Dress your best
Advice to help you prep for your wedding, by Caitlin Kenyon; illustrations by Lissa Mathis
Many brides-to-be walk into dress boutiques knowing exactly what they want their dream dress to look like. But sometimes that confidence is a little bit misplaced. Many people don’t know the difference between a mermaid gown and trumpet gown. And what exactly does A-line mean? When does one even start looking for their dress or the bridesmaids’ dresses?
Here’s some advice to help you look your best on your big day.
Popular dress styles
Ball gown: This style is as full as you can get with a wedding gown.Typically, it is very nicely fitted on the top with a full skirt that blossoms out above the hips. These dresses are usually as full as they are due to a large amount of crinoline underneath the gown.
A-Line: An A-line dress is a nearly identical cut to a ball gown but without all of the volume. Some A-lines can be loose, or they can be slightly fuller (typically done with layers of tulle).The big marker is that it is lacking the crinoline skirt that would poof out a ballgown.
Mermaid: This is a very fitted dress with a defined cut at the knee where it flares out; great for showing off all of your curves!
Trumpet: The trumpet style is toned down version of a mermaid gown. The skirt flares out right below the hips. It still has a sexy fitted effect without all of the volume on the bottom like a mermaid dress.
Sheath: A sheath style has slim silhouette that drops straight to the floor from the hips.
Bridal: Start shopping twelve months before the wedding and make sure to order by the end of the eleventh month. Dresses take about five to six months to be made (this will vary from store to store depending on the designer), and alterations typically take three to four months. From the start of production to your final fitting it takes roughly ten months.
Bridesmaids: It is never too early to start looking at bridesmaid fabrics and colors; I suggest that brides start doing this right after you have chosen your wedding gown. Bridesmaid dresses take three to four months to be made and often don’t need longer than a month for alterations. To be on the safe side, it’s best to place a bridesmaid order six to seven months before your wedding. To make this process even smoother, you can always call your local bridal shop that carries bridesmaid attire and ask to have a consultation to go through color swatches, fabrics, and styles, so you know exactly what you are looking for when you bring your attendants in.
Mothers: Moms often leave their outfit to the last minute, but they should start shopping the same time bridesmaids do. While some gowns can be available in a matter of weeks, if you are having one made for you it can take about three to four months. You will also need a month for alterations.To help moms jump-start this journey, I encourage brides to figure out their parameters (color, styles, level of glam, etc.) for mother’s wear as early as possible. Most moms won’t start shopping until they get the go-ahead from the bride, so even if you are open to them wearing whatever style and color makes them comfortable, it is good to encourage them to start shopping about nine months before your wedding.
Flower girls: Flower girl attire is one of the last things you typically must worry about. Since children grow so rapidly, many designers constantly have hanging stock and encourage you to order about three months before the wedding so that the fit is as close as possible to the size the child will be on the wedding day. If you are planning to have something custom made, this will require you to order five to six months before the wedding and might involve some collaboration with the designer or consultant to figure out what the right sizing would be in case of a mini growth spurt.