Brides spend much time selecting the ideal wedding gown yet often neglect something almost as important: bridal undergarments. Without the proper foundation, a wedding gown is not as beautiful as it could be. The correct undergarments provide a smooth line under fitted bodices and give proper shape to the skirt of the gown. From top to toe, here is a guide to the essential bridal undergarments.
Begin at the top. Although some dresses are highly structured and have a built-in bra and corset, most gowns require a separate bra. The most common choice is the strapless long line bra. A stretch foam bra with push-up cups gives a smooth line under most gowns with natural or slightly raised waistlines. For fuller figures, try a bra with boning for more support. The correct size may be different from the bride’s regular bra size. The right bra will hook in the back without digging into the skin. A quality bridal shop will be able to determine the correct size and order it if necessary.
The slip is next. Slips come in various shapes because gowns have different silhouettes. For a very full skirt, a bouffant slip is used. This slip has many layers of tulle ruffles. Once the bride is wearing the slip, an attendant can make the slip fuller by gently pulling on the ruffles to fluff the slip. The more she fluffs, the fuller the slip becomes. This slip can give the effect of a hoopskirt with more comfort. An A-line slip has several layers of tulle and an outer layer of taffeta for a smooth line under a less full skirt. A variation of the A-line slip is the mermaid slip which is more fitted from waist to knee, then has wide ruffles to support the fuller hem of a mermaid skirt. All these slips usually have a fitted piece at the waist that slims and smoothes from just under the bustline to several inches below the waist. This part of the slip should fit close to the body, but should not restrict free breathing or movement. Gowns that are more flowing, with empire waists and skirts of sheer georgette, call for a lighter undergarment. One of the best solutions is the one piece bra-slip combination. These often come with a built-in tummy control panel.
White panties finish the list of bridal undergarments. Since the slip will cover any panty lines, choose whatever will be most comfortable for the big day. Most modern brides choose bare feet and a pedicure over any hosiery, but the bride may certainly choose to wear pantyhose or special bridal stockings. Most long line bras include removable garters for holding stockings. Be sure to have a decorative garter for throwing at the reception, too.
Proper bridal undergarments should be purchased along with the gown so they are at the ready for the bride’s alterations appointment. Alterations should never be pinned without the exact undergarments that will be worn with the gown. A change of bra or slip would change the fit of the gown. Consider bridal undergarments as essential as the gown and shoes.