How to choose a wedding gown


Every bride wants a great dress for her big day--but these days that can mean anything from a traditional white gown to a slinky, sexy number. Carley Roney of The Knot runs down the latest trends for any bride-to-be who is about to choose a wedding gown.

How to choose a wedding gown

Probably the most important dress for any woman is her wedding dress. Whether you know exactly what you want or you are having a tough time deciding there are some things you should consider.


  • The sexy, slim skirt is really the wedding look of the moment.
  • Wedding dresses are becoming much less traditional in order to help the bride feel like a star.
  • You can even look beyond white or ivory wedding dresses.
  • There is a predominance of café and rich and creamy colored wedding dresses, which impart a certain level of elegance.
  • Shorter wedding dresses are being seen more on the runways and in city weddings.
  • The bolero is becoming very popular.


  • Full-length wedding dresses are still the choice for most brides.

Finding Your Style

  • There is the traditional wedding dress, the sexy wedding dress and the dress that is in between.
  • The wedding dress that is in between traditional and sexy might be a strapless, lace dress that has a flare at the bottom. So it is a little body hugging but has some bride to it.


  • Usually you will have three fittings for your wedding dress: one fitting when you order the dress, one maybe a month or so before the wedding and one that is a week before the wedding.



LISA:  Hi I'm Lisa Birnbach for Is there any dress more important to a woman than her wedding gown? At least her first wedding gown? You may have a very clear idea of what you want or your head may be swimming with all of the choices. Here to help us sort through is Carley Roney, editor in chief of whose new book is The Knot Book of Wedding Lists. Well Carley change is constantly in the air for wedding gowns. I now read that the red carpet is more predictive of what people want than the traditional wedding gown.

CARLEY: Wedding gowns have gotten very glamorous. There's certainly those big, beautiful traditional ball gowns out there, but the sexy, slim skirt is really the wedding look of the moment. It's the straight down through the hips, maybe a little flair at the bottom so you still feel a little bit like a bride. But that is the hot trend now, brides want to show off these bodies they've been working so hard on. They want that celebrity feel. They're a little bit older; that's one of the reasons why fashions are changing. They're much more fashion forward, like if I'm going to drop two to who knows how much on a wedding dress, I want to it to be something that makes me look like a star and the looks that they're seeing on the red carpet on their favorite celebrities are much more body-hugging, are much less traditional and that is the look that many brides want to present these days. 

LISA:  But, still white or ivory predominantly? 

CARLEY:  That's not the case anymore. There's even cafe colored wedding dresses. Much more predominance towards the rich, creamy colors because they actually look and feel more expensive. There's a sort of elegance to them that a stark white dress doesn't have. 

LISA:  Carley what about length? Are brides still opting for a full-length gown?

CARLEY: Full-length wedding dresses are still by far the standard, but you are seeing a lot more short dresses on the runway and girls who are wearing them.

LISA:  So the two main strains I guess in wedding dresses are traditional princessy and sexy?

CARLEY:  There's traditional and then there's sexy and there's the in-between dress. It's often the beautiful, strapless lace dress with a flair at the body. So it's a little bit body-hugging and it also has some bride in it. It's really right there in the middle that most dresses are made today--the trumpet skirt--and that's what's popular in fashion and so it's working very well.

LISA:  How many fittings?

CARLEY:  There's usually three fittings. One is first when you buy the gown, even though most gowns are custom made, they still you know what the get your sizing right and really have some alteration work just to do from the basic day. So there's one at that sort of six month mark after you order the dress. And then of course you have one in sort of the month before the wedding and then there's one literally like a week before the wedding just in case you know put on, dropped a couple of pounds. They want to make sure it actually fits on your wedding day.

LISA:  That probably happens a lot right?

CARLEY: It happens a lot and that's one of the things we are very cautionary about. A lot of time people go on these crash diets for two weeks before their wedding and don't realize they just had their significant fitting and wake up on their wedding morning and be like whoops. I'm swimming in my dress. It's not a good thing.

LISA: So don't go on a crash diet.

CARLEY:  It also turns you into a lunatic. None of us need any more stress as a bride or a friend of the bride. 

LISA:  And if you're bridezilla--

CARLEY:  It's bridezilla on steroids. 

LISA:  Thank you Carley. For I'm Lisa Birnbach.



meet theexpert
  • Carley Roney

    Carley Roney Editor-in-Chief, The Knot Carley Roney is editor-in-chief of The Knot, the number one wedding brand worldwide, as well as The Nest. She has authored nine wedding books for The Knot and appears regularly on TV shows such as Oprah, Live with Regis and Kelly, The View and Today. more about this expert »