How Long Should My Wedding Dress Be?

We’ve put together a list that will help you decide on the perfect length wedding dress. Keep reading to find out more today.

By Emily Forrest

How Long Should My Wedding Dress Be
Photo by Run Away With Me

The First Look ✨

  • The venue can help determine the formality of the wedding and how easy it will be to navigate the space. The season can help you decide on the length of the dress as well.
  • If you want to show off your shoes on your wedding day, a tea-length wedding dress will allow you to do just that.
  • Additional factors to consider when deciding on gown length include how much dancing you’ll be doing, your wedding dress budget, and how much assistance you will need throughout the day.

The desired length of a wedding dress varies from bride to bride and truly comes down to personal preference. However, when it comes to choosing the perfect wedding dress for your special day, there are a few considerations to keep in mind that will help you narrow down your selection.

Not sure where to begin? We’ve compiled a list of the top factors to consider when deciding on gown length. Read on to learn more about wedding dress lengths and which hem is best suited for you and your wedding.

The Venue

First, and likely most importantly, consider your wedding venue. The location at which you choose to celebrate your wedding can help you decide which type of wedding dress style, and more specifically, what wedding dress length pairs perfectly with your special day.

Churches and Formal Venues

Typically, wedding ceremonies held at a church or a formal, more upscale venue, are accompanied by a longer-length wedding gown. While the length is entirely up to the bride, it’s common to see wedding dresses that fall down to cover the brides wedding shoes. To achieve a particular bridal look, some even choose to elongate the train to further add to the length of their wedding dress.

The formality of a long wedding dress, especially with a train to extend the length, can be dated back for centuries. For some, the length of a wedding dress was to impress attendees; for others it represented the closeness between the bride and the relationship to the monarch or the church.

Outdoor Weddings

For outdoor weddings, shorter bridal dresses may be a more ideal option for the following two reasons:

Your Dress Will Stay Cleaner

How Long Should My Wedding Dress Be? Photo Credit // B.Jones Photography

First, and perhaps the most obvious consideration when it comes to dress length and outdoor weddings, is how to keep the fabric from getting tarnished. While long wedding dresses may look great, shorter dresses will undoubtedly stay cleaner.

It Makes It Easier to Move About

Speaking of moving about, whether you are walking down the aisle, saying hello to guests, or dancing the night away, a shorter wedding dress also gives you more freedom to move around.

For outdoor weddings, this is especially important, as most of the pictures you’ll take pre- and post-ceremony will likely be outside as well. With a tea-length wedding dress, your chances of getting your dress snagged or damaged are significantly lower.

Venues With Stairs

Lastly, as far as venues go, considering whether the venue has stairs or not can help you hone in on the perfect wedding dress for the big day. When it comes to venues with stairs, you want to be sure that you’re mindful of how easy it will be to move around in your gown, especially when going up and down a set of stairs.

The last thing you want on the day of your wedding is to fall as a result of your bridal gown. The best way to avoid this dreadful scenario from happening is to make sure that your wedding dress is at least a couple of inches above the floor. With a dress that is kept up off the floor and out of your immediate walking path, you can be sure to avoid any risky steps, especially at a venue with stairs.

No matter which type of wedding venue you choose for your wedding ceremony and reception, it’s important to consider the setting carefully when choosing a wedding dress. In doing so, you can narrow down on a gown length that’s suitable for the surroundings and limit any obstacles that you may encounter on the day of.

The Season

Aside from the venue, the season is also an important factor to consider when deciding on the length of a wedding dress.

Fall and Winter Months

In the fall and winter months, longer dresses are typically more common. While this may be in part due to the aesthetic, a longer dress is also a good means of keeping warm during a wedding in these cooler seasons.

Spring and Summer Months

As far as warmer months go, shorter wedding dresses are an ideal option. During these spring and summer seasons consider a dress with lighter materials and generally shorter dresses, such as tea-length wedding dresses.

Your Shoes

For the shoe enthusiast, considering the length of the wedding dress is an important factor in the process of wedding planning. Whether you’ve had your eyes set on a pair of shoes for your wedding day or you already have a pair that you can’t wait to show off, you’ll want to be sure to find a wedding dress length that accentuates your shoes of choice.

For an elegant style that will show off your shoes, yet still feel formal, consider a high/low wedding dress. A high/low dress has a higher hem in the front, leaving you with a long and extended gown on the backside. This type of wedding dress allows you to have the best of both worlds when it comes to length and showing off accessories, such as shoes and anklets.

Your Height

When choosing a wedding dress length, your height is a considerable factor to keep in mind as well.

Taller Brides

If you’re on the taller side, you can either look for a wedding dress with a length that accentuates your height or takes the attention away from your height, depending on your personal preference. Regardless, the following three types of lengthier wedding dresses are commonly very flattering on tall brides:

  • A-line gowns
  • Sheath gowns
  • Ball gowns

Shorter Brides

For brides that are a bit shorter, there are plenty of options to choose from as well, which really just comes down to personal preference. However, if you’re a shorter bride and want to appear taller, longer wedding dresses are a great option. If, on the other hand, you want to work with a shorter dress, such as a tea-length dress, be aware that this style will accentuate your height.

Additional Considerations

Aside from the main considerations when it comes to how long your wedding dress should be, there are a few more seemingly minor factors that you should keep in mind as well. When deciding on wedding dress length, you should also take the following into consideration:

How Much Dancing Will You Be Doing?

If you plan on dancing quite a bit, you may want to opt for a wedding dress that won’t require you to hold the bottom of the dress up off of the dance floor all night. That said, even a few inches above floor length makes all the difference.

How Much Is Your Wedding Dress Budget?

As far as budgeting goes, keep in mind that shorter wedding dresses are oftentimes considerably more cost-efficient. Why is that? Simply because shorter dresses require less fabric, which significantly reduces the cost of the dress overall. So if you’re budgeting your wedding dress and like short dress styles, you’re in luck.

How Much Assistance Will You Be Willing to Have?

How Long Should My Wedding Dress Be? Photo Credit // Unsplash

Lastly, it’s important to keep in mind that the longer the wedding dress, the more assistance you will need throughout the wedding ceremony and reception. From holding up the train prior to walking down the aisle, to moving from place to place, you will most likely have your maid of honor or your bridesmaids helping you if you plan on having a long wedding gown.

If you want a little more freedom to move around on your own, consider a wedding dress length that will allow you to do just that. If you do love the look of a long wedding gown, there are various tips on how to walk down the aisle and not risk tripping over your beautiful dress.

While each of these additional considerations may seem fairly minor in the grand scheme of wedding dress shopping, they play an important role in the long run. Not only will taking each of these into consideration make your wedding day run smoother, they will also take some of the stress off of your plate leading up to the big day.

Spend More Time on the Details

No matter what wedding dress length you choose for your special day, it’s important that you have the time to dedicate to deciding such details. At Zola, we provide a variety of wedding planning tools that make the planning process much easier, leaving you with more time to focus on all of the exciting details of your wedding. From the engagement all the way to starting the next chapter of your life as newlyweds, Zola has the tools and support to guide you through the wedding process, making it just as easy as it is exciting. So sit back and let us handle the nitty-gritty while you plan all of your favorite parts.

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