Sunday, July 22, 2012

Avoid a Wedding Gown Meltdown!

After I got engaged, first on my “to do list” was finding the perfect wedding gown. Four months and many lessons later, I had finally done it!

Photo by: Amanda Nicole Miller
Here’s what I learned along the way…

1.     Before you start shopping answer the following:
·      What type of venue am I using for my ceremony/reception?
·      What season will it be?
·      How much can I really afford?
·      How much time do I have to find a dress?

The dress should work with your location and anticipated weather. Remember, you are the star, but the venue/location is one of the supporting characters; even though you’ll outshine, the two of you should look like you belong together. 

2.     Avoiding Bridal Shop Insanity

·         Give yourself enough time to find a dress. Ideally, you should have at least nine months to find the dress, have it shipped, and altered. Shipping can take a while, so be sure to consult with the shop on this.

·         Shop during off peak hours to increase the likelihood of getting individualized attention. Being rushed out of a dressing room can be a major mood killer.

·        Take friends and family with you! They can help look through racks and narrow down your options.

·         Wear clothing that you can easily get in and out of.

·         Bring water and a snack…it might be a while.

·         Bring a camera! Although many stores do not allow you to photograph yourself in the gowns, you’re going to want to capture the memory of being with your loved ones as you shop for such an amazing milestone.

·         Keep it fun by creating a rating system for your friends to use. My friends each flashed a different smiley face every time I stepped out of the dressing room.

·        Take breaks. There’s nothing wrong with taking a break and getting a cup of coffee or lunch. Make sure you take care of yourself so you can keep going.

3.     Think about your undergarments

Wear the undergarments you plan to wear on your big day for your first fitting. You want to make sure the alterations take into account how the underwear affects your shape. Your undergarments should be doing their part to keep you comfortable and looking good.

Photos by: Amanda Nicole Miller

4.     Dress YOUR body!

·         You should definitely try on a dress in every style (A-line, mermaid, ball gown, empire waist, column, etc.) to determine which look best on you.

·         Also, think about the length of the train, neckline, sleeves, fabric, beading, lace, etc. The fabric is particularly important because of how it photographs. 

·        Think about the color! A super white dress doesn’t suit everyone. There are a variety of shades of white out there, so try them all on to determine which you like best. If you’re having a destination wedding or planning on tanning, consider that before making your selection.

·         There may be several styles that suit your frame, so examine yourself carefully in the mirror. If you’re not allowed to take photographs while you’re wearing the gowns, ask one of your bridesmaids to jot down your thoughts on each style.

5.     Know your budget

Be realistic about what you can spend. Every bride wants to look beautiful on her wedding day, but there are many inexpensive dresses similar to designer styles. You can honestly look fabulous at any budget, so don’t settle for a dress that isn’t you because of money! 

6.     Alterations

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to find a place you can trust to do your alterations. I had my dress altered in the same shop I purchased it and they did a horrid job! Don’t assume a shop that sells a lot of gowns will know how to properly alter your dress. Do your research and ask around.

7.     Fittings

·         Once the gown is on, examine yourself carefully in the mirror. Be sure that the alterations are to your liking. Look at yourself from all angles and take your time.

·         Note the draping, ruching, fabric, neckline, train, bustle, buttons or zippers, etc. Do the details flatter you? Is there anything that is making the dress look unfinished? Are there any details you would like to add or subtract? What are the options available for the bustle and button closures? Asking these questions is important, so come up with your list before your first fitting and bring them with you.

·         Have the shoes you plan on wearing or shoes with a similar heel height on hand. This is extremely important in order to hem your dress to the appropriate length.

Photo by: Amanda Nicole Miller

Live Beautifully Tip: Be kind to those around you, they’re just trying to help and you’re going to need their support. Enjoy each moment because they can get lost in the whirlwind of decisions you have to make.

For wedding dress styles and the smiley face rating system, please click here .

Do you have a hilarious wedding story you would like featured on Pricilla J. Designs? If so, go to the "Contact" page and email us your story for a chance to be selected. 

Live Beautifully,


  1. I survived my own wedding dress shopping plus for my three daughters. Great advice. Visiting from Sharefest.

  2. I saw my gown in a magazine, ordered it, had it altered, to only have it too snug the day before the wedding! Went shopping one day! That's all it took. Lucky me the seamstress was good enough and able to give me some extra space!!
    From sits

  3. I'm so glad everything worked out for your, Recreate and Decorate! I can't imagine how you must have felt. I would have been in a complete panic. I'm sure you looked beautiful and I commend you for keeping your cool.

    Pricilla J.


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