Wearing a Short Wedding Dress? Keep These Styling Tips in Mind

Look and feel your best on the big day.

short wedding dress bride veil
Photo: Ashley Ludaescher Photography

Whether you're wearing a short dress for your rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony and reception, or changing into one for your party alone, there are a few things you need to consider to ensure you look and feel great throughout any event. That's why we asked two professionals to share their best styling tips for brides who favor short looks. Follow these five pieces of advice to masterfully pull off a short (or high-low) hemline at your wedding event.

Remember that undergarment sizing is key.

The right shapewear can make you feel great, but the opposite is true if you choose the wrong size. Heidi Johnson of Sew Heidi says, "I always think wearing a good pair of Spanx is great because it makes things smooth," but she points out that the shorts can often ride up and cause discomfort if you choose the wrong size. She recommends trying on several different sizes with and without your dress, then giving your final purchase a test run prior your wedding day. Bringing them to your wedding dress fitting is even better.

And know that not all undergarment styles are made even.

Size isn't the only important factor when it comes to shapewear. Johnson also suggests trying on a few different styles to see what you like the best and feel most comfortable in. Some brides may be most comfortable in a bodysuit with a low back that has shorts built into it while others may feel better in something like nude dance shorts.

Take preventative measures against thigh chafing.

In Johnson's experience, the thing that makes undergarment shorts so uncomfortable is inevitable thigh chafing. To prevent any discomfort, she recommends picking up a blister blocker from the local drugstore. It's used primarily as a clear barrier to prevent friction on the skin with uncomfortable shoes, but doubles as chafing protection. In a pinch, baby powder can also help.

Pair your short dress with a high heel.

Claudia Hanlin of the Wedding Library finds that most brides are used to wearing short dresses, so many women choose to trade in their long, layered gowns for something cocktail-length for the reception. If you're changing into a shorter number for the reception, you may need a change of shoes, too. Shorter styles often call for something a little more playful, and a high heel will show off your legs. Of course, Hanlin says to consider your own comfort level. If you're wearing heels for the ceremony and are nervous you won't be able to dance in a pair, too, swap them for a fancy pair of flats.

Have fun with it.

Hanlin notes that many brides get really excited about changing into a shorter, more casual dress as the night progresses. Where a bride may have started off with something more traditional for the ceremony and the beginning of the reception, she might opt for something totally different that includes feathers or sequins or some detail that she wouldn't otherwise have incorporated in her outfit. She says, "I think [changing into a shorter dress] actually gives girls confidence to go a little crazier and have fun with it."

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