Updated: Jun 24, 2020
I have officiated quite a few weddings and the array of styles of wedding dresses always amazes me; the slim elegant and stylish ones, the flamboyant, multi layered hooped ones, the full cover ones and the ones that don’t leave much to the imagination, the pure white virginal ones and the multi-coloured or themed ones. Out there is the perfect dress for you but, based on some of the ‘incidents’ I’ve witnessed, here are a few things to consider when buying yours.
If you are thinking about having a ‘BIG’ dress with lots of material and hoops, think about how you are going to go to the toilet in it. Yes, think about the practicalities. I have seen brides with beautiful dresses suddenly panic when they need to go to the toilet especially if it’s before the ceremony.
When I was working as a Deputy Registrar, one bride couldn’t get the hoop under the dress back into position and there wasn’t enough room in the toilet for someone to go in and help her. So, she very awkwardly had to move to the manager’s office where me and my colleague were waiting to interview her, and get her chief bridesmaid to come and unbutton all 24 buttons on the back of her dress so she could take it off (stripping down to JUST her thong) so she could put the dress back on properly. Lesson to be learned: make sure your dress has a quick release mechanism that doesn’t need the help of other people. Don’t forget how long you will be wearing it!
Try sitting down in it before you buy. No matter what kind of ceremony you are having you will, at some point, need to sit down (even if it’s not until the reception) If your dress is uncomfortable you will not be relaxed. Also think about how much you will be able to eat before it becomes even more uncomfortable. You can’t go the whole day without eating. So, buy one with a bit of wiggle room
How wide is your dress? Yes, you read that right. Think about your venue and how wide the aisle is. If someone is walking you in, ask yourself, is the aisle really wide enough for at least two people AND the dress? Sadly, I have seen brides walk down a beautifully dressed aisle, with lanterns on the floor at each side, only for her dress to knock them over. On more than one occasion there were real lighted candles in the lanterns which when knocked over became a serious fire risk – wedding dresses are highly flammable!
Dress for comfort and get your venue dresser to make sure the aisle is wide enough for the dress plus 2 people and ask them to use LED candles for safety (if you don’t want a possible fire evacuation to spoil your big day!)
Trains & veils look beautiful with wedding dresses but on some occasions, they can be highly impractical. One of the main considerations is if you are having an outdoor ceremony; think about the walk to the ceremony area. What sort of ground is it? Many hotels and venues have gravel or shingle pathways which may look good but play havoc with shoes, dresses, veils and trains. Your veil and dress will probably get snagged on the stones or pick up twigs along the way. Choose your footwear wisely too. High heels don’t make it easy to walk over uneven ground, a beautifully decorated pair of white trainers or flip flops would be much more practical and can look just as good.