Every bride faces body concerns when it comes time to select a wedding gown. Some women are worried about revealing too much skin while others are keen to hide the bumps, lumps, and cellulite that often appear with adulthood. Some brides feel gangly and awkward while others would like to lose a few pounds. And in many cases these physical concerns can be addressed through diet, exercise, and the right shapewear. But for the petite bride, there is really nothing to be done about the challenge of height. Even platform heels will only get you so far. So finding the perfect wedding dress can be a frustrating and disheartening experience. However, there are guidelines you can follow to increase your odds of finding the right gown and having a good experience in the process. Here are a few tips that should make shopping for a petite wedding dress a lot more fun and fruitful.
- Cut and fit. When it comes to finding a wedding dress for the petite woman, the main concern is that the cut and fit flatter rather than overwhelming her small frame. And certain cuts are likely to work better in general, such as an empire waist or a mermaid dress, both of which elongate the body in different ways. As for fit, there are two ways to go. A fitted gown, on the one hand, must be tailored perfectly with no gaps or bunching. But a flowy or draped gown may also serve to accentuate and flatter a woman of petite stature.
- Volume. This is a big problem for many petite brides because the ideal wedding gown often includes layers upon layers of tulle or belle-shaped skirts that dwarf a smaller frame. As a petite woman it’s in your best interest to keep volume in your gown to a minimum. Otherwise your garment can end up wearing you; or worse, you might look like a little girl playing dress-up.
- Embellishments. Your wedding is a special day, so embellishments on the gown are apropos. That said, you don’t want to go overboard at the risk of playing second fiddle to your garment. Lace, beading, and even floral adornments are suitable for a wedding dress, but you either need to limit the number or size of add-ons in keeping with your stature. By the same token, you might want to rethink the amount of jewelry you plan to wear if your dress is going to be embellished.
- Petite sections or options for length. Some bridal salons offer only a standard selection of sizes, which doesn’t really work for the petite bride. While you can certainly order an average dress and have it tailored, it won’t do you much good when you’re trying dresses on. So look for stores like David’s Bridal, Alfred Angelo, or even high-end department stores that offer bridal gowns in petite sizes or different lengths (short, regular, and long, for example). Although they may not have every dress they offer in these sizes in stock, you should have more options for dresses to try on in your size, as well as those you can order in the length you prefer.
- Custom gowns. While trying on dresses with your entourage at Kleinfeld or Allure Bridals can certainly be fun, the petite bride may have trouble finding what she’s looking for at stores that cater to the average-height woman. In this case you should at least consider the prospect of designing a custom gown. You’ll have to find a suitable seamstress and come up with a plan for style, fabric, embellishments, and so on. But the result will be a one-of-a-kind wedding gown that is made to fit your frame.