Finding the perfect gown for a short bride can be tricky. Many gowns are designed with long skirts and trains, so you’ll probably have to get alterations. In terms of the overall silhouette, the key is to find something that accentuates your figure and highlights your frame in a beautiful way.
To ensure a great fit, we’ve gathered all the tips and tricks to finding “the one” for short and petite brides. Before you start your wedding dress search, keep these ideas in mind:
Stay monochrome. Try to find a gown that uses the same material throughout, without any over-the-top detail. Some detail is okay, but smooth fabrics like stretch satin and crepe are ideal. Smoother fabrics help to visually elongate your stature, creating clean vertical lines.
Avoid horizontal stripes. Instead, look for vertical pleats on the skirt, vertical stitching on the bodice, and a long line of buttons on the back. These options create a flattering silhouette and will make you look taller. If you choose to add a belt or ribbon, choose the same color pattern.
Choose a high-waisted design. An empire waist gown, meaning the waistline cuts just below the bust, makes your legs appear longer. A soft, lightweight skirt is ideal here. We also love this silhouette for a plus-size bride.
Be mindful of the length. As mentioned above, you will most likely need alterations, so avoiding a long train will help cut down costs. That also means skipping the long, chapel-length veils.
Don’t hide your beauty. Dramatic ball gowns with a full, fluffy skirt will make you appear shorter instead of taller. Puffy shoulders and voluminous fabrics and details will also create a disproportion and make you look boxy.
Pump up your shoe game. To complete your wedding-day look, add a pair of high heels—from fancy stilettos to laid-back espadrilles. Comfort is key, so be sure to wear them around the house to break them in. This is a great idea if the height difference between you and your future spouse is significantly different.
Now that you know what to look for, check out some of our favorite wedding dress styles and silhouettes for short brides:
One of the most feminine silhouettes for a wedding gown is the mermaid/trumpet style. This style is super flattering and emphasizes a bride’s bust and hips. It’s a great option for the petite bride looking to show off her curves. The flared skirt brings a little volume (not to mention drama) and won’t overwhelm a shorter frame. If you want to make your legs look even longer, go for a waistline higher than your natural waist.
We found two totally different looks here: a strapless, stretch satin mermaid gown and a bold, fitted trumpet gown. The satin gown is classic, with a straight neckline and satin buttons. The embroidered details on the trumpet gown are just enough to add some dimension without overpowering the silhouette.
A common style for a shorter bride is the column or sheath gown. The simple silhouette is perfect for the bride who likes minimal design or wants something slinky to show off her curves. The vertical seam really helps elongate the body—running from the shoulders down to the hips. It’s also a great option for an outdoor wedding, since most of these dresses come in a lightweight fabric.
The off-the-shoulder sheath gown on the left is super elegant and made of flowy, crepe material. The drapery creates a nice shape as well. Another stunning choice is the sheath Imari gown. The scallop lace detail accents the gown and brings modern flair to the silhouette.
An A-line gown is another great option for a petite bride—the silhouette hugs your hips to accentuate your waistline. We especially love an A-line gown with a defined empire waist, which helps create that elongated effect. This style is perfect for any type of wedding, from a casual outdoor ceremony to a traditional church wedding.
For the modern bride, the clean lines on the Persephone gown on the right are perfect. The V-neck is classy, and the romantic Coco jacquard fabric adds a whimsical touch. If you’re looking for some bling, the jewel-neck tulle-and-sequin gown is amazing. We love the sheer illusion boned bodice and scalloped keyhole. The lace applique adds a touch of vintage romance. Both skirts come with a longer train, but you could shorten the hem or add a bustle for a shorter bride.
Lastly, you can’t go wrong with a short wedding dress. This style is super trendy today and is totally functional for any type of wedding. Shorter brides will love showing off their legs, and you’ll look taller. Plus, what a great way to show off some killer shoes! The best part is that you can have all the embellishments you want without disrupting your silhouette.
The Loki off-the-shoulder lace dress is amazing. We love the fun tiers and the scalloped lace neckline. The flounce sleeves are whimsical and romantic—a duo made in heaven. For a dressier version of a simple gown, this cami-neckline midi dress brings volume through a sheer tulle overlay. The flowy skirt is totally twirl-worthy, meaning you’ll be free to dance and sway all night long.