Planning Tips

How To Decide Your Wedding Dress Style

Our production assistant, Patrice, is recently engaged and taking you along on her wedding planning journey. Check back every other Monday for more real-life wedding planning insights - or follow along here!

Before choosing your wedding dress, it’s helpful to narrow it down by style. And I’m not necessarily saying shape/fabrics/details, but more so the “feel” of your dress. Do you want something casual, elegant, or show-stopping? How do you want to feel on your big day? Playful, chic, comfortable? There are a lot of different options, but having some preferences to guide your shopping will make the day stress-free and fun.

Going in to my wedding dress shopping extravaganza, I knew I wanted a style that was more casual, fun, and “felt like me.” My consultant was very helpful in trying to understand my venue, our guests, and the overall feel of our whole day, which made for a great experience! So before you venture into all of the tulle, lace and beaded goodness, here are the things to consider when picking your style:

How To Decide On A Wedding Dress Style

Photo by Rogue Heart Media // Photo by A. JO FOTOGRAFI

1. Make sure it’s in line with your venue.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again but your venue sets the tone for your whole day (including your dress!) Before you go wedding dress shopping, it’s important to have an overall vision of your day. The style of dress you choose will most likely vary depending on where you’re getting married. An intimate mountainside elopement might call for a flowy and low-maintenance dress, whereas an elaborate hotel wedding lends itself well to a satin gown with lots of embellishments. Our venue, Trezzi Farm Winery, is pretty versatile, but I wanted to choose a dress that would fit in with the more country, laid-back style of it. (You’ll have to wait until August to see pictures!)

2. Consider the season.

As the seasons change, so do the fashions! You will be quite chilly in a slinky satin gown in January. Not that it can’t be done - but consider adding a chic fur shawl to keep you warm (and for some high fashion photos!) Same goes for a bulky dress with lots of layers for a summer wedding. You can always ask your seamstress to remove some of the layers to thin it out a bit!

How To Decide On A Wedding Dress Style

Photo by Amber Tyler Photographer //  Photo by Ifong Chen Photography

3. Decide how comfortable you want to be.

When I was wedding dress shopping, one of the main things I kept in mind was “how well can I dance in this?” You have to remember that you will be wearing this dress for around 12 hours, so you’re going to want to be comfortable. Tight mermaid gowns and giant ball gowns are great, but for me they were not easy to sit in or groove in, so they were out! Make sure to practice your sitting, dancing, twirling, hugging, and anything else you’re going to want to do on your big day.

4. Don’t forget your budget!

Yes, we have all watched “Say Yes To The Dress” and fallen in love with a Pnina Tornai dress. Realistically though, those elaborate styles with intricate beading and layers upon layers of luxe fabrics are often going to be out of your budget. Luckily, you can find affordable dresses in almost every style these days - just don’t let your imagination run too wild!

5. Pick whatever makes you feel gorgeous!

When it comes down to it, the style of dress you choose should be whatever makes you feel gorgeous! It might not be exactly what you envisioned, or the one your mom likes best, but it doesn’t matter. When I went shopping, I thought I knew exactly what style I wanted. (Like, I tried on 3 dresses and was pretty sure I wouldn’t need to try on any more.) But because I wanted “the full experience,” I continued trying on - and really surprised myself! Your wedding gown should make you feel like a princess/rockstar/badass - whatever you aspire to be on your big day.

And when you’re ready to go shopping, be sure to check out our “Things To Remember” post!