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Choosing the Fabric for your Wedding Dress
This is probably the first decision, and one of the most important decisions, when planning your perfect wedding. Your choice of wedding dress will help set the theme for your wedding but remember to consider the season of when your wedding will take place; that you will be wearing the dress for hours; that you may have to go up and down stairs; you will be sat down for a long period and you will end the day dancing in it! So think of comfort and not just looks!
The same style of dress will look and feel different depending upon the fabric as some fabrics will absorb light; some will reflect light; some fabrics will cling to the body whilst others will stand away; some will be light and perfect for a summer wedding with other fabrics being heavy and warm for a winter wedding.
Probably the most cherished fabric for a wedding dress is silk; smooth, elegant and with shine, silk is a soft and natural fibre but also one of the more expensive. Silk threads can also be woven into many other fabrics to create satin, duchesse satin, charmeuse, chiffon, shatung and organza.
A natural fibre that exudes an innate quality of refinement is undoubtedly the most sought after and cherished wedding dress material, noted for its resiliency, elasticity, and strength.
Satin is a very common fabric for wedding dresses and is a densely woven silk with a dramatic glossy sheen on one side.
More affordable than pure silk satin, duchesse satin is a natural, lightweight blend of silk and rayon. Duchesse Satin has medium weight and would be suitable for any season.
Chiffon is soft with a delicate transparent look and can be made from silk (more expensive) or rayon or nylon (more affordable). Chiffon is often layered and popular for sleeves, overskirts and wraps.
Taffeta is a crisp, smooth and light-weave fabric with a slight rib. Taffeta is made from silk or synthetic fibres.
Tulle is a fine mesh netting with a hexagonal pattern, machine made from cotton, silk of nylon fibres. Very light, Tulle is often used for skirts and veils and great in any season.
Organza has a woven like chiffon but crisper made from Nylon, rayon or silk. Organza is similar to tulle, but less coarse and more flowing.
Velvet is a very soft but thick and heavy fabric with a felted face and plain underside. Perfect for winter this fabric is likely to be too warm for a summer season wedding.
By choosing designs that flatter their curves and hide their least-favourite bits, larger brides can look breathtaking. As with all shapes and sizes, there is no substitute for trying on many different styles of dress to see which works best for you. Simple designs are usually best, and needn’t be boring! Sheer fabrics can be a pretty way to provide extra coverage of your arms or upper body without adding bulk. They can be used as part of the dress itself or to make a separate shawl or beautiful ‘coat’. Avoid NOTHING, unless you’ve tried it on and are certain it’s not for you!!
Larger-sized brides will each have their own body shape, so it’s worth trying a range of different-style dresses before ruling anything out.
Plus Size Shorter Brides - A petite bride should steer carefully through the sea of over-the-top bridal designs that threaten to overwhelm her small frame. A tea-length wedding dress – or knee-length wedding dress – can look stunning on a shorter bride and is a good way to avoid looking as if you are swamped by a giant meringue. An empire-line wedding dress – a style with a seam under the bust line – is a romantic, flowing choice that can help even out proportions and give the illusion of height. Avoid slim, straight styles, and overly full or elaborate skirts.
Plus Size Hourglass Figure - This body shape is characterised by a well-defined waistline, often accompanied by a full bust and hips, which are in proportion to each other. Think Marilyn Monroe and you’ll get the idea. A strapless wedding dress can look fantastic on a shapely figure. Just make sure your bust has the necessary support! A low-cut neckline is flattering to a full bust – as long as it’s within the bounds of decency, of course! Off-the-shoulder styles fall into the right category, and are well worth a try. Avoid gathered or pleated skirts, which can add bulk around the hips. Bias-cut or otherwise clingy designs should also be approached with caution as they accentuate the parts you might prefer to skim over. High necklines can be unflattering to larger busts. And to make the most of your curves, go for a one-piece dress as opposed to a two-piece.
Plus Size Pear-Shaped Figure - The combination of narrow shoulders and broad hips can be cleverly balanced out with the right choice of dress. A two-piece wedding dress can be a winner when trying to balance the look of a pear-shaped figure. A princess-line wedding dress or skirt is a flattering option. It’s similar to an A-line design (also flattering to most figures) but has no seam at the waist, so avoids drawing attention where it’s not wanted! A detailed bodice can draw attention away from broader hips. Combine it with a simple A-line or princess-line skirt for best results.
Avoid straight or bias-cut designs, or styles that are gathered at the waist or on the hips. Halterneck designs are also unflattering to pear-shaped figures.
Plus Size Boyish Figure - It’s more straightforward than you might think to add shape to a straight-up-and-down figure. A full-skirted wedding dress can give the illusion of a well-defined waist, but beware: it can also make your bust look smaller.
A crumb-catcher neckline is a simple layered effect that adds interest at the bustline – a good way to add definition if you’re small up top. A two-piece ensemble (corset and skirt) can be more flattering than a one-piece dress when it comes to breaking up the straight lines of a boyish figure. Avoid very straight or ‘column’ styles.
Various Dress Cuts
A-line - An A-line wedding dress is one of the most popular shapes, flattering most figures and giving a neat, up-to-the-minute look. When the skirt is kept slim, an A-line wedding dress can highlight the top half of your body and detract from the lower half. It hugs the waist, so it creates a slimmer waistline and flatters the bust. If you have wider hips, the A-Line will cover them up effectively and if you have narrower hips the cut of the skirt will give you some shape.
What To Avoid - The tighter bodice will tend to draw attention to a smaller bust so it will be more flattering if you add a little padding to balance the look. This can be with secretive padding added to the dress or a good bra. A heavy bust will need some structure - often this support is already built in to the bodice, but if not then boned corsetry is a must.
Full skirt or Ballerina - This is the classic ‘fairytale bride’ look, giving a traditionally romantic silhouette but one that does not suit every bride. If you have a slim-hipped figure and a full bust, the Full Skirt shape will balance top and bottom perfectly, giving you that "fairytale bride" look.
What To Avoid - Avoid the Full Skirt if you are not full busted, as it will make your bust look smaller. If you are petite, avoid this option because you will disappear into the dress! If you have wide hips, avoid the Full Skirt because it will over emphasize them.
Empire Line - With its seam just under the bustline and a long, straight-ish skirt, the empire line is straight out of a Jane Austen novel. The fact that the skirt starts so much higher than waist level creates an illusion of height, which makes it an ideal cut for smaller brides.
What To Avoid - The long line makes tall brides look taller. Avoid it also if you have a heavy bust line because it will make it appear bigger.
Spaghetti Straps - Spaghetti straps create a frame for a pretty neck and minimise big shoulders. If you are heavy busted then opt for a thicker strap as thin ones can create an unsightly red mark. These have a young and modern look and are very attractive. Use a strapless bra with spaghetti straps so that there are no distractions.
What To Avoid - Keep angular shoulders or large arms covered up. Spaghetti straps also emphasize the neck, so be sure it looks good if you choose them. You can also use a necklace effectively to compliment the straps.
Strapless Neckline - This is a particularly elegant look if you have a long neck and good shoulders. A strapless dress is a fine opportunity for beautiful jewellery. Strapless looks good with a medium bust.
What To Avoid - Don't leave everything uncovered unless it looks great - there are plenty of other styles to hide shorter necks, square shoulders or full arms.
Wedding Dress Styles
There are so many styles to choose from and we know you may have set your heart on one particular style but…take your time. Make sure as you look through our choice of wedding dresses that the style you have chosen will suit you and do not necessarily discount other styles. Have a good look through, ask your best friend, and choose with your heart and your head!