Almost every year I find myself working with brides to help them find the perfect gown for their perfect day. For me, the ideal gown is one that will highlight their best assets and detract from their less flattering features.

This case study is about an athletic bride, a rock climber, hula hooper and yoga instructor. As a quick reference, other possible body shapes include heart shapes, trilliants, ovals, and heart on hearts.  You can check back to this site where I will be adding an article about each shape as a bride but meanwhile, let’s get back to the bride at hand.

This bride was a classic emerald shape meaning that she had an athletic build with her shoulders, hips and waist about the same size. As an athletic adventurous woman, Stephanie started her wedding dress quest with the vision of a tea length dress, nothing fancy or bridal. Since I had known her fiance for several years, and saw the love they shared, I felt this would be her once in a lifetime wedding. I also knew that the groom’s style was simple, classic, elegant and romantic.

Due to these factors, and the fact that I am a firm believer in wearing a gorgeous gown whenever possible, I wanted to give her the sensation of wearing an actual wedding gown. If she decided at that point to stay simple and not wear a gown, that was fine. But I knew that this was her once-in-a -lifetime chance to be in a full regalia and I felt it was important to at least put her in several versions of gowns from simple to floor length with train so that she could make an educated decision.

Well, needless to say, once this bride-to-be experienced the Cinderella feeling of wearing a ‘real’ wedding gown, there was no turning back. She quickly embraced the fun and beauty of wearing a once in a lifetime gown!

The gown we ended up selecting was simple and classic. The A-Line was a perfect choice knowing that a true ball gown would be way too much for this particular bride. The key ingredients of a sweetheart neckline and an A-Line construction were included.

I really wanted to build a few curves into her athletic shape and the sweetheart neckline combined with diagonal pleating in a criss-cross pattern added effortless curves. The A-line shape with asymmetrical pleating along the full bodice added curves in all of the right places. The ivory fabric was chosen because it was perfect for her complexion and the floating pearl necklace and earrings were her something borrowed from me!

This close up photo shows the details included on this gown. Note the asymmetrical layering and floral embellishment at the hip. Both of these, along with the sweetheart bodice and neckline added curves where it counts.

This gown had just enough train to work for an outdoor wedding and the bride and groom were able to kick up their heels in the surf after the wedding with the gown bustled!

And they live happily ever after with baby Bella now in their life!


For Your Quick Reference:

For heart shapes, I add weight below the waist to balance the top of the dress with the bottom.


For the emerald shapes, I build in curves.


 Heart on Heart Shapes need to keep their balance and accentuate their curves. If you’ve got it, flaunt it!


For the inverted heart or trilliant, I add volume on the top.


When styling oval shapes I create a visual waistline and often choose empire construction.


Check back often for more wedding gown articles. This is the first in the Gown For Every Body series.