Top 5 Choices for Short Brides

If you are searching for best petite wedding dresses for short brides, either for yourself or someone you are close to, this is the post for you, by a short girl who has gone through that journey. A very happy journey, but it could also be stressful.

If you are a petite girl, you may have been struggling to find clothing that fits you your entire life.  You have the choices of a few (not enough) petite fashion designers, and you could get by with certain styles of regular sizes (although you may have to take a lot of them to the tailors).  Of course you may even have picked out a few things here and there in the junior department.

You have made it through the dating scene and found the right guy, and finally, he popped the question.  Now, here comes your big day!

Have you been dreaming about this day since a little girl? Now, here comes the biggest question for your wedding day.

What are the best petite wedding dresses?

Given how difficult it has been for petite women to find anything that fits them, not surprisingly, it is not any easier to find the wedding dresses for petite brides.

I went through this, so I can speak from my own experiences. This is me and my maid of honor before the rehearsal.

wedding dresses for short brides

There are not that many designers who make wedding dresses with the need of petite brides in mind, and it seems inevitable you always have to take them to the tailors.

Still, it is useful to understand what to look for when you are searching for that one dress for your special day and know what works and what doesn’t, before you say yes to the dress.

Before I dive into the best petite wedding dresses, I highly recommend you also read my other posts on:

How to Choose Wedding Dresses for your Body Type

Best Wedding Dresses for Pear Shape

What kind of petite wedding dresses works?What doesn’t?

I have made this video you can watch. Be sure to also read through this post, as it gives you full details of what you should be looking for.

Okay, ever since you were a little girl, you may have decided you want to look like a princess on this special day of yours.  What does a princess wear?  Of course a big puffy white wedding gown with a veil dragging on the floor!  Haven’t we been implanted this idea since we don’t even remember when?

Now here is the reality.  Those big puffy ball gowns are not very flattering for petite brides.  I knew that from first hand experiences.

When I was shopping for my dress, I had my eyes set on those Vera Wang for David’s Bridal collection.  For a fraction of the price, I could enjoy the hottest designer Vera Wang. It doesn’t get better than that, right?

So I went to David’s Bridal and tried on all the puffy gowns they had.  None of them looked flattering on me.  Some of them looked gorgeous on the shelf, but just not working for me.

As I was standing in front of the mirror, I was trying to figure out what exactly isn’t working here. How come they all made me look….shorter?

wedding dresses for short brides

Yep, this is the kind of gown I am talking about.  Why is it not flattering to a short bride? I will explain to you later in this post why the puffy gowns hardly ever works for a petite woman.

After numerous try-ons, I finally found my dream dress. Looking back at my journey of searching for that right petite wedding dress, here is the first big question I want to clarify for all the short girls looking for bridal gowns.

What should you look for in wedding dresses for short brides?

Is it the right length? So that you don’t have to take to tailors to hem?

That would have solved the problem if you were looking for a petite size cocktail dress, or even bridesmaids’ dress for short girls, because in most cases, petite women are bothered by the length of the garments.

When it comes to petite wedding dresses, length is not the only thing that matters.  Why?

The vast majority wedding designers don’t make dresses according to brides’ height, unlike pants, for which petite sizing would have shorter inseam length.  So, even if the bride is 5’7″, she still has to go through rounds of fittings and alterations in order for the dress to fit well.

For most other dresses, you can just look for the petite sizes.  However, for wedding dresses, it is not as simple as finding the petite department.  If you long looking for a long wedding gown, be prepared you most likely won’t find something that’s ready to wear off the shelf (short wedding dresses are a different story).

So, what should you look for?

wedding dress for short brides

When you are going to the bridal salons to try out the wedding dresses, look for the following

Flattering silhouette sets the foundation

Silhouette is the foundation.  Have you always heard of the word but not sure what it means?

When you look at the Eiffel Tower or the Pyramid, what do you notice first? It is the outer shape.  You may not remember the color or the construction material of architecture, but you won’t forget the shape of it, i.e, the silhouette.

That is how important silhouette is in fashion, especially in petite fashion.

In fashion, there are many different silhouette, i.e. the trumpet, ballgown, mermaid, A line, princess, etc.

wedding dresses for short brides

This is an overview for you, and we will look at which shapes are most flattering to short brides later in this post.

Proportion. Proportion. Proportion.

Not all the short girls want to look taller.  It is fair enough to say that we all want our proportions to look better.

Proportion is such a key concept in petite style and it should be the core of your wedding day style too.

Wedding dresses for short brides should be constructed to elongate the legs and create the illusion of height.

Read What is Petite to understand basics of petite body features and The 9 Best Petite Fashion Tricks of All Time on how to dress to flatter petite body in general.

It should create length

Does this mean wedding dresses will look good on a short bride as long as it’s long enough?  It is not that simple.

The ideal wedding dress for short girls need to create the illusion of height through a long and lean shape.

In other words, it should go vertical, instead of horizontal.

petite wedding dresses
Photo: Unsplash

Now, do you know why big puffy gowns don’t look good on short brides?  I bet you already figured it out why.

Puffy gowns extend you horizontally, which is the opposite of length.

Choose the neckline wisely

The neckline for the wedding dress is a critical design every bride should consider in order to find the best style to flatter their shape. This has more to do with your body type, instead of your height. On the other hand, since most petite women tend to have shorter neck, going with a lower neckline generally elongates our neck.

Now you have the foundation of what you should look for in a wedding dress, you know the most important things to look for in your petite wedding dresses. Next, let’s take a look at the styles that have proven to work on shorter brides.

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5 Best Petite Bridal Gown Styles

Mermaid/Trumpet style

This is the most feminine style that flatters many different body shapes, and works perfectly for petite brides.  It hugs at the midsection and flares at the skirt like a fish tail.  For petite brides who want to ditch the ball gown wedding dresses but still are interested in a little bit of drama, the mermaid style will make you feel glamourous walking down the isle and give you the moment of “red carpet” feel.

wedding dress for petite brides

Mermaid/Trumpet style emphasizes bust and hip, so they are the best wedding dresses for petite brides who want to show off their feminine curves.  The flare skirt has moderate volume and will not overwhelm the petite frame of short brides.  Look for elevated waistline (i.e. above your natural waistline) so that your legs will look longer.

Sheath (Column) style

This style is designed in such a way that the seam runs vertically from the shoulders down to the hips.  They are meant to be one of the best wedding dresses for petite brides who love simple and minimalist design.  Many brides  love sheath dresses made from chiffon material because the drape of the fabrics really accentuate your figure and appear remarkable as you walk down the isle.

wedding gown for petite brides

Because most sheath wedding dresses are light weighted, they are perfect for outdoor weddings and especially destination weddings in a resort setting on the beach (they are so easy to pack and go and you will be ready for your big day!).  If you are a petite bride with a nice figure, let the sheath dress hug your body instantly and show off your natural curve.   Sheath wedding dresses also help butter up your figure and give you that long and lean silhouette needed by short brides.

Simple A line

A line dresses are ideal for petite brides because they hug at your hips to accentuate your waist line of your body.  Like the letter A, this style has the look of a tightened hip line that gradually broadens all through the ankle.  This style a classic wedding dress suitable for a traditional ceremony at the church or a casual ceremony, and really, it works for any other types of wedding settings too.

wedding dresses for short brides

If you are a petite plus sized bride, A line dress will work especially well for you because it instantly crates a figured silhouette and emphasize your charming assets of the body.  Now, if you are a short bride, keep in mind you want a simple A line, nothing that overwhelms your petite body frame like the exaggerated ball gown style (which also creates an A shape).  The right A line dress will make you feel the most beautiful bride of the world without too many details or accessories.

Short style

If you want to opt for something different than the traditional wedding gown, go for a short wedding dress.  There are many wedding designers who now offer short style for your special day.  Short wedding dresses never disappoint petite girls- they are one of the most obvious choices on our list for best wedding dresses for petite brides. The reason is quite simple- they show off your bare legs and make you look taller.  They are also simpler than other wedding dresses and will not look you are being worn by the dress.

wedding gown for short women

With a short wedding dress, you can feel free to get the embellishments and laces you desire without having to worry you are over accessorizing.  Short wedding dresses are suitable for petite brides who want to try something different.  They are perfect for outdoor ceremony, as it is so much easier to walk down the isle without a train dragging on the grass!  And of course, they are your best bet for destination wedding as well, given how much smaller they are than full length wedding gowns which make it super easy to pack and care for during your trip.

Empire waist design

What is empire waist?

According to Wiki, empire waist is a high waistline that cuts horizontally across the body, just below the bust. This waistline gives a long, slender look and excellent fabric drape in the skirt and allows for short, inconspicuous shaping darts.

Empire style wedding gown is defined by the raised waistline which sits just below the bust from which the rest of the dress flows down to the hem. Skimming over the hips and tummy area, this silhouette is  perfect for any short brides, and especially flattering for pear-shaped brides.

wedding gown for petite brides

The high waist line followed by the skirt of the gown will create the perfect illusion of length and perfectly camouflage the heavy bottom of the pear shape.

The waist line design is essential no matter what kind of wedding dress you are getting for your big day.

In order to emphasize your waistline, you can also wear jeweled belt and ribbon on the fitted waistline makes you look slimmer and shaped.

Soft Chiffon Wedding Dress with Empire Waist 4XLV9743
David’s Bridal $449

Finally, let’s take a look at

Where can you find petite size wedding gowns?

I had mentioned earlier it is hard to find petite wedding dresses, but here is the list I have gathered where you have a better shot.

They have the most stunning wedding dresses online! Plus, who doesn’t love the world class service of Nordstrom?

David’s Bridal

This is one of the few places which has specified “petite size wedding dresses”. On their home page, you’ll find explanation of how petite sizes are made differently.

The neckline is adjusted, and the bodice is 1″ shorter. The waistline is repositioned. The train and embellishments are adjusted and skirt is 3″ shorter.

Tadashi Shoji is a brilliant designer that specializes in formal dresses and have dressed numerous Oscar winning actresses. The great news is they do have petite sizes!

Adrianna Pappel

This is another designer that specializes in wedding and other special occasion dresses and they do have a petite department as well.

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