You've always known she's beautiful. On her wedding day, you want everyone else to see it too. As mothers, sisters and bridesmaids, it is often your job to help the bride find that perfect dress. She's asking for your advice, so know before you go how to help her find a heart-stopping bridal gown.

Bride's bodies come in all sizes and shapes. Luckily so! It is part of what makes us unique and lovable. There are more body types than science can fit into a little body shape chart, but for simplicity sake, and as a general guide, we will use four basic types to explain the principle behind choosing a style that enhances the bride's body type.

As far as wedding dresses go there are basically 5 styles:

  • A-Line or Princess

  • Empire

  • Column

  • Ball Gowns

  • Mermaid

As you will discover, the endless variations of these styles will allow every bride to find her perfect match.

Pear, Bell or "A" shape

A pear or bell shaped body type will have wider hips and narrower shoulders. The effect you want to create is to take away attention from the hip section and focus on the beautiful neck and shoulders. Think along the lines of the empire style dress. The empire square neckline can either create a fuller bust or modestly conceal a larger one. Another ideal style for more slender pear shape figures is the ball gown.

Apple or "V" shape

Apple shapes have broader shoulders, narrower hips and slim legs. From the shoulders to the bottom of the hips will form a "v". You will want to look for a style that highlights the waistline to balance out the shoulders. Why not suggest a ball gown or an a-line with an attention grabbing bodice?

Banana, Ruler, or "I" shape

Those with a banana or "I" shapes, are slender and have a minimum of curves. What you are trying to achieve is to create the illusion of a more curvy body by adding embellishments around the waistline. The column or mermaid styles favor slender bodies, but you might also want to consider the empire style to enhance the bust.

Hourglass, 8 or "X" shape

Brides with the hourglass shape have wonderful natural curves and can be flexible in their choice. Column or mermaid styles may be less appropriate depending on whether she is slender or full figured since they can show off extra pounds. A ball gown or empire waistline will compliment natural curves.

Once the bride has settled on the basic wedding dress design, you can get creative with details like fabric, sleeves, waistlines or skirt types and lengths. Adding embellishments like lace and beads can create a more, or less, formal dress and enhance, or hide, particular areas of her anatomy.

With a little know-how, you can make your bride glow. Give positive, uplifting opinions, but be honest about how a dress accentuates her features. She's counting on her family to help her look her best. She'll be looking back at these pictures for a lifetime. You want her to know she's the most beautiful woman in the world on her wedding day.

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