It is common for a bride to ask me what she should bring with her to her wedding gown appointment. The answer? Pictures of dresses you like and don't like, an idea of your budget, your wallet (ha ha!), your hair up, shoes of about the right heel height, and, most importantly, a good bra.
I decided to write about bras today because I get asked about them all the time, and because it seems to be a hot topic of the moment. InStyle has a great article about bras in their current issue. There is a whole page devoted to special occasion bras, that is, bras that offer support without the traditional silhouette. You will find bras to suit a variety of dress styles: strapless, halter, low back, plunge neck, and criss-cross straps.
So my advice is this: when you come to your appointment, bring your best, most supportive and smoothing, best fitting bra. If you don't have one, go to a specialty store or department store and get fitted for one. This is an investment that will allow you to focus on the gowns you are wearing, instead of suffering angst as your focus is drawn to your trouble spots, back fat, cup bulge or whatever your issue is. I have seen countless girls wearing beautiful gowns that they are not really seeing, because all they see is a lump resulting from an ill-fitting bra. And does this bra need to be strapless? Not in my mind... but I make a living being able to visualize a dress on a girl even if it isn't the right size or color, so imagining away straps on a bra is no problem for me... only you will know whether you can do that too.
Once you have found your perfect dress, go back to your favorite lingerie spot and describe your dress to them. These women can recommend the perfect undergarment to suit the lines of your gown and its construction, and may have to special order it for you. Leave the tags on the bra and bring it with you when you try on your dress for the first time. Most professional lingerie stores will allow you to return the garment with the tags still on if it isn't exactly right, that is, it is visible under the dress, it causes a pinch or bulge it shouldn't, etc. If your dress is a very difficult cut (like a very sheer fabric that is showing every stitch and seam), bring your dress to the store to shop for bras until you find the right thing.
Remember that many photographs will be taken of you on your wedding day. You want to look smooth, supported and contained from every angle. And when the day comes to a close and it is time to remove your gown, try slipping into the restroom discretely to remove the supportive undergarments in favor of something a little "flirtier"... after all, the undergarments you wear throughout the getting ready, pictures, ceremony, reception and dancing are likely to be a little sweaty anyway, right?