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Wedding dresses for athletic build: What to look for

Black and white bride: Finding wedding dresses for athletic build

More and more women are taking good care of themselves to help them live longer, feel better and be stronger in both mind and body. If sports and fitness is the way that you’re doing that then all the power to you! But when it comes to finding beautiful wedding dresses for the athletic build, well, it can be a challenge. If you’re not sure what to look for in a wedding dress for a muscular body type then read on!

These style tips can help you confidently walk down the aisle. I’ll be keeping these ones in mind while planning for my big day later this year.

Challenges of finding wedding dresses for an athletic build

An athletic body can pose significant challenges when searching for the right wedding gown. For example, swimmers usually have powerful shoulders and back muscles.

While this physique isn’t a problem clothing-wise you are wearing something stretchy like a t-shirt, it can become an issue when you are trying on more fitted formal garments. Other types of athletes will have different issues to contend with, such as a runner’s muscular thighs.

The goal: Highlight your great toned features

On the plus side, athletic brides have a lot of great physical features to highlight in the right wedding dresses. You likely have nicely toned arms, attractive shoulders, and a more firm physique than some other women.

When shopping for what to wear at your dream wedding, look for styles that will showcase your best features fully and then finish the look with the right makeup

V-Necks for brides with strong shoulders

Recently I went for a massage and was told that I have very strong shoulders and upper back. Great! But while I look forward to trying on wedding dresses soon, I worry that they will look odd or off-balance against the rest of my body. And believe me, I don’t want to be uncomfortable in a dress, playing with the straps or another feature all evening.

So if you’re a bride-to-be with strong shoulders like me then opt for a v-neck bridal gown. Another option is gentle scoop necks on wedding dresses for athletic build women.

As for spaghetti straps, honestly, they look nice on toned shoulders, but only if they are not too muscular. And once you find the perfect dress, you can choose to have matching designs for the white flower girl dresses to enhance the theme of the wedding.

Wedding dress for muscular women: Is a halter neckline right for you?

For wedding dresses for an athletic build, another type to consider is the halter neckline. It can be the perfect cut to show off well-conditioned arms, shoulders, and upper back.

A halter style also has a certain sportiness about it, which can help you feel comfortable and have a look that fits your style too.

Halter wedding dresses can have many variations, such as:

  • Tie at the neck with soft chiffon for a beach wedding
  • Fix at the neckline with crystal buttons for a more formal type of wedding (which go nicely with crystal bridal jewelry)
  • Different shapes within the neckline – square, V-neck, or sweetheart

Thus, the halter bridal gown like this gorgeous one from David’s Bridal is one of the most versatile and attractive options for women with an athletic build.

Wedding dress for muscular build

Choosing fabrics for wedding dresses for an athletic build

The type of material that you pick can make all the difference in the world about how you feel in your wedding gown. If you don’t consider yourself to be dainty, then avoid fragile fabrics like chiffon. You do not want to be worried about damaging your gown.

Instead, look for durable materials, such as silk shantung or linen. Many sporty women feel much more at home in these fabrics. You can also use some linen to enhance the look of ivory flower girl dresses for beautiful flower girls with a matching theme.

Accessories for a wedding dress for a muscular body

Your accessories are an essential part of your look on this important day so don’t forget them! Brides who usually dress casually might feel overwhelmed by a cathedral-length veil, high heels, tiara, and elaborate bridal jewelry. I’m raising my hand here and waving “Me!”

Thankfully there are simple alternatives that will make you look polished without feeling ridiculous. Bridal jewelry options to complement wedding dresses for the athletic build include cute flat shoes and a dainty headband. For the necklace, you might choose a single pearl one that is stunning without being over the top fashion-wise. A simple monochromatic corsage will complete the image. Ask the florists from on what flowers to choose.

12 thoughts on “Wedding dresses for athletic build: What to look for”

  1. Hehe, I could have used this post 17 years ago when I got married (we just celebrated our 17th anniversary, hehe). But I still have my wedding dress and I still fit into it. We were both working at a ski area, so athleticism is a hallmark of our marriage. We still mountain bike, ski (in fact, we went today!), play tennis, hike, do kickboxing, and the like.
    Finding a dress was a bit of a challenge. I have athletic thighs. Oh yes, lol. Ultimately I went with a Renaissance-looking dress that had sheer fabric that draped over my shoulders. It was a scoop neck and flowed past the hips and thighs such that I think it was flattering (or at least I hope so!).
    But if I did it again today, I think I’d go for a summer wedding and have us arrive on our mountain bikes or something. hahah.
    In any case, I’m so happy for you and looking forward to this unfolding journey you’re embarking upon. Sending you big hugs!

    1. Your wedding dress sounds amazing, Cyndi! Haha I can just see you two renewing your vows and roaring up to the ceremony on your motorbikes :D What a terrific image. I just poked around your new meditation course and it looks spectacular. So professional looking and offering such useful – I wish you all the best always, in heart and mind xo

  2. Great post! I was concerned about my own wedding dress, since I used to work out and strength-train back then. Luckily, a friend of a friend offered her daughter’s wedding dress, and I jumped at it. It had to be altered a bit, especially in the chest, but it came out absolutely perfect. It was simple, yet elegant. I’m so grateful Suzie and Margaret offered it to me!

    1. Oh wow it sounds like that dress was meant to go to you! I am looking for exactly what you described – simple and elegant. I’m thinking floor length but no long train. Did you keep the dress after?

    2. It really was. I wanted to wear my mom’s dress – The one she wore when she married my dad. But it wouldn’t fit past the middle of my back. So, we had to resort to Plan B. Yes, I did keep the dress. It really should be preserved. I need to talk to my mom about that!

    3. Aw I am glad you still have the dress as I’m sure it brings back many memories from the big day when you look at it :) Sounds like Plan B was the way to go xo

  3. This is a job for a Wonder Woman gown! Highlight your strong body points, and the rest will fall inline.
    Lucky you, with an athletic body. Lucky you!
    I’m serious. I have more to say than I could ever put in a comments box, and I am a designer!

    1. Oh I can only imagine how you’d have many great points to discuss about bridal gown fashion, Resa! You could create original ones and I know they’d be a hit!!

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