Wednesday, September 4, 2013

How to Wear a Wedding Dress

 Make sure it fits!

Almost from the moment the ring is placed on her finger, a bride is inundated with questions about her dress: “What does your dress look like?” “How long until it takes to arrive in the store?” “What designer made your dress?” “Can I go shopping with you?”

Yes, much of wedding planning focuses on a bride’s wedding dress. However, although the dress itself is the focus prior to the ceremony, it’s how a bride wears her dress that garners the most comments during and after the wedding and reception.

Wearing a wedding dress refers to how a bride holds herself in her gown, specifically how she walks in it and generally how she carries herself while wearing her dress. How to wear a dress is rarely talked about; bridal stores, friends, and family tell you which dress looks the best on your frame and a seamstress tells you what alterations will make the dress into the best shape for your body, but nobody tells brides how to carry themselves when wearing that dress.

So, here we go:

Have the dress altered. Alterations to a wedding dress are a standard occurrence. And, while expensive, these alterations are usually quite necessary. Whether taking in the bust or shortening the hemline, the purpose of alterations are to make the dress the best shape for the bride’s…well, shape. Yes, alterations are expensive, but without them your dress will not drape or hang appropriately on your body, which could potentially ruin its lines and make it appear less than perfect.

Buythe appropriate undergarments. Bridal dresses are usually white and many are made of thinner fabrics. Undergarments not only protect the private parts of your body (remember, you are the focus of all your guests’ eyes as you walk down the aisle), but also make your dress fit better and hang appropriately.

A note about alterations and undergarments: A few days ago, I watched a television show that followed brides as they selected their wedding gowns at an upscale New York City store. After spending $5,000 on a dress, a bride declined any alterations to it due to the cost. The neckline of her dress was so large that she could fit her fisted hand down it and still had extra room. Her solution: “I’m fine with my guests seeing my undergarments.”

Um, no. First, undergarments and your body are private. Second, this bride’s dress looked like it wasn’t truly hers because it was so large and not shaped to her body.

Beware your hemline. Most bridal dresses are floor length. This means that a dress’s hemline typically covers the tips of the bride’s shoes. The hemline, however, should not fold or bunch up on the floor, which means it’s too long, or show the tips of the bride’s shoes or her toes, which means that it’s too short.

Walk appropriately. Few brides wear floor-length gowns on a regular basis and, therefore, know how to walk in a long gown. Because of their hemline, the front of a bridal dress may need to be raised at certain times during the wedding and reception so that the bride does not trip while walking. However, the only time that a bride should NEED to lift up the front of her dress is when she is walking up the stairs. Needing to raise the front of a gown at any other time - for example, so that a bride can walk across the reception floor - means that the hemline of the dress is too long. A few notes:
  1. When walking down stairs, slightly kick the hem of the dress out so that it falls over the edge of the lower step. This prevents tripping.
  2. When you DO raise your hemline, do so no more than two or three inches from the floor – so that only the tips of your toes are showing. Any more is unnecessary.
  3. If your dress has a train, don’t try to walk backwards until its bustled.

Stand and sit up straight. Doing so shows off your dress’s lines to perfection.  

Don’t worry about getting dirty. You wear your (very expensive) dress for only a few hours, enjoy yourself in it! Also, forget about the fact that it’s white; almost all stains it attracts can be easily removed at the dry cleaners.

Buying a wedding dress is fun, but wearing one is even more fun – as long as you do it as best as you can.