height. They require a more proportional fit in clothing to accommodate their smaller frames. Sadly for petite brides, most manufacturers cut their gowns for women who are 5’8 and above. (The idea being that it’s easier to cut and hem a gown rather than try to add more to the hemline.) And, while many manufacturers offer a gown length measurement for petite brides, gown length services may come with additional charges attached. While a perfectly petite stature may require some consideration when choosing a gown, it doesn’t have to be an obstacle.

A particular consideration for the petite bride is silhouette choice. Ball gowns, drop-waisted, full skirts and mermaid gowns tend to use layers of material to achieve a voluminous look. The petite bride will want to be discerning when choosing one of these silhouettes since sometimes the bigger gowns with tulle, lace and crinoline underskirts may overwhelm a smaller frame.

The petite bride may want to consider a sheath, fit and flare or a modified mermaid. These gowns give the illusion of an elongated frame. Trying to avoid a gown with heavy hem lace or horsehair finish also goes a long way toward lengthening your appearance. These types of finishes on a gown tend to give a definitive end point to the gown, which draws the eye. Fit and flare or mermaid gowns can be worn with confidence by a petite bride as long as the volume of the skirt is held to a minimum. This bride may also want to consider an empire waist or v-neckline. Both these design elements further enhance the illusion of an elongated frame.

The Curvy Bride

For the longest time in the bridal industry, it seemed that curvy brides were relegated to search among the back racks of a salon looking for their perfect dress. Rarely were they able to try on samples that actually fit let alone be given any kind of color or style choice. Thankfully, those days have been thrown to the wayside along with the corset, white gloves and pill box hat. The bridal industry has not only taken notice of your glorious curves, but they are now catering specifically to your needs. As a consultant at Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo, I am always thrilled when I can just grab a dozen different gorgeous dresses from our gallery in all different silhouettes for my curvy bride to consider during her appointment.

Being a curvy bride can come with pitfalls much like their petite bride counterparts. Rather than being vertically challenged, curvy brides may be challenged with generous bust lines or rounded hips paired with smaller waist lines. Curvy brides navigate between wanting to perhaps slim down certain aspects of their silhouettes while enhancing others. This can be achieved without compromising on the beauty of a gown.

Generally, curvy brides will gravitate toward A-line gowns. The waist is well-defined and the overall hour glass silhouette complements the figure. While A-line gowns are beautiful and well suited to a curvier body type, there are many more choices available to this bride.

The Fit and Flare silhouette are fabulous for highlighting a curvy bride’s assets to the fullest! The body hugging nature of a fit and flare accentuates a smaller waistline while putting those curves on display. Modifying the skirt volume so that it doesn’t overwhelm your frame is key to this look.

A basque waistline (waistline drops well below the hip line) is also a marvelous choice for this bride. Once again, it defines the hourglass nature of the body. Usually a basque-wasited dress will be paired with a tulle or English net skirt to complete the silhouette. Also, never underestimate belt accessories as an addition to any bridal look. Belts and colored ribbon are always a great way to add a little sparkle or color to a gown but also act as a focal point to the bride’s smaller waist.

Gown types that may not be as figure-friendly to our curvy bride would be a sheath, mermaid or massive ball gown bottoms. The sheath and mermaid gowns can sometimes appear to be overly restrictive on the figure and accentuate a look that you’d prefer to avoid. Voluminous skirts, while thought to have a concealing effect several decades ago, actually may do the opposite to a curvy or fuller-figured bride.

Another consideration for our curvy bride when choosing a gown is to consider her bust proportions. The best gown will define the bust line and accommodate your bust size rather than make you look and feel uncovered. When your breasts are not properly supported in your gown, it throws off the silhouette of your gown.

With designers now intentionally designing gowns for the curvy girl rather than just making bigger sized versions of their basic line, they have tackled this problem by incorporating better foundation structure in their gowns. You may now see more corset boning in the gown to help support the bust line or possibly elastic bands sewn into the bodice to help provide support and stability where it’s most needed.

Specific necklines will also help those who may need a little extra support. A jewel, bateau (boat), Queen Anne or tank neckline will always provide more support and structure for those who have fuller bust lines and need more structure. V-necks are perfect (and very flattering!) way to keep everything in place. Strapless is still a beautiful and viable option as long as the bra cup within the dress is large enough to accommodate your breasts. Also, never be afraid to employ fashion tape to keep everything where it should be. It is a translucent adhesive tape designed to adhere your dress to your body.

The Long and Lean Bride

Much like her counterpart brides, the long and lean bride has some unique needs as well. Oftentimes these brides are well above the average 5’4 woman which means they may require extra length added to their dresses. While it is true that manufacturers cut a gown for a 5’8 tall woman, if that bride wishes to wear a heel at her wedding that will put her over the industry standard. Contrary to her curvy counterpart, the lean bride tends to be less endowed in the bust area, which may lead to less definition in her gown’s bodice. These statuesque brides may wish to create the illusion of more curves and a fuller bust line to their look. As with our other clients, we can address these concerns with specific gown design.

While it may be true that the long and lean bride can wear a larger variety of silhouettes, there are still some styles that should possibly be left out of the mix. A fit and flare or mermaid style are designed to highlight body contours which our long and lean brides may not possess in abundant measure. Also, while a sheath helps elongate the frame, that may not be the goal of our taller ladies. And, conversely of the petite bride, hem lace or horsehair finishes at the bottom of your gown can work in your favor.

An excellent silhouette to consider for those lean brides may be a full-on ball gown. Their overall height enhances the overall effect of a ball gown and also boosts the illusion of a fuller hip line. Many ball gowns are designed with strapless bodices or with spaghetti straps, which work well for those girls who don’t struggle for control over their bust lines. Natural waisted gowns with body contour embellishments such as curved vertical laces or beading will give the impression of a fuller figure.

Unlike their curvy counterparts, the long and lean bride doesn’t necessarily need to focus on foundational support for her bust. Rather, she needs to highlight and define her bust line. This can be easily accomplished with the use of cups sewn into the dress or body sculpting adhesive push up cups.

All things considered, your gown should be as unique as the love between you and your fiancé. The guidelines I’ve provided you with are just that….general. You will have so many beautiful gowns from which to choose. Your ultimate goal is to find that gown that compliments your personality, aesthetic and body type. It also needs to be comfortable and not restrictive to movement as your wedding day will be long.

There will also be varying opinions and consultation with your support squad, but in the end it truly only comes down to your thoughts and feelings about the dress. You and your soul mate will be taking that wedding album out every year on your anniversary, it is a day that will never fade from your consciousness. As a consultant, I have seen so many phenomenal gowns, but I never associate a right or wrong choice when I’m working with a bride. To me it’s like choosing a rose. The flower is inherently beautiful. You just need to find the one that best expresses your unique beauty.

Rain… On Your Wedding Day

Your wedding is coming and how many times a day are you checking that weather map for rain? Oh no, it looks like rain… on your wedding day. Did you know that rain is the number one fear of brides-to-be when planning a wedding.

Is rain really that terrible?

It certainly can be tricky to say the least if you have an entirely outdoor wedding planned, however there are arrangements that you and your venue can agree on in advance just in case!

We’ve had couples get married in blizzards, under threats of hurricane, through ferocious winds, torrential downpours, hail, and lightening. It happens, it’s weather, and there is no sense stressing over something over which you have zero control. You plan for it ahead of time, instead.

Indoor Ceremony Space

If your venue has indoor space, make sure it is large enough to accommodate all of your guests. Find out the details on room set up, views, aisle, and that there is room for the photographer(s) and videographer.  If you have decor such as an arbor, columns, flowers, lanterns, and the like, can they be incorporated into an indoor ceremony? Who will set up? If you know these details in advance it will take off the pressure.

No Indoor Space

If there is no indoor space, discuss options for inclement weather such as tenting (does it have sides to block out wind and rain?), portable heaters, a walkway that won’t involve guests walking through wet grass? Chances are good your venue has been through this before and has a great Plan B option for you.

Photos

Ask your photographer/videographer about his/her experience shooting in inclement weather. What is some of their advice on how to get the best photos? Have you seen some of the adorable bride/groom shots under pretty umbrellas and holding hands and cuddling in the rain? The softer lighting and mist can create incredibly emotional backdrops that photographers are unable to replicate in the sunshine. And, what if you get that rainbow?!

And when it comes to those umbrellas, make sure there are plenty of extras for your guests.

Cover Up & Rain Accessories

Not just your heads with an umbrella! Consider a wrap or pretty jacket to match your dress to keep you dry and warm, and don’t forget shoes! Pretty rain boots might be just the right accessory for you and your wedding party, or consider other options like cute sneakers with no-slip soles. Put some thought into it regarding matching your colors, perhaps customizing the umbrellas with their names.

Let It Go

If you are upset, acknowledge that and then let it go. Breathe and be present. This is the day you are marrying your best friend – for better or worse, through sunshine or rain – and when your day is over you will start your new married life after having had the time of your life. Now go, plan ahead, and get married!

Top Wedding Trends for 2019

While casual and rustic weddings were in last year, 2019 brings fresh ideas for couples getting married. Spring 2019 Bridal Fashion Week has come and gone, and these wedding trends will be all the rage this year.

Let It Shine

This year, it’s all about sparkles. Transform a nighttime wedding into an evening of glitz and glamour with a dress that shines. From sparkle-and-feather combinations to reflective confetti and over-the-top sequins, nearly every designer has gotten creative with this look. A woman holding her bridal bouquetBrides who opt for lots of glitter should keep jewelry and accessories low-key to avoid being mistaken for the disco ball.

Change Up the Dress

Go with a jumpsuit, pantsuit, or romper for a seriously chic look. Two-piece ensembles were all over the runway, given the bridal makeover with romantic lace, peplum waists, and intricate embellishments. Plus, they’re super flattering and comfortable! Brides who love the look but still want to rock a traditional wedding dress will find that jumpsuits make great wardrobe choices for the rehearsal dinner, reception, or bridal shower.

Rock the Plunging Neckline

Nearly any bride can make the plunging neckline work! Deep V-necks elongate the frame, making them perfect for petite brides or those looking for a slimming effect. Plunging necklines are sexy yet classy, even on ladies with larger busts (but fashion tape is a must). This trend saw double time on the runway, with many sparkly dresses and jumpsuits incorporating the deep V-neck look.

Create a Visual Journey for Your Guests

Take wedding guests on an incredible visual journey or treat them to an unexpected destination wedding with projection mapping technology. This new technology uses high-resolution video and images to transform an event space into a totally different environment. Projection mapping lets couples “change” their theme or location instantaneously with the push of a button. The options are nearly limitless.

See a New Perspective With Drone Photography

When it comes to wedding photography, drones are changing the game. Many brides and grooms are using them to obtain birds-eye-view photos and videos of their special day, capturing stunning aerial views of their ceremonies, receptions, and surrounding areas. A note of caution: drone photography should be left to a professional, not the groom’s amateur drone pilot brother, for the safety of all guests.

Start Wedding Dress Shopping Today

If you’re getting married next year, it’s time to start thinking about your dream dress now. Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo carries stunning wedding dresses, including the most fashion-forward and trendy styles for 2019. We’d love to help you pick out your dress and hear about your unique plans for your wedding. Call or text us today at 215-491-8500 to schedule an appointment.