The term princess refers to the cut of the waist and silhouette of the gown. A princess cut is slimming; it accentuates the bust and flare of the hips, thereby allowing the waist to appear smaller than it actually is. The skirt of a princess gown is usually long and A-line; the train is either cathedral, extending as far as six to seven feet from the waist, or chapel, extending only 3 to 4 feet. It is possible to combine the princess waist with a mermaid silhouette that fits snuggly at the waist, across the hips, and down to the top of the knees, then flares out into the vintage-inspired fish-tail look. The trains of mermaid gowns may be long, mini, or bustle, in accord with the bride's wishes.
Many princess gowns are adorned with beading, sequins, crystals, pearls, elaborate lace, and floral designs. Wraps and shawls are ideal accessories for a princess gown. The addition of a pearl or rhinestone tiara is the perfect final touch.
Nearly any neckline may be paired with a princess silhouette, though some flatter more than others. The sabrina and sweetheart necklines, for instance, are superior to the common scoop. Halter, square, and v-necks are also excellent complements; halters accentuate the shoulders, while the V and square lines draw attention to the neck. Some incredibly beautiful gowns feature the simple scoop coupled with very thin spaghetti straps.
A princess gown speaks of elegance, refinement, and the romance of centuries past. As it is one of the more formal of bridal designs, the princess gown is particularly appropriate for the bride who will be married in the evening. For the sake of comfort, princess gowns should be avoided during the summer, unless one resides in a cool climate. The formality of princess gowns suggests an after-five event. The bride married in the morning or afternoon may choose to lighten the look with subtle additions of color or floral accents. A pair of strappy sandals would work well for this purpose, as would the avoidance of gloves.
The virtues of a princess wedding dress are obvious to any woman who's worn one. Marked by clean-cut lines, it flatters the short as well as the very tall bride, drawing attention to an already bountiful bust, or creating the illusion of such where none exists. Another virtue to consider: it is impossible to be out-dressed by anyone while clad in a princess gown. No one will be as beautiful as you. No one will mistake you for a bridesmaid. And not a single pair of eyes will be tempted to wander anywhere but toward the vision of you as a princess-bride. Just remember: your day, your limelight! This is the one rule no bride should bend on her wedding day, no matter who says otherwise.