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How to Choose a Wedding Dress - A Complete Guide

Choosing the perfect wedding dress for your big day can be an overwhelming task for many brides-to-be. There are many elements to consider when choosing your perfect dress, such as your body type, what parts of your body you want to enhance, and your overall aesthetic for your wedding. When wedding dress shopping, you ultimately want your personality to shine through the wedding dress you choose. Starting by getting inspired through bridal magazines and Pinterest, start by putting together a mood board of all types of wedding attire you love. 


This ultimate guide will go over all of the most important things to consider before locking in your perfect wedding outfit or wedding gown such as types of wedding dresses, budget, bridal boutique shopping tips and more.

The Shelby wedding dress by Karen Willis Holmes is a sheath cut simple classic gown with a V neckline and low back


Factors to consider when choosing your dream dress

Types of Wedding Dresses

Wedding Dress Budgets

Wedding Dress Shopping Tips

Factors to consider when choosing your dream dress

There are several factors to consider when on the hunt for your dream dress. Feeling comfortable and confident on your big day in a wedding dress that reflects your personality is the most important thing! Consider what body type you have and what styles you are comfortable wearing and find the most flattering. Unsure of your body type? Here’s an article to help determine what wedding dress shape suits your body type. 

Ask yourself these questions when searching for your wedding dress: 

Is there a certain part of your body you want to accentuate? If it is your back, try dresses with a low cut or open back feature. If you love your collarbones try a strapless wedding gown. What is the formality of your wedding? Formal or casual, this will also help determine what type of dress you will choose. What is your location and what will the weather be like? This will be another big contributing factor to the decision making process. Keeping these questions in mind while you search for ‘The One’ will be a great help in finding the perfect wedding dress that fits your needs.  

If you are still feeling overwhelmed, don’t forget that your bridal consultant is extremely experienced at what they do and can help guide you as little or as much as you want to help you find the right dress and your ultimate wedding style.


Types of Wedding Dresses

There are many different types of wedding dresses to choose from, each with its own unique style and features. Things to consider are shape, necklines, and fabric. For shape, ball gowns are classic style with a full skirt and fitted bodice. An A-line or straight wedding dress is similar to a ball gown, but with a skirt that flares out slightly from the waist. Mermaid or fit and flare dresses are fitted through the bodice and hips before flaring out at the knee or lower. Column dresses are slim fitted with a straight silhouette that lengthens the body. Tea-length dresses are shorter, often hitting around the mid-calf, and are perfect for more casual or vintage-inspired weddings. There are many necklines to choose from too, V neck, scoop, strapless, square necklines try as many styles as you can to determine what flatters your bust, shoulders and décolletage. An important element in dress shopping is the various fabrics to choose from for your wedding dress too. There is a little bit to learn before you start shopping.


Mikado – This glossy, contemporary and structured fabric offers structure and form to your wedding dress shaping your figure like the wedding gown was made just for you! It is a heavy weight fabric perfect for wedding dresses with corsets, fit and flare silhouettes and Aline skirts.

Shop here to check out our KWH Mikado Bespoke wedding dresses

Jenna wears the Blake & Prea wedding dress by Karen Willis Holmes, a bustier fit and flare dress that provides structure and modern style.

Silk/Satin – Our sleek, silk & satin-finished wedding dresses are ultra contemporary with figure-hugging, silk & satin fabrics, bias cut fits, plunging necklines, high leg splits, open backs and cutaways. It’s easy to feel radiant in silk & satin wedding dresses because the focus is on you. Whether you’re going formal or casual, grand or understated, traditional or sexy, you’re sure to find a satin gown with a silhouette and style that suits your vision and wedding theme. If you envision a minimalist look, a silk wedding dress could be perfect for you. Remember to select the right undergarments with this style of wedding dress as they can often be quite fine and easily show through what is underneath. 

Shop here to check out our KWH Silk/Satin wedding dresses


Sequin/ Beaded – For the bride who truly wants to shine on her day and be her unique, gorgeous self. Our intricate, handmade beaded wedding dresses and sequin wedding gowns are perfect for the romantic, low light of an indoor ceremony or the glimmering sunset at an outdoor wedding. From long sleeves to open backs, high necklines to spaghetti straps, our stunning selection of beaded and sequin wedding dresses range from beaded bodice wedding gowns to all over, heavily beaded wedding dresses, head-to-toe sequin wedding gowns to subtly sequinned wedding dresses. If your wedding has an art-deco feel to it or if you just want to sparkle and glimmer in soft candlelight, Karen’s beaded designs are second to none and unlike anything seen before. Best of all, in a KWH bridal salon, these gowns are ready to wear so it is perfect for short lead time brides.

Shop here to check out our KWH Luxe gowns

KWH Bride Kelsey gets married at Manor Basket Range in Adelaide wearing the Margareta Gown by Karen Willis Holmes

Crepe – Illusion elements, side cutaways, open backs and breathtaking sleeves run through our selection of simple (and yet so intricate) crepe pieces. By using flattering and structural seam lines, a crepe wedding gown from our collection will sculpt and flatter your silhouette. Our fabrics feel substantial and look beautiful but have stretch for comfort and dancing. The contemporary nature of a chic crepe gown reads as effortless but with elements of interest that will let you shine in your wedding day look and for years to come in your wedding photos.

Shop here to check out our KWH Crepe wedding dress options

Lace – Lace wedding dresses can encompass a classic, vintage feeling or a completely modern or boho feel. KAREN WILLIS HOLMES Australian handmade lace wedding dresses fall on both ends of the spectrum and every style in between. A long sleeve lace wedding dress with a high illusion neckline is breathtakingly beautiful, as is a strapless, sculpted lace look. For a wedding theme, lace suits a garden location perfectly.

Shop here to check out our KWH Lace wedding dress options

Georgette – The softness and matte allure of a flowing, georgette fabric adds a feminine and luxurious accent to your wedding day look. Georgette wedding dresses say simple, effortless beauty with a fabric that moves like liquid and sweeps around your silhouette as you walk down the aisle and dance all night long. Whether in a sculpted, fit and flare shape or a gathered skirt that flows away from the body, georgette wedding gowns are timeless yet oh-so chic. 

Shop here to check out our KWH Georgette wedding dress options: 

Brie-Karen Willis Holmes - Taylor & Angus - Bride and groom seen sharing their love after their ceremony and exchanging their vows, amongst the hills for their wedding photos. Bride is wearing a classic Head band piece to finish her bridal look.

Ultimately, the fabric you choose will depend on your personal style and the overall vibe of your wedding. By exploring the different fabric choices available, you can find the perfect material that will make you feel beautiful and comfortable on your big day.

Also consider accessory options such as a veil, bubble sleeves or fingerless gloves. By stepping out of your comfort zone and exploring the different types of wedding dresses available, you can find the perfect style that fits your personality, budget, and overall wedding vision. 

Shop here for accessory options for your gown

Wedding Dress Budgets

Wedding dresses are a significant expense and factor for brides on their wedding day. There are several budgeting tips to help keep you in check with your expenses. Firstly, having a wedding budget set in place is important because it will keep you and your partner accountable in your spending. It will also guide your wedding planning decisions you and your fiancé make, such as your venue, guest limit etc. Prioritise what’s most important in your dream gown so you can focus on those features and avoid overspending. Keep alterations and accessories factored into the price of your wedding dress when budgeting for your dress to avoid any unexpected expenses. Need more help? Read our Wedding Budget Checklist.


Wedding Dress Shopping Tips

Some shopping tips to help you find the dress of your dreams. First, schedule appointments at bridal boutiques that fit your style and budget.Try on a variety of styles, shapes and fabrics, even if they’re not exactly what you envisioned as you may be pleasantly surprised by what you love. Take pictures of yourself in each dress to compare later.  Another suggestion is to bring along a trusted loved one or someone from your bridal party who can offer honest constructive feedback and support during the decision-making process. Above all, remember that the perfect dress is one that makes you feel like the most confident and beautiful version of yourself on your special day. 


Ultimately, choosing your wedding dress is such an exciting process of elimination and a shopping experience you will remember forever. Keep in mind your own personal style and aesthetic, and budget. Leave yourself a lot of time! Start looking early so you don’t need to stress, step out of your comfort zone and trust your stylist, they are there to help and guide you in the right direction. Whatever dress you choose, make sure you feel confident, comfortable and yourself in it. With patience, planning and a positive attitude you’ll be sure to find your dream dress.


Are you ready for a personalised expert opinion? If you’re ready to begin your search, make an appointment with us today and visit one of our bridal boutiques in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Perth

Don’t forget to take a peek at our tips and tricks to make gown shopping the best experience possible. 


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