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Your wedding dress serves as a reminder for that special day, the day of your dreams. Brides spend a lot of time and money finding their perfect wedding dress for the perfect wedding, so seeing the wedding dress will cause those happy memories to come flooding back.
Many wedding gowns get left in a plastic cover at the back of the cupboard or in the loft after the special day with every intention of one day getting it cleaned and preserved. Leaving your wedding dress in its plastic cover will not only cause oxidation of any stains, it could also cause plastic fuming which can discolor the material even more than the yellowish colour that came with age.
VINTAGE MODEST WEDDING DRESSES
VINTAGE WEDDING DRESSES
Your wedding dress serves as a reminder for that special day, the day of your dreams. Brides spend a lot of time and money finding their perfect wedding dress for the perfect wedding, so seeing the wedding dress will cause those happy memories to come flooding back. Many wedding gowns get left in a plastic cover at the back of the cupboard or in the loft after the special day with every intention of one day getting it cleaned and preserved. Leaving your wedding dress in its plastic cover will not only cause oxidation of any stains, it could also cause plastic fuming which can discolour the material even more than the yellowish colour that came with age.
Wedding dresses reflect the bride’s personality and in many cases, you won’t find one like it. Custom tailoring is applied to most dresses and many will personalise it by adding flowers and other patterns to make it their own. Many brides will want to keep their wedding dress either as a token of remembrance to their special day, or to give to their children or grandchildren as a family heirloom so that they can wear it on their own special day. In any case the dress should be properly preserved to ensure that the money spent on the dress doesn’t go to waste, after all many brides will only wear their dress on one day, leaving the dress to get old and discoloured over the many years of their marriage.
The biggest mistake that many brides make is leaving their dress in the cupboard or loft for weeks, months and even years after the wedding. They usually have every intention to get it cleaned at some point, but that thought is usually put to the back of their mind and forgotten about, unaware of the problems this can cause. Perspiration, body oils, sugar stains and many more can cause bad stains when left on the dress for a long period of time as the stains start to oxidise and discolour the dress. Even invisible stains can cause massive problems if left for too long, darkening the material with age to a brown colour. It is recommended that you get the dress cleaned and preserved within six weeks of the wedding to ensure that the risk of permanent stains is lowered. Treatment can be applied to the dress to remove stains and many wedding dress preservation services will often try their hardest to remove the toughest stains, although they cannot always succeed if the stains have been left for too long. Sunlight is also a huge problem for wedding dresses, as the UV rays can turn yellow over time, but this is not too much of a problem because it can take years for this to happen.
LONG SLEEVE LINE DRESS
The wedding dress is the stuff of dreams for many aspiring women and brides to be.
When we envision a marriage, it’s the dress that often stands out and takes centre stage in the unity of two individuals. But how has it become such an important symbol and why is it still so important for brides of today?
The Historical Significance Of The Bridal Gown
Traditions vary between cultures, religions and societies, however since the beginning the bridal outfit has been worn to present the bride in the best light for a momentous life occasion. From Medieval times and throughout early Western society, marriages may not have been to secure love between two people — it may have also been a matter of politics, part of a business deal or a union between families. It was therefore important that the bride dressed in the most presentable way as she represented much more than herself.
Wedding dresses in rich, bold colours and luxurious fabrics usually denoted the bridal family’s wealth and social status, whereas poorer brides tended to wear their best church dress.
The introduction of the traditional white wedding gown also brought about a deep importance in the ceremony — white symbolised purity and the virginity of the bride.
Today, this isn’t the case — women mostly have the freedom choose their ideal wedding dress no matter the colour, fabric, shape or style. However the wedding dress is still such an important part of a marriage.
The Wedding Dress And The Modern-Day Bride
Though in history the wedding dress came to represent the end of a woman’s identity as an individual and a move to being a dependent wife, it now importantly signifies the end of singlehood to a new commitment and partnership. But for many brides it’s also a statement piece that makes them feel perfectly special on their memorable day. Whether bought, custom-made, or passed down, it’s the dress that captures the beauty of the bride for all guests to see as she walks down the aisle. Despite no longer representing things like social status, wealth or virginity, traditional white gowns are still the popular choice for modern brides and remain a key part of making a wedding the important milestone that it is.
Looking for a wedding dress that will make your day the celebration you’ve always dreamed of? You can browse the Georgina Scott Bridal range of stunning designer bridal gowns and accessories. Or you can pop into one of their boutiques for help from one of their friendly members of staff — call 01384 893656 for more information.
For many brides-to-be, a top priority is finding a wedding dress that feels timeless but still speaks to their personality. A classic gown that nods to one’s unique style is the most reliable way to ensure you’ll feel in your own skin on the big day. One silhouette that consistently checks off these boxes is the long-sleeve wedding dress.
Gowns with long, fitted sleeves have been a favorite for centuries thanks to their versatility and elegance. And while you may consider a dress that covers up your arms as a more conservative look, many fashion brands have proven that long sleeves can go a lot of ways (minimalist, bohemian, architectural, Victorian-inspired…you get the idea). From intricate lace sleeves to ethereal tulle all the way to sleek satin—there are so many choices for every style and body type.
Read on for the best long-sleeved wedding gowns.
Best Off-The-Shoulder: Wtoo By Watters Miles Gown
If you want the long-sleeved look but want to show off a little more skin, an off-the-shoulder silhouette is the way to go. This ethereal pick is alluring and universally flattering.50 Trendy Off-the-Shoulder Wedding Dresses
Best Puff Sleeves: Reformation Tiered Puff Sleeves Dress
If you’re searching for a wedding dress that’s non-traditional, this romantic number from Reformation is a pretty pick. Add a delicate wreath of flowers in your hair for prairie vibes.
For The Minimalist: Roland Mouret Ella Gown
A delight for the minimalist bride, this classic long-sleeved gown is pared down to perfection. Subtle puff sleeves add balanced volume to the silhouette.
Best Lace Sleeves: Melissa Sweet Illusion Sleeve Faux Plus Size Wedding Dress
The high slit on this long-sleeved lace dress adds fluidity to the entire gown. Plus, it gives the perfect opportunity for your heels to shine.18 Gorgeous Wedding Shoes for Every Bridal Style, Season and Budget
For The Fashion-Forward Bride: Danielle Frankel Simone Gown
This bias-cut silk wool gown is sleek in the front and dramatic in the rear, thanks to the bold open-back detail. Call off the search, minimalists—your dream dress has been found.
Most Romantic: Galia Lahav Embellished Dress
Featuring 3-D embellishments, this whimsical gown checks off all the boxes. And both the plunging neckline and striking back offer extra wow moments.
Most Timeless: Lela Rose The Rosewood Lace Gown
If you’re looking for something subtly out of the ordinary, try this square neckline lace gown. It has a slightly retro vibe, but it still comes off looking timeless.
Best Sheer Sleeves: Amsale Sheer Sleeves Dress
If you want the effect of long sleeves without the added weight, try sheer ones. The contrast between the delicate tulle and leaf lace lends a delicate finish to this gorgeous gown.24 Lace Wedding Dresses We Love
Best Fluted Sleeves: Danielle Frankel Tulle-Trimmed Wool And Silk-Blend Satin Gown
Fluted sleeves can sometimes feel too bold, which is why these sheer ones on this breathtaking gown look so perfect. It’s a subtle statement that really does that trick.
Best Allover Lace: Markarian Aphrodite White Lace Gown
A peplum silhouette may not be on your wedding dress list of priorities—but it probably is now. This gown feels fashionable and fun—just add a soft lip color and simple heels to keep the look fresh.
Best Floral Print: Reformation Midi Dress
For a backyard garden ceremony with a no-frills attitude, this dreamy white frock is a perfect option. You could even style it with flats.16 Chic and Casual Dresses for a Backyard Wedding
Most Vintage–Inspired: Costarellos Althea
Lean into an old-world aesthetic with this ruffle-neck, fluted-sleeve gown. Victorian-inspired brides, get excited.
Most Unique: Dana Harel Alexandra
Not for the faint of heart, this show-stopping gown features a plunging neckline and matching front slits that reveal a lace mini hemline.
Best Neckline: Chana Marelus Dahlia
Exquisite beading and a delicately scalloped neckline are just a couple of many breathtaking details on this wedding dress. The dainty, long sleeves seal the deal.
For The Boho Bride: Nevenka Your Heart Is Your Queen Dress
The proportions on this handcrafted gown are well-suited for an earthy, free-spirited bride. Come for the bell sleeves, stay for the pretty swaths of white lace.
Best Clean Lines: Cortana Ivy Dress
Crafted in silk georgette, this dress boasts clean lines and a flattering silhouette. The asymmetrical open back also offers a unique twist.
Best A-Line Silhouette: Oleg Cassini Off-The-Shoulder Plus Size Wedding Dress
Crafted with three types of lace motifs and over 2,000 beads and sequins, this long-sleeved gown is sure to shine bright all day long.
Best Budget: Lulu’s Divine Dress
An easy, effortless option for the bride who wants a gown that feels low-key. Wear your hair naturally and add in a pair of strappy sandals.
Most Body-Hugging: Provonias Illusion Long-Sleeve Dress
The juxtaposition between the lace sleeves and silk bodice make this gown a winning choice. The mermaid silhouette and stunning lace train add drama and classic elegance.
For The Classic Bride: David’s Bridal Off-The-Shoulder Buttoned Back Crepe Wedding Dress
What To Look For In A Long Sleeve Wedding Dress
Long sleeve wedding dresses are a great choice for winter nuptials or for brides who are looking for a silhouette with more coverage. While long sleeve dresses are a smart pick for the colder months, they’re actually highly versatile and can be worn year-round. For spring and summer weddings, opt for sleeves crafted from sheer tulle or lightweight lace. If you’re looking for something a little more fashion-forward and statement-making, consider dramatic bishop sleeves or styles with allover embellishments. And for brides who prefer a more modest silhouette, long sleeve gowns with high necklines and floor-length hems have you covered.FAQ
- Can I wear a long sleeve wedding dress in the summer?Absolutely! Wedding dresses with lightweight sleeves cut from breathable fabrics like tulle, chiffon, and lace are all great options for warm-weather nuptials.
- Do long sleeve wedding dresses work for all body types?Long sleeve wedding dresses work well for all shapes and sizes and come in a wide range of figure-flattering silhouettes.
- Are long sleeve wedding dresses comfortable?Long sleeves wedding dresses can be very comfortable but keep in mind that some fabrics are more structured than others and may limit your range of motion. Certain fabrics may also feel rough or scratchy if you have sensitive skin.
SIMPLE DRESSES WITH SLEEVE
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Best Long Sleeve Wedding Dresses In The UK
Long sleeve wedding dresses are perfect for the bride marrying in the winter months, or for those who prefer a slightly more traditional look, but a quick scan through the wedding dresses of the past shows just how stylish and timeless they can be too.
Some of the most fashionable women in history have chosen to conceal their arms to say their I-dos and have looked pretty darn incredible whilst doing so.
Grace Kelly was documented as far back as the ’50s tying the knot in a wedding dress with long lace sleeves and other TDF features, while in more recent times everyone from Sophie Turner, Lily Collins and Kim Kardashian have shown favour to the simple sleeve.
As for the Royals? Well, both Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle opted to cover up from the shoulder down for their big days, and Princess Diana’s puffed sleeves weren’t far from full length either.
The right sleeve choice can bring a touch of elegance, delicacy or even drama to your look and with fitted lace, loose satin and button adorned opaque fabric being just a few of the many sleeve options out there, you’ll have little trouble finding one to suit your style and the special occasion.
We’ve gone and picked out the best long sleeve wedding dresses that are as stunning as they are ready to shop so that come W day, all you’ll need to do is get dressed and enjoy. You’re welcome.1BEST LONG SLEEVE SHORT WEDDING DRESSKira stretch-cady mini dress
ALEX PERRYnet-a-porter.com.uk£840.00BUY NOW
Calling all non-traditional brides. If you’re looking to get your legs out and still strut your way down the aisle in style, this mini dress has sharp shoulders and an elegant cut-out back to perfectly offset its simplicity.2BEST CHEAP LONG SLEEVE WEDDING DRESSOdette lace long sleeve wedding dress with open back
ASOS EDITIONasos.com£140.00BUY NOW
Just the gown you need to glide your way down the aisle and dance circles around your guests on the dance floor once the ceremony’s over. Rhythm not included.ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW3BEST LONG SLEEVE FISHTAIL WEDDING DRESSBridal harper crêpe gown
REBECCA VALLANCEmytheresa.com.uk£1,187.00BUY NOW
If you haven’t had the pleasure of casting your eyes over Rebecca Vallance’s beautiful designs before, you’re in for a treat because the Australian designer seems to have perfected the art of long sleeve wedding dresses. Spoiler: she doesn’t feature just once in this roundup.4BEST LONG SLEEVE LACE WEDDING DRESSLace long sleeve dress with trail
Got a pair of killer wedding shoes to show off but not sure how to go about it without raising your hem higher than you’d like? The high-low hem finishing off this lace piece is just what you need. You’ll get the trail you want while your guests get an unobstructed view of your incredible shoes. Sounds like a win to us.5BEST WHITE LONG SLEEVE WEDDING DRESSCrystal-embellished crepe maxi dress
We love how this long sleeve wedding dress manages to subtly accentuate your shape without the tight fit or any skin being on show. The embellished details along the front and back of the dress are a special touch too. ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW6BEST LONG SLEEVE EMBELLISHED WEDDING DRESSMaggie ivory maxi embellished dress
LITTLE MISTRESSlittle-mistress.com£220.00BUY NOW
We can almost hear the bridal chorus just looking at this lovely maxi dress. Hand embellished floral beadwork features throughout but is easier to appreciate on the long sheer sleeves.7BEST PLAIN LONG SLEEVE WEDDING DRESSIsaac dress
A dress to make you say ‘Ooooooo’ without having to say ‘Eeeeerg’ when you come across the price shortly after, this modern number has both style and affordability working for it.8BEST LONG SLEEVE V NECK WEDDING DRESSCurve penny v neck lace wedding dress in ivory
ASOS EDITIONasos.com£140.00BUY NOW
Once you’ve tried on this lovely lace number, chances are high you’ll be falling in love all over again. We somehow don’t think your partner will have a problem with this little romance though. ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW9BEST LONG SLEEVE BEADED WEDDING DRESSJasmine embellished chiffon midi wrap dress
Who says a fully beaded wrap dress isn’t wedding worthy? With a subtle sparkle and flattering fit, we can’t see why it wouldn’t be. 10BEST LONG SLEEVE IVORY WEDDING DRESSBirch off-the-shoulder cloqué midi dress
EMILIA WICKSTEADnet-a-porter.com.uk£1,350.00BUY NOW
Praise be. Emilia Wickstead has updated her much-loved Birch dress in ivory so that fans of the midi will have the chance to pick a fit they know and love for their special day.11BEST HIGH NECK LONG SLEEVE WEDDING DRESSLaurel dress cloud dancer
There’ll be no post-wedding-day regrets with this long sleeve piece from Ghost. From the delicate buttons adorning the cuffs, to the high neck collar and show-stealing back, it manages to be both timeless and chic.ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW12BEST OFF THE SHOULDER LONG SLEEVE WEDDING DRESSBridal mia crêpe off-shoulder gown
REBECCA VALLANCEmytheresa.com.uk£1,187.00BUY NOW
Told you. Just as gorg as the previous Rebecca Vallance dress, this one has an elegant off-shoulder fit, boned bodice and mermaid hem. Good luck picking between the two. 13BEST PLUS SIZE LONG SLEEVE WEDDING DRESSCurve bridal embellshed kimono dress in white
VIRGOS LOUNGEasos.com£236.00BUY NOW
Just imagine your bride/groom’s face when they catch sight of you wearing this knockout number. Kimono style sleeves aren’t the conventional choice for a long-sleeved wedding dress but who wants conventional on what is set to be a once in a lifetime event.14BEST LONG SLEEVE V NECK WEDDING DRESSLong sleeve bridal maxi dress ivory
Celebrating a day of love calls for a dress as romantic as the event itself, something this long sleeve wedding dress happens to be. Embroidered throughout, with a beaded neckline and lace train, it’s well worth the fairy-tale ending you’re in for.ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW15BEST LONG SLEEVE SATIN WEDDING DRESSNaomi dress champagne
KAI COLLECTIVEkaicollective.com£170.00BUY NOW
Finding a dress tailored to your size that won’t cost most of your wedding budget seems an impossible task. That is until you remember that many a dress from Kai collective has clever side draping that allows you to do just that. Made from luxurious satin and featuring flared sleeves, all eyes will be right where they should be on your big day. 16BEST LONG SLEEVE BOHO WEDDING DRESSVeda maxi dress
HEMANT AND NANDITArevolve.com£488.00BUY NOW
Call us OTT, but it almost seems as if Hemant & Nandita designed this phenomenal number solely for us to be able to live out our Boho bride dreams. With lace trimming, a ruched waist and an extra flowy fit, it’s more than we could have ever hoped for.17BEST LONG SLEEVE BACKLESS WEDDING DRESSBridal 80s puff sleeve backless lace maxi wedding dress in ivory
SISTER JANEasos.com£185.00BUY NOW
If you’ve grown to appreciate Sister Jane’s bold silhouettes and retro styles as much as we have, you won’t be disappointed by this long sleeve wedding dress. Every bit as memorable as their other items, just wait till you get a glimpse of the lace back panel.ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW18BEST LONG SLEEVE ELEGANT WEDDING DRESSSnowdrop gown
NEEDLE AND THREADneedleandthread.com£550.00BUY NOW
Finding the dress to celebrate the day you’ve been dreaming about for 100 odd years can be a little overwhelming, yet somehow this champagne showstopper makes it all seem simple. As if the right choice couldn’t be more obvious. 19BEST SIMPLE LONG SLEEVE WEDDING DRESSHigh neck long sleeve bridal maxi dress in white
CHI CHI LONDONchichiclothing.com£98.00BUY NOW
Take your cue from Meghan Markle and celebrate your day with a simple design that won’t detract from the events at hand but that is far from forgettable. Effortless, elegant and beautiful in equal measure, you’ll give Mrs Markle a run for her money.20BEST LONG SLEEVE OPEN BACK WEDDING DRESSOlivia backless maxi dress
Whether you’ve been dreaming of your wedding dress since you were 5 and know the exact specifications you want for it down to the last sequin, or you’ve never thought about it until your future spouse’s mother nagged, “You still haven’t gotten your gown,” we’ve got you covered on how to choose a wedding dress.
Finding your dream gown can be stressful. After all, you’ve likely never tried one on before, and it’s the most expensive garment many women will ever own, so it can feel like the pressure is definitely on while wedding dress shopping. Plus, your dress sets the tone for the wedding as a whole, whether it’s a grand ballroom affair or a casual beach bash. It may also feel like there’s a whole new language to decode—tulle, A-line, fit-and-flare, organza, sheath, etc. Plus, more brides than ever are doing multiple dresses—a more formal one for the ceremony and a party-centric (danceable or more blingy and outrageous) one for the reception—which can make shopping even more stressful.
With all eyes on you, not to mention photos you’ll keep forever, of course you want to look perfect on your big day. But what does perfect mean to you? For some brides, a dream dress is a regal ball gown fit for a princess. For others, it’s a sexy, va-va-voom sheath dress that makes everyone appreciate her curves, or a look that allows her enough movement to be able to get down on the dance floor.
The choices can seem overwhelming. But no matter your budget, personal style, or timeline, these wedding dress shopping tips are guaranteed to help you find the gown of your dreams—the one you’ll love today, on the big day, and in 30 years from now when you look back at your wedding photos.01of 70
Do Research To Find What You Like
Rip pages out of magazines, click through bridal boutiques online, explore on Pinterest, and check out what celebrity brides are wearing to compile a visual file of your favorite dresses. Then look for a connecting theme—are they all very embellished, lacy, or voluminous? Do they all have open backs? Find a couple commonalities of styles you like and bring your ideas to your first appointment.02of 70
Bridal consultants will tell you that they constantly see women come in with a set idea of what they want for a gown, then try it on and don’t actually love it—and instead, fall for something completely different they’d never considered. Keep an open mind while wedding dress shopping. You may find your dream dress that you didn’t know would be your dream dress.03of 70
Brace Yourself For Bridal Sizing
Bridal sizing means your gown’s number will often be one to two sizes higher than what you wear in your regular clothes. Even if going bigger sounds horrifying, remember that no one will know the number but you and your consultant.
Shop True To Your Size
Even if you plan on losing weight before the big day, shop for dresses in your current size rather than going smaller. It’s much easier to take a dress in than trying to work with one that’s way too snug.05of 70
Many gowns take four to eight months to be produced, and once it arrives, you still have to factor in more time for alterations and accessorizing.06of 70
But Not Too Early
If you’re having a long engagement and immediately start shopping for gowns, the one you end up buying might be out of style by the time your wedding comes around, or you might find one you like even better closer to the date.07of 70
Figure Out Your Budget
Yes, it’s uncomfortable to talk numbers, but it will save you from heartache later on. Before your first appointment, figure out who is paying for the gown (your family, your partner, you?).
If someone else is paying, get the hard numbers on your limit, so you can stay within that budget or pay the difference yourself to get the dress you want.08of 70
Know Your Wedding Theme Beforehand
Before you start dress shopping, decide whether you want a casual garden-party-themed wedding or a formal, romantic affair. Always keep the venue and theme in mind as you browse gowns, because the last thing you want is for your dress to clash with your overall wedding style.09of 70
Plan Non-Obvious Costs Into The Budget
Say you plan to cap your fashion spending at $2,000—you actually shouldn’t buy a $2,000 gown. That’s because you need to factor in tailoring, accessories (your veil, jewelry, and shoes) and cleaning and preserving the gown after the wedding if you want it as a keepsake.
Find A Great Bridal Salon
Do your homework before you start making appointments, since you don’t want to waste time at a shop that doesn’t carry dresses you like or has terrible customer service. Get referrals from married friends and check online reviews to find shops with solid reputations.
Don’t waste your time shopping at a store that doesn’t have the style, designer, or price range you had in mind. Call the boutique or salon ahead of time to get the lowdown on its inventory before you make a visit.
Make An Appointment
In most bridal stores, the dresses aren’t displayed in a way where you can just leaf through them and browse on your own, the way you can in other retail stores. You’ll need an appointment so a consultant can help you select dresses and try them on.
Start Inexpensive And Work Your Way Up
Make your first appointment with the least-expensive bridal shop and keep scaling up if you don’t find anything. Same goes for trying on dresses during your appointments—try on the most affordable one first, and work your way up to the bank-breaker. You may fall in love before then.
Pick Three Adjectives To Describe Your Dream Dress
Whether you want to feel classic, vintage, and comfortable, or romantic, glamorous, and beautiful, go into wedding dress shopping with a clear vision of how you want to look on the big day. Choosing three specific words to describe your vibe can help narrow down your dress selections.
Shop On A Weekday
Bridal salons are packed on the weekends, meaning you may get less personal attention or the dress you love is being tried on by someone else. It’s worth using some personal time from work to have your appointment on a weekday.
Make Shopping A Whole-Day Affair
It’s surprisingly time-consuming to put one wedding gown on and off, let alone three or four, and you definitely don’t want to feel rushed to make a decision. Instead of making plans for brunch after your appointment or trying to fit it in between other errands, leave a few hours so you can take your time browsing and trying on dresses.
Choose Your Shopping Crew Wisely
Yes, you love your mom, sister, sister-in-law, maid of honor, and six bridesmaids—but if you’ve ever tried to get a crowd to agree on where to go for dinner, you can only imagine how hard it will be to find consensus on a gown. Narrow the group down to the two or three people whose opinions matter most to you.
Bring The Right Undergarments
It can be hard to take in how a strapless dress really looks when your leopard bra straps are sticking out, or how a curve-hugging gown would fit once your hips are smoothed. For your appointments, wear a nude thong and strapless bra, and bring Spanx.
Pick Your Silhouette
Your ideal gown’s shape is partly based on the style you like, the venue, and mood of your wedding, and also what flatters your body most. A fit-and-flare is both contemporary and traditional and works on many body types, whereas a simple sheath is best on tall, willowy brides. A voluminous ball gown adds drama, but can overwhelm a petite frame. Mermaid styles show off curves like your favorite pencil skirt.
Keep Travel Arrangements In Mind
If you’re flying to your wedding destination, look into airline regulations beforehand. You don’t want to fall in love with a ball gown style dress, only to have it exceed airport size specifications come travel time.
Consider Less Traditional Lengths
While they most likely won’t work for a formal wedding, for a more casual, rustic, or beachy wedding, untraditional lengths can be a fun way to bring your personality to your big day dress. Tea length is fun for a quirky bride, whereas a white minidress has a rocker-chic party vibe.
Pay Attention To Fabric
In addition to silhouette, color, and embellishments, fabric makes a big difference on how a gown will look on you. A heavier, more structured material (think silk shantung, taffeta, or guipure lace) will hold its shape and smooth your figure. Unstructured silk and filmy chiffon are less flattering for those brides with curves.
Wear Heels To The Appointment
Some bridal salons have communal high heels you can borrow, but that’s a little icky, and a dress will look a lot different with flip-flops than stilettos. Be prepared by bringing heels of the same height you think you’ll likely wear for your big day, so you’ll have a better idea of how the dress will look.
Bring Dress Photos For Inspiration
Whether it’s printouts of dream dresses from your secret wedding Pinterest board you’ve had since college or a page from a magazine, come armed with a photo collage of the wedding dress styles you like best while shopping.
Bring Scene-Setting Photos
In addition to gowns you pull from magazines or Pinterest, bring photos of your ceremony and reception site to the appointment. Seeing the venue ambience can help your consultant pull gowns that will be the most appropriate for the location.
Believe Your Consultant That A Gown Looks Better “On”
Wedding dresses often have heavy details that can make it sag on a hanger. “Unlike shopping for a shirt, you won’t really know what a wedding dress will look like until you actually try it on, so be open if your consultant promises the dress will look better on you than it does on the hanger,” says Anne Chertoff, bridal expert at You & Me TV.
Shop Trunk Shows For Savings
You can often take 10 percent off a gown that way and get to meet the designer, who may also “waive or discount certain changes, like raising or lowering a neckline, extending the length, changing the color, or adding straps,” says Terry Hall, fashion director at Kleinfeld Bridal in New York City.
Hit Sample Sales
“Salons frequently have sales to move older inventory, so you’ll find designer gowns for 25 to 50 percent off. The only downside is most sales are stocked with sample sizes—that’s bridal 8 and 10, comparable to ready to wear size 6 and 8,” says Mark Ingram, president of Mark Ingram Atelier in New York City.
Know That Embellishments Add Big Bucks
“Handwork like embroidery or beading always adds to the cost of the dress,” Hall says. Of course, if simple isn’t your style, those embellishments are worth it—just factor that into your budget.
Don’t Try On Gowns Above Your Budget
If you can’t afford it, there’s no point in trying it on—you’re just torturing yourself and making a standard that no dress you can actually have will live up to.
Consider Shopping Online
Is online shopping the only retail therapy you know? It’s okay to buy your dress online if you’re an avid online shopper; 18 percent of brides in the U.S. do just that. If you can try the dress on in person that’s great. If not, check the return policy—especially if you’re ordering a few to try on and consider—to make sure you’re entitled to a full refund if it doesn’t look as dreamy in person.
If You’re Plus Size, Call Ahead
Nothing is worse than getting to a bridal salon and finding they only stock samples to size 10 and you have nothing to actually try on. (Unfortunately, that’s the case for many, even though they sell sizes up to 26.) Call ahead to make sure your shop has plus-size samples for the style and designer you want to try on, or if not, whether they can get some in before your appointment.
Be Prepared To Try On A Lot Of Gowns
Unfortunately, unless you’re really lucky, the first wedding gown you try on probably isn’t going to be “the one.” But don’t get frustrated if you’ve tried on dress after dress to no avail. Stay patient and keep an open mind until you’re sure you’ve tried on the perfect dress. It might even take multiple shopping trips until you’re fully 100 percent sure.
But Do Limit Yourself
Make sure you stick to a few gowns per appointment/shopping trip. It is possible to try on too many wedding dresses and feel overwhelmed with options. If you’ve hit this point, take a break from shopping and sleep on your favorite choices.
Decide If You’re More Traditional Or Trendy
Perhaps you’re more the type who wants to look classic and timeless on your wedding day (think lace). Or maybe you’re a fashionista who loves being up to the minute on trends. If so, try on some of the hot bridal runway trends for 2019, including capes, detached sleeves, and short hems.
Take Inspiration From Celebrity Styles
Even though you may not have a star’s unlimited wedding budget, you can still draw inspiration and help create a vision of what styles you want to replicate in your dress. That could mean Serena Williams’s trendy cape or the classic lace silhouette of Pippa Middleton’s gown.
Stay True To What You Love
It’s easy, especially for people-pleasing brides, to bend in the moment to what gown your mom, sister, or maid of honor loves on you. But it’s crucial that you go with what you love and what feels like your dream dress, regardless of other people’s expectations.
Try On A Non-White Gown
That might mean subtle eggshell or ivory, romantic blush, or even a bold red. It may not be right for you, but a survey showed 14 percent of brides would wear a colored wedding dress. Don’t be afraid to be unique.
Bring Family Heirlooms Shopping With You
If you want to incorporate a family heirloom, like a relative’s veil or a piece of jewelry, into your wedding day look, bring it to all your shopping appointments to find the perfect matching gown.
Target Salons In Your Budget
“You’ll feel you have a wide selection if you choose a salon with lots of options in your budget, rather than feeling like you’re limited to just a few gowns if you shop at a salon where most dresses are out of your range,” Ingram says.
Be 100 Percent Sure Before You Say Yes
“All brides need to know it’s their dress before saying ‘yes.’ When I work with a bride and sense that she is unsure, I encourage her to sleep on it,” Hall says.
Pose For Photos In Various Angles
For a true testament to how you’ll look in your wedding dress on the big day, have a friend or family member take pictures and videos of you while trying dresses on. Make sure that they capture all angles of each dress you’re considering, from the back and sides to shots of you sitting down in the gown from the top up.
Know That Mirrors Can Be Deceiving
Every mirror can make you look different, so that’s why it’s even more important that you rely on photos and videos to get an authentic sneak peek of what you’ll look like in your wedding dress.
Consider How You Feel In The Dress
The gown that makes you feel the most beautiful is the gown you should choose. Even if a gown checks off all of your criteria, keying in on feelings can help you decide between dresses and lead to that magical moment when you’ve finally found “the one.”
Consult Your Peers
If you’re torn between two gowns or are still on the fence about your dream wedding dress, snap a pic and share it in our Brides to Brides Facebook group. Nothing can help you make a definite dress decision quite like unbiased feedback from real, fellow brides.
Think About Your Current Favorite Pieces Of Clothing
Reflect on your favorite top or dress you already own that makes you feel your most confident or beautiful. What is it you like about it so much? Is it the fit, the fabric, the neckline, or the silhouette? Whatever it may be, envision the best components of your current wardrobe and your everyday style and translate those elements as shop for wedding dresses.
Walk Away If You Feel Pressure
A salesperson should never put the heat on you to make a decision on the spot if you’re unsure. A wedding gown is a very emotional purchase and a lifetime memory being created, so if you need more time to decide, take it—guilt free.
Order Early To Avoid Rush Fees
“Since gowns take so long to be produced, placing your order 8-12 months in advance means you will avoid rush fees, which can run as much as 30 percent of the price of the dress,” Hall says.
Have A Professional Take Your Measurements
Even if you’re ordering online, have a seamstress takes your measurements— this is not the time for DIY, since putting the measuring tape even an inch up or down from the industry standard can throw off your results.
Order Too Big Rather Than Too Small
Most gowns can be altered down one or two sizes and, depending on the seam allowance, up one size, so it’s better to order too big and take it in than be stuck with a zipper that won’t close.
Test To Make Sure You Can Move
No wedding gown is going to be as comfortable as your pajamas, but you don’t want to be pulling it up or constricted by it all night, so bust out some moves in the dressing room. If you’re planning a church wedding where you may need to kneel or sit during the ceremony, practice doing that in the gown. If you’re planning to drop it like it’s hot on the dance floor, try it out to make sure you can move how you want.
Come Prepared With A Similar Beauty Look
If you go dress shopping with messy locks and no makeup, you’re obviously not going to feel your most beautiful as you try on wedding frocks. To get the full effect, try to mimic your ideal wedding beauty look as closely as possible. You don’t have to go all out, but dab on some makeup and wear your hair up or down, depending on how you plan to sport it on the big day.
Be Sure You Love It Before You Buy
If you decide you no longer want the dress after you order it, you’ll most likely lose all of the money you put down, whether that’s a deposit or the full amount.
But Don’t Take It As A Sign If You Don’t Cry
If you’re not an emotional person, or if you see the dress more as a way to express your personal style, you may not be brought to tears in the dressing room—but that doesn’t mean you haven’t found your gown. Not all brides cry when they find “the one.”
Personalize With A Tailor You Trust
“Couture” or “cut to measure” dresses are pricier because they’re created just for you. It’s far less expensive to buy off the rack and spend some money on a good tailor, and you’ll still have it perfectly altered for your body.
Book Early If You Prefer A Destination Bridal Shop
If you’ve seen a bridal shop on TV (say, Kleinfeld or Bridals by Lori), so have lots of other brides, which means you’ll need to book far in advance—especially for a weekend appointment. The major benefits of these stores is that they have some of the most knowledgeable consultants and a wide variety of dresses from hundreds of designers.
Try A Local Bridal Boutique
These offer an intimate setting, which is great for personal service but can mean fewer dresses to try on than massive stores. The upsides are they know the area, so they can be helpful about what other local brides are wearing, and will also likely know your venue, so they can have a better sense of your wedding style.
Or Try A Bridal Superstore
Chains like David’s Bridal have a wide price range, meaning you may be able to snag a dress for as little as $300. Plus, you can usually try on dresses in your size, not a sample size, which is good news for brides who fall above or below a size 8 or 10, the usual sample sizes.
Pre-owned vintage gowns can get a bad rep because they’ve been worn previously, but you can slash costs and find a totally unique, timeless style for your wedding dress. Shopping at vintage boutiques is a win-win.
Be Open With Your Bridal Consultant
If you’re shopping with a consultant at a bridal boutique or salon, don’t hold back when letting him or her know exactly what you’re looking for. Be as honest and open as possible. The more information you give about your likes and dislikes, the easier it will be for the consultant to pick out your dream gown.
Keep The Season In Mind
If your wedding is in the Caribbean in August, go for lightweight fabrics in breezy styles. But if you’re getting hitched in the winter in Boston, it’s all about snow-like sparkle and heavier, lush fabrics like satin or taffeta.
Throw Out The “Rules”
Despite all the advice that’s available about choosing the most appropriate silhouette, style, and fabric, you don’t have to listen to us, your consultant, or your mother. If you want to wear a taffeta ball gown on the beach or a trendy pantsuit to City Hall, do it—it’s your wedding.
Pay Attention To The Top Of The Dress
You should love every aspect of your wedding dress, but keep in mind that the top of the gown will appear most in wedding photographs, especially while you’re seated at dinner or dancing with your nearest and dearest. Make sure the gown fits comfortably when you’re sitting down and that the neckline won’t require adjusting throughout the day.
Tweak A Gown In Tailoring, But Don’t Re-Design It
“It’s fine for a good seamstress to do small updates like adding straps or changing the hemline,” says gown designer Monique Lhuillier. “But any customization that requires the inner support and structure of the gown to be changed is risky, costly, and, many times, irreversible. If it’s not done with precision, it can potentially ruin a gown.”
If You Don’t Love It, Don’t Panic—You Can Salvage It
If the dress arrives and you’re iffy on it, you don’t need to scrap it. Gather your trusted style advisers and “try it on with totally different accessories, like a new belt, or add a bolero,” says Molly Guy, creative director at Stone Fox Bride. “If that doesn’t help, a seamstress can really change the look by shortening it, changing the neckline, taking off sleeves, or adding sleeves.”
If You Must Start Over, Save Some Cash
Say you really can’t fall back in love with the dress, but you can’t afford to scrap it and start from scratch buying a second one. Re-sell it online, emphasizing that the dress is brand new and unworn. “That way you can recoup more than the average 50 percent resale and get back 60 to 80 percent of the retail price,” says Julie Jones, founder of Encore Bridal, a gown resale website.
Think About Adding A Bustle
If the dress of your dreams has a long train or hem, decide whether you want to get a bustle sewn into the gown. This will help you pick up your train during the reception, but keep in mind that it will alter how the back of the dress looks. Research the different bustle styles to see if one is right for your dress before you undergo fittings and alterations.
Decide Your Dress Preview Policy In Advance
Of course you don’t want your partner to see your pick, but what about friends? Make a rule before you start sending pics of the gown of how widely you’ll share it—just with the people at the appointment? Just with the bridal party? If you don’t set the rule in advance, you could feel trapped later into showing everyone, and lose some of the magic of the reveal on the big day.
Keep The Dress Away From Home
Especially if you live with your partner, you don’t want him or her to stumble upon your gown and ruin the surprise. Ask a relative or very trusted friend (perhaps someone you’d want to bring with you when you take the gown for tailoring appointments) if they’ll let you keep the dress at their place until the big day. Plus, if it’s not in your closet, you won’t be tempted to wear it every day until the wedding.
Relax And Stop Looking
Now that you’ve found your dream gown, stop shopping—it will make you nuts if you keep looking at dresses. Yours is great! Now just look forward to showing everyone on the big day.
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