You’re the type of girl who’s been dreaming about her wedding dress her whole life, right? Every Disney princess dress has made you squee! with delight. When you saw Princess Diana walk down the aisle you secretly through, ‘someday, me.’ You know you want a big, sparkly ballgown, don’t you? What other day in your life are you allowed to wear a big, giant, glittery dress? This is your big day, your moment to shine, and you’re going to rock it.
Lucky for you, big wedding dresses will probably never go out of style. Historically, the bigger and more elaborate the dress, the wealthier the bride. Iconic figures throughout history have chosen to walk the aisle in big elaborate dresses, so why not you?
First off, ballgown. There is no other choice for you if you want a gigantic dress. Most other current trends and styles are fitted through the hips, and thats not the look you’re going for. The fabric is unimportant, but you want to make sure that your dress has at least a few layers of crinoline underneath. Yes, it can be scratchy, but its the only way to make a dress wide without adding hoops, which you really don’t want, and are hard to find these days. A good dress designer will line the part of the dress with something soft so you dont get scratched.
Second; the train: This is where you can go either way. If a dress has a very wide skirt, you don’t need a long train to pull the look off. Plenty of dresses go for size in allaround skirt width. If you do want a train, however, you probably want something worth looking at! As to see dresses with chapel and cathedral length trains. A chapel length train will drag 2-3 feet behind you, and a cathedral length train will be around four or longer. If you’re really adventureous (and strong, these things get heavy!) then see if you’re style can be made in royal length. This is anything longer than 4 feet. Think Princess Diana. You’ll most likely need to get that special ordered, since almost no designers go royal length in their standard designs.
You might worry that this length in addition to your big ball gown is going to be hard to walk in. Don’t despair! Every dress wtih a train (should) have a bustle added to it. This is where a hook and button is added to the hem and the back center seam of the dress, so that after you walk down the aisle the train can be tucked under so it reaches floor length. This helps you to walk and can often add a more dramatic second look to your train.
Designers you should look out for: Kenneth Pool does big and glittery like no other. Kenneth Pool is the epitome of big, glamourous wedding gowns. Each gown is meticulously hand jeweled and beaded- his ballgowns are always wide and made from the best silk satins, and the trains are often jewel crusted, pleated, and a work of art in their own right. To top it all off, his fit is usually extremely flattering. You can find Kenneth Pool here in San Francisco at Marina Morrison.
If you’re looking for a Disney inspired gown, then check out Kirstie Kelley. She’s done a whole line of dresses that are actually bridal representations of the famous Disney princess dresses. To top it all off, she’s bringing them on a Costo trunk show tour- if you’re lucky enough to be near one, you can get yours for a steal.
Priscilla of Boston has some great choices in their new Jewel line- lots of ballgowns and sparkle accents with a modern and fun flair.
If you’re into stiff shiny taffeta and ruffled layers, try Blue by Enzoani or Cymbeline found locally at Bella Brides.
For accessories: go heavy on the jewlery if you’re gown is strapless. All that negative space can be filled wtih more jewels to tie the look together. Avoid elaborate necklaces on dresses with straps, and skip the bracelets on anything with a sleeve.
For a ballgown, you either want one extreme or the other for your veil. If you want all the attention away from the veil, try a short bubble hem veil- the extra volume mimics the width of the ballgown for a complete look. If thats not your style, try a simple visor veil or a birdcage.
If you want to go big all the way, get a cathedral length veil. Brides often worry that a cathedral length veil is too much for a big ballgown, but its not! The sheer overlay just adds a dreamy look to your ballgown, and even if it’s humungous, you’ll probably take if off after the ceremony. A popular trend is the lace-trimmed or mantilla style veil, which can also work with a tiara if you’re THAT kind of bride. Make sure the color of your veil matches, or is just one shade lighter or darker than your dress. Only get lace trimmed if you can find a style that matches your dress nearly exactly, or if your dress doesn’t have much lace or embroidery to begin with. One of the few places in san francisco to get a decent lace trimmed veil is Janene’s bridal in Alameda.
If you need more ideas.. visit a few local bridal salons. Big ballgowns are in right now, and every salon should have at least a few styles you’ll enjoy.