Tall Brides: Stand Tall

We hear so little about the trials and tribulations faced by the tall bride because most of us had to strip fabric from our wedding gown hems instead of adding more. Questions like “I’m short and curvy — what wedding dresses will flatter my figure?” are far more common than “What can a tall bride wear?” But while the 5’4″ bride dominates, the tall bride is nonetheless out there shopping for her gown and her bridal shoes, and perhaps wondering just how she can make herself appear that much more petite in her wedding photographs.

Ages and ages ago, before the advent of the Never teh Bride, a reader wrote to inquire “whatever is a tall bride to do?” and our esteemed head of state, The Manolo, rightly recommended that the tall bride should not attempt to camouflage her height with flats — especially, I might add, considering that her intended probably already knew she was tall when s/he proposed. Though all you tall brides out there may feel like you’re going to end up looking like this as you walk down the aisle…

tall brides

…I can promise that you won’t. The perpetual middle schooler that lives inside your brain and whispers that you’re still a gawky and ungainly girl is wrong, wrong, wrong. Unlike us shorties, you tall brides can often look effortlessly elegant. Your height gives you a certain presence that has to be faked by the rest of us. You may be willowy and graceful, in which case you can probably wear any wedding dress you like. Or perhaps you are as rubenesque as you are statuesque, in which case you should probably wear any wedding dress you like. Maybe you’re sporty and lean, built like a stringbean, which means you can definitely wear any wedding dress you like because, come on, you’re the closest thing to a runway model on this list!

tall bride

Above we have a tall bride, who also happens to be a friend of mine. Gawky? Anything but! Ungainly? Certainly not! Still, the tall bride does have to take some things into consideration that other brides can take for granted. Here are just a few:

  • Don’t think you HAVE to wear flats or low-heeled shoes on your wedding day, particularly if you usually tower over the world in 5-inch heels. At the same time, don’t wear heels *just because* if you spend your life in flats.
  • You may need to order a wedding dress with custom measurements or, if you’re buying online, make sure you specify “long” when placing your order. Don’t forget to consider your heel height and petticoat bulk when ordering.
  • Tall brides with tall torsos may need to take that into account, too, when buying a wedding dress. Remember that it’s better to get a gown that’s too long, as too much fabric can be removed easily while too little may mean your full-length dress becomes a tea-length dress by necessity.
  • Be bold when choosing your wedding dress, since tall brides can frequently pull off styles that brides of average height cannot. Full skirt? No problem. Lots of embellishments? If anyone can wear it well, you can.
  • The same goes for accessories! A larger frame means you can wear larger accessories, whether that means chunkier bridal jewelry or a huge hat or a tremendously long veil. This is one case where more really is more.
  • Tall brides are also blessed in that they can carry bigger bouquets if they so choose. Cascading styles and across the arm styles both look great on tall brides. Just remember to scale your bridal bouquet to your frame — too small a bouquet can look odd in pics.
  • Finally, stop worrying about looking too tall in photos! If you’d really like a wedding portrait where you and your new spouse are the same height, take one where you’re sitting with your heads together. Otherwise embrace your tallitude since you’ll be wearing it for a very long time!

(Image via Monsters vs. Aliens)

15 Responses to “Tall Brides: Stand Tall”

  1. La BellaDonna says:

    NtB, whatever is that first still from? It looks as if it would be tremendous fun to watch! (Maybe. If it ends happily.)

  2. Twistie says:

    That’s Ashley? She looks gorgeous! Also, she’s clearly having fun at her own wedding, which means she did it right.

    My advice to tall brides is to wear what makes you look and feel wonderful, rock whatever kind of shoes you feel good in, and remember that your intended did pick you knowing precisely how tall you are. Go with it. The people who love you won’t think anything of how tall you are because they already know. Anyone who breaks out in hives over the thought of a tall bride (let alone one taller than her new spouse) needs to get over themselves.

    And remember, try on different styles of gown and accessories. Just like us shorter women, you may be surprised to find what actually looks and feels best on you. After all, I’m short, but even when I was pretty thin tiny, delicate accessories disappeared on me and made me disappear. Chunky and bold was always the way to go for my jewelry. Don’t be afraid to choose your own eye over generalized advice on how tall women should dress.

    Oh, and don’t slouch. Stand every bit as tall as you are.

  3. “I never noticed you were tall until today!”

  4. I would not worry about the hight at all! these are good suggestions!

  5. Lizz says:

    Hm, while agree that brides should be able to wear heels if they want to, I’m not going that route. While I have not problem being the same height as my fiance, I tower over his family (especially his brothers who will be groomsmen). I always feel like a Valkyrie around them and see no point in making myself feel more awkward. That being said, I won’t be slumping or trying to hid my height, but I’m not going to accentuate it either. Besides, it’s hard to really dance in four inch heels (for me).

  6. Kelly says:

    I am about 2 inches taller than my husband and I wore flats so it would not show as bad during the ceremony.

  7. Elisabeth says:

    I did the photography for my cousin’s wedding, and the bride was taller than the groom. Big deal . . . we decided to shoot a lot on a hill and that pretty much made the issue a non-issue! It looked extremely natural because of the angles I ended up using and I am very happy with how it turned out. She also didn’t wear heels because it was an outdoor wedding on a lawn, and that would have been problematic.

    There’s also this beautiful picture of them where she is curved oh sexily against him . . . which makes her amazingly shorter and it doesn’t SEEM awkward…just incredibly romantic.


  8. We hear so little about the trials and tribulations faced by the tall bride because most of us had to strip fabric from our wedding gown hems instead of adding more.

  9. mywhimsey says:

    I was a tall bride, and for years before I was a tall bridesmaid always doing the “stand in the back of photos and kind of do a knee bend so your head will fit in the picture” sort of thing. When you are the bride, do NOT do this. The big white dress makes you the focal point of the photo (mostly) so being taller doesn’t make you “stick out”, it just makes you look important. Which you (and your sweetie) are.

    As far as the dress went, I found that it was the easiest dress I have ever bought. The nice thing about a wedding dress is that it is supposed to be altered to fit you – it’s probably the only dress I own that actually fits me.

    Also, beware of bending down to hug short guests in a strapless gown.

  10. Katie says:

    Thank you for remembering us! I plan to wear flats because I usually do, but I enjoy my height (shoewise, I’d like to go barefoot really, and have really high heels for photos taken with my taller brothers)

  11. La BellaDonna says:

    When my brother married his delightful wife, she opted for, I think, 4″ heels. I was concerned about her COMFORT; my brother was, I think, concerned about the cuteness of the lace-up boots and the fishnet stockings his bride wore. He already knew she was two inches taller than he! But he’s always liked a challenge. Heh. She had a FABULOUS wedding dress, made to her exact (if occasionally inarticulate) specifications.

  12. Pencils says:

    I’m a hair under six feet tall. I normally don’t wear heels all that often, I’m more of a Chuck Taylors girl (I’m wearing them now) but I did want a pair of reasonable (2.5″ or so) heels for my wedding. I walk differently in heels than in flats. However, my darling husband asked me not to wear heels on this one day so that I wouldn’t be taller than he–he’s about an inch and a half taller than I am. So I had the task of finding shoes in a size 11, because tall women tend to have proportional feet, with a real heel of n more than 1″ or so. And they had to be ivory, not white, as my dress was ivory. I did find them in the end, and they were so gorgeous and comfortable I never put on my bridal Chucks.

    As far as my gown was concerned, the salon where I bought it couldn’t get over the fact that it fit perfectly, they didn’t even have to hem it. I was possibly the only bride in their history who didn’t need alterations. Which was great for me, but I know I’m an outlier, so what the hell are these designers doing making dresses for six foot tall women? My gown would have been out of proportion on a woman six inches shorter, which is “normal” height, not petite.

  13. I am in awe of your tallitude, Pencils, for I have always wanted to be taller than my 5’4″ self… and yes, my wedding gown would probably have fit you perfectly. It was way too long right out of the box.

  14. Twistie says:

    Pencils, that’s another big part of the reason this 5′ 2 1/2″ woman had her gown custom made.

    OTOH, isn’t it nice for once, as an outlier, to have something perfect right out of the box…er garment bag?