When it comes to outfits for their wedding day, most brides focus exclusively on the dress. Of course, this is for good reason – after all, the dress is what everyone is going to see on your big day. But, what’s underneath is just as important as the dress. Wearing the right lingerie will ensure you and your dress look and feel incredible all day long.
Unfortunately, wedding lingerie is often an afterthought. All too often, brides rush around in the last, crucial days before their wedding, hunting for underwear. It’s stressful. It’s madness. And it’s completely unnecessary.
Before I launched my eponymous brand Christina Devine, I spent 13 years designing bras and lingerie. I was passionate about creating exquisite lingerie that fitted well and felt comfortable, all while using gorgeous laces and decadent fabrics. I’ve sat in many design rooms, full of talented people, looking for solutions to lingerie issues that plague women of all shapes and sizes – from breathability and nipple coverage to uncomfortable underwires and slimming solutions. That’s why I’m so dedicated to helping my brides find exactly the right lingerie for their wedding dress and ultimately, making them feel good.
Think of this as friendly guidance for navigating the overwhelming world of wedding lingerie.
What is support?
The key thing to remember about lingerie is that it’s meant to support you and help ensure your clothes – in this case, your wedding dress – fit perfectly. In the world of undergarments, support means two things. It can refer to the amount of lift needed, or desired, in the bust area, or to the amount of control and shaping desired around the waist and hip.
Of course, support comes in many forms. It can be heavy, greatly manipulating and modifying to the body – just think of Kim Kardashian’s tiny waist in the custom Thierry Mugler dress from the 2019 Met Gala. At the other end of the spectrum is light – or no – support, which is suitable for outfits like John Galliano’s gorgeous liquid bias gowns. These slinky dresses show off every curve of a woman’s body and often work best sans bra.
Ready to take the plunge into the world of lingerie? Read on for my secrets and tips for finding the perfect undergarments and a little extra support for your wedding day.
1. What bra do you wear every day?
Ask this question before you start dress shopping. It’s a simple yet powerful way to help you narrow down the endless choices of necklines and bodices. Thinking about your favorite bras –you know, the ones you reach for again and again – can guide you towards finding a wedding dress silhouette that you’ll feel comfortable in.
Happy with a minimal bralette? An ultra-slinky bias gown with a low back will work for you. Always reach for a supportive bra, no matter the occasion? Look for dress styles with straps and which are not cut too low in the back. Feel secure in a strapless bra? Try styles with built-in support in the bodice and make sure the neckline and waist fit securely. Feel comfortable with structure and minimizing your bust? A corseted bodice with layers of fabric and boning will give your curves an extra boost.
2. Hidden support
In the early days of haute couture, designers like Christian Dior and Charles James built layers of boning, padding, and underwire into their gowns, to provide hidden support and manipulate the female form. This technique of building a dress within a dress is still used in wedding gowns today, although sadly, it’s becoming less common.
If you’re full-busted or just feel more secure wearing a wire and cup bra, I recommend looking for a gown with built-in support. This extra internal layer allows the dress to sit as close as possible to your body – just like your bra – and lifts and shapes your bust. Just remember that if a gown doesn’t have these layers of support already built in, adding it later can cause fit issues and result in added costs.
3. Save the lace for later
Your wedding day is just that, a full day. From the moment you put on your dress, there are endless photos, constant movement, hopefully some eating, and lots of hot, sweaty dancing. When it comes to your underwear, you need a workhorse garment that is going to withstand heat and movement.
I recommend looking for lingerie in a breathable microfiber fabric that will keep you cool all day. And, if you want to avoid VPL, stay away from stitched elastic along the waistband and leg openings. Instead, look for finishes that are raw cut or lightly bonded for a seamless finish. As for color, skip traditional white as it will show through your dress. You’ll do better by sticking to a nude that matches your skin tone for a completely invisible foundation.
That’s not to say you can’t have some deliciously flirty lingerie up your sleeve for later. Just save that three-piece, French lace, lingerie set for your afterparty.
4. Tight does not equal skinnier
Okay, yes. A shaping undergarment can reduce the measurement of your waist and hips. But do you want to feel like a sausage stuffed into its casing, or run the risk of overheating on your wedding day? Probably not. That’s why I always say comfort is key. If you’re conscious about your tummy or hips, look for a gown and skirt shape that flatters your sexy curves. If you put on a dress and your eyes go directly to your discomfort zone, walk away from it. Sizing down a spandex shapewear garment will not fix this.
5. No to the NU Bra
Sometimes, a wardrobe malfunction will stay with you forever. So, I always share this personal story with my brides – I don’t want this to happen to you.
Back in my New York City clubbing days, I went out wearing a fabulous vintage low-back slip dress with a new sticky cup backless bra underneath. The evening was going well. I felt amazing and was dancing the night away on a sweaty dancefloor. Suddenly, I felt a slip, squish, and pop…I looked down to find that my sticky bra had slipped off, fallen on the floor, and was stuck to the stiletto of the girl next to me! To this day, the memory of me trying to get her attention and retrieve the wayward bra remains one of my most embarrassing, hilarious, and ridiculous wardrobe moments.
My advice? Stay away from unsecure undergarments that may move, shift, or slip under heat, movement, and pressure.
6. Hollywood’s Secret
How do those Hollywood actresses get their girls to look perky in those plunging necklines? It’s a secret as old as Hollywood itself – tape. Until very recently, many high-profile women used heavy-duty packing tape or duct tape to tame their busts under revealing dresses. From experience, this is unpleasant and sometimes very painful – though it did the job. Luckily, we’ve come a long way, and brands like Skims, Booby Tape, and Yoobtape have created skin-scape tapes in a range of nude tones that work perfectly for minimal-effort extra lift.
Need a little expert advice? Book an appointment and let me personally guide you through the fit and support process behind all of our wedding dresses.