How To Choose Your Perfect Wedding Dress 101: Learn The Style

wedding dress shoppingCredit: DelicaBridal

This is it! It’s finally here, it’s time to finally buy (or rent) your very own gown of your dreams. For me, personally, this has to be THE most exciting, fun filled activity of planning your wedding and one that we are sure you’ve been looking forward to since the engagement ring was barely on your finger. As with most significant moments in planning a wedding, we’re sure you have hundreds of little anxieties which are running riot through your mind.

These were my most common worries:

What do the different styles of dress mean? 
What if I never find the ‘one’?
What if I look ‘fat’ or ‘frumpy’?  

Suffering from any similar worries? Of course you are. The dress is the single most important part of your wedding look and finding something exquisite is top of the agenda. Before you go bridal shopping it’s important you have a little understanding of the type of dress you’re looking for and how each style can complement (or not) your figure.

Although there is no exact science behind finding a wedding dress, it really is a case of trying dress after beautiful gown after stunning dress on (oh yes!), there are several theories between matching your body figure with a dress style that can make visiting the gown shop a little easier and a whole lot more fun.

Oh, and if you’re still struggling, why not take our Wedding Dress Style Quiz! 

Let’s start with getting to know your body type…

Understanding Your Body Type

From apples to pears, hourglasses to rectangles, understanding body shapes and trying to figure out which body shape you slot into can be a little confusing. The most important element to remember is that these shapes are just a guide. While the fashion industry likes to define each body shape in extreme detail, we’ve listed below the 4 most important body shapes when it comes to choosing a wedding dress. Try to figure out which body shape you match, but don’t worry if you can’t find one exactly right for you.

PearCredit: PlusModelMag

Pear: (Also referred to as “Inverted Triangle”)

Ladies with this body figure are quite often referred to as the “pear” and will be slender through the neck, shoulders and bust while carrying more weight below the waist.

Main Traits:

– Smaller Bust
– Narrow Shoulders
– Wide Hips

Celebrity Pear: Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian Celebrity Pear

Credit: Look-Fabulous

rectangleCredit: PlusModelMag

Rectangle: (Also referred to as “Banana” “Slender”)

Ladies with this body figure are quite often referred to as the “rectangle” and will have shoulders and hips that are approximately the same width.

Main Traits:

– Shoulders and hips are approximately at the same width
– Typically athletic or slim build

Celebrity Rectangle: Cameron Diaz

cameron diazCredit: TheFashionDealer

HourglassCredit: PlusModelMag


Ladies with this body figure are quite often referred to as the “hourglass” and will often have shoulders and hips that are approximately the same width, but with a clearly defined waist.

Main Traits:

– Shoulder and hip approximately the same width
– Clearly defined waist
– Defined body “curves”

Celebrity Hourglass: Beyoncé Knowles

Beyonce Hourglass figureCredit: BronzeMagOnline

Apple Body ShapeCredit: PlusModelMag

Apple: (Also referred to as “Triangle”)

Ladies with this body figure are quite often referred to as the “apple” and will often have a big bust with their weight distributed above the hips and around the stomach.

Main Traits:

– A well endowed bust
– Carry weight above the hips
– Undefined waist line

Celebrity Apple: Catherine Zita Jones

Catherine Zita Jones

Credit: LookFabulous

Understanding Dress Styles

The type of dress you decide to go for will depend on a million and one factors. One of those factors is the type of dress style you’re looking for and how that complements your figure. There are 6 main dress styles known by their design names as The Ball Gown, The A Line, The Trumpet, The Mermaid, The Sheath, and finally, The Mini. Each differ in their fit and flow, and can be found in hundreds of variations in Bridal stores across the country. Understanding dress styles, the themes they match and the figures they complement should make picking your wedding dress so much easier.

From the dramatic sheath to the sassy mermaid; get clued up on this vital wedding lingo!

From the dramatic sheath to the sassy mermaid; get clued up on this vital wedding lingo!

Ball Gown EditedCredit: PreownedWeddingDresses

Ball Gown: 

You’re the princess Bride and you deserve a dress to match. Let your inner fairy tale blossom with the Ball Gown style. Ideal for ladies looking for a classic or modern affair, this dress comes fitted at the bodice and flares into a full skirt.

Perfect for: Pear and Apple shapes or Slender figures

Should be avoided by: Petites

Theme Match: Fairytale Wedding

2014 Ball Gown Example: Hayley Paige – 2014 Fall Collection

Example Ball Gown Wedding DressCredit: JLMCourture

A Line EditedCredit: PreownedWeddingDresses


The perfect all-rounder, this dress will fit seamlessly to any wedding theme. With styles ranging from classic demure to oh-so hot, this dress will knock your groom off his feet. Ideal for ladies looking for a traditional affair, this dress comes fitted at the bodice and flows from the waist to the ground.

Perfect for: Everyone

Should be avoided by: No one

Theme Match: Traditional or Classic Wedding

2014 A Line Example: Stella York – 2014 Fall Collection

Example A Line Wedding DressCredit: ColinCowlieWeddings

Trumpet EditedCredit: PreownedWeddingDresses


If your groom is still on his feet after seeing you in this dress we will be surprised! Made to bring out your inner sass this dress is a super-hot modern design. Ideal for ladies looking to try something a little different, but not too different, this dress is fitted through the body before flaring out like a trumpet mid-thigh.

Perfect for: Hourglass and Rectangular figures.

Should be avoided by: Pear and Apple figures.

Theme Match: Chic/Traditional Wedding

2014 Trumpet Example: Tailoo – 2014 Fall Collection

example trumpet wedding dressCredit: Tailoo

Mermaid Edited

Credit: PreownedWeddingDresses


You’re the whimsical bride and you deserve an enchanting dress to match. Let the magic of your special day flow from your dress with this show stopping mermaid style. Be daring with this tight fit design and let it flare like a mermaid from shin to hem.

Perfect for: Hourglass or Rectangular figures.

Should be avoided by: Pear and Apple shapes.

Theme Match: Traditional/Classic Wedding

2014 Mermaid Example: Forever Yours Bridals

Example Mermaid Wedding DressCredit: Bridal Guide

Sheath EditedCredit: PreownedWeddingDresses


You’re the vintage bride and no doubt you have Gatsby, Retro or the booming 20’s in mind for your wedding theme. Only for the daring bride, this sheath design is a dress that simply flows from neckline to hem and flatters the natural contours of your body beautifully.

Perfect for: Rectangular, Slender or Hourglass figures.

Should be avoided by: Pear and Apple shapes.

Theme Match: Vintage Wedding

2014 Sheath Example: ReemArca New York – 2014 Fall Collection

Example Sheath Wedding Dress

Credit: TheWeddingScoop

Mini Edited

Credit: PreownedWeddingDresses


Mini, shall we say any more? Accentuate your legs with this adorable short skirt wedding dress. This dress is an iconic rustic dress which would be ideal for ladies with a slender or hourglass body shape, however it should be avoided by pear and apple shapes.

Perfect for: Slender and Hourglass figures.

Should be avoided by: Pear and Apple figures.

Theme Match: Offbeat/Rustic Wedding

2014 Mini Example: WeddingConcepts

Example Mini Wedding DressCredit: WeddingConcepts

Can’t wait for our next edition of “Choose the Perfect Wedding Dress”? Take the Wedding Dress Style Quiz

7 Super Cute Bridesmaid Gifts

Bridesmaids. How could we Brides-to-be ever live without them? They play such a crucial role in your wedding and have attended to your every need.

So, after a year of showering you in attention, lending their shoulders for your tears, following you like little ducklings from Bridal store number one to Bridal store number 50 etc; it’s time to start thinking about your thank you gifts for them.

Cute Gifts for Bridesmaids

Photo Credit: BridesofAdelaide

But what do you get them? Panic Ensues. Rings? Bracelets? Mugs? Photo Frames? How much should you spend? Personalised or Not Personalised? Useful or Memorable? There’s so many elements to consider!

Here at Bride & Groom Direct, we like to think a bridesmaid gift should always be personal between you and the bridesmaid. Something that comes straight from your heart and that will be kept for a lifetime to come. This may mean you’re buying 7 separate presents, but that’s why we’ve suggested 7 super cute bridesmaid gifts for you to consider. Take a look…

Heart Shaped LocketFrom Your Heart. This heart shaped locket is the perfect way to open up your heart and thank your maid for all her help. Have the locket made extra-sweet by personalising it with her name or even add a photo for that oh-so important thank you.

Engraved Shot GlassShots Shots Shots. From the grubby old bars in the centre of town, to your two week holiday hitting the cocktail bars on the sunset strip; we all have a bridesmaid in our lives who is no stranger to a shot (or five!) of tequila. Embrace some of your funniest memories with one of these personalised shot glasses. Made with the personal elements in mind; have the glass engraved with your maids name and a loving message.

Ornate Swirl Wine Glass

Say When. They say the most expensive part of being a Bridesmaid is all the wine you have to drink. Let your maid reminisce about planning your special day every time she accidently buys wine instead of milk (wink!), with this stylish ornate wine glass. Each glass comes personalised with the maids name and your wedding date. So sweet!

keep calm compact mirrorKeep Calm and Plan On. From your favourite venue being booked up, to the never-ending flitting from dress shop to dress shop trying to find THE dress; we all have a maid who knows how to calm you down and keep you focused when planning your wedding. Say a special thank you to this maid with one of these glamourous compact mirrors. Personalised with your maids name engraved across the front, this mirror is the perfect personalised gift to truly encompass how much your lucky lady means to you.

Flower Charm BraceletCharm Girl. Let one of the golden girls in your crew go glitz and glam with the gift of one of our absolutely adorable Flower Charm Bracelets. Coloured in pastels and pretty pinks, this endearing bracelet will be a charming reminder of your big day for years to come.

Personalised Heart SlateA Forever-Ever Gift. For the home-bird in your party who is forever adding cute rustic items to her nest, look no further than this stylish hand cut heart slate. Engraved with your personal wedding details this pretty gift will be a perfect addition to the home of one of your most cherished bridesmaids.

Heart AtomiserStraight From the Heart. From helping you try on 101 different wedding shoes, to rushing you down the aisle; planning a wedding can be perspiring work for your maids. With this in mind perfect your maids perfume with the gift of this gorgeous Heart Atomiser.  Thee perfect wedding thank you for all your Bridesmaids, and you can engrave the front of the atomiser with your own personal message.

Are you planning something special for your lucky ladies? Let us know in the comments below!


15 Things To Do In The First Few Months After You’re Engaged!

Just got engaged? Hoorah! It’s time to celebrate and show off that new shiny, sparkly rock. Who do you call first? Mum or Dad? Best friend or Brother? Phew… Done, done, done. Now what?

just engagedPhoto Credit: ClosertoLovePhotography via BridalMusings

After all the initial excitement has run its course you may be feeling just a tad lost at what to do next. Don’t worry! This is totally normal. Even if you’ve been planning your dream wedding since you were six, there will always be the initial err… umhh… umm. To take a load of your mind here are 15 things to do in the first few months after you’re engaged.

1. Get Your Ring Insured.

Hey, we get it – insurance can be expensive. However in the many months running up to your wedding and the many activities that will be sweeping you off your feet, losing THE ring is the last stress you want occupying your mind. Get insurance and wear that sparkling beauty with pride (and peace of mind).

2. Time for a Manicure.

This shouldn’t take too much convincing. The weeks and months after your engagement is stressful enough as it is — don’t put yourself under more pressure by showing off your new rock with cracked nails or calluses. Smile and show off that pretty little ring with pride.

3. Get Appy!

Are we living in the future or are we living in the future? Apps that can literally plan a wedding for us? Bingo! When Mum was planning her wedding I bet she had to wait till she was home to consult a planning diary. Nuh-uh, no more. Now, with our clever little iPhone’s we can plan on the go. Download, Update, Go!

4. Plan a Holiday.

Do not…and we repeat…do not jump straight into planning a wedding. Trust us when we say ‘this will be one of the most testing and stressful times of your life’. Take a week or two away. Enjoy each other, relax in your new found engagement and, of course, knock back a few (or more) cocktails. You’ll also be pretty poor very soon, so enjoy your last holiday for a year or two!

5. The in-laws-to-be.

Has Dad shared a drink with his Dad? Your Mum gossiped with his Mum? No?! Don’t do anything out of the ordinary. Just an evening meal, in a neutral location, accompanied by a few drinks. They don’t need to become BFFs, they just need to be acquainted and, at best, exchanging phone numbers.

6. A Date with the Maid.

No one likes a cranky bride, but it happens. Your maid of honour is going to bear the brunt of ‘tensions’ that will be running high over the coming months. Take your maid of honour out for a few drinks, just you and her, and talk.

7. A Date with the Mother-in-Law.

The last thing you want for your wedding is for there to be a silly family quarrel preceding your big day. Pull on your ‘game face’, take the in-laws out for lunch and be on your best behaviour. Not only do you get the chance to lay down a few ground rules, but getting to know your future Mother-in-law never hurts.

8. Hit the Gym!

Get your workout routine started. Don’t do anything extreme (no 100 calorie diets and 10 mile runs nuh-uh) or push yourself too hard, just get down to the gym, take a few rumba classes and start getting into a weekly routine. You want to set yourself up for the next 6 months so PUSH!

9. Start saving.

Still eating out for lunch? Time for pack-lunches. Head to Costa or Starbucks before the train every morning? Time to take a home brew. Still smoking 20 a day? Time to quit. A year is 365 days, so savings each day can help contribute in a big way to your wedding. Plus, you don’t want to be the Bride who’s coughing down the aisle. Start small today!

10. Google Drive

Ok, so now you’re officially saving it’s time to start thinking about planning this wedding. By far the most helpful tool you will ever have in your planning locker will be Google drive. All your documents in one secure, easy to access place which is easy to share and updates instantly? Yes please! Start with our Budget Planner Doc…

11. Set a Month.

Summer bride? Winter bride? Spring Bride? Set a month or time of year early. Attempt to get as close to your ideal date as possible, but don’t put too much pressure on it. Just think of sweet days that mean oh-so much to both of you, or ‘real weddings’ that truly inspire you. Plus, once you have a date you can book a venue.

Seasonal Inspiration:

Summer Wedding Inspiration
Autumn Wedding Inspiration
Winter Wedding Inspiration
Spring Wedding Inspiration

12. Book a Venue

Right… so it’s starting to kinda get official. Again, we get it. Booking things like a venue may seem a little premature in the first 3 to 6 months of your engagement, but booking early can a) Ensure you get the venue you really desire b) Ensure you get the date you’re really after, and finally c) Help make the rest of planning experience sooo much easier.

Booking earlier makes questions like:

How many guests shall we have at the ceremony?

What is our overall budget?

So. Much. Easier!

13. Settle on a Colour or a Theme.

At some point you just need to MAKE A DECISION. Start discussing your theme early. Pin your fave images, pick up magazines and browse your favourite wedding blogs. We’re sure you’ll find something that captures your heart quickly. Still struggling? Take our colour theme quiz.

14. Round 1 with the Guest List.

Ready for the fight of your life? Just like a boxer, training for this fight early is going to serve you better later on. Take a moment, draft some names and pass on to the H2B. Round 2 – send a draft to the parents… Ding Ding Ding!

15. Book a Photographer and Other Confirmed Vendors Early

No doubt your wedding day remains planted firmly in the far far, faaaarrrr away future. A year or two years may seem like a faraway land, but here’s a tip from the pro’s; save £££’s by booking early. Get your 2015 or 2016 photographer at 2014 rates. Ka-ching!

Do you agree? We’d love to know what the first thing you did was after getting engaged!


10 Beautiful Engagement Stories That Will Make You Laugh and Cry!

engagement ringPhoto Credit: Wedding Party App

Are you ready to laugh or cry? Whether you’re here to steal some inspiration for your own wow-worthy engagement (we won’t tell, we promise!) or you simply want to bring back wisps of nostalgia from your own proposal, these proposals are all real and are all told by Brides who entered our Proposal Competition back in May. From the oh-so romantic Parisian proposal to the lady who confused her engagement with a micro pig; take inspiration, a smile or a tear from these beautiful engagement stories.

hoola hoop proposalPhoto Credit: Better Than Fine

1. Michelle Hopkin

We had been out for lunch that Sunday (16th February 2014) afternoon and we were asking my daughter if she would take my partners name IF we got married. He then joked that he would have to propose using a hula hoop as he didn’t have a ring. On the way home my partner popped to the garage to buy something. Later that evening I found out what he bought when he got down on one knee and proposed with a hula hoop. At first I thought he was joking, but he wasn’t. I kept the hula hoop ring but I do have the real thing now!

mysterious visits2. Cherrie-Ann Tuppenney

So it all started with lots of mysterious visits to a mate’s house to “help fix his car”. He was being very secretive but I hadn’t a clue what he was planning. He kept joking around with me about how he would propose “next year” if we had the money.

My birthday came round and a sneaky little box appeared – it was earrings which left me thinking that it wasn’t going to happen anytime soon.

Then New Year’s Eve came around and all the family get together which is always fun (especially with the old Irish aunt of his! Haha!)

We saw in the new year and at 2 minutes past midnight with a glass of champers in hand he tells me to meet him upstairs. Cautiously I took of my heels and followed him upstairs.

I turn the corner into the bedroom an there he was on one knee ring in hand!

“I made a resolution…to look after you for the rest of your life…will you marry me?”

There I was in total shock…it was so unexpected that all I could stammer was “…what!?”

Again he asked “will you marry me?” After a second I managed to say “yes!”

And that’s the happily ever after I never expected

mirco pig3. Stacee Muir

For my 21st birthday, my partner handed me a beautiful pink box. When I opened it there was a big red cooking apple sitting in amongst loads of paper. I was really confused as to why he had bought me an apple. For a second I actually thought he had bought me a micro pig! He told me if I was confused that I would have to look further into the pink box. When I got to the bottom of it, there was a sheet of paper. It was booking confirmation for the two of us to go to New York with a little booklet. I could not believe it! It was where I had always dreamed of going.

A few months later we were in New York. My partner knew I had always wanted to go and that the one sight I really had to see was The Statue of Liberty. We walked around it completely amazed. It was breath-taking!  As we had almost finished walking around the statue my partner turned to me and said ‘I have to speak to you, come take a seat’.

As you can imagine, everything ran through my head at this point! I even thought he was going to break up with me or tell me he had met someone else. My heart was pounding (God knows how he must have felt). I took the seat and when I looked up there he was – On one knee, box opened showing a beautiful diamond ring – all right under The Statue of Liberty!

I said yes and instead of staying on the Island at the Statue, we caught the ferry and went back to call our families.

Everyone back home knew what was happening and I hadn’t the faintest idea!

Since then, we have moved into our own house and also welcomed our first Daughter Mia into the world.  We are getting married in February 2016 so our daughter will make the perfect flower girl!

Eiffel Tower4. Hayley Brewis

Our proposal happened in the city of Paris, me and my now fiancé went to visit the city to see the sights, soak up the history and the romance.

We had previously talked about getting engaged and as we are both girls, we wanted to prepare and we both wanted engagement rings.

We had originally planned to travel to the Eiffel Tower on the 20th of Feb and read off our prepared words to each other, but as it worked out it wasn’t as romantic on the Eiffel Tower  as we thought it would be! (Too many people and it started raining)

So we took a walk along the river and visited the famous padlock bridge (adding our own padlock of course) before arriving at the louvre.

Next to the louvre were some lovely gardens and a fantastic view of the Eiffel Tower, the weather had got better so we sat down, we knew this was the right time and the right place.

We looked into each other’s eyes nervously and recited our speeches, often having to pause to compose ourselves, we declared our love for each other. We both said YES!!!!

Agreeing to spend our lives together we both put our rings on each other’s fingers, looking up we noticed through our tear filled eyes the Eiffel Tower in front of us began to light up and sparkle.

It was a day we will never forget and such a memorable holiday.

Afghan5. Penny Peacock

It was March 2008 – me & my daughter, aged 6months at this time, were saying our goodbyes to Michael as he was heading off to be deployed in Afghanistan for a six month tour. I had never experienced such heart ache. Watching our daughter sit and play with daddy, not having a clue that we would not be seeing him for a few months. My heart was in my throat.

We waved goodbye as he drove away from us. I could barely stand. My brother picked me up and cuddled me. “Let’s go out for a bit” he said “get you out for a while”.

So we went to Cambridge, but nothing could take my mind of the fact he was gone. It was possible I may never see him again.

We returned home a few hours after, my brother unlocked the door and took our daughter upstairs, ” you might want to come see this” I walked over as fast as I could, in deep hope Michael would be sitting there. On my living room door was a huge note reading “Your set of keys was in my car so I brought them back. I love you with all my heart and more. I can’t be without you! Will you marry me?!”

It was a couple of days before I heard from Michael when he got out there. I was sitting in his parent’s living room. He then asked if I had thought about the question. I replied with “I can’t exactly remember what question it was babe?” Just to see if he would ask again in front of his family. I suppose deep down I would know he was serious if he asked me in front of all of his family.

He did. And I said yes. Needless to say he returned safely and we decided to have another baby. Now our daughters are at a nice age to enjoy our day with us, we decided to start planning our wedding for next November.

Special Place6. Amy Webb

It was would have been my dad’s birthday, he passed away suddenly while in Egypt the year before at just 55 years old. While at the cemetery laying flowers at his grave my fiancé said I’m going to ask you this in front of your dad’s grave as it’s a special day and a special place; will you marry me? We were both crying and I was so happy such a sad day ended very happy.

confused face7. Sami Waldron

I gave birth to our beautiful daughter Sophie in November 2013. My partner Steven had always said he didn’t want to get married so I never really thought about it. Christmas day we opened our presents, Steven took our daughter in the bedroom and said we had another present for me and to wait until they returned. I had no idea what was going on. I thought he had bought me a watch as that’s what I had asked for. Sophie was wrapped in a blanket, I opened the blanket & she had been changed into a vest which said ‘Mummy will you marry my Daddy?’ As I looked up at Steven with a confused face he got down on one knee and popped the question. Before I could even get my words out I started to cry. Christmas 2013 is definitely one to remember we plan to marry in 2015.

ice8. Stacey Ponsford

Me and my boyfriend went to Sicily for a long weekend break, one of the things to do on our list was to take a trip up Mount Etna. It was an amazing experience, so calm and sunny at the bottom but as we travelled up in a cable cart it became windy, sight was limited and the snow was getting thicker. We got out and went for a walk, in a blizzard! It was windy, the ice was burning my face and my eyelashes turned into icicles. We kept walking until it became unsafe to go further and made our way back, we took off our snow boots and I was told to wait a minute. I had no idea what was going on until he reached inside his jacket to his pocket and out came the ring and a proposal of marriage. I could not believe it but of course I said yes! The ring in its box made its way in to my pocket and we made our way indoors. This is someone who isn’t especially romantic and has never given me any reason to believe that one day he would ask me to be his wife. He made me the happiest girl that day, what an experience and what a proposal, one I’ll never forget.

areyoujoking9. Emma Turner

James and I had been together for 3 years. We met at work where I am a teacher and James is a teaching assistant.

It was 14th September 2013 and my sister was visiting our house.

My partner James had disappeared upstairs and I wondered where he was! Then down the stairs came James with our 3 year old foster son, who was carrying a homemade sign made from glitter and markers that said Will You Marry Me? My 3 year old son thrust it into my hands and I read it and was stunned as I thought it was a joke. I just kept saying, “Are you joking!” James was getting sweaty and flustered and said “No and got down on one knee and then proposed. He picked up our cat Pixie and passed her to me and said look at her collar. Still in a state of shock, I said, “That’s nice.” Thinking he had changed her collar but on the collar was attached a white gold and diamond engagement ring! James took it off and put it on my finger and was all flustered as I hadn’t actually said “yes” at that point!  I hugged James and kissed him and said “YES!”.

My sister had known all along as they’d planned it via text and she knew he was going to propose that day. I was shocked and happy as I thought he hadn’t noticed any of my past hints at a proposal!

We are getting married on August 11th at Moxhull Hall, Sutton Coldfield.

whiteyacht10. Naomi Heyes

A surprise drive down to the Lake District, where my boyfriend had planned for us to have breakfast for us, accompanied by a stroll down by the lake. We walked on to a promenade full of boats where we were greeted by a gentleman, handing hand with a beautiful bunch of flowers- Lillie’s my absolute favourite. The flowers were handed to me and we were then escorted onto a beautiful white yacht, where we sailed along the lake surrounded by beautiful mountains and sceneries. It was perfect, we both had a go at sailing the yacht which was so much fun. Underneath the yacht in the below Scott had prepared to ask me, there to marry him? I of course said yes!!! We sailed back to land and ended in a beautiful old traditional, next to a log burning fire, drinking champagne and eating a traditional old roast. Perfect day, truly romantic!

What is your favourite engagement story? Share them with us!