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  • Writer's pictureKecia Wilson

De-Stress the Dress

You said YES! Now it's time for the Dress...

Amanda Summerlin Photography
Amanda Summerlin Photography | Zuri Bridal

Dress shopping is one of the most fun and exciting parts of wedding planning, yet we all know it can be stressful. So, how to reduce the angst, and focus on the joy of this super special undertaking?

Grapefruit Photo
Grapefruit Photo | The Sentimentalist

Below are a few tips to keep you light and bright as you seek out that perfect look!


You've spent hours dreaming and pouring through magazines, websites, blogs, looking for The One. A-line, Ball Gown, Hourglass? White lace or ivory chiffon? You may have an idea of which silhouette will suit your body type, or what color, style or fabrication you resonate with before heading to the boutique. But you won't really know until you try it on. Definitely give your stylists an idea of what you're looking for, but also invite them to pull looks for you that are outside of your List. Stay open-minded in this process, and you may just end up with the happiest of surprises! I've worked with so many brides whose perfect dress was the one they never saw coming!

Robin Gerrard Photography

Robin Gerrard Photography | LaRaine's Bridal


Also fun is sharing the experience. Parents, siblings, besties... in-laws... grandparents... the list can get long quickly! Everyone wants to take part, and while you may want to include them all, this is where stress can begin. If this sounds familiar, I recommend planning a First Run. Make an appointment, bring along the crew, and go in with the mindset of Just Looking. Try on some pretty dresses, have fun with it. And... when the opinions start flying, don't worry! Keep a level head and a light attitude, knowing that you'll be coming back another day. Gather ideas, make notes, take pictures - of the dresses YOU love, or like, or not. Go home and have a glass of wine to celebrate the day! Then once your thoughts have settled, make your follow-up appointments and invite ONLY your closest - the one or two people you can count on to uplift, support and love you as you make your perfect selection!

Garter + Whiskey Photography

Garter + Whiskey Photography | Anne Barge


Money can always be a stressor, so get ahead of it by talking openly about a realistic budget. Settle on a number within your own mind, and with those who are contributing, and share it with the boutique when you make your appointment. It's likely you'll have researched the lines and designers that are within your range, and can mention them during your initial call as well. When you arrive, reiterate your budget if necessary. Good stylists will pull looks that are slightly (and sometimes more) above your range. If you have some flexibility, go ahead and give them a try. If your number is firm, request that your budget be honored with only looks that are at or below your number. There are a million beautiful gowns out there, and there WILL be the perfect one at the perfect price for you!

Sowing Clover Photography

Sowing Clover Photography


There are plenty of gorgeous dresses that can be ordered with shorter delivery times, but what many brides may not know is that wedding gowns can take a long time to order, sometimes up to a year. Now if you're reading this and haven't found your dress yet... please don't worry! The right one will find you in plenty of time, you just need to make your stylist aware of your deadline. But if you do have the opportunity, get your ducks in a row early, and give yourself the freedom to try on any dress you'd like without having to think about the delivery date.

Sowing Clover Photography

Sowing Clover Photography | Bridals by Lori


Many gown shops have in-house Alterations, or they partner with an outside resource. I would love to trust every single one of them, however... I've seen more than one bride in tears the week of the wedding with alterations woes. So, just as you do with any of your wedding planning resources, research the alterationist that your boutique uses before committing to them. Most will be just fine, but if you get any red flags, there is nothing wrong with using an alterations specialist of your own choice. Once you begin looking into it, you'll start to hear the same names over and over again. The magic-makers we call them! They are not only the ones that all the planners send their brides to, but they are also the ones we call the week of the wedding to wipe away those tears and fix whatever was causing them!

Sarah Joy Photography

Sarah Joy Photography | LaRaine's Bridal


Your wedding celebration will be your night, the best night of your life, and you're going to want the freedom to enjoy it to the utmost. Keep that in mind as you try on dresses! It's easy to fall in love with a gown in the mirror, but you'll want to consider more than that.

Here are some fitting room antics to make sure the dress you love will love you back on your wedding day!


  • Inquire as to the physical weight of the gown. It may feel magical now, but a weighty gown will feel heavier as the hours pass on what will be a very long and eventful day. You may decide to lighten up!

  • Put on some music and dance... Don't worry about what anyone thinks - go ahead and give it a good test run. You want your dress to move with you, not against you. Try dancing in it both before and after it's bustled to make sure it won't 1) restrict your movement, 2) fall down, 3) get in the way of your feet. You want to be stylish AND comfortable as you throw down your best moves on that dance floor!


  • Raise your arms up, over your head, swing them back and forth, wrap them around yourself, bend down and over, and most importantly, hug the people around you. Make sure there isn't anything either restrictive, or too loose. During some weddings I've had to cut into a gown, cut off a sleeve, and conversely sew gaping necklines and sew straps into place.... You may be able to avoid this happening with some thorough testing. Think about it this way - if something feels a little bit restrictive, multiply that times 100 and that's how it will feel on your wedding day. Or imagine pulling a loose shoulder strap up 100 times during your reception. No thanks! A good alterationist will be able to get it just right, or can perhaps make a restrictive piece detachable for more comfort after the ceremony.

  • At your final fitting, move slowly all around. Maybe even close your eyes and do a head to toe body check to feel for any itchy or poky spots. If there are, do not ignore it... have your alterationist correct it before you pick your gown up for the big day!

Laura Stone Photography

Laura Stone Photography | Carolina Hererra


Finally, the VERY BEST thing you can do to make dress shopping really fun, and not really stressful is to believe in yourSelf. Recognize and claim ALL your unique beauty, and let your love shine through! Try not to get swept up in the drama of things (y'all know what I'm talking about!) and keep love at the forefront. Love yourself, love your to-be-wed, and know that the dress you wear is only a fraction as beautiful as what's inside of you.

Sowing Clover Photography

Sowing Clover Photography | The Sentimentalist



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