When it comes to wedding dress shopping, petite brides often find it challenging to find a style to suit them. Petite frames don’t want to be swamped by big flouncy styles and shorter brides under 5ft 3" have constraints on styles they can have taken up.
Whether you’re small in stature or slim, we’ve selected a range of wedding dresses perfect for you, from delicate dresses that showcase slim figures to simple styles suitable for taking up. Here are our top picks for all of our petite brides.
Wedding dress styles for shorter brides
Traditionally, shorter brides have been advised to purchase wedding dresses with simple skirts to ensure they can be successfully taken up without compromising the style. While this rule still remains true today - and dresses with hem details are a no-no for taking up, smaller brides will delight in the fact that wedding dress designers understand that petite brides also want detailed dresses. This is why all of our wedding dresses with detailed skirts and hemlines are available in three different lengths - 55", 58" and 61".
While we could say our work here is done after that announcement, there are still some golden rules that apply when buying a wedding dress suitable for shorter brides.
Rule #1 Step away from voluminous ballgowns and opt for A-lines and simpler silhouettes. Ballgowns may make you feel as though you are as wide as you are tall, and this is not the feeling you want on your wedding day, so we recommend avoiding big skirts and opting for flattering A-lines and fit and flare wedding dresses. Sheath skirts and mesmerising mermaids are also great for small but perfectly formed figures with the fishtail silhouette elongating the torso and drawing the eyes down, giving the illusion of height.
Rule #2 Avoid belts that break up lines and opt for a clean continuous line (style) to help elongate your figure. You should also avoid dresses with contrasting bodices and skirts (e.g. an embellished bodice on a plain skirt) to avoid breaking up the eyeline. If you want to add a touch of sparkle, forget sparkle belts and choose hair accessories or some statement jewellery instead.
Rule #3 Where different dress lengths aren’t available, avoid hem detailing and opt for fuss-free skirts which can be taken up without compromising the integrity of the original wedding dress design.
Petite wedding dresses for short brides
Six different wedding dresses we recommend for smaller brides are styles 69702, 69704 69723 and 69724 from our Ronald Joyce collection and styles 18607 and 18614 from our Victoria Jane collection.
First in focus is style 69702, a strappy fit and flare with feminine 3D floral appliques and a contrasting plain crepe and tulle skirt. Although the top and bottom of the dress differ, the cascading floral appliques on the skirt mean there isn’t a firm line between the bodice and skirt, so it's an embellished style that works well for shorter brides. A breath-taking back featuring bridal buttons cascading down to the hemline completes the look and adds the illusion of length - perfect for social-media loving brides who want that sublime shot!
Fishtail fans will delight in styles 69704 and 69723. While both offer three different lengths, open back profiles, striking trains and plunging v-necklines, style 69704 features finer open lace and beautiful bridal button detailing, whereas style 69723 features bolder lace applique and a striking illusion back. Both styles fabulously elongate the torso and draw the eyes down, giving the illusion of height.
Our next dress is style 18607, a lovely long sleeve lace wedding dress with a cathedral train and plunging neckline. Exquisite lace illusion sleeves and an open back with beautiful bridal button detailing complete the look. We think this traditional style is fabulous for elongating shorter frames.
Appealing to A-line fans who seek a fuller, flattering skirt is style 69724, our feminine and floaty lace and tulle dress with an illusion bodice, draped off-the-shoulder sleeves and striking bow detail. These beautiful bohemian touches create the perfect dress for unconventional brides wanting distinctive detailing. It’s also a great option for creating a continuous line thanks to continuing collar to toe detail.
Our final pick is perfect for brides wanting a classic dress with sophisticated features. Style 18614 is an elegant fit and flare crepe dress with a striking halter neckline complete with beaded collar. Offering a continuous line and puddle train, it's a superb style for creating the illusion of height. We also love its distinctive keyhole open back profile and breathtaking bridal buttons that cascade down the back of the dress to the hem, perfectly elongating the back profile.
Tip: Taller brides could add a belt to break up this gown.
Petite wedding dresses to showcase small frames
When it comes to wedding dress shopping, petite brides really do have the pick of the bunch, being able to carry a range of silhouettes and distinctive details that showcase their delicate frame. Bold ballgowns and A-lines emphasise narrow waists, long sleeves accentuate petite arms, figure-hugging fishtails and fit and flares showcase slim frames, sweetheart necklines complement smaller décolletages and open back profiles perfectly display toned backs.
Another feature that complements toned shoulders and delicate décolletages is the spaghetti strap, as featured in styles 69712 and 69719.
Style 69712 is our exquisite pearl-beaded figure-hugging fit and flare with dainty straps and a striking bodice complete with a sweetheart neckline. Delicate in every detail, we think it would look divine on a glamorous bride who wants to showcase her figure.
Equally distinctive in detail is style 69719, a tulle and lace fit and flare wedding dress with the most delicate straps and bow waistband. A stunning open back profile, tulle bow shoulder detail and a bridal bustle complete the look, creating a breath-taking back profile. We think it’s the picture-perfect style for showing off the upper body.
Distinctive details can be difficult to carry but petite brides can pull off even the most dramatic detailing as seen in style 69714, our classic strapless Mikado wedding dress with beautiful bold bow waist detail and bridal buttons cascading down the back to the hemline.
Lingerie-inspired bodices also look fabulous on smaller frames, as seen in styles 18606, 18613, 18615 and 18620. We particularly love the sheer illusion back bodice detail in styles 18615 and 18620 for showcasing slender curves.
Two striking necklace back profiles that delight on delicate frames are styles 18603 and 69718. Style 18603 is a stunning lace applique halter neck wedding dress with a breath-taking racer back on a dramatic fit and flare silhouette, whereas style 69718 is an exquisite floral fit and flare with an equally-exquisite beaded necklace back. Both styles showcase toned backs beautifully.
Size inclusive wedding dresses
Whether you’re petite or plus-size (or anything in between), we believe every bride should be able to buy her dream dress, so all our wedding dress styles are available in sizes 6 to 30. Just make sure you leave enough time to order your size in.
Tip: We recommend you start searching for you dream dress 6-9 months before your wedding day to allow enough time for the dress to be made, arrive in store, and any alterations to be made.
We hope this petite wedding dress blog has informed you, so you know the best wedding dress styles to suit your size before you hit the bridal boutiques. If you feel inspired to browse more styles, you can also view all our wedding dresses.
Written by Lucinda Bell