What Do Most Brides Wear Under Their Dress?

From backless, to strapless, form-fitting, to ball gown, you might be wearing some unfamiliar shapes on your wedding day. If you’re not exactly sure what to wear as support on this important day, don’t worry. I’m about to share all of the details on how to feel comfortable and secure, or secretly sexy, no matter what style you’re wearing on the outside.

a pie chart showing what brides wear underneath their wedding dresses

You know I went there. I asked real brides what they plan on wearing under their dress and here are the results.

Most brides, above 34%, wear shapewear under their wedding dress like Honey Love or Spanx. 28 percent of brides wear underwear without shapewear. And 20 percent of brides are going commando, wearing nothing at all underneath their gowns.

Keep reading for more details on whether you should consider wearing your everyday underwear, something sexy, shapewear for support, or going commando based on our survey.

Do brides wear underwear?

Out of the 130 brides who gave a response, 28 percent said they just plan on wearing underwear. About half of them said nude or white, non-fancy underwear. The other half is planning on wearing something special for the occasion like a lacy thong, something blue, or lingerie.

The theme here is most brides just wanted to be comfortable and didn’t want any of their undergarments to show through the dress. Another factor is how much fabric and support is already built into your dress. If you have a multiple-layer skirt and built in cups, you won’t need much else to keep everything in place. And if your gown is backless or strapless or plunging, you don’t want shapewear or even a bra to show through.

Do brides wear bras?

Most brides do not wear a traditional bra under their wedding gowns. Because a lot of dress styles are strapless or have low backs, an everyday bra will show through. Instead, brides go bra-less, wear fashion tape, or adhesive bras.

So what do you wear instead? Dresses include built in cups for support or they can be added on during alterations. Usually a well-tailored dress doesn’t need anything additional for support. You can also purchase speciality bras or tape that adheres to your skin and provides some coverage and lift – without a band across your back or straps over your shoulders.

orange lace bra

Should you wear shapewear under your wedding dress?

34% of brides plan on wearing shapewear underneath their wedding dresses. You should wear shapewear under your wedding dress if it makes you feel more confident and secure in your body. You shouldn’t wear it will make you hot, itchy, or uncomfortable.

Of the 27 percent who said shapewear, the overwhelming winning brand was Honey Love. Brides cited that it was the only brand of shapewear that didn’t roll down. This is because unlike Spanx, Honey Love has boning built into it to prevent it from rolling.

Ultimately, whether you wear shapewear is up to you. How it makes you feel is a big factor. If you’re someone who feels supported and secure wearing it, then go for it. If it suffocates you, or you just don’t need it under all of those layers, then skip it.

Your wedding day is a long day so my tip is it might make sense for you to wear it part of the day and ditch it after dinner before the dancing starts. Or plan to change into some special lingerie before the honeymoon begins.

A step down from a full bodysuit or tummy-panels, another popular choice was shorts or garters underneath the gown. 17% of brides said they were wearing something specifically to prevent thigh chafing.

What is a garter?

A garter is a band of lace that goes around a woman’s leg. Before elastic waistbands, it was the best way to keep pantyhose from slipping and falling off. Nowadays, brides wear garters for practical reasons, like to prevent thigh chafing, or just for fun, like to take part in a garter toss.

Some brides just like the look of garters as part of a lingerie set. Other brides like the functional aspect and specifically recommend the brand, bandelettes, to prevent your thighs from rubbing together under your dress. You’ll be doing a lot more walking and dancing than you think on your wedding day. So if thigh chafing is something you’re concerned about, give these a try.

The other reason brides wear garters is to take part in a garter toss. This is an event at the wedding where the bride sits in a chair, the groom goes looking for the garter, and then he tosses it into the crowd.

It’s not as popular of an event at modern weddings because many brides find it a sexist or embarrassing practice. But if this is something you think would be fun and cheeky to do at your wedding, some couples still have it as part of their big day.

How do you pee while wearing a wedding dress?

Now we’re getting to some real nitty gritty details. A number of the brides who are going commando said it was because it would make it easier to pee. Here are some other tips for how to use the bathroom under all that tulle.

To pee while wearing a wedding dress, you’ll want to eliminate as many barriers as possible by going commando, wearing easy-to-remove underwear, or shapewear with an open gusset (a hole.) If you have a long train or large skirt, you should add a bustle or wrist loop to make it easier to hold up.

If the tips above aren’t enough, you might need to get creative. Sitting on the toilet backwards is easier for some brides. You can see exactly where your dress is and make sure none of it is dangling into the bowl of water. Or you can enlist some friends to help you lift the dress. This is a great task for your maid of honor. 😉

For my wedding, I had a bustle that helped and I could mostly pee on my own by sitting on the toilet backwards. As the wedding wore on and I had a few glasses of champagne, I did ask my sister to help me to make sure I didn’t accidentally get my dress wet or dirty.

Now that you know your options, what will you choose – granny panties or go full commando?


Jaime is the owner of Loud Bride and Coast Designs LLC. She got married in 2017 in Geneseo, NY and designed her own wedding invitations and programs for the occasion. Now, she designs bespoke wedding stationery and affordable templates for other couples. She lives in New York city with her husband and two children.

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