Four women are wearing white wedding dresses, each posing in a different location. The styles of the dresses vary, showcasing a range of designs and fits, truly embodying wedding dress styles for all body types.

A woman in a white lace and tulle gown, exemplifying wedding dress styles for all body types, stands outdoors next to a stack of firewood, with rocks and greenery in the background.

The engagement period is something to be cherished. It is a very small sliver of your life when anticipation and excitement abound, when visions start taking shape, and when you and your fiancé can focus on solidifying a lifelong bond together.  One major question I get asked is about the different wedding dress styles for all body types. As you begin to put the pieces of your wedding day puzzle together, you may find it hard to decide on your wedding dress style or verbalize the ideas in your head.  It makes sense – you’ve never planned a wedding before and the industry terminology is totally foreign to you.  As a result, you may find yourself frustrated with trying to bridge the gap between your vision and the ideas your wedding vendors are presenting to you.

Though I know more than the average gal about how a wedding day unfolds, my true expertise lies in nearly two decades of acquiring the knowledge of wedding dress styles and wedding gowns.  Imparting some of that knowledge on those of you trying to navigate the wedding planning process is a priority of mine, so that you may fully enjoy the gown purchasing journey.  After all, what you wear on your wedding day should bring feelings of joy and excitement, and should certainly not induce feelings of overwhelm or anxiety.  Below I’ve detailed some of my suggestions for dress details to flatter a variety of body types.  Having measured thousands of women, I’m so proud to say that each and every one of us is built differently, and it’s incredible to me that we are all so unique.  So if you don’t know where to start, just follow these simple guidelines to assist you in wedding dress styles for all body types that will highlight your best features and downplay your insecurities.  There is a dress for everyBODY! 

If you are Petite…..

A woman in a backless white wedding dress stands by a white arch, looking back towards the camera. A dark tiered fountain is visible in the background, showcasing one of the elegant wedding dress styles for all body types.There are some important elements you’ll want to look for and avoid when searching for your wedding dress style.  Petite bodies can be swallowed up by the wrong dress, and the goal is to create a longer line.  Here are some rules I follow when working with a petite bride:

  1. Avoid any chopping points below your natural waist.
    A gown with a dropped waist (this hits below your navel) or a mermaid style gown create disproportion, making it appear that you are all torso and no leg.  It’s much better to find a style with an overall cohesive flow that doesn’t have a defined waist. If you do want to see definition in the waist, be sure the waistline hits at your natural waist (usually an inch or two above your navel) for a more proportionate look.

  2. Look for vertical elements in the gown.These can be subtle, but very effective. For instance, a lace pattern that runs vertically on the gown can create the illusion of height, and once again helps to elongate the body.  Straps that go up on the shoulder, or a deep, open back are also vertical elements that ensure you don’t look as if you’ve been truncated. A plunge at the bust is another great vertical element to elongate you. A strapless dress can shorten you, so be aware of this when looking at your reflection. (Hint: step off the pedestal to get a true picture of the proportion of the gown during your appointment. We all look taller on a pedestal with a gown hanging over the front!).

  3. Be smart about the scale of patterns on the gown.
    The beauty of getting married in this modern era is that wedding gowns are tremendously varied in style, offering you an opportunity to really showcase your personality. This means you will see anything from a small, delicate lace pattern, to large scale floral appliques.  Take a good look at the size of the dress elements.  Are they in keeping with your petite frame? Do they seem to swallow you up? Generally, smaller patterns align with a smaller body.  If you don’t want any lace or beading at all, then opt for a clean look without any visual distractions.
  4. Don’t choose a gown that is wider than you are tall.Not sure there’s much more to say on that! But truly, an A-line can look like a ballgown on a small frame, so if you want big skirt energy, maybe pass on the millions of layers of crinoline and ask to see a full A-line, as it will appear as a ballgown on your body.

A woman in a white off-the-shoulder dress, showcasing one of the elegant wedding dress styles for all body types, sits gracefully on a stone bench against a textured stone wall background.If you are Pear shaped…..

The goal with any wedding gown is to create proportion. Most people either have it up top or down below, so it’s our mission to effectively create symmetry from top to bottom.  Here are some ideas for pear shaped brides to think about when shopping for their wedding dress.

  1. An A-line dress or ball gown are naturally suited to a pear shaped body.
    You will be highlighting your smallest features, and downplaying your larger parts. By choosing more skirt on the bottom half of your dress, you are creating the illusion that your bottom half is in keeping with your top half. The skirt is responsible for softening the difference in proportion from top to bottom.
  2. Draw the eye upward with feature elements.
    No matter what dress shape you choose, it’s a great idea to choose a design with striking elements that are featured toward the top of the gown.
  3. You can absolutely wear a fitted gown, as long as you create balance.
    A fantastic way to wear a fitted gown on a pear shaped body is to choose a bodice with an off-the-shoulder neckline (otherwise known as portrait neckline).  You are then widening the top of the dress to stay in proportion with your hip.  This effectively creates a gorgeous hourglass look.

A woman poses in an off-the-shoulder white wedding dress with lace details and a front slit, showcasing one of the elegant wedding dress styles for all body types. She stands against a white brick wall on a wooden floor next to a modern wall light.

If you are Busty…..

If you are a bride whose bust is much larger in proportion than your bottom, you’ll want to highlight your waist and create balance with the skirt of your gown. You’ll also want to pay close attention to the neckline of the gown.

  1.  It’s important to lift the bust in your gown and ensure your waist is highlighted.
    Often when you are busty, your waist can be hidden by the garments you wear. Opt for a gown with great construction to assist with the lift.  Boning is your best friend, as it keeps your bust in place the whole night. Stiffer fabrics, such as mikado and satin, will also help in this regard. If you do opt for a softer fabric, such as a lace or tulle wedding gown, be sure the bodice has some great construction underneath. Pay close attention to how the bust is constructed on the inside of the gown. If it looks like a flimsy bust cup was sewn in, without any sort of pocket for your bust to sit in, you’ll want to keep looking.
  2. If you are hoping to minimize your bust, certain necklines will do this for you.
    Look for a square or scoop neckline.  A halter neckline is also a beautiful choice, when paired with a trumpet skirt. A sweetheart or plunging neckline generally emphasizes the bust, so those might not be your best option.  Also, avoid an open back if your bust is heavy, as you will not have the construction in the gown to keep the girls in place.
  3. Avoid a short-waisted dress with a large skirt, as you will look larger than you actually are.
    Essentially people will see bust and hip, with nothing in between. This can make you appear shorter and wider.
  4. Trumpet skirts are a fantastic choice when you are busty.
    Your waist and hips will be defined by the gown, but the flare at the bottom balances your bust.  If you can find a gown that has a “booty cup” (cinches in just below your bottom), it will give your bottom and hips more curve and create an hourglass appearance.

If you are All-Over Curvy…..

A woman in a white lace wedding dress stands outdoors with a building in the background on a sunny day, showcasing one of the versatile wedding dress styles for all body types.

Curvy girls have lots of great options when searching for wedding gowns.  Construction is very important, but most silhouettes will flatter a curvy body.

  1. Plunging necklines look great on shorter curvy brides,
    As they create a vertical element that makes them appear longer. Just make sure the plunge is not wide (though it can be deep), as you’ll reveal much more of your bust than grandma will approve of.
  2. For a sexy look, opt for a trumpet or mermaid style gown that shows off your curves.
  3. If you choose a larger skirt, a dropped or basque waist is a great option.
    It still shows off the definition of your small waist and curve of the hip.
  4. If your bust is heavy, be sure to find a dress with excellent interior construction.
    Look for boning to help support the weight of your bust, and a defined bust cup in the gown that keeps you in place. Also look for a “booty cup” (where the gown cinches in just below your bottom), as it will create definition around your gorgeous curves.

These tips can really help you start your wedding gown search on the right foot!

If you have questions about wedding dress styles for all body types.

Or maybe you want to hear more about body types I may not have addressed, reach out and I can create my next blog with you in mind. More than anything, be true to who you are and you will shine beautifully on your wedding day!

If you need any help deciding on a wedding dress style for your body, don’t hesitate to book an appointment.