Finding the right style gown to complement your body type is part of the experience of creating that magical day - your wedding day! You want everything to be perfect - from the fashion ensemble of the bridal party to the venue, to the ceremony and the reception. Here are some tips for choosing the right style based on your particular body type.

Full Figured Women
•A-line style is best because it lengthens the whole body without drawing attention to the waistline.
•Empire waist is another good choice because it is narrowest below the bust and conceals the waist and hips.
•Many plus size girls tend to purchase gowns that cover skin; however, skin is sexy and showing arms or neckline can often make one appear smaller.
•Deep V and scoop necklines flatter curvy figures and always look best on full figured women.

Petite Women
•A-line style is flattering because it lengthens the whole body
•Petite women should avoid sheaths because they seem to shorten a small body even more.
•Steer clear of very full skirts because they make petite women look bottom heavy.
•A cap-style gown works well because it gives the feeling of a strapless and serves a practical purpose of keeping the gown in place.

Large-Busted Women
•Off the shoulder gowns look wonderful on full busted women because it draws our attention upward, emphasizes the shoulders and minimizes the chest.
•Keep your skirt narrow; wearing a full skirt makes you look large on top and bottom.

Bottom Heavy Women
•Women who are large through the hips and buttocks should look for a wedding dress that focuses on their upper body.
•Women who are large through the hips and buttocks can wear well gowns with full skirts.
•Showing your arms, back, and bustline work well for you.
•A corset style bodice with lacing will highlight your upper body and draw attention away from your hips.
•Avoid pleated or gathered fabric around the waist
•An A-line skirt always works best


1)Set a price limit on how much you are willing to spend
Have a price in mind because bridal gowns cost from a few hundred to several thousands of dollars. When talking with the sales attendant they will try to upsell to make more money; so often, it is a good idea to let them know you are willing to spend a certain amount. You should fib and tell them at least 10% percent less than what you really wish to spend.

2)Know your figure shape
When looking through bridal magazines, remember that the models are usually super thin and make all the wedding gowns look beautiful. You need to focus on those styles that flatter your figure type.

3)Ask for bridal shop recommendations
Talk with everyone you know to see what their experience has been in dealing with bridal shops in your area. Remember, customer service is just as important as choosing the right gown.

4)Shop during the week
Weekends are when brides to be are out in full force shopping for their desired gown. Shop during the week so that you get the sales attendant’s undivided attention.

5)Fib about your wedding date
Fib about your actual wedding date by pushing the date forward by about four weeks. In many instances, brides have become near tears because their gown has not arrived timely and they are calling it very close when having to follow up with alterations. You do not want to be a wreck over “will my gown arrive in time or won’t it?”

6)Bring a buddy with you
Having a friend or family member with you helps you to keep cool and on track. You are excited and nervous and having a second opinion will help you to choose the right gown and not be coerced into buying something that you may regret later.

7)Take your time when choosing your wedding gown
Don’t allow yourself to be coerced into buying the first bridal gown you see. Take your time to view several dresses, and visit several bridal shops. You have to be happy with the gown and the customer service. Take some notes; draw some sketches; narrow down your choices to the top three. Then go back after a few days and re-try those gowns on before you make a final decision.

8)Ask a lot of questions of the sales attendant
There are many hidden fees and policies that you may not be aware of when purchasing a bridal gown. Here are some of the more important points you should ask about:
•Who is the manufacturer of the dress?
•How long will it take to get the dress in?
•What kind of payment policies does the shop have?
•How much of a deposit is required? Can you pay by credit card?
•What is the store's refund and cancellation policy? (get it in writing!)
•What are the costs of alterations? (get a written estimate)
•Are there shipping fees? Size fees for extra large sizes or petites?
•Are their rush fees? (if you have to have your gown sooner)

9)Bring a vinyl measure tape with you
Make sure the shop takes your measurements with a vinyl tape measure, not cloth. The cloth tape measures get stretched and will give inaccurate measurements (larger than expected). This, not surprisingly, will result in "required alterations" when the bridal gown wedding dress arrives. Bring your own vinyl tape with you, so that if the store doesn't have one, you can provide your own and get an accurate measurement done. Make sure they measure your bust, waist, hips and from the hollow of your throat to hemline (for length).

10)Don’t base your choice on your dress size
You may be a size 8, but manufacturer sizes vary widely when it comes to wedding dresses. A size 8 from one manufacturer may be a size 12 with another. Ask the clerk to see the listed manufacturer's dress size chart when choosing a gown, so you have a better idea on what size you'll need, once you're measurements are taken.

11)Don’t put your bridal gown on a layaway plan
While you're busy paying down your wedding gown (that you don't have yet), the manufacturer may discontinue the line or go out of business. Now you're left with no wedding dress (and often no refund policy either). You'll have to start all over and find a new gown to purchase from that particular bridal store, whether you want to or not.

12)Make your own wedding headpiece
Most bridal shops charge $150 to $300 (or more) for wedding headpieces that cost less than $20 to make. They aren't hard to make and there are several good books and patterns available to help you out. If you aren't crafty, find someone who is that would make it for you for a small fee. Another option is to rent a headpiece or buy one from a resale/consignment store.

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