Picking the dress…when perfect just isn’t good enough

Well, it’s official. He’s popped the question, you’ve said yes, and now the real fun begins! Your head is swirling with all of the planning that lies ahead of you. Where? When? What theme do you want? Do you even WANT a theme? Simple, or elaborate? Small intimate gathering of family and close friends, or something that the entire tri-county area is invited to? And that’s not even touching on your colors, flowers, cake, etc, etc. The list goes on and on. But you know where you’re going to start.

The dress.

It is the centerpiece of the day, and it needs to be just perfect. You want to take everyone’s breath away and knock the socks off your fiance all in one fell swoop. So many factors go in to selecting your dress, that it can seem almost mind boggling. Today, I’m going to offer a little bit of guidance for you. Partially from my own experience, and also with some wonderful resources to help you on your way.

My first bit of advice to you, as you’re combing the internet and bridal catalogs –  don’t get tunnel vision. When I was planning my wedding, I had this problem in a big way. I fell in love with a dress that I thought was absolutely stunning, and I could envision myself walking down the aisle in it. It had slightly off the shoulder sleeves, it was fitted at the waist, and every photo I saw of it made the bride look super slim. I cut out photos, showed it to friends and family, and said this is the ONE. I ran to the dress shop to try it on, and I was horrified. It was the single worst dress that I could have ever put on my body. I was fairly heavy at the time, and it made me look ten times bigger than I really was. The slightly sloped sleeves didn’t elongate my collarbone as I’d hoped they would, instead, they made my shoulders look like they were about ten feet across. And don’t even get me started on the armpit flab. I was devastated.  Here’s a quick guide to help you start looking in the right direction.

My second bit of advice to you is, go to a real dress shop. Even if you end up purchasing your dress online, at least be fitted by a proper bridal consultant. These men and women are trained to assess your body type, and help steer you toward the gown that is going to make you look amazing. Trust in them. My second mistake, beyond the bridal gown tunnel vision, was hitting up a fly-by-night shop at our local mall. The woman there was no help to me, she never measured me, and even though she kept bringing dresses for me to try on, TRYING to stop the constant flow of tears, she made things worse. She brought things that were three and four sizes too small, so I felt even worse about myself. It is definitely not a confidence builder when your dress consultant is grunting and groaning trying to zip you into a dress. Bad news, folks. After a few weeks, I decided to try dress shopping again. This time, I went to a well known dress shop in my area, and I was treated the way every bride should be … with courtesy, respect, and KNOWLEDGE. I told her my tales from the last shop, and the first thing she did was measure me, so that as I was combing through the racks, I was at least searching in the right size. She also informed me of something that I’d had NO idea about, and I’m sure you don’t, either. Bridal gowns do not run in the same size family as your normal clothes. I was a solid size XL/16, but when I finally found my gown, it was, get this…a size 22. Don’t let this discourage you. Just assume that the people who size bridal gowns are insane. It helps.
My last bit of advice is this – Let your personality shine through. This is your day, don’t let other people make you think that you have to follow “tradition”. If you want to
wear bright orange, you go for it. The possibilities for bridal gowns are nearly endless these days, so go right ahead … make this YOUR day.
Wondering how my dress fiasco ended up? Toward the end of my appointment at the real bridal shop, the consultant asked me if I’d like to try on a gown that she’d just received in. She knew it wasn’t quite the style I was going for, but that it was an amazing dress, and she’d like to see it on me. Even though I didn’t want to, I agreed. Something magical happened as soon as she zipped me up, and I knew THIS was the one. It fit perfectly right off the rack and I felt like a complete princess. Needless to say, I dropped my credit card on the counter that afternoon. Now THAT’S what you call a saleswoman.

This photo leaves a lot to be desired as far as wedding pictures go (click here to read Veronica’s guide on how to avoid this happening to you), but doesn’t the dress look amazing?


Hey, don’t just stop here, let’s get social 🙂  Come visit us on Facebook and join in on the fun.  Or if you’re looking for something on the lighter side, hit me up on Instagram, you can find me under AmandaBellaire.

One thought on “Picking the dress…when perfect just isn’t good enough

  1. Pingback: Suffering from sticker shock? It might not be as bad as you think… | Sean Purcell Photography

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