Choosing the perfect wedding attire: bride, bridesmaids and groom


When shopping, make an appointment at the bridal store and leave yourself plenty of time. Don’t try to go to multiple stores in one day or you’ll be completely stressed out. Make sure you begin shopping at least six months in advance as custom dresses have long lead times.

There are as many types of wedding dresses as there are brides and so picking a wedding dress is a very personal decision. There are several variables to consider in picking a dress. The complexity of how dresses vary is enormous and could encompass a full book. Here we provide a few of the basic styles and variations.


A Line: The A-Line, sometimes called Princess, consists of vertical panels running from the shoulders to the skirt. It’s very flattering on the body and thus is very popular with brides looking for a slimming shape. It’s called the A-line because it resembles the letter A with a fitted body and waste and a flared-out skirt. A-lines generally are sleeveless or strapless.

Ball Gown: The ball-gown is a traditional wedding dress consisting of a floor-length skirt with a corset bodice. It’s best for brides with a slim waistline, but it’s also great for hiding larger hips. It’s perfect for a bride looking for a classic look.

Mermaid: The mermaid is a curvaceous style that hugs the waste, hips, and thigh, perfect for brides who want to show off their curves. The bottom flares out like a mermaid’s tale, hence the name.

Sheath: The sheath is the simplest of styles. It’s a straight-line fitted style from shoulders to ankles. It’s best for slim brides who want to show off their slender figures. Best for tall or slim brides.


Wedding dresses are usually white, but there are many shades ranging from pure white to ivory. The shade you pick should be one that is most flattering on your complexion. Fair skin brides will want darker shades of white while brides with darker complexions can get away with any shade.


Bateau: This is a wide-neck shape that follows the collar-bone to the edge of the shoulders.

Halterneck: The design consists of straps that join at the back of the neck. It generally consists of a low-cut back and so it’s best for brides that don’t need to wear a bra. It emphasizes the shoulders.

Jewel: A high neck-line that deemphasizes the upper-chest. It forms round cut at the bottom of the throat.

Scoop: This is a U-shaped neckline that is rounded above the breasts and similarly on the back of the dress. It’s very popular as it can be worn by any bride.

Spaghetti Strap: A straight or slightly-curved line running across the chest that is connected to two thin straps.

Queen Anne: This design consists of an open heart-shaped front and a high back. It’s perfect for full-chested brides who don’t mind showing off their cleavage in an elegant way.

Off-the-shoulder: An off shoulder neckline that sweeps broadly across the chest.

Square: Cuts straight across the chest level meeting perpendicular straps.

Strapless: A straight or curved neckline running across the chest.

Sweetheart: Another heart-shaped front but less open than the Queen Anne.

V-neck: Forms a V at the chest level.

You may also like: How to get the perfect wedding dress.


The bridesmaid dresses are particularly tricky because you’re shopping for somebody else. Here are some important tips:

  • Consider the body types, complexions, and budgets of your bridesmaids. You don’t want them to resent you on your wedding day for wearing unflattering dresses or spending a small fortune.
  • The bridesmaids don’t all have to wear the same exact dress. Consider having a single color and having the bridesmaids were different styles to suit their body types.
  • If you order the bridesmaids dresses from the same store as your wedding dress, you can probably negotiate a discount.
  • When shopping, bring a bridesmaid along for a second opinion.
  • You don’t have to buy a dress that was designed for a bridesmaid. Often dresses at your local department store can work as bridesmaids dresses in a cinch and can save everybody some money.
  • When ordering custom bridesmaids dresses, the lead times can be long. Leave yourself six months or longer.
  • Avoid light dresses as they detract from the bride. Darker dresses are preferable.

Groom and groomsmen

The attire for the males varies based on the formality of the wedding. For a formal wedding, black tie is recommended. The man wears black tuxedo coat and pants, a formal white shirt, a black bow tie and a black cummerbund or vest. In an ultra-formal affair, men wear white tie, which consists of a black dinner jacket with tails, a formal white shirt, a white pique vest, and a white bow-tie. For a somewhat less formal wedding, men can wear dark suits.

The groomsmen typically wear identical tuxedos designed to match the tuxedo of the groom. The groom can stand out by varying some aspect of his dress. For example, he could wear a different colour vest or handkerchief. Or his tuxedo could have tails while the other groomsmen wear standard cuts.

When renting tuxedos, you have a couple options to coordinate. You can pick a local tuxedo shop and then have each groomsman go there to be measured. If people are coming from out of town, they can go to a local tuxedo shop in their area to be measured and then male he measurements to your store (most stores will have no problem with this). They can then pick up their tuxedos when they arrive for the wedding. The other option is to rent from a national chain. Each groomsman can rent a tuxedo from a local near him or decide to just be measured at the local location and pick up from the location closest to the wedding. When renting tuxedos for the entire wedding party, be sure to ask about any discounts and shop around.

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