What No One Admits About Wedding Dresses

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Every bride would have you believe that her wedding gown is the most perfect garment she’s ever laid eyes on. But the truth is, most wedding dresses have some secrets brides would rather their guests didn’t know.

The wedding-day bustle doesn’t look as good as it did in the store.
First, let’s define bustle. You know how wedding gowns have extra fabric in the back that drags along the floor for the ceremony? That’s a train. Trains make it likely that you will trip and fall while you dance at your wedding reception, so you essentially need to fold it up so it’s out of the way. The under-your-butt gathering of the train is a bustle. And unless you have a highly skilled BFF or mom, it’s difficult to replicate the gorgeous way the seamstress or consultant at the bridal salon folded it.

It takes forever to put your wedding gown on.
Psst…lots of wedding dresses have built-in corsets on the inside that need to be buttoned or tied up. And that takes time and additional hands. I’ve yet to meet a bride who put on a traditional wedding gown by herself. (If you did, you have my respect and admiration.) It’s not that brides are divas who demand help for simple tasks like getting dressed–it’s literally impossible to get that thing on by yourself, especially if you have a wedding to attend in a few hours (which you better, otherwise why the hell are you putting on a wedding dress? Oh, you wore one for Halloween? Okay, me too this one time).

Those buttons down the back don’t do diddly.
I so badly wanted a dress that had them–and I got one (that’s my back fat sticking out the top up there). I can’t articulate why this was so important to me, but one thing’s for sure: It had nothing to do with function.

You can’t sit normally in a wedding dress.
Yes, those white dresses that J.Crew calls “wedding dresses” may not restrict you when you sit. Mine and thousands of others on the other hand will poke into your ribs if you decide to take a load off. The one bright side to this? It hurts more to slouch, so your posture’s pretty perfect when everyone’s snapping photos of you at your sweetheart table.

Altering a wedding gown can change how it looks.
A fabulous seamstress will ensure that all the features you loved about the wedding dress (the one you ordered seven sizes too big at the salon’s insistence) remain the same once the gown is taken in to fit you. The dirty truth is that most seamstresses aren’t fabulous, and the shape and accents you adored may look decidedly different post-alterations.

Wedding dresses take forever to take off.
After our wedding reception, our limo driver kindly waited while I slipped into sweats and dropped off my dress at my parents’ house before he whisked me and Paul to the mediocrity that was our wedding night hotel (hey, Staten Island isn’t known for its hospitality–only its mob wives). He was waiting quite a while since I had to unbutton and untie the various fabrics that were sucking me in. Don’t worry–he got a generous tip.

What else don’t brides share about wedding dresses? Married ladies, did you not have any of the above experiences? (I ENVY YOU!)

As promised, here’s your dating Dan update: I’ve passed along the dozen girls who expressed interest in meeting him, and he was so touched and flattered by all the amazing women who contacted me about him. He’s still in shock about the response. I made little bios about you ladies (from what I could glean from limited view Facebook profiles in some cases!) and shared photos. He’s going to get back to me and let me know who he’d like to set up dates with. I’ll keep you posted! But I’ll be featuring another great guy, my pal Tom, next week, so stay tuned!

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Photo by Gail Chatelain

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  • http://www.facebook.com/hthrlu Heather Peters Rhoads

    They are HEAVY!

    Preserving isn’t the same as repairing!  My dress had elaborate bead-work around the bottom, and I stepped on the dress while dancing so many times, that the dance floor was a vast sea of broken beads by the end of the night.  I paid to have my dress cleaned and preserved, but all the broken beads weren’t repaired.  The dress was trashed (and that was before the days of the Trash the Dress sessions!).

    My dress was also missing a button on my wedding day – it happens!  Check your dress before you leave the alterations place or store!

  • Amanda Marron

    They can definitely be very heavy–I was deciding between two dresses at one point, and went with the lighter one, which also happened to be a better fit for me, so it wasn’t a difficult decision, but if not for the sheer weight of the other it might have been much harder to make the choice.  Also, if you’re wearing a crinoline or hoopskirt, especially if there’s tulle or boning with little or no interior lining, wear a cotton petticoat or slip underneath so you don’t get itchy or raw from it.  Until I had hooks and eyes put in on either side of the back zipper, hidden by the fake buttons, I was able to put my dress on and take it off myself in under five minutes, despite the fact that it is long, has a train, is off the shoulder, and I wore a hoopskirt under it.  After the hooks and eyes were added, however, I had to have someone else take care of them after the dress was zipped up.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PJPVXWMWE2DSWXCSBGIPAMFLKI Jane

    My wedding dress consultant, a dear family friend who’d known me since before I was born, recommended having bra cups sewn into the dress. Best suggestion ever. My gown was very comfortable.

  • http://heyweddinglady.com/ Hey Wedding Lady

    Great tips! For ladies who have their hearts set on a complicated bustle – invite bridesmaids to a fitting and have the seamstress/boutique attendant demonstrate the bustling technique! I’ve seen a pre-wedding bustle prep save the day many a time (also, safety pins, just in case)

  • Lawyerette

    Dirty little secrets: Your home steamer is just fine as long as you use distilled water and clear the hose of condensation, no need to pay the bridal salon $200 to steam the dress; a good solo tailor can sew in cups and take up a hem for much, much cheaper than your salon’s tailor; more than half my friends didn’t get their gowns cleaned/preserved and they’re still sitting (OMG DIRTY) in our closets; if you are getting your dress cleaned and preserved, have someone take it in on your honeymoon so stains don’t set; unless you buy a silk dress, you’re probably not going to pass it on — do you really want to make an heirloom out of white polyester?