bride and bridesmaids

Curly Tree Photography

Let's face it. Most brides have a vision in their mind of how they'd love to look on their big day, and the wedding dress is often the centrepiece in the fantasy.

Unfortunately, the vision can be quickly derailed in the dressing room if you don't choose wisely - for your shape that is. It's one thing to fall in love with the style, colour, detailing and design of a dress. It's another to fall in love with the way it makes you look, and feel.

Squeezing a picture perfect pear shape into a bias cut sheath is always going to end in tears. Swamping a tiny frame in reams of ruffles will do the same. It doesn't matter whether your dress is high end or homemade, patterned or plain, the right fit is all important and a flattering cut is critical.

But how do you know? If you're not already familiar with which dress cuts show off your assets in their best light, - and hide your imperfections - your dress designer or boutique sales assistant will be only too willing to help - so long as you bring an open mind and a willingness to listen.

When you have a picture in your head, it's hard to hear that the dress you've dreamed of mightn't suit your figure - and that no amount of shapewear is going to change that.

But by bringing an open mind and trying on different styles you'll soon come to realise there's a reason you should steer clear of certain shapes and embrace others.

Perfect Pears

Pear shaped ladies will look divine in an empire line which flatters your bust and narrow waist but skims over hips and thighs. A-line dresses are another ideal option for pear shaped bodies, and are always in fashion.

To be honest, A-line dresses are all around figure fixers. They can hide wider hips, or add volume to smaller ones and the bust style can be altered so suit with more detail for smaller busts and boned bodices to contain larger ones.

A lines suit pear shaped women to a tee, as do empire line dresses which give the illusion of height and flatter the bust and narrow waist while skimming over hips and thighs.

Heavenly Hourglasses

If you have an hourglass figure with a shapely bust, nipped in waist and curvy hips you'll find strapless or halter neck gowns will show off your feminine curves in the best possible light. Lucky hourglasses can also rock a mermaid style dress which fits tightly around your curves and then flares out below the knee to really shine a spotlight on those gorgeous curves. Not one for the fainthearted though, this dress is sure to knock his socks off.

Awesome Athetes

If your look is more athletic, with wide shoulders, a straight waist and narrow hips you should seek out styles that create the illusion of a smaller waist such as strapless dresses or those with pretty shoestring straps.

Girls who go straight up and down can create a curvy impression by opting for dresses with an empire or A-line cut, or gowns with fullness in the skirt to create movement and shape, soften the silhouette and add volume to the lower body.

Alluring Apples

If you're more of an apple shape, with a wider neck, full bust, thick waist but narrow hips, dresses with low-cut or sweetheart necklines will elongate your top half and accentuate your bust, whilst drop-waisted styles lengthen the torso and have a slimming effect.

Pretty Petites

Generally speaking, the more petite your figure, the more embellishments you can handle. Frills, layering, ruffles and beading are your friends - so long as you don't disappear under layers of lace.

Captivating Curves 

Curvier women are better sticking with styles that are simple, elegant and chic. Your shape is the hero here, so don't hide it - or pad it out.

Ultimately the choice of dress is yours. But to make sure you feel comfortable as well as captivating on the day it's worth doing your homework. Sure there's plenty of shapewear and figure fixers to help you out, but by honestly appraising your shape - or asking a professional to do it for you - from the outset, you'll be able to take advantage of the tricks of the fashion trade to make sure you put your absolute best foot forward on the big day.

Your dream dress isn't the one you dream you could fit into, it's the dress that looks the most dreamy on you.

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