Your Guide to Fancy & Functional Wedding Undergarments

Tips on the right bra and panties to don for your eventful nuptials.

So you’ve decided on your wedding dress and shoes: what’s next? Why, the rest of your bridal get-up, of course! For many gowns, your average underwear just won’t do, so it’s important to set aside some time to shop for the perfect undergarments for the big day. We recommend making an appointment at a lingerie store or your bridal salon after you’ve purchased your dress. 

Bring pictures of your frock to the appointment to give the professionals a better idea of what the exact silhouette entails. Get all of the advice you can from these experts before making your choice. As they’ll tell you, it’s vital that brides have a well-fitted bust in their dress to prevent any wardrobe malfunctions. When trying on all wedding-day attire, make sure it’s locked into place (jump and move your arms to test) and that it will be comfortable to wear all day. For minor fixes on the day, bring along some fashion tape or clothing adhesive, just in case. 

See the breakdown of what to wear below! Read tips on throwing a lingerie-themed bridal shower and learn more about wedding shapewear for your nuptials.

Bras

As far as support and comfort go, the best piece of advice would be to have a seamstress sew padding of your choice into the bust of your gown. This will ensure the faux bra doesn’t slip into sight while simultaneously keeping everything in place, and it is typically achievable for all kinds of frocks.

- When to wear a normal, two-strap bra: There are a few modern styles that will allow you to don a typical bra. If your neckline isn’t plunging, you have thick straps or sleeves, or a high back, a light bra should do the trick. But be careful: if the fabric of your dress is relatively thin and your bra is a little thick, it could show through quite easily.

- When to wear a strapless bra: If your gown has thin or no straps and a high-to-moderate back, a skin-toned strapless bra can work well. However, if you’re a little chestier, this may not hold up as well over the course of the day. As mentioned, it’s important to ensure the bodice and bust fit well.

- When to wear a halter bra: The only gown that requires a halter bra, or a bra with a single strap that loops around the back of the neck, is the dress of the same name. Usually, padding or a strapless bra will do, but for women with bigger busts, use a halter bra to give you more support.

- When to wear a corset: Judge the thickness of your dress’ fabric and its general shape before selecting a corset. If the material of the bodice is too thin, includes sheer sections, or features a low back or plunging neckline, the corset or its boning might be visible. A corset is perfect for a thicker gown – often with a fuller skirt – especially if a bride desires a little cinching in the waist.

- When to wear shapewear (for bras and panties): If you’re looking for versatility, this is your best option. Shapewear comes in an array of colors and styles that will match any gown it’s faced with: whether your dress has a plunging neckline, a deeply low back, or a body-hugging shape. These come in very handy with tight dresses, such as mermaids or trumpet gowns. The only downside is that they are difficult to use the bathroom in – ask your seamstress or a salesperson for tips on this!

Panties

Fun little numbers that spell out “Bride” in rhinestones are playful and cute, but may not be practical with the gown you’ve purchased. While skin-toned thongs are often the safest bet with wedding dresses, some brides want to consider their options before selecting.

- When to wear thicker panties or lingerie with all the bells and whistles: If you’re wearing a fuller skirt from waist to hemline, such as a ball gown, A-line, a flowy sheath, or a tea-length dress, you basically have free reign to wear the underwear you’d like. You can get as creative as you want! Tea-length brides: just be weary of wind and certain movements, as you never know when you might experience a Marilyn Monroe moment.

- When to wear thin, seamless panties or even “go commando”: If your dress is quite form fitting and you’ve opted out of wearing shapewear, selecting “barely there” undergarments will do you a world of good. Of course, it’s important to be comfortable, so if you don’t particularly like the feel of thongs, perhaps a bodysuit would be a better fit.

Opening photo by Catherine Hall Studios

Authored by: Megan Simpson