When it comes to choosing a wedding dress the considerations of color, silhouette and construction are paramount. Settling on the color is pretty straightforward — either you want to wear white, a variant shade of white or you prefer to go with a color. Today, deciding which is a matter of tradition and taste that basically comes down to personal style.

On the other hand, the cut and construction can be dictated a bit more by the circumstances of your ceremony. For example, a wedding dress that’s perfect for a July beach wedding almost certainly isn’t going to be right for a December cathedral wedding and vice versa. In addition, some silhouettes are more flattering than others for particular body types. Getting the combination right is extremely important for many brides.

Let’s take a closer look at some basic silhouettes that are common for wedding dresses today. The editors of Martha Stewart Weddings have helpfully assembled an online slideshow that details nine different dress cuts you’ll want to be familiar with as you begin your wedding planning.

We’ve reprinted the first three entries here to pique your interest and get you started.

Whether you’re straight and narrow, full figured, or somewhere in between, this essential silhouette guide will ensure you find the perfect wedding dress to complement your shape.

  • A-Line: If the skirt resembles the shape of the letter A, you’ve got an A-line. This classic ’50s cut flatteringly cinches the smallest part of your natural waist, camouflages hips, and balances wide shoulders. It’s a great way to wear a full skirt without the drama of a ball gown.
  • Ball Gown: Marked by a full skirt and small waist, this dramatic silhouette is great for camouflaging problem areas in the hips and thighs—and for making an entrance.
  • Fit-And-Flare: Got curves? Showcase them.This silhouette—also known as a trumpet or mermaid—hugs the body at the top and through the hips but jets out into a fuller skirt at the bottom. The gown should fit snugly in the hips and thighs but offer room to sit.

You’ll find all of these cuts and more at New York Bride & Groom, the premier wedding dress shop in Charlotte and beyond. Stop by at your convenience (no appointment needed) and let our bridal consultants show you some stunning examples of your favorite silhouettes from our selection.