Limitless choices for the bride


Avoid wedding mistakes that will haunt you for the rest of your life

by Sowetan Journalist – Zenoyise Madikwa

Congratulations! Your wedding is in December. But wait, are you ready?

Have you decided on the dress to wear? Do you know what type of dress you want?

According to wedding planner Lungiswa Mayeza, most brides plan their wedding from when they are about 10.

She says the dress is the single element of the entire ceremony that is usually completely under the bride-to-be’s control.

Before choosing the dress, Mayeza says, the bride should ask the following questions:

Is the wedding going to be in a huge church, or a simple church wedding, or in a traditional African village?

“This will help inform the bride’s choice but by no means limits it,” Mayeza says.

She says the size of the wedding does not have to limit the bride.

“You can have a full princess-style dress with a veil in a simple church wedding. If your wedding is big in a huge hall, that doesn’t mean you need a big dress if you don’t feel comfortable in one. A smart traditional African dress might also work.”

Choosing the dress


  • Colours Hangwani Nengovhela of Rubicon Fashion, a fashion house in Randburg, north of Johannesburg, advises brides to choose colours that will blend in with the rest of the team.“Brides should choose colours that will complement the bridesmaids and the groom. Though it is your day, you also want everything to be in harmony.”What’s in?
    Nengovhela says wedding dresses do not have to be pure white. She says the tradition of brides wearing white was to symbolise purity.

    “These days most brides opt for off-white, ivory or shades of cream that are easier to wear. Choose your favourite colour or the one that makes your skin look gorgeous.”

    She advises brides not to choose a dress that is the height of fashion now because it might look dated in wedding photos.

    Dress shape

    “As far as designs are concerned brides should look at their body shape,” Nengovhela says.

    “Remember the pictures will be there for the rest of your life,” she says. “Know what suits you. The ball gown shape, for example, is very full and is usually teamed up with a fitted bodice.

    “Fuller-figured people should avoid ball gowns at all cost. Think about what you consider to be your best and worst features, the perfect dress will disguise or draw attention from your least favourite parts and highlight all the best bits.

    “Like any other type of clothing, wedding dresses are subject to fashion but you have to ensure that the dress you choose is the right one for you.”

    Nengovhela says if you’re a full-figured woman the best silhouette is the A-line style.

    “The A-line style lengthens the whole body without drawing attention to the waistline. The empire waist is another good choice. The empire is narrowest just below the bust, which conceals the waist and hips.”

    She advises women with larger hips and buttocks to look for a wedding dress that focuses on the upper body.

    “Show off your arms, back and bustline. A corset-style bodice with lacing will highlight your upper body. We want to draw attention away from the hips.

    “Avoid pleats or gathered fabric around the waist. An A-line, skirted wedding dress always works best for this body type.”

    For large-busted women Nengovhela says off-the-shoulder gowns look wonderful.

    “They draw attention upward, emphasise the shoulders and minimise the size of the chest.

    “Keep the skirt narrow,” she advises. “Wearing a full skirt will make you look large at the top and bottom.”

    Sleeves or not?
    “Do you like your arms? If not then you might want to consider a dress with sleeves, alternatively a sleeveless dress but cover arms with a jacket, shrug or wrap.”

    Do trains still work?
    Nengovhela says trains are a thing of yesteryear.

    Veils and other headdresses
    Once you have chosen your outfit you might want to think about the accessories that you want to wear on the day .

    These are likely to include some kind of headdress so you need to decide if you want to wear a veil, tiara, jewellery or flowers.

    Veils come in different types and lengths and might have one, two or more layers.

    They can have a simple stitched edge or have a ribbon or other edging fabric around them.

    Some are covered with scattered crystals, sequins or beads so you are likely to find something that suits the style of your outfit.

    You might decide that you would like a very short single-layer veil. These are worn at the back of the head and only come down to the tops of the shoulders. They are not designed to be worn forward over the face.