Most of us probably have (or, had) an idea of what our dream wedding dress would look like; be it a full ball-gown with all the bells and whistles, or a simple shift dress, it’s usually fairly aligned to our day-to-day style and taste. Mine definitely was, and I knew what I wanted my dress to look like, even before Mr. C popped the question – I just loved a fitted bodice, with the full tulle skirt and was convinced that that was what I would wear.
While on a business trip in Melbourne, the October before we got engaged, I came across quite a few bridal boutiques while exploring the city. With no engagement ring on my finger (and with the exchange rate at that stage being R10 to the Australian dollar!) I had no intention of trying on any dresses; I was merely browsing and getting up to speed with wedding gown trends…that was, of course, until I saw “my dream dress” with a “SALE” ticket attached to it! It was gorgeously dreamy, the perfect blush colour AND in my size. I’m not superstitious at all, but isn’t there something that says you’ll jinx your wedding day if you try on a wedding dress before you’re engaged? I wasn’t sure, and initially didn’t want to take any chances – so I told the sales lady “I’m just browsing”, and kept walking. Not being familiar with Melbourne and all its shopping arcades and narrow side-streets I ended up back in front of the same shop a few hours later…”Was it a sign that I should try on that dress?”( Does thinking that mean I AM actually superstitious?) What if that dress was MY dress though? I couldn’t leave without knowing..so, jinx or no jinx, back into the store I went.
Everyone always says: “You’ll know when you’ve found YOUR dress”, now let me tell you, you’ll also know (immediately!) when you’ve found the dress that was definitely NOT made for you! Wow, that dress looked horrendous! I am too short to wear such a full skirt, which was possibly worsened by the fact that I was also carrying around a few extra “I love hotel breakfast buffets” kilograms. I looked short and stumpy, and totally out of proportion.
Desperate for a sale, the sales lady carried on and on about how amazing I looked, and how it was the perfect colour; I think I even remember her throwing “you totally look like a princess” into the mix about 3 times! All I could think was “Lady, side-boob is definitely not what I had in mind when I envisioned my bridely-self – get me out of this dress!”
Had I given my body shape and the silhouette of that first dress a second thought, I would probably have kept walking when I came across that boutique again. So to help you make a more informed decision when choosing your dream dress, I’ve put together an infographic to show which silhouettes will (usually) suit which body type (see below)– BUT, and this is a big BUT, everyone is different, so even if according to this infographic your dream dress is a no-no, try it on anyways – I loved the whole experience of finding my dream dress; and the fact that some of the dresses I tried on made me look like a marshmallow in a wedding dress just made my eventual choice so much more perfect! And, you might just be the exception to the rule and really “totally look like a princess” in your dream dress (even if it is the “wrong” silhouette!).
p.s. In the end my perfect dress was the ivory mermaid dress with gorgeous lace detail pictured at the top of this post…swooooon
Elmari Coetzee from Johannesburg, South Africa - inspired and excited by the "gorgeousness" of weddings and the joy it creates. As the owner of the Blissfully Bridal boutique she loves helping brides find THE dress!