The first thought that newly engaged brides-to-be have is starting their search for their perfect wedding dress. Most women have dreamed of their big day all their lives, and the pressure to find the wedding dress that matches those dreams is unreal. Although planning the wedding and finalising the design of the dress is a fun process, for many it can be extremely stressful and confusing. Relax! De-stress and enjoy the experience. The trick is to start planning very early so that you don’t have to run around at the very last minute. Decide on your budget for the dress and whether it will be a readymade one or customised to your taste. Your dress should suit the activities and style of your wedding. Ask yourself questions like, “Do I feel beautiful in this dress?”, “Can I dance and move around all night?”, or “Can I sit down?”Dresses with beautiful trains, and detailing across the hem are great, but don’t forget about the top of your dress as well as, as that part of your dress will be seen in most of your wedding photos. Don’t let trends bog you down. Instead, go in for what you love and what looks good on you. Your first decision is to find out which dress silhouette will highlight your best-loved assets and conceal your less-favourable traits. We are here to help you decide which style flatters you the most. To start, find out which of the following five body types best defines your figure – Petite, Hourglass, Plus size, Busty or Lean and straight. Remember, you may not fit squarely into one particular category; most people don’t. Use this as a guideline to figure out what works best for you. Petite Petite is a term used in the fashion industry to describe women who are 5’3” tall or under. Petite women come in all shapes and sizes as the term refers to stature and not weight. Petite brides should avoid overwhelming their small frame. Choose airy sheaths and structured trumpet styles over big, voluminous ball gowns. A sheath’s continuous line creates the illusion of height. Go in for form fitting, simple and minimalistic designs. Avoid 3D accents. Instead, opt for intricate embroidery, light beading and one-dimensional appliques for design details that won’t overwhelm. An empire waistline is great for this body type as it creates the illusion of long legs. Plunging V necklines draw the eye upwards, thus elongating your frame. In case you want a dropped waist or mermaid silhouette, opt for a slim, more structured skirt over a wide poufy one. When done right, high-low hemlines can be an asset and may even make your legs look longer. Hourglass Women with an hourglass figure have a wide bust circumference and similar measurements at the hips with an obviously narrow waist. With an hourglass figure’s balanced proportion and defined waist, it is hard to go wrong in terms of picking a silhouette. Most dress shapes will pair well with an hourglass figure. Work your womanly curves in a fitted bridal gown or hide your hips in a ball gown. Either way, your gown should show off your trim mid-section. Avoid the empire waistline; it won’t highlight your slim waist. Go in for a trumpet or mermaid silhouette which will show off your curves in all the right places. In fact, hourglass is one of the only body types that can pull off a true mermaid silhouette; a style that flares out just below the knees. A dropped waist design with asymmetrical tiers is a fun, yet glamorous choice. Opt for the cinched waistline, or highlight your tiny waistline with a glitzy belt detail. Fit-and-flare are three words you should get familiar with, since it accentuates the hourglass figure and is every curvy girls’ go-to silhouette. Plus-size For the plus size or oval figure type, also known as the apple figure, the goal is to create or emphasise the waistline for the illusion of an hourglass curve. An empire waistline creates a lengthening effect and is best suited to this body type. An A-line gown is perfect, especially when accessorised with a belt or a dark coloured sash. Create a slimming look with a cummerbund-style waistline or design details that draw the eye inwards at the waist, such as side cut-outs. This figure type benefits from paying attention to the neckline of the dress. Opt for a V-neck, scoop neck or sweetheart bodice with shoulder detailing. Avoid straight across necklines as this won’t accentuate your bust line. A high neckline, sheath silhouette and slight train will help you look long and lean. Avoid mermaid and trumpet silhouettes as these will accentuate the widest part of your body and flare at the slimmest part. Busty If you’re a busty bride, you have two choices: either reveal or conceal. Either way finding the right gown goes down to identifying the perfect neckline. A square neckline works great for the well-endowed because it is not too revealing. Try the V-neck, U-shaped, strapless and halter necklines. A scoop neckline shows off your voluptuous shape and lets you avoid a strapless bra. Straight across version of the strapless neckline can actually minimise your assets. If you decide to go in for the sweetheart neckline, opt for straps and a full skirt to balance your busty frame. Avoid necklines with wide set straps or sleeves, off the shoulder necklines, and puffy and cap sleeves as these make your upper body appear wider. Ball gowns and fuller A-line skirts with layered satin or tulle work well to balance the upper body. Lean and straight The goal when dressing this figure type is to create a waistline and to emphasise curves. Choose a wedding dress that will put focus on your upper body and toward your face. Princess silhouettes fair beautifully with this figure, emphasising the waist and hips while retaining the naturally lean shape of the body. A modified A-line, with a more subtle fit-and-flare effect, will also work well for a bride seeking a sweet, soft, and romantic look. Try pleating or rouching in the bodice to create curves and cinch your waistline. A voluminous peplum skirt acts as a stand for curvy hips. Go in for a bridal dress with contouring seams that create imaginary curves. Avoid halter and high necklines because this will make your shoulders look narrow and will not flatter your waist. Also avoid sheath gowns because this style will not define your waist. Hope these guideline help you decide what will work best for you so you don’t stress as your big day draws closer. Remember, it’s all about creating memories on your wedding day, as long as you stay safe and stay stylish!