For any of us 5’ 3” or under, we’ve likely experienced that ‘why is everything made to fit a supermodel’ frustration when shopping on the high street with hemlines and sleeves far too long for us.
And it’s fair to say that wedding dress shopping as a petite person can throw up a few extra challenges too. But fear not, as we’re here to assure you that by shopping at a bridal boutique where you will be guided by professional stylists and have your dress altered by an experienced seamstress, you can still make that dream dress vision come true.
Just as with every bride that walks through our pretty pink door, we’ll take the time to find out all about you, your style and the type of wedding you’re planning. Then, we’ll help you find a dress to perfectly reflect those personal elements whilst ensuring it’s the ideal fit for your figure too.
So, while you book and await your bridal experience appointment at our wonderful North Yorkshire bridal boutique, we’re bringing you our #pearlsofwisdom on wedding dress shopping as a petite bride. Prepare for top tips, flattering styles and silhouettes, and our pick of the gorgeous petite-friendly wedding gowns you’ll find hanging on our shiny rails.
Shopping For A Wedding Dress As A Petite Bride
Here at The Little Pearl, we recognise that petite brides come in all shapes and sizes, from those smaller in height or more slender in their frame to those with a modest bust. And so we take a tailored approach with all to find a dress design that will banish any body hang-ups and boost self-love and confidence.
For brides on the shorter side, our key advice is to look for dress silhouettes that will elongate the body and that won’t overwhelm your small frame. So, that generally means more fitted dresses made from lightweight fabrics that don’t feature super bold detailing or too much volume. Chic simplicity is a winning style for short brides, making pared-back designs a top choice, but that doesn’t mean detail is a complete no-go. Our top tip here would be to look to designs with vertical running patterns to give the appearance of height and to favour ‘flat’ delicate detailing, so embroidery and dainty beadwork rather than oversize prints and bold 3D appliques. Finally, neckline-wise deep, plunging Vs will be your BFF by helping to ‘stretch’ out the body.
Brides with slender figures will generally be looking to create the illusion of curves. As such, we’d recommend looking to figure-hugging dress styles to enhance the appearance of curves or fit-n-flare style designs that cinch in at the waist to create shape. On the top half, look to add interest with detailing, be it embroidery, lace or embellishment. On the bottom half, if you have features you want to show off, like a great bum, go for a fitted gown that will grip in the right places. Meanwhile, if you prefer a princess look, opt for a more classic or detailed skirt design. In terms of the neckline, gowns with straps, worn on or off the shoulders, can help give them the impression of a curvier frame.
Being a smaller-busted bride should be seen as no bad thing, as the need for less support gives you a wider choice of dresses. Embrace your more modest bust and go for a daring deep plunge, illusion neckline, or even a backless dress. Alternatively, if you’d rather create the illusion of a fuller bust, look to design elements that will soften and enhance this area of the body, such as off-shoulder straps and sweetheart necklines. As a smaller-busted bride, you’ll also likely find beautiful high-neck and halterneck dress designs to be a flattering fit on your frame. Dresses that cinch in at the waist or those with a corseted structure are also favoured for creating top-half curves. Another approach is to detract from the chest area by opting for a dress that brings attention to the lower half of the body, such as one with a high leg split or detailing on the skirt or train.
Wedding Dress Shapes To Suit Petite Figures
The question “what are the best dress shapes for petite brides” is one that comes up time again, so here are the ones that tend to rein supreme with our smaller figured #PearlsGirls:
A sheath wedding dress has a beautifully-streamlined silhouette and offers an understated way for brides to flaunt their figure. Such designs fit snug to the body and are often made in plain, lightweight fabrics but may have delicate detailing added in lace, cut-out or illusion panels. The sleek, unfussy nature of this dress style means it tends to appeal to those with slender figures as well as shorter brides who love its vertical seams, which help elongate the body.
Mermaid & Trumpet
Mermaid and trumpet gowns often tick boxes for petite brides in search of romance, sexiness and drama….or a combination of all three! A mermaid gown's highly-impactful, fitted silhouette emphasises the hips, waist and bum before dramatically flaring out from the knee. The elongated waistline gives the impression of height, while the flare below the knee helps balance out the body’s proportions. A trumpet silhouette is similar in shape but flares out more softly and from higher up the leg for a more understated bridal look.
A-line & Fit-n-Flare
The universally flattering A-line gown is fitted on the top half and flares gently at the waist. It’s less voluminous than a classic ballgown but still offers those pretty princess vibes and suits a host of body shapes, from petite to curvy. Those on the shorter side tend to favour A-lines with a high empire waistline for an extra boost in the height department. A fit-n-flare, meanwhile, is a great option for those wanting to up the sexiness as it’s fitted across the bust, waist and hips and then flares at the thighs for a more striking big-day look.
To learn more about what dress shapes best suit different figures, take a look at our Quick Guide To Wedding Dress Styles blog post.
Our Top Wedding Dress Picks For Petite Brides
So, dress shopping prep work covered, let’s unveil our top wedding dress picks for petite brides from the collections we currently have in stock at our North Yorkshire bridal boutique.
7664 by Stella York
Chic and sophisticated, Stella York’s 7664 dress offers both delicate detailing and pared-back pretty. Its sleek column silhouette and vertical seams tick boxes for short brides, while its sheer lace open back and cut-away detailing are plus points for modest busted brides.
Adair by Evie Young
For petite brides in search of a classic bridal design with a modern twist, Adair is the one! Featuring a flattering sweetheart neckline and soft off-shoulder straps, this dreamy A-line gown cinches in beautifully at the waist before giving way to a luxe skirt that will impress without the overwhelm.
Invision by Rachel Rose
The trumpet Invision gown by Rachel Rose is a dream choice for short, slender and smaller busted brides! Low plunging neckline and back. Check! Vertical-running, embroidered detail. Check! Curve accentuating silhouette! Check. Lightweight fabric. Check.
7519 by Stella York
A luxurious lace fit-n-flare dress, style 7519 by Stella York, is an ideal choice for petite brides who want to bring some detail and drama to the aisle. We love its high-waist illusion bodice adorned with delicate sequin lace, not to mention that deep V-shaped back complete with dainty beaded detail.
Sutton by Evie Young
A stunning example of when less is more, we adore Sutton's chic, simplistic nature. Lending itself effortlessly to brides with smaller frames and busts, this divine sheath dress boasts a high-waist corseted bodice with clean, vertical lines, sweetheart neckline and slinky straps.
Calvin by Wtoo
Another one for brides keen to turn heads, Calvin is an attention-grabbing, fit-n-flare silhouette with intricate detailing that’s luxe without being overpowering. Its deep plunging neckline is beautifully balanced by the frothy, lightweight skirt, while its on-trend puff sleeves add extra interest and shape.
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