Talk with your bridal consultant about your body type and which dress styles will look great on you. You might ask your consultant questions like, “Which styles are best suited to my body type?” It is important that you listen to their answers and take their advice, even if it means trying on dresses you don’t think you’ll like. One of the most important rules to remember when shopping for a wedding dress is to never judge a dress by how it looks on the rack. It’s best to always try it on to get a realistic sense of how well it fits you. You might end up falling in love with a dress you never would have looked at twice when it was on the hanger.

Mermaid dresses are dresses that mimic the shape of a mermaid. They are typically very fitted on top and then widen out at the knees. Fishtail dresses are the same shape but often have a trailing train. This type of dress is a good idea if you have a small bust and small waist. They can also make petite women look taller by focusing the eye on their overall line.


If you plan on wearing a veil, first consider the venue: “A long cathedral veil is beautiful for a traditional religious ceremony, but it could be distracting on a windy beach,” Risatti says. Depending on your preference and budget, you can buy off the rack, order from a bridal designer, or have one made by a veil specialist. (A high-end salon can give you names.) Wait until you’ve chosen the gown to start shopping so that you pick the right length and shade of white; get a swatch from your dress to match it exactly. Custom can take up to six months. In all other cases, just buy it in time for hair and makeup trials.

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