Avoid Wedding Dress Blunders With These 7 Tips

white and red wedding shoes

Choosing a wedding dress is an emotional decision, but you need to consider the practical as well.

When I chose my dress (not pictured here) for my July wedding with Robert, it felt like the perfect combination of an emotional decision and a practical one — it had an empire waist, so it was forgiving, flowy and romantic. So I was surprised when the wedding day came and basic walking was challenging.

The difficulties I faced could have been avoided with some foresight. So here’s my advice to you:

1. I bought a sample sale dress and had it altered. I wore my wedding day shoes, as I was supposed to, during alterations. I even swayed around a bit to make sure I could dance comfortably. I should have walked in my dress too — just put one foot in front of the other. I didn’t realize until my wedding day that the second layer of my dress was a touch long. It looked great in the mirror while I was standing still, but when I walked I was stepping on it — even on flat ground.

2. Start with a basic walk, but also move around as you might on your wedding day. How’s turning, sitting? Try to do these in front of a mirror. I had such trouble walking in my dress, I spent the bulk of the night grasping it so I wouldn’t walk on it. At one point, I clutched it in a funny way and ended up showing a lot more leg than intended. If I had grasped the dress in front of a mirror, I might have noticed the potential problems. So your dress may require some attention with common maneuvers. Try them out to determine how to do them gracefully ahead of time.

3. Wear your wedding day jewelry as you test-run your dress. I had two bracelets I was deciding between: I chose one bracelet because I was afraid the other would catch on my dress. The bracelet I went with was a series of flat rhinestones secured by prongs and looked great as I stood still in my dress and looked in the mirror.  Those same prongs kept attaching themselves to the lace of my dress throughout our reception.

4. If holding an outdoor wedding, consider how your attire will hold up in unusual weather. Tennessee was having its rainiest summer in recent memory, so the ground was very soft. I chose what I thought were practical shoes. (I tried so hard to be practical, I swear!) The shoes sunk right into the ground, making the whole walking thing — already challenging for me — even more difficult. I had bought shoes with a thick heel that I thought would hold up on grass and dirt. They might have, but they didn’t hold up in mud.

5. If you plan on changing into a second pair of shoes for dancing, test those out by moving around in your dress with those on as well. Thankfully, at least one thing went my way: My cowboy boots I changed into had nearly the same lift as my heels. And I didn’t sink into the ground with my boots on either.

6. You should have a timeline of your wedding day — and include when your dress should be bustled. Mine wasn’t bustled before I was introduced at the reception, which made for a challenging walk across the wet grass to the tent — with all eyes on me. The dress was bustled soon after, and although it didn’t cure all the difficulties I was having, it relieved them a bit.

7. Bring double-sided tape, even if you don’t think you need it. The only exception is if your dress comes up to the neck. Again, my dress seemed to lay perfectly during the fittings, but in the course of moving around during the wedding night, the top had a tendency to droop, so I had to be careful all night. I wished I had some double-sided tape.

The lesson here is: Your dress isn’t a static thing. It will be moving all night with you. So move around in it upfront to work out the kinks!

Find a dress and a seamstress here!

Photo by James Christianson

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3 Comments

  1. Hi Christine and thanks for the insightful advice! I work in the industry for quite a few years and I can tell you that every second wedding includes a bride that walks around like a robot fighting her own wedding dress so this post is just a brilliant find for soon-to-become wives.

    Thanks for your work!

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