Choosing the Perfect Romantic Wedding Dress for Your Bridal Look
Finding the perfect wedding dress is one of the most important (and fun) decisions you will make in your wedding planning journey.
As a custom wedding dress designer, I’ve worked with hundreds of brides, and one thing they all have in common is that they are looking for more than just a beautiful gown.
They want a dress that is a symbol of their personal style.
But with so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to start. In this article, I’ll offer some helpful tips and suggestions to help you choose the perfect romantic wedding dress for your Big Day.
What Makes a Wedding Dress Romantic?
A romantic wedding dress exudes a dreamy, feminine, and luxurious vibe. It is typically characterized by delicate fabrics, intricate lacework, and soft, flowing silhouettes. It is designed to make the bride feel like a princess on her wedding day, and create an utterly romantic image of feminine grace.
A Focus on Femininity
Romantic wedding dresses are designed to accentuate the bride’s feminine features. This often means incorporating elements like a sweetheart neckline, soft draping, satin waistband, a-line skirt or fitted bodices that show off the waist.
Your feminine curves are part of what makes you beautiful, so don’t be afraid to show them off. Choose a dress that accentuates your shape and wear undergarments that flatter your figure. You can also consider shapewear to help smooth out any areas that you’re not comfortable with.
If your dress is too revealing for shapewear, the structure necessary to create hourglass curves will need to be built in to the dress itself with contoured bra cups, underwire, boning or a corset bodice.
However, the most important aspect of showcasing your femininity is to carry yourself with confidence and grace. Stand up tall, walk with purpose, and let your inner beauty shine through.
The fabric of your dress plays a crucial role in creating a romantic and dreamy look. Romantic wedding dresses are often made from soft, flowing fabrics like tulle, organza, and silk. These materials drape beautifully and move with the bride, creating an effortless, ethereal effect. Floral lace is another great choice, as it adds a touch of elegance and femininity to any dress.
There are many different fabrics to choose from, each with its own unique qualities and textures. Here are some of the most popular fabrics for romantic bridal gowns:
A romantic lace wedding dress is perfect for creating a timelessly feminine look.
Lace is a delicate and intricate fabric that adds texture and depth to a dress. It can be used to add detail to the sleeves and hemline of your gown, or could be used to make a lace bodice or lace back.
Many designers agree that one of the best romantic wedding dress styles is an allover lace gown.
Tulle is a light and airy fabric that is perfect for creating a soft and ethereal look. Dreamy tulle can be used to create a full ballgown or an overskirt. It can also be used to make puff sleeves or add a touch of lightness to the neckline of your wedding dress. One of my favorite iconic designer bridal gowns features a tiered tulle skirt with pleats.
This lightweight and flowing fabric is perfect for creating a romantic and effortless look. It can be used to create a draped bodice or skirt, or to add a touch of movement and texture to your bridal dress.
Satin is a smooth and luxurious fabric that is perfect for creating a classic and elegant look. It can be used to create a fitted corset bodice or a sleek and shiny skirt, or it can be used to add a touch of glamour to the sleeves or waistline of your wedding dress.
Organza is a sheer and crisp fabric that is perfect for creating a light and airy look. It can be used to create a full skirt or an overskirt, or it can be used to add a touch of texture and volume to your dress.
Even if your bridal vision is a traditional white dress, you’ll still have a wide range of shades to choose from. Consider using soft, muted shades of white, ivory, cream, or even champagne. These colors are still traditional, but they add a touch of warmth and romance to the dress.
If you want to be a little bolder, consider using blush, pink, or even a pale blue. You’ll have an equally wide selection of choices for lining, whether white or nude.
Be sure to match the shades of your chosen fabrics to your skin. Hold them up to your face, and select the one that makes you look brighter and prettier.
Today’s design trends are moving toward lightweight nude or sheer illusion fabrics for lining. Super sexy designs use illusion material to create a built in body suit for a “second skin” style look.
Romantic wedding dresses have silhouettes with soft, flowing lines that create a sense of effortless and graceful movement. This can be achieved through layers of tulle or chiffon, or by incorporating a flowing skirt or train that trails behind the bride as she walks.
A-line wedding dresses are a classic choice because they are flattering on almost every body type. They offer a soft, timeless look that is perfect for a fairytale wedding.
These dresses feature a fitted bodice and flare gently from the waist to create a beautiful, feminine hourglass shape. An A-line gown is perfect for brides who want a romantic and elegant dress that is also easy to wear and move around in.
Ball Gown Dresses
This style is perfect for a dramatic, show-stopping princess-inspired look. The ball gown silhouette features a fitted bodice and a full skirt that flares out from the waist.
It’s the ultimate fairytale look, as it creates a sense of grandeur and luxury. It’s a popular choice for brides who want to feel like royalty on their wedding day.
Sheath Wedding Dress
A sheath wedding dress is a sleek and minimalist option that hugs the body and creates a long, streamlined silhouette. This style is perfect for brides who want a romantic and sophisticated look that is also understated and timeless.
Mermaid Wedding Dress
A mermaid wedding dress is a form-fitting style that flares out at the bottom, creating a dramatic and glamorous look. This style is perfect for brides who want a romantic and sexy dress that is also figure-flattering.
Tea-Length Wedding Dress
A tea-length wedding dress is a vintage-inspired style that hits just above the ankle. This style is perfect for brides who want a romantic and playful dress that is also practical and easy to move around in.
Boho Wedding Dresses
If you’re planning a more relaxed, bohemian-style wedding, a boho wedding dress might be the perfect fit. These dresses often feature flowy, ethereal fabrics, intricate lace details, and a relaxed, laid-back vibe.
Dress Features and Details
Romantic dresses are all about delicate, feminine embellishments.
3D floral lace motifs, appliqués, and keyhole cutouts can add depth and texture to your dress. They should be place strategically to show just the right amount of bare skin.
Romantic touches like sequins, embroidery, and beading add a touch of sparkle and shine, which can make your dress stand out even more.
Another detail to consider is the neckline. Sweetheart necklines are romantic and flirty, while high necklines are elegant and regal. A plunging neckline or back can add a touch of sexiness.
If you have pretty shoulders, feature them with off-the-shoulder sleeves, spaghetti straps, or a strapless dress. Detachable long sleeves made in a sheer fabric offer a romantic touch as well.
Accessories can really enhance the overall look of your dress. When choosing a romantic wedding dress, consider accessories that are delicate and feminine.
For example, a veil is a classic and timeless accessory that can add a touch of romance and drama to your wedding look. Choose a veil that complements the style and fabric of your wedding dress, whether it’s a simple and sheer fingertip veil or a long and dramatic cathedral veil.
A tiara or or other delicate headpiece can add a touch of regal elegance.
Jewelry should be understated and delicate, such as a pair of pearl earrings or a simple necklace. Shoes should also be elegant and feminine, such as a pair of dainty heels or ballet flats. Remember, accessories should complement your dress, not overpower it.
Shapewear can help smooth out any lumps or bumps and give you a streamlined look. Look for a bodysuit that provides support and compression, without being uncomfortable.
Bridal Hair and Makeup
Your hair and makeup also play a big role in creating a romantic and dreamy look.
Soft, loose curls or a messy updo can be a great option. These styles have a timeless, classic look that never goes out of style, and they work well with almost any dress.
If you’re going for a more bohemian look, you might consider braids or a half-up, half-down style. Adding some fresh flowers or a pretty hair accessory can add an extra touch of romance to your look.
Your wedding day is not the time to experiment with bold and dramatic makeup looks. Instead, focus on a natural and soft makeup look that enhances your features, without overpowering them. Soft, rosy tones and subtle shimmers can help create a feminine and glowing look.
Tips for Choosing the Perfect Romantic Wedding Dress
Here are a few tips to help you choose the romantic wedding dress of your dreams:
Express Your Personal Style
Your Big Day is all about you, and your dress should reflect your unique style and personality. Don’t be afraid to wear what you love, whether it’s a unique fabric, an unusual color, or a non-traditional silhouette. It’s your day, so make it your own.
Consider Your Wedding Theme
Before you choose a wedding dress, it’s important to consider the overall theme of your nuptials. If you’re planning a romantic and elegant wedding, you’ll want to choose a dress that fits in with that aesthetic. Look for dresses with soft, flowing fabrics, delicate lace or embroidery, and feminine details like ruffles, bows, and florals. These elements will help create the romantic, dreamy look you’re after.
Keep Your Venue in Mind
The venue where you’ll be getting married can also help determine the type of dress you choose.
If you’re getting married in a grand, formal venue, a ball gown dress might be a great fit. But if you’re getting married on the beach, a lightweight, flowy dress might be more appropriate.
If you’re getting married in the summer, you may want to opt for a lighter fabric that will keep you cool and comfortable. If you’re getting married in the winter, you may want to consider a dress with sleeves or a heavier fabric to keep you warm.
If you’re getting married on the beach, you may want to consider a more relaxed, bohemian-inspired dress. Think about the overall vibe of your wedding and choose a dress that fits the occasion.
Mind Your Budget
My advice for a bride-to-be is to buy the best dress that you can afford. That doesn’t mean the most expensive dress — the best dress is the one that fits your body perfectly.
Obviously, every bride will have different priorities when it comes to her budget. But on average, you can expect that your dress will account for up to 10% of your total wedding budget.
Try on a Variety of Styles
Be open to trying on different styles of dresses, even if you think you know what you want. You might be surprised by what looks best on you, so be willing to step out of your comfort zone and explore different options.
Don’t Forget About Comfort
It’s easy to get caught up in the design of a wedding dress and forget about your comfort. But comfort is the key to looking and feeling your best on your Big Day.
Remember, you’ll probably be wearing your dress for several hours, so it’s important to choose a dress that is comfortable and easy to move in. Make sure you can sit, walk, and dance in your dress without feeling restricted. You may also want to consider adding a bustle to your dress to make it easier to manage.
My Expert Advice: Go Custom
If you’re dreaming of a truly one-of-a-kind, handcrafted romantic wedding dress, consider working with a bridal designer to create a custom gown. This can be a great option if you have a specific vision in mind or if you’re having trouble finding a dress off the rack.
When you consider the expense of having a designer dress altered, it’s often more affordable to have a dress custom designed specifically for you. You can relax knowing you’ll have exactly the design you want and a dress that fits you perfectly.