Everybody knows there are lots of things to think about when choosing a wedding gown. Price, how long it will take to get delivered, what accessories to choose, whether you prefer jewels or lace as accents, etc. But there are some other things to think about before you make that big decision that you may not have considered yet.
Let’s take a look at a couple of those things, shall we?
Where are you getting married? Since you can get married almost anyplace you like, so long as you can get a licensed officiant to come and perform the ceremony there, you could have any number of issues or concerns with how your clothes work in that space. If you’re getting married in a grand cathedral, you’ll want a gown that is fittingly grand. By the same token, if you’re getting married in your parents’ living room, too much gown could make it impossible to navigate the space. That’s the sort of wedding where a short gown or a suit makes more sense.
And if you’re getting married in the woods like I did? Trains are probably not a good idea. They get filled with twigs and dirt and leaves well before the day is over.
How big is your wedding? Are you having a huge party for five hundred friends, relatives, and various well-wishers, or half a dozen people closest to your hearts? The more people there, the more gown that’s appropriate.
How is your body shaped? I love a ballgown, but my body just generally doesn’t agree on that. No shoulders, ridiculously high waist… yeah, that whole hourglass thing just doesn’t fit my body. Note that this isn’t about what I weigh. At my lightest, I looked great in a terribly Regency style of gown… and at my heaviest, that’s what I looked good at, too, and at all points between. It’s a question of how your body is proportioned rather than its height or poundage. So be sure to really think about how your body is proportioned and think about what shapes make the most of it. Ballgown or mermaid, sheath or fit and flare, it’s all about what looks good on you.
All whites are not equally becoming. You may have your heart set on a stark white gown… but your complexion may have other ideas. The same goes for ivory, rum pink, ecru, and silver. So think carefully not only about the shape of your gown, but the shading as well. Don’t worry about what it will say to your guests about the state of your hymen, because in a world of fourth and fifth time brides wearing white, I doubt that anyone younger than your great-grandmother thinks much about the erstwhile symbolism of white in that way anymore. And if they do, that’s their problem, not yours. Worry about looking and feeling your best, not other peoples’ dirty minds.
Your comfort matters. Let me repeat that: your comfort matters. Don’t even think about picking a gown if it’s difficult to move in, itchy, or makes you feel like someone you don’t want to be. And while I’m not a huge advocate of covering up scars and tattoos on principle, I think it’s entirely up to you to decide how much of which you show off, and how much you decide to hide. If you’re self-conscious or embarrassed by your scar or mole, or whatever, let the folks at the salon know you want it covered up. If they don’t have anything that will cover what you want covered, find another place to get your gown.
There’s so much emotion involved in getting married, you don’t want the main drama to be about the fact that you’re not comfortable in what you’re wearing.
Your mother, grandmother, sister, cousin, or third bridesmaid from the left is not the one getting married. You are. Look, everyone has an opinion, and some of those opinions do matter to you. In fact, if you don’t care about anyone’s opinion, I’d be a little concerned about your mental state. But when push comes to shove, no matter how much you want to please the people you love, you are the one getting married. You are the one who will stand at that altar pledging your life to one person. In that moment, you’re the one who needs to love how you look.
If everyone can’t agree on a bridal look for you, pick the one you like best.
Just because most women wear it doesn’t mean you have to. Hate strapless? Don’t wear it. Veils make you itch? You’re just as married without one. Heels aren’t your thing? Wear flats on your wedding day. I did, and Mr. Twistie is eleven inches taller than me… plus he was wearing a top hat! Our pictures look great because our photographer knew how to frame them, and we both felt good because we were comfortable in our clothes. Haven’t worn a skirt since your mother made you wear one for your fifth grade class pictures? Pants don’t nullify your marriage or determine the power structure of your relationship. Hate wearing anything white? Go for a serious blast of color. One of the prettiest brides I ever saw wore bright rose pink.
Remember not to blow your entire outfit budget on the dress itself. After all, you will still need shoes, whatever sort of head ornamentation you prefer, and jewelry. You may already have your own shoes or your own jewelry, of course, but most brides are going to purchase these things in addition to the gown itself. Also, don’t forget that your gown will require alterations, and those alterations aren’t for free. Don’t tell the salon that you have six thousand dollars to spend on the gown unless you really can afford the alterations, veil or hat, shoes, jewelry, gloves, etc. on top of that.
You can always opt out. No, I’m not talking about breaking your engagement. What I’m talking about here is that if what you’re dreaming of wearing on your wedding day isn’t readily available at a bridal salon, you don’t have to shop there. You can shop at a department store, fabulous little fashion boutique, eBay, or a funky consignment shop. You can get a custom outfit made just for you by a dressmaker. There are literally dozens of options. If you don’t see what you want, go out and find it.
So take some time to really think before you go shopping. If you walk into the salon knowing what you do and don’t want, it makes it easier not only for you, but for the staff of the shop as well. Less time will be wasted on dresses that don’t meet your needs or your tastes.