At closing time on the day before her wedding, Bride X picked up her gown from the bridal shop.
Months ago, she’d ordered her dream gown. It had come in as expected and the alterations had been completed on time. She’ad left it at the shop rather than storing it in her cramped closet. A smart choice—-or so she thought.
When Bride X reached her car, she couldn’t resist taking a peek at the gown. She unzipped the garment bag and to her horror discovered—-the gown was not hers.
Running full tilt with the heavy dress draped over her shoulder, Bride X got back to the shop just as the owner was locking the door. As it turned out the skirt of the two-piece gown was hers, but, because of a mistake in alphabetizing, the top belonged to a different bride’s gown.
This problem was relatively simple to fix, but other bridal gown issues can cause major stress. Below are six anonymous stories from brides who have survived bridal gown hell.
The day I bought my wedding gown was special. I went with my mother and grandmother. They helped me choose a glorious traditional white gown. Don’t all brides wear white? I certainly thought so, until the day of my bridal shower.
Proud and feeling totally beautiful, I put on my gown and walked into the room to model it for my attendants.
“Ta da,” I said, twirling around like a runway model.
“You look like a ghost,” said my maid of honor.
I looked in the mirror and knew she was right. With my pale complexion, I’d chosen the wrong color. I should have gone with ivory, instead of listening to my grandmother’s advice.
My wedding gown fit me beautifully and it fit my tight budget. So what that it made me feel more like a conservative lady-in-waiting, than a sexy princess? It was good enough. Or so I thought until my wedding day.
As I walked down the aisle feeling adequately dressed, I looked at my fiancé’s face and I could see that he was disappointed. For years after that he told me it was my imagination, but on our fifth anniversary he finally admitted that he would have gladly helped pay for my dream gown rather than see me dressed in a gown that he knew was not what I had really wanted
My gown was totally stunning, perfect in every way, except for the fact that, between the size of my breasts and the cut of the dress, I had to have a custom bra made.
I had heard horror stories about gowns being lost on air flights, so I mailed my dress ahead of time to Vermont, where my wedding was to take place. But my custom bra traveled in my luggage. And in Chicago, while I flew on to Vermont, my bra went to Colorado.
I tried to find a replacement bra, but couldn’t find one that worked with the gown. Finally I settled and went braless, bouncing my way through the wedding and reception, and cursing myself for not choosing a gown that didn’t require special foundation garments. I should have put my bra in my carry-on luggage.
My gown had at least a half dozen layers of skirts and petticoats, a dress that would have been warm even on a winter’s eve let alone in July in a reception hall stuffed with people. I was sure I was going to faint before the reception was over. To make matters worse, I had bought my dress a size smaller than what I normally wore because I was intent on losing a few pounds before the wedding--which I didn’t. In fact I gained a few. If I could do it all again, I’d buy a dress that allowed me to breathe and feel cool, rather than spend half of the reception in the restroom dabbing cool water on my face.
I found a gorgeous dress with beads, an off-the-shoulder top and giant train. The tailor altered it so that I could loop up the train for the reception, but by two hours into the reception, my back was killing me because the dress and train were so heavy. The only spare clothes I had were jeans and a t-shirt. Everyone laughed when I reappeared at the reception, but at least I could move. To top it off, that’s when my mother-in-law mentioned some gowns have removable trains.
The brides who told me these stories preferred to remain anonymous. Most brides prefer their wedding to be remembered as a beautiful occasion, not because of an embarrassing gown problem.
1. Don’t decide ahead of time what style gown you want. Try on a variety of styles. Take people who will give you an honest opinion with you to the bridal shop. Listen to the bridal shop employees’ suggestions. Don’t be afraid to really look in the mirror. Take photos of yourself in a variety of dresses. Study the photos after you leave the shop and before you buy.
2. Don’t rule out the sale rack, rental gowns or used gowns. These options may allow you to buy a dress that would normally be out of your financial reach.
3. Old superstitions are the work of the devil. Used gowns are not unlucky. Not all brides wear white.
4. Before you buy a dress with a train, think about the train’s length and width and weight. Many ceremony sites have narrow staircases and corners that will need to be turned before you start down the aisle. The beauty of a train is how it looks trailing smoothly behind you. You don’t want tangled yards of fabric snagging on a wooden floor or bunching up as you wend your way down a narrow aisle.
5. Have a second dress to put on at the reception. If your bridal gown is totally comfortable, you won’t have to change. But if the unexpected happens, you’ll be prepared.
6. After your wedding, have your dress professionally cleaned as soon as possible. Stains set quickly and can ruin fabric. Whether you end up selling your gown or if you daughter wears it for her wedding, whatever the future holds for your bridal gown, make sure it is as beautiful as it was on your wedding day.
Pat has worked in the wedding industry for over twenty-five years. As a master floral designer and owner of Esden Florist in Fairfield, VT, she sees the yearly changes in wedding styles and is familiar with the time-honored traditions and in tune with the new conventions.
Read Pat Esden articles about preparing for the best Vermont Wedding:
How to Make it Work Without the Headaches - Keeping organized with a few easy tips
Budget Stretching Centerpiece Ideas - Centerpieces for your wedding
Hey, Teen Bridesmaid - Being asked to serve as a bridesmaid is a great honor, but it is also a responsibly that shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially by younger teens.
Bachelors and Bachelorette Parties: Making them Memorable - The keys to planning and organizing your party for success
Double Duty Gifts for Bridesmaids - A fun way for a bride to purchase gifts that will please her attendants is to choose items that can be used on the wedding day and enjoyed afterwards as well.
Read these Vermont Bride Featured Love Stories online!
Love Story: Kellie (Goessinger) & JJ Oliver. Read the Love Story online here. Photo by Stoilov Studios, Vermont.
[Above] Sara (Forest) Sokolowski. Read the wedding Love Story online. Photo by Polis Photography.
[Above] Vyna Phuong Le and Phu Van Truong. Read the wedding Love Story online. Photo by RaidenShine Photography.