Over the past few years of custom making bridal and eveningwear, I have picked up some tips along the way and would like to share them with you. Some you may already know and some you never thought about but wedding dress shopping can sometimes be daunting so I hope this helps.
Let’s start with underwear. Before you try anything on, what underwear will you wear for the big day? Bras can alter your shape so whether you want to push them up or together, pad them out or minimise them, decide before going dress shopping. You don’t want to shop in a t-shirt bra, only to discover your chest pulling the seams in your new balconette bra!
It would be great to have your shoes beforehand but having a shoe with the same height will do aswell. You want the hem to hit the floor when wearing your shoes. If you haven’t decided yet, just make sure the skirt is long so the hem can be shortened to match the shoe.
You may have a dream dress in mind but I would still encourage you to try on different styles of dress. You would be surprised what suits you. It may be the first time you have worn a full length gown so even if you know that a one shoulder style suits you, try on different skirt shapes.
Sit down in your dress too. Then you will know if it’s comfortable and if you have room at the hips.
Friends & Family
Most brides like to make a day of it and invite family and friends. This can be great fun. Going for coffee and a stack of wedding magazines. Then you start trying the dresses on and everyone has a different opinion. It can be overwhelming and one or two comments can put you off a dress you had your heart set on. The best way to deal with it is to go with the flow and then return alone or with a trusted friend back to the ones you liked and get an honest opinion.
As mentioned before, remember your underwear. Measurements will be taken and different styles can add or subtract inches from the bust line. These measurements will be used to make the pattern so it’s best to get it right from the beginning. You can be charged per fitting.
Most women have never had a made to measure dress before and are nervous as to what is involved. Remember the designer or dressmakers job is make you happy, beautiful and comfortable on your wedding day.
- Don’t be afraid to say when you don’t like something but also be reasonable in your requests.
- The first fitting will be a mock up of the dress in a cheaper fabric. This is to perfect the fit and adjust the style to flatter you.
- Subsequent fittings are used for adjusting to your body. As many brides diet (a fact I am not keen on but each to their own. I prefer a brides with curves) it’s best to wait until 2 months before the day to take in the dress. If it is altered every few months, the constant handling of the fabric can distort and ruin the fabric.
I think a corset needs its own section. It’s hard to know when it’s the right size. It should be snug when first tried on but when the body warms up to it, the waist shrinks. At the start of the day, the laced panels at the back may be 3 inches apart but could be nearly closed by the end of the night.
Also remember the back view. If the corset is too small, your back and bust will spill over the top which is not flattering and can’t be comfortable. You need room for that 5 course meal during reception!
Unless your veil is trimmed in lace or beads, check the price. Most are just a few metres of tulle on a comb and some of the prices I have heard people paying is very surprising. If a plain tulle veil is more than €50 I would question it.
Hanging your dress up high and in its cover will be enough to protect it but some dresses need a little extra care. Drapy and clingy fabrics like silk, chiffon, crepe and satin will grow over time on the hanger. It’s best to lay it down with tissue between each fold to avoid creases. Particular care is needed for beaded dresses. The weight of the beads will stretch the length and it is near impossible to mend.
The main thing to remember that your future husband (or wife) loves you for how you look now.
Just be yourself.
If there are any other questions or problems you need answered, feel free to ask below in the comments.