Wedding dress with an empire waist.
Empire Waist Wedding Gown

Wedding Dress Shopping Tips

Wedding dress with an empire waist.
Empire Waist Wedding Gown

Your wedding gown will be your ultimate fashion statement–to be remembered by your friends, family and, of course, your groom for years to come. Make history in a wedding dress that will never go out of style.

MORE: Read our Ultimate Guide to Wedding Dresses and see our Wedding Dress Gallery for Inspiration.

 Wedding Dress Shopping Tips

Your wedding gown style should be determined by the theme, time of day, location and level of formality of the ceremony and reception. An evening event in a grand ballroom with a seated dinner and an orchestra calls for equally impressive formal attire; whereas for an outdoor afternoon wedding detailed with pots of wildflowers, food fresh off the grill, and a lively band, a smart suit for him and a white sundress or informal wedding dress for her would be charming. A bride’s hair and makeup also influence the overall effect.

You’ll want to start wedding dress shopping for your gown as soon as possible: Make your final decision and place an order at least six months before the wedding. This will allow plenty of time for fittings, alterations, and coordination.

Take a few friends or family members to try on gowns but then, when you’re ready to make the final purchase, limit your escort to your mother, maid of honor, or a close friend. This is one of the most important decisions of your wedding, and you’ll need good advice to make the right pick. Take your time and make a choice when you’re ready. If your maid of honor or a bridesmaid will bustle your wedding gown after the ceremony, she should attend your final dress fitting, so the seamstress can show her the technique.

To attain the perfect fit it’s essential to determine the most flattering shape for your figure/body type. Not only will you feel more comfortable on your wedding day, but you’ll look more beautiful than you ever expected. Allow your bridal shop owner to make suggestions for your body type. Don’t be afraid to try on all sorts of styles. You may be surprised to find that the style you never imagines yourself in might be the perfect style for you.

Wedding dress silhouettes and fall into these basic style categories:

Ball Gown

The most traditional of all dress styles, the ball gown is typified by a full bodice and a waistline that leads to a full skirt. Don’t think that ball gowns or corset bodices are only for closet Cinderella’s. This versatile silhouette is perfect for drawing eyes to your face, collarbones and waist — and hiding troublesome hips.

ball gown wedding dress
Bridal Ball Gown Style

Empire Waist

The hallmark of the empire style gown is a high waistline (right under the bust) which falls to a slimmer skirt.

Wedding dress with an empire waist.
Empire Waist Wedding Gown


The most figure-flattering silhouette, the A-line is perfect for brides looking for a slimming shape that can hide a few flaws. This silhouette is a favorite of the top couture designers. An A-line or Princess shape features vertical seams flowing from the shoulders down to a flared skirt (creating and inverted “V” — or “A” — shape.

Princess Style Bridal Gown


Minimal. Modern. Flawless. For a chic, body-conscious silhouette, look no farther than the smooth lines of a sheath. The sleek sheath silhouette closely follows the line of the body. One of the most demanding silhouettes to wear, sheaths look best on brides who commit to full-body fitness.

sheath style wedding dress
Nicole Miller Sheath Style Wedding Dress

One Shoulder

Get the sexy look of strapless while getting a little support and coverage. The one shoulder gown gives support to the lucky ladies with the larger bustline.

one shoulder wedding gown
Carmen Marc Valvo One Shoulder Mermaid Gown


This sexy silhouette is for curvy brides who don’t mind showing off their shape. One of the season’s hottest look, mermaid gowns are showing up in the collections of top designers.

mermaid style wedding gown
Carmen Marc Valvo Designer Mermaid Style Wedding Gown

Find the wedding gown that reflects your personal style with Nordstrom’s online wedding lookbook. For brides, moms and bestys in the bridal party. Unique styles exclusively available at Nordstrom’s (one of my fav stores both online and in the shops. Have fun shopping!

MORE: Read our Ultimate Guide to Wedding Dresses and see our Wedding Dress Gallery for Inspiration.

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