DIY Bride #9: Bridal Attire

The first thing every newly engaged person does is go looking at the attire. You go to the specialty stores, go to the expos, and love everything that’s white and lacy. Then you try on your first one you cry, curse your love for cheesecake, and ask the heavens above how it’s possible for a white dress to make you look more white. It’s a tough experience especially if you go without a plan.

There’s a lot that goes into selecting the attire (centerpiece of the entire event, yeah, this one is important to get this one right), don’t be afraid; we’re going to get through it together. Lucky for you I happen to be brilliant at my job.

For our example here, we are going to be focusing on bridal gowns.


As someone who loves food a little more than I should, I am a firm believer in self-love. You have to really love YOU to be truly beautiful. An example of beauty in its truest form is when you see a picture of a little kid laughing. Not smiling, but honestly laughing. It’s that inhibited joy that shines through; that is REAL BEAUTY. They don’t give a shit about looks, other people’s opinions, or perceptions. They just feel joy.

I mention that first and foremost because things get out of hand real fast once we start looking at dresses; it’s easy to get caught up in the nonsense.


I know there are those people who have no problem finding a dress, right off the rack, that fits them like a glove. Those people are wonderful unicorns that I haven’t actually met in person. Every bride I have ever had the pleasure of knowing has ALWAYS had some kind of misgivings about picking her dress. That’s normal. There’s a lot of pressure to get the dress right. The truth of the matter is, if your dress doesn’t mesh with your personal style and your wedding environment, it’s going to look wrong no matter what.

There are a thousand references out there about what shape lady fits into what dress best. Everyone says a pear shaped lady should wear a A-line dress. But what if you’re having a very modern style wedding? That style dress and that style wedding could clash. Or if you’re having a rustic country type wedding but wear a full ballgown with extra pearls and things. The dress could make you look completely out of place.

There is no law that says you have to follow any guide you may have found on Pinterest that claims dresses of a certain type have to be worn by shapes of a certain type. 

With that in mind, those guides do have their place in your consideration. It’s a good place to start – by NO MEANS indicates you can’t wear exactly whatever the fuck you want – it’s just a good place to start. I have a friend who is an apple shape but this girl has the nicest legs I have ever seen. It comes down to personal honesty.

Be really – REALLY – honest with what you think are your finest physical attributes and choose a dress that focuses on the positives.

Like my friend with goddess legs, she had a dress that was long and flowy but was short in the front so it showed off her legs and her fabulous shoes. It was brilliant.

I want to really drive home the point that you’re not doing yourself any favors if you don’t ‘Do You.

One other point I want to get across is that the person you are marrying loves YOU. They don’t love your hair or your waistline, or even your little dimples that come out when you smile. They love YYOOUU. If you suddenly change your look completely for your wedding, it could backfire. This wonderful person you are marrying may hate all the pictures because it doesn’t reflect who you really are. That’s why it’s important to start thinking about your look at the very beginning.


There are several dress shapes that are to be considered and each have their benefit:

  1. Empire – think about an ancient Greek influence-type dress. This dress usually suits boy-shapes and pear shapes well.
  2. Mermaid – This one is just as it sounds. The bodice is fitted until just above the knee, then it flares out like a mermaid tail. A large upper body or an hourglass shape are a good fit for this type.
  3. Sheath – this dress is fitted throughout the whole dress. This is the most exclusive type, only fitting the hourglass type well. Every other shape seems to struggle with this dress type.
  4. Ball gown – This is a floor length dress that has a fitted bodice and then spurs out at the natural waistline. In contrast, this is the most inclusive dress, and really flatters everyone.
  5. A-Line – this dress has a defined high waist and then flares out (either a little or a lot) to create an ‘A’ shape. This is a good place to start for those shaped like  apples, pears, and boy-shapes.


Let me say again, these are starting points and in NO WAY means you can’t wear exactly what the hell you want. 

These are the basics. In addition to these, you have different lengths (like tea length) and lots of different necklines. I don’t what to alarm you, but then there are the sleeves to consider.


So many choices; TOO MANY CHOICES

It seems like a ton of information to have. I know. That’s why these guides exist, right? So, what do you do now? The only thing you can do: Try On Dresses. Seems simple enough, right? You can’t just try on every dress you see… I mean, you can, but you’re planning a wedding… you do not have that kind of time. I found an approach to help get you to the nitty gritty of starting to find your perfect dress.


I have a system for everything. First thing you do: Make a list of things you like about your appearance. I’m not a ‘physical attributes’ type of person myself, however your wedding pictures you’re going to look at the rest of your life. You don’t want to hate what you look at. If you like your arms and boobs, look at dresses that accentuate those features. I had another apple-shaped bride who had beautiful legs. An A-Line tea length dress was the answer.

I had a bride who was 6′ tall with broad shoulders and no hips… I know, I was jealous too… but we went with a sweetheart neckline on a ball gown with a petticoat. It was lovely!

Not just about shape. Me personally, I am see-through white – with tons of freckles – so for me, I chose an ivory colored dress instead of a pure white one which just washed my complexion right out.

I’ve never gone wrong with focusing on what you like as opposed to trying to hide what you don’t. There isn’t one person on the planet – male or female – who thinks they are perfect. It’s self-defeating to focus on the few flaws when there are so many great attributes!


The focal point of the wedding is the bridal gown. However, since the groom is not going to be naked – unless that’s what you want in front of your family and friends – he’s going to need something to wear too. Make sure that you put importance on what they wear too. Don’t let them feel left out or that their opinions don’t matter.


One thing you should be prepared for is that there are a precious few spouses out there who give a shit about the all details. It’s the job of the wedding planner – or you – to weed out all the non-options and bring the final decision information to their attention for collaboration. They want to be included but get overwhelmed easily and then discouraged. Lighten their load – and your stress – by eliminating the information that isn’t necessary for consideration.


It’s the bridal gown’s job to make you look your idea of beautiful – not the other way around. There are lots of bridal dress consultants who tuck and pull and twist you into what they think is beauty. They push what the latest styles are and what is trending. There are lots of beautiful dresses out there; there is a perfect dress for you. Find ideas of what you like, not what other people like and you will be stunning.


*This post was originally published 08/10/17*

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