Or in other words, your wedding day underwear.
I think it's safe to assume most brides want to look their absolute best for their man on their wedding day. This means if they can have more of a nipped in waist with the use of a corset, they will do.
In order to look and feel your best on your wedding day getting your wedding underwear right is very important. The last thing you want is to be stood at the altar with bad corsetry digging into you, or the cheese wire of your thong disapearing exactly where you don't want it to.
Quite often, once you have chosen your wedding dress the next step is to purchase your underwear. Your wedding dress cannot be fitted correctly without it (this goes for shoes because you need them for the hem/length)
I would argue that it is essential to have the correct underwear to take with you when trying dresses on or, if you are having bespoke/made to measure, it is important to wear the appropriate underwear for the first measurment. I say this because if you opt for a waist reducing corset, you could save the expence of side alterations to your gown and so order a dress which fits you perfectly.
Let's look at the pro's of a seperate corset against the internal scaffolding of the major designer dresses.
In built corsetry won't pull you in as much as a seperate corset, but will give you more of a defind waistline. Many of the big name dresses are very heavily boned which, although give excellent hanger appeal, can often result in the dress wearing the bride rather than the other way around.
Many of these gowns have a lace up back closure, but there is an optimum lacing position so the dress fits snuggly under the arm and shows just the right amount of lacing. What many brides think, especially those who have their gowns made in China, is if a gown is a fraction too big the lacing can be pulled tighter for a better fit. This can result in puckers, wrinkles and sometimes the dreaded back fat spilling over the back of the gown. The fact is, the gown should still have the relevent alterations to the sides or bust to keep the back lacing in proportion.
Buying a corset is an important decision and not always best to go cheap. Corsets (as opposed to modern underwear) alter not only your shape, but your stance, depending on the style, so your beloved dress may not even fit at all if you try to stick a corset under it. (Another good reason to buy the undies first!!)
The steel boned corsets on ebay are (usually) made in China and can be cheap and nasty! The only way to get a good fit on a steel boned corset is to have one made (and fitted) for you. Factory made corsets worn as underwear with the aim of reducing size will be terribly uncomfortable as they are made to standard sizes. (The ones I have seen on ebay seem to be aimed at the 'alternative' market and not designed to be worn as underwear). If wearing under a wedding dress, then it is best to buy a dress with an incorporated corselet, or opt for a proper underwear basque, althought this will not reduce size. A proper corset for the modern figure will give a better sillouhette by reducing waist size but not necessarily decrease overall size in order to fit into a smaller dress! All that will happen is the '6 boob factor' where the corset pushes everything up (and over!) .. not very attractive.
Suggestions that you can buy a corset from e bay with the promise of reducing your waist by 6 or 8 inches is possible. But without years of wearing corsets and working up to reducing your waist size (as the lady in the above image did) could actually prove damaging.
An underbust corset or a waist cincher may be the answer, but again, best to buy one from a proper underwear retailer. The other thing would be to have a corset design incorporated into the dress itself.
So, on that note the morel of this story is. Your wedding gown and your body shape is only as good as your foundation. Much like house building!
I would like to thank Clare, Julia B and Tuppence from TSF for their expertese.