Your Guide to Fancy & Functional Wedding Undergarments

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

What exactly do you wear under your wedding dress? From corsets to bridal shapewear to everyday bras and panties, discover the breakdown of what to choose!

wedding photo by amy anaiz
Photo: Amy Anaiz Photography

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 wedding gown styles, your average underwear just won’t do, so it’s important to set aside some time to shop for the perfect wedding undergarments for the big day. We recommend making an appointment at a lingerie store or your bridal salon after you’ve purchased your dress to make sure your bridal undergarments are perfect for the style of dress you picked.

If you don't already have the wedding dress in your possession, bring pictures of your dress to the appointment to give the professionals a better idea of what the exact silhouette entails, so they know the best type of bridal shapewear or underwear to suggest for your wedding dress. Get all of the advice you can from these experts before making your choice on shapewear for a dress or other wedding undergarments.

As they’ll tell you, it’s vital that brides have a well-fitted bust in their wedding dress to prevent any wardrobe malfunctions. When trying on all wedding-day attire, make sure your support is locked into place (jump, dance, 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! You can never be too prepared when it comes to all aspects of your wedding.

So what exactly do you wear under your wedding dress? From corsets for wedding dresses to bridal shapewear to your everyday bras and panties, see the breakdown of what to wear for your wedding undergarments, below!

Wedding-Day Bras 

As far as support and comfort go, the best piece of advice we can give you would be to have a seamstress sew padding of your choice into the bust of your wedding dress. 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. But what type of support is best for which wedding dress and body type? Take a look at these helpful hints:

When to choose a normal, two-strap bra: 

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

When to select 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 your body is a little chestier, this may not hold up as well over the course of the day – though some strapless bridal shapewear options may work. As mentioned, it’s important to ensure the bodice and bust of your wedding dress fit well and withstand the jump, dance, and move test mentioned above. 

When to don 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. Every body is different and so are many halter dresses, so make sure the strap of your halter undergarments or bridal shapewear fits comfortably (and secretly) beneath the strap of your gown. 

When to get into a corset: 

Judge the thickness of the fabric your wedding dress is made of and its general shape before selecting a corset for wedding dress undergarments. If the material of the bodice is too thin, includes sheer sections, or features a low back or plunging neckline, a corset for wedding dresses may not be the best choice as its boning might be visible. However, a corset is perfect for a thicker gown – often with a fuller skirt – especially if a bride desires a little cinching in the waist that bridal shapewear just can't provide. 

When to try shapewear (for bras and panties): 

If you’re looking for versatility, this is your best option. Dress shapewear comes in an array of colors and styles that will match any gown it’s faced with and help keep everything in place no matter what your size. Whether your dress has a plunging neckline, a deeply low back, or a body-hugging shape, there will likely be a style of shapewear that works for your body need. These come in very handy with tight dresses, such as mermaids or trumpet gowns, or dresses that seem to show every single thing underneath. The only downside is that they are difficult to use the bathroom in – ask your seamstress or a salesperson for tips on this to help make your life easier, not harder!

Bridesmaids Helping Boho-Chic Bride

Photo by Belle Ombre Photography; Floral Design by HeatherLily

Wedding-Day Panties 

Fun little numbers that spell out “Bride” in rhinestones are playful and cute, but these may not be practical with the gown you’ve purchased. While skin-toned thongs are often the safest bet with wedding dresses, some brides may need or want to consider their options before selecting the right style. Read the tips below on when to consider thicker or thinner undergarments: 

When to choose 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 don any underwear you’d like on your big day. You can get as creative as you want and don't need to put too much thought into it! Brides wearing tea-length wedding dresses: just be weary of wind and certain movements, as you never know when you might experience a Marilyn Monroe moment – and you certainly don't need that type of embarrassment at your wedding. 

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 throughout your ceremony and certainly your reception, so if you don’t particularly like the feel of thongs, perhaps a bodysuit would be a better fit. Either way, do what's best for you – think of what you feel most comfortable in on a typical evening out and try to replicate that if you can for your wedding.

For more ideas, read tips on throwing a lingerie-themed bridal shower and learn more about wedding shapewear for your nuptials.