Matching Your Dress To Your Venue

Years ago, a friend of mine was talking about her cousins wedding and mentioned that she didn’t think the choice of dress fit the venue they were married at. “She had a cathedral style dress and veil but were married in a garden.” she exclaimed. I remember thinking to myself that this was an odd comment to make and I didn’t understand why it would be a big deal. In my mind I was thinking, “Surly any wedding dress can be worn at any venue right?” 

However over the years I have come to see my friends point of view. As I look back on the weddings I have photographed, there are some that I personally think stand out more than others. The main reason being that many elements of the wedding match a certain style or aesthetic, including the dress. I realized then that when picking a wedding dress, brides should consider the type of venue they choose because it really does make a difference.

Ball Gowns say "Luxury"

Lets start with Ball Gowns. Many brides want to feel like a princess on their big day and choose a dress to match that look. When you think "Disney princess", you automatically think big elaborate ball gown right? Those types of dresses really do look best in large elaborately decorated venues such as ball rooms, cathedrals, castles, botanical gardens and other fairy tale looking places. A ball gown says luxury and royalty, so it only makes sense to have your wedding in a venue that says the same. 

Something Simple

On the other side of the spectrum, a small elopement pairs perfectly with a simple knee high dress or cute jumpsuit! Then accessorized with a small bouquet. Couples who elope tend to just want to be married and find they do not want, or need all the extras to make it happen. However any kind of wedding day is cause for celebration, even when eloping, so by all means, get dressed up on your special day! Keep things simple and classy, and you'll be picture perfect!

The Romantic Vibe

Outdoor weddings such as gardens, beaches, vineyards and forests have a softer, romantic vibe. So a softer and romantic style dress looks best in these venues. There are many different styles of dresses that fit this category so you have a much wider range of to choose from. Many of these dresses are form fitting, have lace or beading, and have a lot of embellishment. Some perfect examples of these are boho dresses, long vintage gowns, and lace slip dresses. Think dreamy and fantasy, like medieval or elvish, (my personal favourite). 

The Contemporary Bride

If you are a modern kind of bride and your venue is very industrial, glassy, and streamlined, then a sleek and simple dress is perfect for you. These dresses range anywhere from ball gowns to slip dresses, but all have a clean and contemporary look. A modern looking museum, conference centre, or hall is a great venue for a modern styled ball gown. Modern vineyards and art galleries pair well with silk slip dresses or other simple dresses.

These venues are also a perfect fit for high fashion and editorial type wedding gowns. Because the these venues tend to be minimalist and streamlined, all the focus is put on the decor and the couple. If you want to look like you belong on a runway or editorial magazine, then you can't beat a dramatic dress in a modern location!

Function vs. Fashion

Now that we have gone through matching venues and dresses based of style, let's talk a little about the functionality of your dress. Let’s start with trains. Many wedding dresses come with a train that trails behind the bride as she walks down the aisle. They are lovely and give the feeling of luxury and/or romance. But after photographing many dresses with trains, I would say they are best left for venues either indoors or on well manicured grounds such as a golf course or botanical garden. This is true for long veils as well. Why? Because many trains and veils are made of tulle or lace and are very delicate. They tend to pick up grass, leaves, and twigs. I have had to unsnag many a bride from vines at vineyards, from bushes in forests and from debris at beaches. I have also witnessed a few of them get torn this way. Some wedding dresses have trains made from more durable fabric which lessens the chance of getting snagged on something. However, if you want to play it safe, long veils and trains are best worn in venues that are less likely to ruin them.

Choose Wisely

Lastly, lets chat about layered dresses and tulle. Full skirts often get that look from having multiple layers of fabric or tulle. Again it’s a beautiful look but it can come with one particular problem: layers of delicate fabric and tulle act like a big net which can trap all sorts of insects inside them. I honestly do not understand how bugs fly find their ways into these dresses and get caught up in it, but it happens all the time! On occasion, I have witnessed a bride or bridesmaid get stung because a bee or wasp found it's way into their dress! But usually there's no harm done. You will just have to spend time finding which layer your insect friend is trapped in and free the little bugger. But if this is your style of dress, just be prepared to pick out bugs from your layers, unless your entire wedding is inside. 

Choosing a the perfect dress is important and hopefully this post has helped you narrow down your search. Ultimately, it’s up to you to choose the right dress for your special day and honestly, the most important aspect of your dress is that you feel beautiful in it.