After: The Dress

24 Apr
My gown of choice

My gown of choice

Looks like we’re well overdue for another before-and-after piece on the blog, so I thought I would at last share how things turned out with that most favorite of all bridal topics: the dress!

As you might remember from my “before” piece on the subject, I chose “Ellen” by designer Maggie Sottero as the gown I would waltz down the aisle in on our special day (right). I also chose to buy my dress pre-loved in order to save money, spending just half the retail price to wear the dress of my dreams. As you can see from the image, it is a strapless, A-line, satin gown with a sweetheart neckline and corset closure.Fabric: The most pleasant surprise on the day is that things worked out better than expected with my choice of the satin fabric. πŸ˜€ Despite my concerns about the weight of a satin gown and becoming too sweaty with the warmth of said weight, this was not a problem at all on the day: I didn’t notice any sweating, or even give over-heating a second thought! I had regrets ahead of the day about choosing satin, and pondered whether lighter chiffon would have been a better option, so I’m glad I didn’t act on these concerns. πŸ™‚

Neckline and silhouette: I also loved my choice of the strapless dress, as I felt very elegant and the style seems to be very popular at the moment. (It’s getting difficult to find gowns that aren’t strapless.) One note though is that you do have to be a little more careful with your posture when you’re wearing a strapless gown, as from my personal experience I can say that it makes any slouching a little more obvious in pictures. Shoulders back, ladies! I was also very happy with the A-line shape of the gown: comfortable to wear and lots of room for dancing the night away.

My wedding left me scarred... literally!

My wedding dress left me scarred… literally!

Bodice: The most interesting part of the dress was the corset closure. It created a gorgeous hourglass shape, and is a fantastic option if you’re planning to lose weight ahead of the wedding, as you can adjust the corset to your size. (If you have a zipper or button close, the dress will need to be professionally altered if you plan more than a few pounds of weight loss.) A surprise of the corset closure is that you can definitely make it too tight! My bridesmaid trussed me up like a turkey to hitch the dress up higher ahead of the first dance… so tightly that the dress actually broke the skin! It took more than a week for my scars to heal (see above).

Another challenge with the corset closure was that I could not get into or out of the gown by myself: I needed a bridesmaid to come to all fittings to help me dress, and assistance in the lavatory as I didn’t have any hope of taking the dress off quickly for that particular task. Also, at the end of the night, my groom hilariously could not figure out how to get me out of the dress! I am not a fan of bows, so the leftover ribbons were tucked in to the gown at the bottom of the corset closure… and with four layers in the skirt of the gown, my groom could not find those ribbons in order to unravel things! After a solid five minutes of searching he was insisting it was time for the scissors, but then luckily found the ribbons a few moments after that. Ha! I’m not sure what could be done preventatively about that… except asking the bridesmaid which layer she thinks the ribbons are under, and then passing that intel onto the groom!
A related element on my dress that I hadn’t considered was the boning in the bodice. I am rather flat chested and loved that the boning in the bodice added some false curves to my wedding day look. However, the fly in the ointment was that because I didn’t actually fill out the bodice, in pictures of me taken on profile it’s clear there is about a one-inch gap between the free-standing bodice and, well, me. Another reason for good posture and keeping shoulders back and chest out on the big day. πŸ™‚

My walk down the aisle!

My walk down the aisle!

Train: The train on my dress is somewhere between a court and chapel train (extending about three feet behind me), and looked absolutely gorgeous for my grand walk down the aisle and in all the professional photos after the ceremony. The reception is where things went south! Even a three-point over-bustle could not completely pick the train up off the floor, and the result was that my groom trod on the trailing train so hard during the first dance that not only did the train come undone, but the bustle tore off and left a big hole in my gown! Luckily with the aforementioned four layers of skirt it wasn’t visible to any of our guests. πŸ˜›

Second-hand: In good news for budget-savvy brides, I didn’t have any problems as a result of buying my wedding gown pre-loved. Nobody asked about it, and to this day only my parents, groom and one bridesmaid know that we purchased the dress this way. The only issue was the aforementioned train. I had tried on a brand new “Ellen” gown in a bridal store before pegging it as “the one”, and the one in the store had a one-point over-bustle already built in. It fell very naturally and level with the rest of the gown, and was a major reason why I chose the gown. But the one I bought second-hand not only came without a bustle, but a one-point over-bustle by my seamstress wasn’t nearly enough to pick up the dress from the floor – even with a three-point bustle there were 2-3 inches of excess material trailing behind me on each side (hence why my groom stepped on it :P). Annoying, but I’m not really sure if this was a result of buying it second-hand; it could be that the particular bridal store I visited adds bustles themselves to all their gowns so brides can see the full effect before deciding whether or not to buy.

Brides, what are your concerns or things you’re looking forward to about your wedding gown? For those who’ve already tied the knot, what worked well (and what didn’t) with your big-day dress?

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