When you get engaged, it’s a great feeling. That feeling is quickly followed by intense stress because you have to make a lot of choices before the big day comes. One decision you make that can affect every other choice for your wedding is the choice of your venue.
Many venues need to be reserved a year in advance or more! So choosing your venue can influence your wedding date, the season of your wedding, the number of guests and more. It can also influence your choice of dress.
A venue dress, which simply means a dress selected to compliment a specific venue, can add a sense of cohesion to your big day. Choosing a dress that fits in with your venue makes it look like you belong there and will help ensure that every picture from your wedding looks great.
So what do you need to know in order to match your dress to your venue?
Choose the Venue First
The best “how to choose your wedding dress” tip is to choose your venue first. There are several reasons for this. The most important reason is that your venue reservation will tell you the time and date of your wedding.
A fall wedding brings different aesthetics than a summer wedding and a winter wedding is vastly different than a wedding in spring. Knowing if you will be indoors or outdoors makes a huge difference when choosing your dress, as will the available flowers and visible foliage.
The venue also determines the number of guests you can invite, which can influence the styling of your wedding. A wedding in a huge church with hundreds of guests will demand a certain traditional formality while a bohemian wedding with only a few dozen guests will be a much breezier affair.
A venue dress code
And speaking of church weddings, there may be a venue dress code. Be aware of the demands of the venue before you select it. If you have already picked a dress with a plunging neckline and semi-sheer lace everything, the venue dress code of your local basilica may force you to change the dress to which you have already said yes.
Another reason to choose your venue first is that it is much easier to find a dress in a style you like that matches your venue than a near miraculous “venue matches wedding dress” situation.
But perhaps the best reason to choose your venue first is that it gives you a time frame for your dress shopping. When you find the dress you want for your wedding, you need to factor in the time it will take to tailor it to your body for that perfect fit.
Tailoring and customizing a dress takes time. The more elaborate the dress, the more time it takes to alter it. And getting those alterations rushed can be expensive— and no one needs extra wedding expenses on top of everything else leading up to the big day.
By finding and reserving your venue first, you can give a timeline to the dress shop. That means that, if you have a long time, more elaborate dresses can be considered. If time is short, they can find simpler dresses to alter without sacrificing elegance or style.
What To Look For
Say you have found a venue that you love and now you want the perfect venue dress. What should you look for to influence your dress shopping?
First, look at the guest capacity. Is this going to be a huge wedding or a more intimate event? With a lot of guests, you may want a dress that makes a statement that can be seen all the way from the back of the building. In an intimate setting, less is often more.
Then consider your color palette. What colors are present in your venue? What do you want your wedding colors to be? Will you require color coordinated wedding guests for a visually unique set of photos?
Do you want a white dress? If you want a subtly colored dress or a loudly colorful gown, how will it look in the venue? You want to be cautious about accidentally turning your wedding into an unintended holiday party or tribute to a sports team.
Also, consider the decorations for the venue. Will the flowers you choose be reflected in the detailing of your dress? Will your decorations give your venue an ethereal feel? If so, you want your dress to match that feeling instead of contrasting it.
Finally, give some thought to your freedom of movement. Is your venue wide open? Is there less room to move around? Is it outdoors? These can all influence your venue dress. After all, you would hate to have a huge train that prevents you from turning to face your betrothed because it’s too big for the venue.
Style Suggestions for Different Venues
There are so many different types of popular wedding venues. And each type of venue exerts a different influence on the styling you choose for yourself. Here are some suggestions for dresses based on venue selection.
The key to beach wedding venue dresses is flow. You want something that will look great with a breeze ruffling through it, so overly structured dresses are out. You also need to remember that you’ll be walking on sand.
Sand means that heels are not advisable because they will sink into the sand. You also want to keep the length of the dress closer to ankle length or shorter, so it doesn’t get messed up by dragging across the sand. An empire waist or a high-low dress can work wonders on the beach.
Weddings in the woods have become increasingly popular lately. The sun filtering through the leaves into the clearing you are using for your wedding makes for amazing pictures and memories.
Incorporating color like champagne works wonders in a forest setting. Leaf detailing can also work well here, whether that means cut outs or 3D details added to your dress. You can also go the opposite route for a stripped down, simple look— as though you are a fairy who has emerged from the forest for her nuptials.
Whether in a barn, in a reclaimed industrial space, or outside a historic building, the rustic wedding encourages you to find the joy in simplicity. This is not to say you won’t look fabulous, but a huge statement gown would look out of place here.
Instead, think about A-line dresses, bohemian looks, and subtle floral detailing. You don’t need a heavily structured dress in this kind of venue. Something with some flow and fun to it will make for an amazing venue dress.
A wedding in a church, synagogue, mosque, etc., will have different expectations for your dress than the other venues we have looked at so far. They come with more of a focus on traditional fashions and ideas.
Typically, these weddings will feature less revealing options. In many cases, structured dresses are a great option for this type of wedding. You will be indoors and won’t have to worry about wind or weather, so you can go all out with the train and veil of your dreams.
This kind of wedding can be held at a number of venues. You could be on a rooftop, in a chic club, at a small theater, or in a sculpture garden. The options are almost endless. That means the dress options are almost endless as well.
Typically, for this kind of venue dress, you want something stylish, chic, and possibly retro. If your venue has an art deco theme, let your dress reflect that. Many cool venues have a minimalist style, so work with that. Go for sleek satin instead of layers upon layers of lace and tulle.
Make it Yours
No matter the venue, no matter the dress, the important thing is that your wedding day is yours. You should feel special, loved, and excited about your future. Sure, there will be nerves and little fires to put out on the day, but the more you center joy and love, the easier those things are to deal with.
If you aren’t sure how to start choosing your venue for your big day, a great option is to reach out to a location with multiple venues like The Lumber Exchange. You can get a feel for several types of venues there, from city chic to a rustic outdoor space and plenty in between.
Additionally, if you choose The Lumber Exchange, you can get your reception and catering needs handling as well. Then the only choices you need to make are who to invite and what your dress will look like.
Get yourself a venue dress that pairs perfectly with your location, and marvel at how timeless and perfect your pictures and memories are for the rest of your life. Your wedding is your day. Make it amazing.