Wedding Dress Styles 101: Your Essential Handbook

Looking for the dream wedding dress? You’re in the right place.

Been sifting through all sorts of wedding dresses styles feeling it was an easier mission to find a signature scent or that one recipe you’re known for? There are so many different wedding dress styles for all kinds of brides! We want to make it as easy as possible. Read on for a handy guide to the fabric, the design, or the embellishment likely to complement your body, personality, and work with your overall vision for your special day. 

It might be a surprising feature that suits you most. The neckline, in particular, plays a pivotal role in framing your face and accentuating features. Understanding your body type is paramount in this journey of types of bridal dresses! 

So, grab your bridal squad, pour yourself a glass of bubbly, and get ready to dive into the wonderful world of wedding dress styles. After all, finding the perfect dress should be as fun and fabulous as the big day itself!

Bride-to-be trying on wedding dress with Mother and assistant.

Secret tips for savvy brides to be

Consider your wedding setting before you try a dress

When selecting styles of wedding dresses, don’t forget to consider the venue and time of your wedding. A sleek column gown may be perfect for a modern Summer city loft wedding, but could be impractical in a barn in Winter. The same applies to accessories and make up. Will you rock a bold red lip or have a more simple nude look? A simple town hall ceremony would look great with a retro or vintage dress, but could make a huge Cinderella gown seem out of place. By harmonizing your dress choice with the setting, you’ll create a cohesive aesthetic. Give it some thought before you head to the bridal shop!

Newly wed couple celebrating walking down the aisle.

Embrace your frame as it is 

Your aim on your day is to be very much authentically you, while showing off your best assets. Our tips? Lean into your own style and ensure in your dress you feel like you on a very great day. There’s a trick and a hack for everyone. If you lack curves, belted pieces or peplum shapes will work, and if you want to skim over curves, an A line or empire cut will work.

Not sure what your best parts are? Find a celebrity with a similar shape to you and check out their red carpet looks. What worked for them? Do they reveal their shoulders, show their legs, or play up their height with savvy use of fabrics, belts or cuts? Take these learnings to the try on. 

Throw out the rulebook! 

Choosing wedding dresses styles isn’t about hiding your shape or style. You don’t have to disguise or conceal anything. Even if a fishtail is technically great for your figure, if you feel stuck and claustrophobic in it, it’s not for you. 

Don’t feel you have to dress wedding style if you are more casual and want something far less formal. 

Selecting the right wedding dress style and neckline is a deeply personal journey that requires careful consideration. 

Whether opting for a classic A-line silhouette or a high neck or a daring plunge neckline, the key is to feel empowered and beautiful on your special day and not like you’ve raided someone’s dressing up box! 

Start with some inspiration

Until you get your nose in a bridal magazine, a Pinterest board or Insta feed all about weddings, what you want from wedding gown styles can evade you. 

Choose an evening to kick back with a drink and explore, so you can scrapbook or pin items that speak to you. 

Left; Newly wed couple walking down the street. Bride in white suit with hat and lace veil. Right; Woman sits in white suit, holding a bouquet of white flowers.

‘Chic wedding ideas’ are a great starting point, (and then add in some of the dress styles we’ve mentioned below into your search.)  Look at every style before you dismiss it. 

Explore IRL

When it comes to finding “the one” you need to cast your net wide in terms of dress styles. 

Don’t limit yourself to just one style or silhouette; instead, embrace the adventure of trying on everything from boho-chic to classic ball gowns in all shades of cream, ivory and dazzling white. You never know – that unexpected choice might just steal your heart! None at a local shop? Feel free to travel and explore. 

Dress to Impress

We’ve all had bad experiences in fitting rooms, and while a bridal suite is designed to encourage the sale by making you look magical, it’s key to prepare a little and give yourself a great boost. Pamper yourself with a bath and a range of smellies, and tie or style your hair in a similar up/ down style to the planned one for the big day. Brace yourself with a range of bras and underwear options. (In short, don’t turn up in that saggy old set you’ve been meaning to throw in the bin!) 

You may like to wear nude underwear or shapewear to get a good feel for the dresses. It’s also a nice idea to have an outfit that’s easy to take on and off, like a maxi dress and some sandals. Obviously, a trusted streak-free deodorant and minimal makeup so nothing transfers is key! 

Bring a squad

Wedding dress shopping is an emotional rollercoaster with a minefield of decisions and at the very least, you want someone to take a nice photo of you in some of your top choices to review later, spoiler – there are so many bridal dress styles. You’ll want someone by your side who can provide honest feedback so you can start to define the shapes and style that work for you. Start thinking about who should be in your squad.

Female group of friends help woman trying on wedding dress.

Key Wedding Dress Styles

Okay, so you have your pictures and your wish lists. You’re ready to try on some dresses. But what are you looking for? As you can imagine, different wedding dress styles are on offer. Here are some of the key pieces of terminology so you know your fish tails from your fit and flares. 

Remember that this is half the story, as every kind of fabric, colour and level of frills and embellishments can apply to all the below styles. 

Want a simple A-line with no frills? Easy. Want an A-line dress with lace, glitter and pearls? That’s on the menu too. 

We say, start with the shape and let’s talk about detail later! 

3 images of women in different bridal outfits.
Wedding party of men and women walking through grass, laughing and smiling, holding bouquets of flowers.

Key Wedding Dress Necklines

While the bottom of the dress is interesting, the neckline is so important! Just like a great haircut frames your face, your wedding dress neckline will draw attention to the areas everyone will be looking at – your smiling face! 

Here are some of the classics that can apply to the shapes of dress. 

Preparing for your big day? 

Have we made choosing a dress look like a dark art? Wedding dresses styles visiting you in your sleep? We know it’s a big decision, and you have to give respect to bridal boutique owners, who help people say yes to the dress despite there being thousands of variations of all styles available. 

Don’t forget that dress shopping is just the start of a very special life moment. 

If you’re finding lots of things to spend your money on, and the wedding is becoming a big project, then you’ll need a Collection Pot! Our free to set up wedding fund collections can be shared for donations towards your big day, your rings or your honeymoon, helping get you on the right journey as newlyweds.

The best news? Unlike other things with the word wedding in, a Collection Pot for a wedding is 100% free to set up!

Newly wed couple celebrate walking down outdoor aisle, with confetti being thrown over them.

Take a look at our Wedding page and see how Collection Pot could work for you. 

Collection Pot

Collection Pot is the personalised, simple & fun way to collect money online for any occasion.

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