I hope you don’t mind but I am taking some time out today to call bullshit on some seriously whacked out ideals when it comes to finding a wedding dress.
The process of deciding on your wedding attire has become blown out of proportion by the wedding industry, the media, myth, and just plain ol’ sleazy marketing schemes. And it’s time that you were aware so that we can work on educating brides on the real expectations, the real experience, and the value of a wedding boutique.
So, in an effort to dispel some of these well spread lies, here goes:
1.) You must wear white. And if you don’t, that means….
We’ve all heard it, not wearing white means… ___________ (fill in the blank). Wearing a color other than white on your wedding day runs the gamut of meanings including your religious beliefs, promiscuity, failed previous marriages. Seriously?! I mean, SERIOUSLY?!
For anyone struggling with the “should I wear white?” dilemma, ask yourself: Who’s approval is it that your seeking? The quick and easy answer to this question should be YOU. And if that sounds selfish, well then good, I intended it to.
Bottom line, this is a celebration of you and your fiancé’s love. What it’s not is an opportunity for others to impart their wishes, traditions, or beliefs on your celebration. The decisions you make surrounding your wedding should be deeply rooted in the beliefs, ideals, and personalities of you and your fiancé. If you want to wear white, purple polka dots, a dress, a pantsuit, or a bathing suit, by all means wear what YOU feel great in. Bottom line it is your choice, choose to rock whatever you wear.
2.) You will cry when you find the “One”
Ala, Say Yes to the Dress. You might cry, that’s true, but if (and when) you don’t it’s not a big deal. What you should feel is absolutely glamorous, drop dead gorgeous, and most importantly-completely you.
If you’re having a hard time deciding, ask your bridal consultant if you can take pictures of your favorite ones. After trying on gowns all day it will be hard to remember the details of each one, having a picture to refer back to can make the process much easier.
Also, keep in mind you will likely be with close family or friends all whom have opinions they may or may not be sharing with you. You do NOT want buyer’s remorse when it comes to your wedding dress. Not only are they generally non-returnable but you need to know that your decision is truly what you wanted, otherwise no matter what you do you’ll only hear their comments rather than feel like a stunning bride. Make sure that you are confident in your decision and you cannot go wrong.
3.) Alterations are unnecessary and too expensive, can’t grandma just do that?
This one makes me cringe… The fit of a garment can make or break your entire look. I know, I know, Apparel Design major talking here but it’s really that simple.
What’s more is that you are spending an increased amount of effort, possibly money, and time picking out the perfect statement pieces for one day. Make sure the fit reflects all of your careful planning and detail. This is not a pair of slightly baggy jeans, this is your wedding attire.
You are not allowed to simply pick up your gown to skip hemming to the perfect length. And, contrary to popular belief that loop under your train is NOT for your wrist, it is for hanging your train on a hanger. Do not wear it from your wrist, it looks tacky, ask a professional to sew in bustle loops instead. Trust me.
This is also not your high school prom dress, if you have to yank up the bust repeatedly it does not fit right. A good seamstress or tailor has had experience working with delicate bridal fabrics, expensive laces, they know how the fabric will react. Alterations from a professional will ensure the fit of a glove and are worth every penny. I promise.
4.) Skip the boutique and buy online, you’ll get a much better deal.
Buyer beware: not all online retailers are who they say they are, nor sell what the sales image portrays. If it sounds too good to be true, it is!
In my experience as a bridal consultant, I can share far too many horror stories than I care to about the risk of purchasing online. Dresses with shoddy craftsmanship, counterfeit gowns that look nothing like what you ordered, sizing that is ridiculously off and in almost every case there were no returns or refunds or non-existent customer service for dealing with issues. When you purchase through a boutique you know you have someone to hold accountable in the off chance that there is an issue and many boutiques offer guarantees for delivery, quality, and service.
Additionally, I think it is incredibly important that you have an opportunity to try on the gown. Many brides have an idea of what their ideal gown looks like and once they try that style come to find that they don’t like it, or they try something different and come to love it even more than what they thought they would like.
What’s more is that your bridal consultant is there to help you, not to push you. You have a dedicated resource to ask all types of wedding gown questions and recommendations, treat them as such. Their job is to know the pieces inside and out, how best to care for them, and how to fit them properly so that you look stunning on your wedding day. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions!
5.) Your accessories need to match the dress.
There are no rule books stipulating what does or does not match when it comes to your wedding attire. I don’t care who tells you otherwise, you have my permission to roll your eyes at anyone who insists that your white satin dress needs white satin pumps to accompany it. Blech!
Inject some personality into your look by picking out shoes that really stand out, bold costume jewelry that really makes a statement, or a fabulous black lace crown in lieu of a veil. Have some fun with your look, make it memorable. This is your day to make a statement and I assume that since you are here, reading this blog, that you are also style obsessed and wouldn’t be caught dead in those white satin pumps anyways.
6.) You should wear a veil. You won’t feel like a bride without it.
Again, it all boils down to what kind of statement you want to make on your day. You don’t have to wear a veil on your wedding day anymore than you have to wear striped pajamas to bed. Make your statement your own. If you would rather wear an enormous feather flower in your hair, do it. If you would prefer an antique brooch of your great grandmother’s turned into a barrette, do it. You have the freedom to design your day the way you want it, if you want to wear a veil, a flower, a hat, nothing at all, you have every right to do so.
7.) If you are having a traditional wedding then you need to wear a traditional gown, if your planning a beach wedding you should wear something light and flowy.
Ok, so if you’re having a beach wedding maybe you don’t want to wear a heavy satin ball gown for the fact that, well, your probably going to melt in it. However, just because you are having a beach wedding does not mean that your dress needs to be informal and non-form fitting.
If you want a vintage lace gown for your beach day wedding, then by all means that is what you should wear. Again, no one gets to set rules for your day except you and your fiancé. Really this lie boils down to comfort. Make sure your comfortable on your day but also make sure that what you are wearing makes the statement you want to make rather than one your event destination implies.
This also goes for your accessories. If you are having an informal wedding but you still want to wear a gorgeous English net, floor length veil (ahhh, sigh) then do it.
Repeat after me: “No one gets to stipulate the style for my day except my fiancé and I” (Are you sensing a trend yet?)
8.) Order your gown for the size you will be on your wedding day.
Whomever first spread this lie, should be smacked. The most important thing to note is that it is far easier to take a dress in rather than to let it out.
If you did not already know this, designer size charts are based on some complex formula of magical numbers, tarot card readings, and dice rolling. No, seriously. This is why you should get measured by a professional prior to ordering your gown. Each designer’s size chart is different than the next one and the majority are completely different than what your typical dress or street size might be. A professional will take your bust, true waist, and hip measurements and those will in turn pinpoint a size for the particular designer you are ordering. This does not mean it will match all of those measurements nor will it be custom cut to those measurements, unless your ordering a custom gown. Once the dress comes in you can always use alterations to achieve that perfect fit.
Trust the professionals here and work with them to determine the best size at the time of ordering. Again, this may or may not be completely off from what you normally wear, and that’s ok. If the number bugs you and you just can’t move past it, cut out the tag!
9.) You aren’t getting married for another six months, you have all the time in the world.
Sadly, this one is very false. While it is true you can find a beautiful gown in a short time frame, it will also narrow your options. Most design houses take anywhere from 5-8 months for production and shipping of a gown after ordering. Alterations cannot be started until the gown has arrived and could add more time depending on complexity and availability.
If you have your heart set on a particular gown than the earlier the order, the better off you will be. Some boutiques, although not all, may offer gowns for purchase right off the rack. Be aware of what your options are before making an appointment to try on dresses and make sure that if you have a time frame of less than six months you let your bridal consultant know. No sense in falling in love with a dress that cannot be ordered in time and that the boutique is not willing to part with.
10.) The sales consultant is going to push you to buy a dress out of your price range.
Bridal consultants really do tend to get a bad rap, which is incredibly sad because it is more often than not, completely false. Now don’t get me wrong, I am sure that for every amazing, kind, and dedicated consultant there is also a pushy, snotty, and rude consultant to be found. A few things you can do to ensure a great experience are to have an idea of what you like or don’t like, to be open minded, and to speak up for yourself. It is also a good idea to call ahead to inquire about any budget, size, or style considerations that you can be aware of before you arrive.
The consultant’s job is to provide you with options. They know their inventory better than anyone so see that for what it really is, a resource.
This is the time to ask questions, try on things you never thought you would try, share with them your plans and vision and allow them to help you find the right gown. You can and should provide them with your budget, and there is nothing wrong with refusing an option that is out of your price range. I highly recommend that if it will break your budget threshold, don’t even try it on. And remember, the dress likely will not include alterations so that will be a cost that will also have to be factored in.
Keep in mind, that you drive the outcome of your appointment. If you feel that your consultant is filling your room with items out of your budget, kindly state that the price is beyond what you are comfortable with and could they provide some other options. A good consultant will happily oblige, sans any eye rolling. If they are bringing in styles you don’t particularly like remember to keep an open mind. Try on options you might not have considered and use them to highlight what you like or don’t like to the consultant so that they can pull pieces accordingly.
Should you feel that your consultant is rude or non-existent during your appointment remember to act like a fellow human being, under no circumstances should you resort to screaming or name calling. Let them know what you would like or ask for management so you can address your concern. If you do not feel comfortable you do not have to stay and you do not have to do business with them. Trust me, if they are not willing to value your business someone else will and you deserve to feel valued.
Now it’s time to turn it over to you.
Have any questions about bridal do’s and don’t’s?
Have you had an experience with the above lies you’d like to share?
I’d love to know more in the comments below.