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Find the Right Wedding Gown for Your Shape

You’ve been picturing your wedding dress in your mind since you got engaged — maybe even since you were a kid. Is it a frilly Cinderella-style gown or maybe a sexy, hip-hugging sheath?

Now that you’re engaged, and it’s time to go shopping!

Go through bridal magazines, search Pinterest, or scour the Internet, and save pictures of styles you like before you go to the dress shop. Once you’ve done that, here are two things to consider before you make a down payment on the dress of your dreams:

What style of dress is most flattering for your body type? Certain styles accentuate some features and hide others, making even self-conscious brides feel like supermodels. Here are some styles to ask your dressmaker about – remember, it’s good to try on lots of dresses; you’ll be surprised what catches your eye.

A-line or princess: These dresses are shaped just like the name indicates – skirts are fitted at the waist and flare to an A shape. Most everyone looks good in this style.

Ballgown or full skirt: These are the Cinderella dresses – lots of fabric that gathers at the waist. Ballgowns work well for thin people – they can help add curves.

Mermaid and sheath: If you’ve got it and want to flaunt it, choose one of these styles. Sheath dresses are slim all the way down to the floor (be sure to consider how much you’ll be dancing), and mermaid dresses are fitted to the knee and then flare.

Empire: The waist on these dresses is above the natural waist and can look good on most people. It’s great for short girls who want to appear taller, but not so good if you’re well-endowed in the chest.

The second thing you need to consider is how formal your wedding will be. A gown with a full train and long sleeves might look out of place at a morning outdoor wedding, while a gown with a shorter train and less adornment wouldn’t be dressy enough for a formal evening ceremony.

When it comes to the formality of your ceremony, here’s a general rule: the more formal the event, the longer the gown, train and veil. Sleeves can get longer, too, or you can wear gloves to add formality to a sleeveless or short sleeve dress.

And, don’t forget these tips when you’re choosing bridesmaid dresses, too!