Buying a Short Wedding Dress: How You Can Choose Your Perfect Style

Buying a Short Wedding Dress: How You Can Choose Your Perfect Style


Traditionally wedding gowns were long, flowing, elegant pieces that commanded attention from everyone in the room. Recently, there is a trend toward shorter wedding dresses that can fit into either a formal or more casual setting. Deciding on how short the dress should be, what type of fabric to use and what style suits both your figure and the occasion should be considered when searching for a short wedding dress.


Let's discuss the different dress lengths you can choose from.


Tea Length Dress


A tea length dress falls to the knee and is considered a conservative style of dress and often thought to be the more formal option for a wedding. The dress still shows part of the leg, giving the appearance of greater height and elegance. Tea length dresses may take on a more classic, vintage look when certain accessories are added. The length is more of a traditional, short wedding dress style.


Cocktail Length Dress


When you choose a dress that falls just above the knee, it is classified as a cocktail length dress and provides a fun, sexy and charming look for a wedding dress. The cocktail length shows off more of your leg, making the leg appear longer. The shorter length of the dress is perfect for warm weather weddings, outdoor ceremonies and even destination beach weddings. The shorter style isn't recommended for formal weddings or religious ceremonies within a church setting but, the stylish and fun look of a cocktail length dress is perfect for a less fussy occasion. Or as a reception dress


Along with the actual length of the dress, you should consider the silhouettes or actual design of the dress. Not all designs and styles will suit each body type or preference so having an idea of different silhouettes you can pick from will help you decide.


A-Line or Princess


The first style to consider is the A-Line or Princess silhouette. This is the most commonly chosen style by brides simply due to its flattering look on the frame. It is ideal for a wide variety of body types due to the pulling in at the waist and flaring  out above the hips down to the hem line. This creates the A shape of the dress. The flare will vary from dress to dress, some being more extreme than others. The waist is hidden from the beginning of the flare, which can give the illusion of height to the wearer. If you think your thigh bottom or hips are too large,an A line dress is perfect for disguising that


Ball Gown


Traditionally ball gown dresses reached the floor and gave off an impressive appearance for a wedding dress. Shorter length dresses can also feature a ball gown look however, and tends to be more playful and fun The dress consists of a tight bodice with a bold flare that begins just below the natural waist of the bride. The dress is another great one for hiding larger hips and can add curves to the bride if desired. The ball gown dress may look more classic or feature a fun and frilly look to it.


Empire Waist


A modern twist on a classic style, the Empire Waist dress boasts a high waist line – just below the bust and falls away into a gentle flare. A bride can choose from a tighter fit or a loose, sheath-like fit that falls to the desired length. The Empire Waist dress will draw the eye upwards toward the neckline so brides will a smaller bust may enjoy the look it gives them.




A less traditional style of dress is the Mermaid, which fits snugly against the body, showing off all the natural curves of the wearer. The bottom of the dress flares out, either subtly or more dramatically which will create two very distinct looks. The Mermaid dress is great for brides with confidence in their body shape and enjoy a touch of the modern flair.




A simple, yet very stylish short wedding dress silhouette is the Sheath dress or column dress. The dress has no discernible waist and falls straight down from the top of the dress all the way to the bottom. It may hug the body's natural curves, accentuating the bride's form; and also hang loose in other areas. The style is great for most body types and it can hide the wearer's weaker areas and highlight strengths. You should choose a lighter material if you pick a Sheath dress though, lighter materials will flex and flow more freely than heavier materials will.


Dress Fabrics


It's not just about the style and length of the dress that matters but the fabrics you choose as well. If you want to dance and have fun all night, you need to pick a fabric that is looser fitting. Here are some examples of fabrics to choose from.




Damask has a noticeable pattern weaved throughout the fabric and may be made using many varieties of fibres and materials. Damask dresses usually have some sort of beading and/or embroidery on them, giving them a classic and detailed look. This is a great choice for a more formal wedding setting.


Lace Dress


Lace dresses are usually made up from other forms of fabric and fibres that work together to create a patterned open-look appearance. Lace may be overlaid upon other layers of material or you can wear it directly over the skin itself, letting it be visible underneath the dress. Lace dresses give a very vintage feel to a style and can be used to dress up a plain dress such as silk or to add some detail.


Silk and Chiffon Dress


A soft and luxurious material, silk is combined with nylon to create chiffon fabric. Chiffon is a sheer and lightweight material which may be layered to add a floating type quality to any fine dress. This fabric should only be chosen if the wedding is indoors to protect the material from damage.




Another lightweight material, created from satin is charmeuse. This material is great for a short wedding dress simply due to its lightweight qualities and the ability to suit a variety of silhouettes. It works well when paired with the Mermaid, Sheath and Empire styles because of its thin form and ability to fall gracefully over the body. It is soft on the skin and makes for a great under-layer for a dress too.


Cotton Dress


You might not think of cotton as an ideal material for a wedding dress but this natural fibre makes for a casual and very comfortable dress. The cotton gives a natural feel to the dress and makes it a much more enjoyable fit for a long ceremony and reception day. You can also choose linen which is made from the flax-seed plant and gives the same feel and texture to a dress that cotton does.