How to Choose a Fall Wedding Dress

A bride and groom surrounded by fall leaves on the ground.

No matter what the time of year you decide to get married, choosing a wedding dress is equal parts exciting and anxiety-producing. Getting hitched in the fall means you have more variety of silhouettes and sleeve lengths to help you be comfortable in the dipping temperatures, but the basic rules of wedding dress shopping still apply. Looking for your perfect fall wedding dress? Here are our best tips for finding your dream dress for a beautiful wedding in September, October, or November.

1. Know What Temperature You’re Dressing For

Sure, it may be hot right now, but when you walk down the aisle it will be significantly cooler outside. If you’ve already set a wedding date, take a peak at what the average temperature is around that time (you can easily look up this information online). While the temperature may significantly drop for East coasters or Midwesterners, it’s not likely going to be too chilly if you’re a Texas or California bride, so keep that in mind if you’re looking at long sleeved gowns. Remember that the name of the game is to be as comfortable as you can throughout the day. The last thing you want is to be sweaty and uncomfortable during your whole event.

2. Find Your Ideal Silhouette

A bride wearing a full wedding dress and standing in field next to a lake in the fall.

Are you a full gown kind of bride—or do you prefer something more fitted like a mermaid gown? Before you shop for your fall wedding dress, you should have an idea of what silhouette you prefer.

Just to give you a refresher, here are the main types of bridal gown silhouettes:

  • Ball gown: A fitted bodice up top with a very full skirt on the bottom
  • Mermaid: Fitted all the way to the hips with a slight flare at the bottom
  • A-line: Mimics the shape of an A—small up top with a gradual increase toward the bottom
  • Sheath: A bodice that follows the shape of the body all the way down with a fabric that’s typically not stretchy or very flexible

3. Determine Sleeve Length

A bohemian bride standing in a field wearting a sleeveless wedding dress.

For a fall dress, you have the option of changing your look up with varying sleeve lengths. Ever since Kate Middleton wed Prince William in 2011, long sleeves have slowly made their way back into wedding fashion—and paved the way for other types of sleeves such as off-the-shoulder and cap sleeves.

Before you head into the bridal shop, determine what kind of sleeve lengths you want to look at for your gown and rule out the ones that won’t work. Long sleeves may be beautiful and very in fashion right now, but they can be mighty uncomfortable if you’re planning on an outdoor wedding when the temperatures will still be fairly mild.

4. Set a Budget

Just like any other season of wedding gown shopping, you’ll need to set a budget for your dress and stick to it. It’s important to be upfront about this number with your bridal gown consultant so that she doesn’t show you any gowns that are far above what your max is. The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a dress that’s way over your budget.

5. Don’t Forget Accessories

A bride and groom standing in front a tree with fall-colored leaves.

One of the best things about picking out a wedding dress for the fall is that you have more opportunities to accessorize. If you opt for a strapless dress, for example, you can choose to add a faux fur wrap or a capelet for the chillier parts of the evening, which can add a whole new level to your wedding day look.

6. Take Your Shoes into Account

Since it’s fall, you won’t likely be donning simple sandals on your wedding day (unless of course you’re planning on getting married at a beach resort). When trying on wedding dresses, don’t forget to take into account what type of shoes you think you’ll be wearing on the big day. Will you be choosing to go with closed-toed flats or do you prefer a heel?

7. Be Open Minded

A bride and groom standing in the park underneath a leafy, fall-colored tree.

As important as it is to be prepared for your day of bridal gown shopping, you also want a chance to be pleasantly surprised. Don’t be so set on an off-the-shoulder gown when your potential dream dress may be one with a romantic lacy long sleeve. In other words: don’t be so stuck in a vision that you miss out on a beautiful gown that you never would have considered.

Ask your bridal consultant if they have shoes you can try on with each dress so that you can get a good idea of what length you’ll need to account for and what type of shoe would look best with each gown.

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