Be Prepared - Questions to Ask Yourself before Buying your Dress

All eyes are on you - when you walk down the aisle, ask yourself these questions to ensure you choose the right dress for you!

1. Define Your Style - what look do you like best? Silk, satin, lace, chiffon, short, long, beads, etc. Before you hit the shops, try and get an idea of what you want. Keep a folder of magazine cutouts that the highlights the parts of dresses you like best.

2. Flatter yourself - choose a style that is best suited to your body type.

3. Wedding Style/Formality - depending on the type of wedding you are having - outdoor garden party or black tie evening reception - will direct you towards a certain style.

4. Budget - Yikes! Before you hit the bridal shops, be sure to set a budget on your wedding dress. When you visit a salon, try to find a number of different options within that range to help you find a dress you'll love and one that's easy on the wallet!

Are you tall?

A natural or the basque waistline with a V front would be good for this body shape which can be found in Romantic gowns as well as Classic, Glamorous, Beach/Destination and Contemporary style dresses. Dresses with dropped waistlines will also help balance the overall look. Low necklines such as a v-neck, scoop neck, a sweetheart or a square will also help lengthen the torso. A ball gown is also a dress, which will help the tall girl look gorgeous. It has a fitted waist or bodice with a full skirt, which will billow behind as the bride walks down the aisle. It gives a little bit of width and will balance the entire ensemble. A bustle type skirt is another feature the tall girl can wear.

Are you short?

Gowns with an empire waistline are great for this body type. This waistline is gathered high at the waist underneath the bust. You can find this type of waist in a Classic, Romantic, Glamorous and Destination style dress. Dresses with a bateau neckline (also referred to as a boat neckline) suits this body type, along with sexy off-the-shoulder or halter necklines. No sleeves, short sleeves or tiny cap sleeves will give the illusion of length and balance this shape nicely. Stay away from tiers or horizontal lines as this will not suit. Even a lovely strapless dress with an empire waist and a flowing, fluted hem would compliment the short girl.

Are You Lean?

Glamorous sheath gowns are wonderful for the girl who is on the slim side. They come in variety of fabrics such as satin and matte jersey, which are popular right now. These fabrics show the figure off tremendously. Other lovely fabrics are chiffon and silk. A Classic, Romantic and Contemporary ball gown will also suit the slender gal, which adds fullness to the figure. Empire waists look lovely on the slender gal, giving a willowy look, while the A-line skirt would also add a little width. A Beach/Destination sheath with a halter neckline, with a V- neck and plunging backline, exposing the slender back would look gorgeous on the lean gal.

Are You Pear Shaped?

An A-line skirt is the best way to minimize the hips. Fitted or corset type bodices with the skirt coming down with a flare will balance out this figure nicely. Fitted bodices with embroidery, crystal/rhinestones, pearl designs or lace on the top half of the dress will take the eye away from the hips. Lace up backs will guide the eye up the back. Coloured embroidery on the bodice will also bring attention to the top half of the body instead of the skirt. Classic, Contemporary, Romantic, Glamorous and Destination gowns all come with the A-line skirt with a narrow train will make this body shape look stunning.

Larger Bustline?

A v-neck or strapless dress will minimize the bustline, provided everything is held in with the proper undergarments. Plain or very little detail on the bodice with embroidery, beading or lace on the skirt will avert the eye to the skirt instead of the bustline.

Stay away from the empire waistline as this will only make the bustline look bigger than what it is. The natural waistline would compliment this body shape, as would the v-formation of the basque waistline, pointing downwards toward the skirt giving the illusion of a well- balanced figure. These waistlines can be found in Contemporary, Classic, Glamorous and Romantic styles. Beach/Destination gowns also have the natural waistline but keep the top half as simple as possible.

Smaller Bustline?

A cowl neckline gives the impression of more on the bustline. Other ways of addressing this area is having detail on the bodice such as tulle, knife pleating, cinched décolleté, ruched or gathered midriff, pleated cuff, lace, shirred gathered twists, sequins and a crossed ribbon sash all help give a fullness to the top half of the body. The empire waistline also helps accentuate this area with crystal/rhinestone or pearl beading, satin ribbon trim with or without a tiny bow all just under the bustline. The strapless gown can be worn with a good bustier. Empire waistlines and detailing on the bodice of the dress can be found in Classic, Glamorous, Romantic and Destination gowns.

Other "flaws" are thick arms and despite the inclination to cover up those arms, sleeveless or strapless style dresses will draw the eye away from the arms. Short sleeves only make one look at the arms.

Tummy troubles is another area that you may want to hide so try and draw the eye away from there by having a basque sweep across the midriff with tulle or pleating and crystal beading, pinched or ruched up at the curve of the waistline. This accentuates the curvy shape. A gathered sweep with a corset boning also helps hide this flaw and is a bustier all on its own.

Pulling the eye away from figure "flaws" and bringing the eye to some other part of the body is the magic of making the bride look breathtaking on her wedding day. With a few tips and tricks, the bride can achieve a stunning overall appearance. A confident and happy bride who isn't self conscious about her figure flaws brings sunshine to the special day.