5 things they don't tell you about wedding dresses

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So after the years and years I’ve been photographing weddings, I’ve learned a few things about wedding dresses that people never know before they are running around the streets of Denver or the Colorado mountains. This is the stuff that I wish wedding dress shops would tell people before they get married so that my couples don’t wind up struggling with a dress/veil/shoe situation that can be hard to manage. I mean, you are spending at least hundreds, maybe thousands on this dress you’re gonna wear once, they should at least tell you your veil is going to stick to the sequins on the back of your dress! But, like so many things in the wedding industry, it’s #sayyestothedress, make the sale, and move on!! So, I’m going to do my best to part the curtain a little and talk about some mishaps that happen with dresses so you can avoid them. And, what dresses will work best for different types of weddings.

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#1 tulle

I have a love-hate relationship with this beautiful pain-in-the-ass fabric. The gorgeous soft, flowing, ethereal tulle gowns that are in style right now (think BHLDN, etc.) are one of my favorite styles to photograph. They flow beautifully, catch the light perfectly, and seem comfortable and lightweight for the people wearing them.

But, you know who else loves that soft mesh fabric? BUGS. Mosquitoes, little critters that live in the grass, flies, ladybugs, BEEEEEEES. I get SO bummed anytime I need to go out into a field with one of these gowns and people lose it when the bugs climb up on the inside. If you’re getting one and you want to take photos outside, just be at peace with the buggies.

Just to add to the struggle, the material also acts as velcro to any grass, twigs, woodchips, leaves—basically all the nature.

Behind The Scenes shot of a gorgeous tulle dress having it’s new natural inhabitants removed.

Behind The Scenes shot of a gorgeous tulle dress having it’s new natural inhabitants removed.

#2 blingy heels

I L O V E S H O E S. Don’t get me wrong. I will 100% swoon at those gorgeous heels you bought that are covered in gems and sequins. But, honestly, buy those for the photos while you get ready, then wear totally different shoes. What’s the problem with them? Well, your dress has all these layers underneath it. Usually a soft slip, sometimes some layers of stiff tulle, sometimes nothing and the shoes will be hitting the inside of the dress. Those gorgeous beads and gems will catch on the fabric on the inside of your dress and make it nearly impossible to walk without getting snagged. That trashes the inside of your dress too if you’re planning on selling it after the fact or using it again for a vow renewal or something. Stick with a classic smooth pump!! You can thank me later.

#3 veils + beaded gowns

I’ve seen a lot of dresses recently that have stunning beading/sequins/sparkles on the top half of the dress. I love ‘em, especially illusion neck lines. But, warning!! When you wear your grandma’s vintage silk veil, or a veil that you had shipped over from Spain because of the unique lace, that fabric is going to stick and snag on the beads and sparkles on the back of your dress!! I really didn’t want to wear a veil to my wedding, and finally managed to get my mom off the veil train by pointing this out after I saw a family heirloom get totally destroyed by the wind + beaded dress bodice. It sucked and was devastating to watch! Especially with outdoor weddings in Colorado, you have to plan on wind, and the combo of wind and veils is deadly. So, if you want a veil, pay attention to what type of fabric it will be hitting on the back of your dress!

#4 bustles

So, you’re going to wind up adding a bustle to your dress if you have a train. It makes it so much easier to move around and dance in after the ceremony! But, many of them are made up of just a few buttons stitched on with a corresponding loop of thread. The first time you, or someone else, accidentally catches your foot on it, those buttons are going to pop right off. I’ve seen it happen more times than I can count. French Bustles are a little safer, but can still be an issue. So what can we do about it? Unfortunately not much, but I do suggest getting a box of the jumbo sized safety pins—big enough that they will go through all the layers of your dress and still be able to close. One of those will save you from any bustle mishap!

#5 strapless?

I know a lot of people who have automatic reactions of disgust when presented with a strapless wedding dress—and also a lot of people who have a similar disgust for NOT strapless dresses. So what’s the right way to go?? The biggest shade I hear thrown against strapless dresses is that they make back fat pooches on even people with a BMI of 1. But, that’s not the end of the story. That is true specifically of corset backed strapless dresses. Any corset is going to have this problem because they push any extra squish that you have from your middle up to your chest and down to your hips. You can minimize it by scooping the extra skin around to the front, but honestly, it’s not my favorite style anyway. Now, strapless dresses that don’t have a corset are normally a-ok. They have boning and structure in the bodice that means they stay up on their own and aren’t depending on pinching your skin super tight to stay up like a corset. As long as you get a good tailor doing your alterations, you won’t be pulling on the top while you dance or dealing with back cleavage.

Don’t want to worry about any of that? Just get a dress with straps ;)

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I hope this post shed some light on a classic wedding planning struggle!! If you like my vibe and want to chat, use the button below to email me. If you want to get an email the next time I write a new post (I usually send a round up once a month) subscribe to my mailing list :)