What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you begin wedding planning? THE DRESS!
You’ve got the ring, now it’s time to start the dress search. It’s every girl’s dream to find the most beautiful, gorgeous-est, amazing dress for the big day. There are shows upon shows of girls looking for their dresses. It’s such a big deal! YAY!
But nope. Not for me. I hate, nay despise, dress shopping. I love normal shopping. I can spend hours. Ask any of my friends, I can shop for 10+ hours and still go on; it’s a talent. But I cannot do dress shopping. The only other time I had to find a fancy dress was prom and that was dreadful. I don’t know what it is, I suppose just having this set expectation but never finding what you really want.
Don’t let me get you down though. That’s only me! Maybe you’ve got some great girlfriends to take you out. My sister and mom lived in a different state, so that took a bunch of excitement out.
Let’s start with the design of the dress. Don’t exclude any ideas! You’d be surprised at what might be a glamorous fit for you.
Take a look at the styles below. I’m a firm believer in wearing whatever makes you happy. Don’t listen to those apple figures means this dress. Full-bodied means this. To me, that’s trash. Try each style on and find out on your own which one makes you feel beautiful.
Secondly, decide on fabric. I’m no expert at all, but in the end it comes down to, do you want something crisp, satiny, lacy, or with tulle? Having a fabric in mind will help with the search. Obviously there are a bunch of other type of fabrics, but if you wanted something satiny, there are materials like Charmeuse and Organza. This helps narrow down the choice of dresses. Within each category of fabric, there are many other different styles and fabrics.
For me, I looked at styles/designs online. I was drawn to A-Line dresses, and I knew I wanted lace. I went dress shopping with my sister and mom at 3 stores, all in one day during my Christmas holiday. I tried on everything from recycled dresses to boutique ($10k+ for designer). Worst experience… I’m just really picky and have high expectations of myself. Plus, I was looking for something original, which I couldn’t find in stores.
Look at dresses online! Don’t be scared to purchase a dress online. Wedding dress seamstresses can work miracles. If you come across something you can’t stop thinking about, that’s probably it! Just buy it.
I was looking at wedding dresses on Etsy around 2am, even though I had work the next day. I came across one dress, called MG, showed him the pics, and told him I really loved it. Immediately then and there, I purchased it. It was $200 and even if it didn’t work out, there wasn’t much money invested. I had gotten my dress! When I showed other people, all I got was confused looks. They didn’t see it then, but I saw the potential. Like I said, I wanted something original.
Look for a highly-recommended wedding dress seamstress! I want to emphasize again, highly-recommended and wedding dress seamstress. Wedding dresses are delicate and detailed. The seamstresses that have expertise with these kinds of materials will be your best friend.
I learned the hard way… I dislike telling this story. It brings bad memories. I found a designer in Los Angeles who would help me alter the dress to a design I had a mind. I thought she would be awesome (take note, this is in past-tense)! One, she was in LA, a city known for fashion, and for another reason, she was on Project Runway! You have to be great if you’re on Project Runway right? Wrong again. I travelled three times for dress fittings (which all added to the cost of the wedding dress), and when she finally mailed me the dress 1.5 months before my wedding, nothing fit correctly. Everything was lopsided. It was horrible. It was obvious she had never worked with wedding dresses before.
I cried daily trying to figure out what to do before the big day. My parents scolded me for being so confident on one dress and also proposed the idea of purchasing a new dress. But my pride told me that it would come together. I still had hope for this dreaded dress. Then I found a wedding dress seamstress in the Bay Area. And my life changed.
She worked wonders. She created miracles. She made the dress of my dreams come to life. Like I said, a seamstress that has experience with wedding gowns is what you want. Wedding dress fabrics are a whole different beast. Go with someone that has experience. Go with someone that has been referred to by a friend or highly recommended on Yelp. You’ve already paid so much for your dress, another $300-500 for alterations so that your dress fits like a glove is totally worth it.
Found a dress where the style and fit is perfect? But maybe you wanted a different neckline. Perhaps you wanted straps for the dress. Or there’s a layer of fabric that doesn’t tickle your fancy. Guess what? A good wedding seamstress can change it. If you have an idea on how to alter, more than likely they can do it. All options are open when it comes to the dress.
In the end, after 6 design drawings, 3 Los Angeles trips, lots of tears, and fighting for a vision, my dress became the perfect gown. No one has it. No design matches it. And it was exactly what I wanted.
My favorite part about the dress how the tiers of lace flow. When the bustle was put in, the back was still flowing beautifully. I love that there are cap sleeves. I love that there’s a criss-cross braided back to keep it modern. Everything was perfect. Even my veil had a pieces of the lace from the dress.
Girls, get the veil. It puts the entire dress together!
I agree that the dress is important but…What matters the most is how you feel when wearing your gown. If you’re concerned/stressing about one part of your dress, it’ll show. People can see through your smile. It’ll be visible in pictures too. Make sure the dress makes you feel like you’re invincible. That’s how you know it’s the right one.
Mrs’ do you have any other advice? What was your dress shopping experience like?
For you Bay Area soon-to-be Mrs’, check out Novella Bridal. They have affordable dresses, and I found my miracle seamstress there.
Fun fact: MG and I exchanged gifts prior to our ceremony at the first look. I made him a scrapbook of our history, including tickets to movies, plays, and shows, poems we made up for each other, and various other trinkets. He gave me a board of all my dress designs, including the one I chose and a final picture of me in the dress. Looking back at my dress story, it’s a good story to tell isn’t it? I just hope no one has to experience it, ever…
All wedding day photos by Orange Turtle Photography