The Inevitable Stress Of The Wedding Dress

Bride and groom walking on the beach after their wedding

There’s no point in even bothering with the whole don’t over think the wedding dress speech. It’s a big deal, you’re going to be photographed 1400 times in it, and you’ve been imagining it since you saw your first Disney movie. So let’s just jump right in with some things to consider and stop kidding ourselves by trying to reduce the importance of this whole situation, shall we? We’re realists over here. Now then:

You’ll wear it forever . . . This dress will follow you around for all of your days and after you’ve left this earth. Not literally, of course, but in photos. If that doesn’t scare you, then nothing will. You’ll be in this dress in all of your wedding photos, naturally, and so you want to make sure that this is a photo-friendly dress. Meaning it needs to be cooperative with whatever the lighting situation in your venue(s) is. This is a warning in particular to those who are planning to go with something nontraditional. For those who are going with all white, just remember that at the end of the day, it’s a big white spot, so the camera will likely make it even brighter as it adjusts for that. If the idea of that really scares you, or you don’t understand what that means, talk to your wedding photographer for a better understanding and consider an antique white instead.

. . . And in every position imaginable. Standing. Sitting. Crushed between friends. Kneeling down next to pint-sized relatives. Stretching up to hug your basketball captain cousin. Leaning over the cake. And so on. So remember that you need to look mighty good in that dress, in every angle. But it also means the dress itself needs to look good in every angle. Can all the beads, and all the sequins, and all the lace, really stand up to the light thrown off of it at certain angles? Is the tulle just too, too much when you kneel down and it comes up, right to your chin in the yellow candlelit church?

Know thyself. You should absolutely feel free to take with you pictures of dresses you like when you shop. You should absolutely not disregard the body types, hairstyles, heights, shoe choices, jewelry accessories that accompany the dress. If you hate the veil of a vintage Spanish dress, you might be disassembling a key part of an ensemble. If a 1920s dress seems cute but you could never pull of the chunky heels and bob hairdo, is it going to seem just anachronistic? And those are the easy calls. If you are long and slim, or short and curvy, be conscious of it as you try on each dress, take note of how a strapless dress, a mermaid cut, a sweetheart neckline, all flatter (or don’t).

Wedding couple - bride and groom- walking down road with groom jumping in air

You’re dressing for two. While he might not say anything at the risk of bodily harm, secretly your fiancé is hoping that you will wear something that doesn’t scare him. Men have more of an opinion of dresses than you might think. Most couples like the idea of waiting until the day for the groom to see the dress, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some sense of his preferences with a few simple questions: “Are you really into veils?” “Do you have an opinion on sequins?” “Do you care if it’s strapless?” It’s not about having him dictate your dress, but this is a special day for both of you, and while it’s cool if your bridesmaids love the dress, it should matter more that he loves it (though he will probably be so thrilled in general that he won’t care that much).

Choosing a dress should be fun, and there’s no reason it can’t be while keeping the points above in mind. It just means you might be even happier with your choice if you pick wisely something that you feel comfortable in, photographs well and your fiancé likes. We can’t reduce the stress of it all, but we can say you should trust your gut in the end. This is your day and your dress. People forget that – both those inside and outside the dress don’t.