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wedding day

What to Wear Under Your Wedding Dress

  |   By Elisabeth Dale

The last time I had to worry about what to wear under a wedding dress, it was in 1984.

Back then, it took a few weeks to find the right strapless bra in my 34DD size—one that would give me support and the right amount of oomph. Plus, it needed to be beautiful but sturdy enough to stay up during hours of standing in a reception line and dancing. I’m not sure the bra I choose did all I wanted because there weren’t many options for deeper cup busts some 35 years ago (yikes).

Today, there are plenty of bra styles from which to choose, and that can make any decision challenging. How do you know what to buy? First, it starts with what you need. Second, you should have a good idea of what’s available in your shape and size before dress shopping. Third, check out bra reviews to better understand any fit issues. Finally, keep in mind that all foundations position your breasts in a certain way. You must find “the one” that best complements the design of your dress—and reduces the chance of any wardrobe malfunctions on your big day.

Here are five ways to help make your boobs look their best under your wedding dress:

Go Braless

Who says you can’t ditch your bra on your wedding day? There’s no rule against going braless, and it might be the best option for you, depending on what style of wedding dress you choose. If you’re worried about flashing your headlights down the aisle, you can always opt to add plain or spicy nipple covers to your bridal ensemble.

Bristols Six Something Blue Heart Nippies

Bristols 6 Something Blue Heart Nippies
via Bristols 6

Stick to Adhesives 

Longing to wear a daring sheer, backless gown on your wedding day? Then an adhesive bra is worth considering. These styles can also create cleavage but are tricky. Most work best with smaller breasts, although some claim to support DD/E cups. Do test out this style long before your big day, so you’re sure it gives the support you need.

wedding dress

Ultralite NuBra
Available in Sizes A-D
via Nordstrom

wedding dress

Braza Strapless Angel Adhesive Bra
Available in Sizes A-DD
via HerRoom

Choose Convertible or Strapless Styles

Even if it includes sleeves, your wedding dress may require that you wear a strapless, racerback or halter option. Variations on these styles include plunge, push-up, or full-coverage cups. Some have extra features, like sticky silicone trim to keep them in place.

Longlines, bodysuits, and bustiers fall into this category and also double as shapewear to smooth any lumps. There’s everything from practical and essential to luxury and boudoir models from which to choose. But be sure that whatever coverage you need works for both front and low back. You might need to buy more than one (leaving all the tags on) and take them with you to your fitting. That way you’ll have a good idea what looks best under your particular dress. Be sure it allows you to move and sit comfortably as boning and stays run different lengths.

wedding day

Penelope Padded Strapless Bra
Available in Bands 32-36, Cups A-E
via L’Agent by Agent Provocateur

Simone Perele Plunge Strapless Bra

Simone Perele Strapless Plunge Smooth Cup Bra
Available in 3 Colors
Fitting Bands 30-40, Cups B-F
via HerRoom

wedding dress

Curvy Couture Multi-Way Push Up Bra (w/removable straps)
Available in 2 Colors
Fitting Bands 34-44, Cups B-H
via HerRoom

wedding dress

Va Bien Ultra Lift Low Back Convertible Bustier 
Available in 3 Colors
Fitting Bands 32-44, Cups B-DDD
via HerRoom
 
 
wedding dress
 
Le Mystère Sophia Convertible Underwire Bodysuit
Available in 2 Colors
Fitting Bands 32-36, Cups B-E
via Nordstrom

wedding dress

Felina Caress Too Lace Underwire Bustier
Available in Bands 32-38, Cups B-D
via Nordstrom
 
wedding dress
 
Le Mystère Sensuelle Convertible Underwire Bustier
Available in 2 Colors
Ftting Bands 32-38, Cups B-G
via Nordstrom 

La Perla Petit Macrame Underwired Long Line Bra

La Perla Petit Macrame Underwire Longline Bra
Available in 4 Colors
Fitting Bands 32-38, Cups B-D
via La Perla
 
wedding dress
 
Simone Perele Wish Smooth Cup Plunge Bustier (w/removable straps)
Available in Black and White
Fitting Band Sizes 32-38, Cups B-D
via Neiman Marcus
 

Everyday Demi, Balconette or Multiway Plunge Bras 

If you’re cool with straps, but the front of your dress shows more skin, look for one of these styles. A balconette or demi separates the breasts and shows off more of the upper half your chest. Plunge bras bring boobs together to give deeper cleavage. Again, you can go with padded and push ups or opt for lighter contour cups or delicate lined or unlined lace styles.

wedding dress

Nordstrom Convertible Plunge Bra
Available in 2 Colors
Fitting Bands 32-36, Cups B-D
via Nordstrom
 Le Mystère Infinite Possibilities Convertible Underwire Plunge Bra
 
Le Mystère Infinite Possibilities Convertible Underwire Plunge Bra
Available in 2 Colors
Fitting Bands 32-38, Cups B-G
via Nordstrom
 
wedding dress
 
b.tempt’d by Wacoal Ciao Bella Balconette Bra
Available in 12 Colors
Fitting Bands 30-38, Cups B-DDD
via HerRoom
 
wedding dress
 
Vanessa Non Pad Demi Bra
Available in Bands 32-36, Cups A-E
via L’Agent by Agent Provocateur
 
wedding dress
 
Journelle Anais Low Balconette Bra
Available in Bands 32-36, Cups A-G
via Journelle

Rely on Alterations

A skilled dressmaker or alterations person can work magic. For an extra fee, they will sew cups into a dress to add extra lift or support. There are also several bra hacks and accessories that let you tailor a bra to get the ideal look and fit you need.

Whatever lingerie you choose, be sure to complete any set by purchasing coordinating pieces, such as panties and garter belt. And if you didn’t find your size or style above, check out more brands in the Strapless and Special Occasion sections of our store.

What do you think of these possible choices of what to wear under a wedding dress? Are any options missing from this list?

Featured Image: Vanessa Demi Bra from L’Agent by Agent Provocateur 

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Breast and bra expert, author, and founder of TheBreastLife.com. My latest book, The Bra Zone: How to Find Your Ideal Style, Size, and Support, busts common bra fitting myths and helps consumers navigate the confusing world of bra styles and sizes.