The Perfect Wedding Dress

The Perfect Wedding Dress

by Philip Delamore


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781554071302
Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
Publication date: 03/04/2006
Pages: 224
Product dimensions: 7.25(w) x 10.38(h) x 0.88(d)

About the Author

Philip Delamore is a research fellow and lecturer in Fashion Design at the London College of Fashion. He is also a freelance fashion designer. He lives in southeast London, England.

Table of Contents


Ball Gown

Princess Line

Mermaid and Fishtail



Mini and Midi

The Suit










The wedding dress is such an evocative symbol of the bride. It has romantic and historical associations with the ritual of dress and the rites of ceremony, from countless princess brides encountered in fairytales as a child, to the televised and endlessly photographed weddings of royalty and celebrity that have punctuated our adulthood.

Today the wedding dress occupies a unique moment in your life. As ritual and ceremony is all but removed from our everyday experiences, the idea of wearing a special dress for only one day of your life imbues it with the significance of its symbolic heritage. While fashion may affect the silhouette, the white dress and veil have remained virtually unchanged in over 150 years.

The variety of styles, details and fabric combinations available to today's bride may, however, seem a little bewildering. If you do not know an A-line from a princess line, or a sweetheart neckline from a picture collar, then read on.

This book is intended as a sourcebook for you and a helpful guide for inspiration, ideas and visual reference, not only to help with your choice of wedding dress, but also to help communicate it to others. That picture/thousand-word analogy is never more true than when trying to communicate the abstract ideas of design and the emotions of romance to others. Use this book, along with the other reference material you've gathered from bridal stores and magazines, to build a picture both of yourself and your dress. This will help the other people involved in the process, from the shop assistant to the caterer, have a better idea of your vision. Even if you don't feel like you have much vision yet, this book will help you develop one.

First, you will need to know three things:

Know Yourself
Unless you're Jennifer
Lopez, who, let's face it, must know what kind of dress suits her best by now, you need to start with a little self-analysis. If you have never done anything traditional in your life, now is not the time to start just because you feel it is expected. The diversity of wedding experiences available are limited only by your imagination, but if you have lived a life of expectation that you would sweep down the aisle in a fairytale ball gown, then don't compromise.

You might want to think about what your favorite dress is, and if you don't have one you might like to consider that there are other options, such as a suit or more casual two piece outfit. Do you have a personality that you tend to express by the way you dress, or do you dress to blend in? Trying a few dresses at a bridal store or boutique with an honest friend can also be a good start to see what does and doesn't suit you, especially if you are not used to dressing up (listen to the honest friend). Try on a range of styles and colors, and use the experience of the staff to help you make some initial decisions about what you look good in and feel comfortable wearing. Once you have an idea of what works for you, then you can be more confident in your choice.

Know Your Budget
The dress is one of the biggest purchases for a wedding, so you need to budget for it whether you are buying a simple suit or dress off the rack, or having a couture dress made for you. Like house buying this can tend to go out of the window when you see something you like, but remember that if you are having a dress made for you there is lots of flexibility, and you can discuss how to get what you want for the budget you have. The idea of couture being the expensive option is not necessarily true.

Remember not to rush into ordering, and look at the options available to you — not only at the department stores and specialist bridal stores, but also vintage and antique clothing stores, costume and period hire specialists, and individual dressmakers. Ask friends for personal recommendations and make use of the internet to view designers' collections or even bid for a vintage piece.

Know Your Limitations
I don't mean you shouldn't do anything unexpected, but rather consider all those external factors that you may have no control over. For example, are there any religious restrictions on what you may or may not wear for the ceremony? (Jewish weddings require a veil for example.) Will your cathedral train fit in the motorcycle sidecar you are arriving at the church in? If you are getting married abroad on a beach in Hawaii for example, there may be simple practical issues of transporting your dress. Perhaps that white bikini is a better option!

Using This Book
While I have included a brief historical resume of each style — along with suggestions for whom the style may be better suited to and classic examples of the style and fabrics used — this is by no means a historical work on the wedding dress, and should not be taken as such. Many of the styles fall into several categories and it is arguable as to where to draw the boundaries between them. Some styles belong to specific periods in time, while others refer to specific constructions or cuts.

Don't be fazed by the almost overwhelming choice there appears to be out there. At the start of the 21st century you simply need to remember that a lot of weddings have preceded yours. As each bride has expressed herself through personal, religious and fashionable desires, so a myriad of styles and combinations of dresses have evolved.

Each of the chapters of this book will guide you through the basic silhouettes some enduring classics, some fashion faux pas and some of the details you will want to consider when embellishing.

Finally, perhaps it is worth remembering the words of this ancient rhyme when planning your color scheme:

    Married in white, you have chosen right,
    Married in green, ashamed to be seen,
    Married in gray you'll go far away,
    Married in red, you'11 wish yourself dead,
    Married in blue, you'll always be true,
    Married in yellow, ashamed of your fellow,
    Married in black, you'll wish yourself back,
    Married in pink, of you he will think.
    - Old English rhyme

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