The A-Z of Wedding Dresses

The wedding dress we imagined ourselves getting married in as little girls is probably a world away from the wedding dress we will actually choose as adults for our big day. Growing up, we come to the realization that our figures may not actually suit the big, puffy meringue creation of our childhood dreams and that we don’t actually have squillions of dollars in the bank to pay for it either.

So without that girlish invention of a dress to go by (or the naïve unlimited budget), most of us are at a loss to decide what to wear on our wedding day. If that’s the case, this A-Z guide of wedding dresses should help you find your way again.

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Accessories Do Have To Match

Accessories should complement your dress and enhance the look and theme that you are going for. If you’re after elegant and understated, keep your accessories either the same colour as your dress or as your theme colours. If your wedding’s feel is going to be retro- romantic, why not pop on a pair of kitten heels and a faux- fur bolero? Let your personality shine through your incomparable accessorizing skills.

Bridesmaid Dresses Don’t Have To Match

Although it’s still done, matching dresses are somewhat outdated now. Brides often choose a contrasting colour to their wedding dress which is carried throughout the wedding as the colour theme. Why not dress your bridesmaids in different shades of this contrasting colour for a modern twist?

Check The Workmanship

Whether you hire, buy or make your wedding dress, you should always check the quality and workmanship of the piece. You don’t want to have to deal with burst seams, hems that are falling apart and loose beading on your wedding day.

Designer Dresses

We’d all love a Vera Wang original, but why source overseas for your wedding dress when we have amazing bridal couture on our very own doorstep. Look out for Australian designers like Mariana Hardwick, J’Aton and Alex Perry (who is commissioned regularly by celebrities to create their wedding gowns).

Ego in a Dress

When trying on your wedding dresses, wo you ant your ego boosted or an honest opinion? Don’t take all your gushing girlfriends with you when you shop for your gown. Choose one or two trusted people who will tell you truthfully whether the wedding dress suits you or not. That way, you’ll get a genuine ego boost when you arrive at your wedding looking absolutely stunning.

Flattering Styles

For the full-figured bride, choose simple lines that skim rather than hug the figure as they are more slimming. Pear-shaped brides should consider A-line wedding dresses as they tend to hide the hips and thighs. Tall, thin brides can pretty much get away with any style but should steer away from straight, tight dresses as they often produce a matchstick look rather than helping to accentuate feminine curves.

Garters And Wedding Dresses

Love them or hate them, garters (and the removal of them by single male guests during the wedding reception) do feature often at weddings. As long as they don’t spoil the line of your dress and are hidden from the eye until the time they are supposed to make their appearance, there’s no harm in continuing this fun tradition.

Hiring Your Wedding Dress

If you’re on a tight budget and not fussed whether you keep your dress or not, then hiring your wedding dress may be the best option. These companies can provide advice on which styles will suit your figure and are able to supply matching accessories too. Similarly, they can outfit the entire wedding party and take the headache out of coordinating the wedding attire at a fraction of what it would cost to purchase it all new. To find several of the premium companies at your locality, visit our wedding dress directory. 


Just about all brides want to look absolutely incandescent on their wedding day; that is, beauty personified. But how? The real secret is that all of the trappings of we associate with a wedding- including the wedding dress- are only secondary props to helping us acheive our most beautiful look. The most important thing that will be far more noticeable than your dress is your attitude- namely, that your joy and confidence beams through.


They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend but too many of them won’t do you any favours. A good rule of thumb is: the fussier the wedding dress, the simpler your jewellery should be. Don’t make the mistake of looking garish or plain on your wedding day. To get more idea browse our definitive guide to wedding jewely. 

Keeping Tradition

It’s considered bad luck in Western Cultures for the groom to see the bride in her wedding dress before the wedding. This tradition began in England and has spread throughout the world but nowadays has more to do with surprising your beloved than pandering to superstition. Another form of keeping tradition is to restyle an heirloom dress, or incorporate an especially significant piece of material into the dress, such as part of your favourite of your father’s ties or your mother’s  scarf.

Length Of Your Wedding Dress

A bride’s love affair with floor-length gowns will never die but it may not always be an appropriate choice. On a sweltering summer day, or if you’re holding your wedding somewhere outdoors, you may wish you had opted for something shorter and cooler. Likewise, the effect of a long wedding dress will be ruined if you find you can’t walk without tripping over it. A great general rule to follow is that the less formal your wedding ceremony, the shorter your wedding dress can afford to be.

Money On Your Wedding Dress

In many cultures money is pinned on a bride’s wedding dress. It’s traditional to place money upon the dress of a Polish, Cuban or Greek bride in exchange for a dance.

Nip, Tuck And Your Wedding Dress

As strange as it may sound, a trend has emerged recently where brides opt for an inexpensive, off-the-rack wedding dress and spend the thousands they have saved on plastic surgery instead. The reasoning behind this is that the cosmetic surgery they have undergone will enhance their appearance more positively than any dress ever could! Before you attempt this, bring in a picture of the dress to your dressmaker and get their professional opinion.

Out Of Your Wedding Dress

After the reception, many brides change out of their wedding dress into a ‘going-away outfit’ – usually a light coloured suit or a simple shift dress. Some brides change for comfort, others change as a symbol of closure to the wedding. Like your wedding dress itself, try to make sure this outfit looks timeless and beautiful, and is relatively comfortable.

Preserving Your Wedding Dress

After the wedding, wedding dresses should be professionally cleaned, wrapped in acid free tissue and stored in a dust free, acid reduced box to prevent mildew and yellowing. Make sure the box is then placed in a cool, dry storage area that is away from direct sunlight.

Queenly Dresses

As the undisputed queen of the day, you may want your wedding dress to reflect your status. Sweeping wedding gowns with long trains, gloves and tiaras are popular with royal brides.

Red Dress

Red is considered to be a very lucky colour in the Chinese culture, so brides often wear red wedding dresses (cheongsams). If white doesn’t appeal, why not do the same and spice up your wedding day? It’ll absolutely be a dress everyone remembers!

Something Old, Something New

Whilst many associate this tradition with accessories, you could easily apply this tradition to your dress. And you could use any element of the tradition- something old, new, borrowed or blue!

Tans With Wedding Dresses

Tans look great with wedding dresses – especially if your gown is strapless, sleeveless or backless. Opt for a spray-on tan instead of the real thing just to avoid sunburn or peeling skin.

Underneath Your Wedding Dress

What’s underneath the dress is important too. If you’re wearing a strapless gown, you may need some extra bust support. If you want an hourglass figure, a corset may help, but if you’re just feeling a little cheeky, wedding lingerie specialists can whip you up some cute briefs with ‘bride’, ‘just married’ or your new name written across the backside. For more details, check out this article.

To Veil Or Not To Veil

The general rule is
:the more formal the wedding and wedding dress, the longer the veil. If you do decide to wear a veil, you’ll need a headpiece to finish it off – a tiara, flowers, a circlet or a jewelled comb.

When To Start Looking

Begin your search for the perfect dress at leastsix to nine months before the wedding, but preferably up to a year (really!). It can take between three to six months for a wedding dress order to come in or for a dress to be made. You also need to factor in the time it takes to make alterations. Choose companies that are close to your place to make it as easy as possible to have a fitting at a moment’s notice.

Xtra Advice

Make sure that you are comfortable in your wedding dress. With all eyes on you during the ceremony and reception, you don’t want to be constantly caught pulling, tugging, smoothing and readjusting your dress.

You and Your Wedding Dress

You should love the look and the feel of your wedding dress. Don’t choose your outfit based on the latest trends because it won’t reflect your personality and taste.

Zipping Your Wedding Dress

It sounds simple enough, but you’d be surprised by just how many brides and bridesmaids have neglected to take the appropriate amount of care when zipping up their wedding dress. Most wedding dresses are made of delicate fabrics and snags can cause serious damage to the gown, so be careful!

Now that you know what to look for in a wedding dress, the only question that should remain is how to go about getting it. Start by logging on to Bride Online for a great list of reputable bridal wear designers and retailers who’ll be happy to help you through this A-Z of wedding dress needs.