I’ve often been asked if there’s certain wedding dress silhouettes that would photograph better — long train? body flattering? More embellishments or less?? And to be honest, they ALL photograph beautifully, but perhaps in different ways. And here why.
1. Wear what makes you feel Confident, Beautiful and Sexy
First off the bat, I ALWAYS advocate that people wear what makes them feel the most beautiful. When you wear something that you LOVE that makes you feel like a GODDESS, that will come through in your photos, regardless of the shape of the dress. Often, our fashion choices also say a lot about our personalities as well. Do you love to be a bit extra? (AKA Me.) Then go for a glam, heavily embellished dress. Do you love classic, minimalist design? Then go for a dress with few embellishments with subtle detailing. You want this day to be about YOU, so pick a dress that wholeheartedly, unapologetically YOU.
P.S. When you’re trying a dress on at the store, it’s unlikely it’ll actually properly fit you. It’s often a generic sample size and the bridal consultants will “clip you in” to help you envision what you would actually look like. Almost always wedding dresses will be further tailored to really fit you like a glove. So I wouldn’t be too fixated on which dress “fits” and which one doesn’t — chances are it’s just this store sample size is not your size.
2. Comfort and Mobility
That said, not every dress is as mobile and comfortable as the next. For example, an extravagantly embellished and layered dress is often quite heavy, making it a tiring workout just to move around. Certain types of sequins and beading may also be irritating on your skin. A dress with a long train and/or intricate detailed lace can also easily get caught on bushes and shrubbery, and will probably catch grass and sticks and leaves as you move about. Consider how much moving you’ll be doing (there’s probably more than you thought) — walking down the aisle, walking around for photos, mingling with tables at reception, dance party at night. Many new dress designs now feature detachable skirts, which allow for options of a grander dress for the ceremony and photos, and a more comfortable design for the reception. Many long-train dresses also have a bustle that allow you to button up the train, so that it can be shortened temporarily. Consider also where your venue is — if you’ll be outdoors for most of the time, your dress will be dragging along all of the elements. You may not want a super long tulle (with lot’s of little holes!) that will catch onto every little splinter. The more comfortable and pain-free you are, the happier and more confident you will be in your photos!
3. Shoes & Veil
It is usually suggested that you pick your dress first before purchasing these accessories. For example, traditionally you would pick a long veil that would sit over the train of your wedding dress (I won’t say that this is a rule though — you do you). In considering these pieces, you’ll definitely want to consider your venue, your dress style (especially length), and that you could be wearing these for many hours. I will have another blog post on veils, but generally, longer veils are heavier, pull on your head more, and may also catch onto things. Many brides these days opt for a shorter, chunkier heel as they’re easier to walk around in. However, a pump or tall heel will add to your height in photos and also create more length for your dress. These pieces though will also be a vital part of your wedding details so you definitely want to choose pieces that you love!
4. Wedding Vision
Whenever I get a wedding inquiry, I always ask what is my clients’ vision for their wedding. What are the important aspects of the wedding? What style or vibe do they want? Do they want an enticing experience for their guests? Is this more like an intimate family dinner? If they could describe their wedding vision in three words, what would it be? How does the venue, decor, florals and photography tie into this? How important are wedding details to you? Do you enjoy more editorial photos? Or very candid ones, with lot’s of motion?
In really being specific about what you would like to see happen at your wedding, it may help you narrow down your wedding dress style. If you wanted a more traditional, classic wedding look, with vintage cars and an estate style venue, then perhaps a more traditional, elegant and classic style dress it more for you. If you wanted to have a more carefree evening, with lot’s mingling and dancing, then perhaps a more simple dress would be more suited.
5. Finally, Wedding Dress Silhouette and Photography
So yes, different dress silhouettes look differently in photos. But it all comes down to what you like! For example a really body-hugging dress will really emphasize your feminine curves, and additional details like buttons and beading will further add to that. Dresses with long, impressive trains can look absolutely stunning and breathtaking, especially when you’re walking down the aisle. Ballgowns can give the feeling of innocence and magic, sheath styles are often more feminine and romantic, and flowy gowns can be ethereal and whimsical.
6. You can get more than one wedding dress!
ALSO. No one said you can only get one dress! Lot’s of people opt to wear multiple dresses, or change up their look via detachable elements. For example, you could wear a longer, heavier, opulent dress for the ceremony and group photos, but change into a shorter or simpler dress in the evening. HECK. You can get a JUMPSUIT OR ROMPER, and you can really move!
When wedding dress shopping, the bridal consultants can give you some great tips and suggestions. Some of my favourite bridal stores and designers in Vancouver:
- Everly Fine Bridal
“Everly was created with the modern woman in mind. Our shop caters to brides looking to find a wedding dress that represents her unique style (not just something you’re expected to wear).“
I love Everly for their super friendly staff and modern dresses that are super flattering. They have many sheath dresses, and feature designers such as Made With Love and Jane Hill.
- Bisou Bridal
“Colleen Karavidas opened Bisou Bridal in January 2004, becoming the premier bridal boutique for upscale and sophisticated brides living in Western Canada.“
Bisou is such an amazing boutique for the most couture, unique and fabulous gowns. Their staff are super nice and helpful. You’ll definitely see all the inspirational dresses from Instagram here, with gowns by Berta, Pronovias, Galia Lahav and Monique Huillier.
- Union Bridal
“Our gowns are equal parts delicate and daring, hand-selected to ensure every bride finds something expressively her own. We are proud to carry an exclusive selection of independent designers from around the world.“
Union Bridal is the best place for brides looking for a more boho or freestyle look! Their dresses are unique, often non-traditional, but still romantic and soft. You won’t find many big ball gowns here, but there’s many A-line, sheath and column silhouettes here.
- Hannah Tikkanen
Hannah is a local Vancouver designer who makes the most airy, ethereal gowns. Her dresses are often very light (which makes them super comfortable and mobile!), and give off a princess vibe. Her gowns are great for wedding day, or can be super fun for your engagement shoot! Her dresses are often custom made and she can make your dream dress come true!
- OM Couture
“OM Couture is a bridal boutique in the heart of Vancouver’s Gastown that embodies timeless elegance and high-fashion inspired sophistication. OM COUTURE dresses are more than meets the eye — they are specifically tailored by designer and founder, Ou Ma, to bring your wedding dreams to life.”
Whimsical and unconventional, OM Couture dresses are fun and like nothing you’ve ever seen. They are great for both wedding ceremonies, or an evening reception dress! Ou also offers custom designing, which can create your perfect dream design AND have a divine fit.
- Davie & Chiyo
“Davie & Chiyo is a bridal and bridesmaid dress and accessory line for the effortless, the feminine, and the unique. Based in Vancouver, Canada, each piece is designed and handmade by our team of artisans, dedicated to continuously curating a collection worthy of the modern and whimsical bride.”
Davie & Chiyo creates dresses that are minimalistic, modern and romantic. Their dresses are designed and made in their Vancouver studio, and they have separates, which allow you to mix and match a unique wedding look.
P.S. PLEASE make sure you book an appointment before heading to these boutiques and read up on their most recent COVID-19 and guest policies!