One of the first things I thought about (surprisingly) when Kevin proposed to me was
“What dress do I get?”
“Is it going to really cost me a lot?”
“I really don’t want something I’ve seen already.”
Oh my gahhhh!
Being wedding photographers for 7 years we’ve seen a lot of dresses. Some were really beautiful wedding dresses and all them white. But after 7 years, I felt burnt out on the typical wedding dress. I wondered if there was a way to really do something that was uniquely me.
The most we see of non-traditional dresses, are the celebrity wedding dresses. Gwen Stefani’s pink gradient dress if you remember, was awesome. You can find many more of such great designs on Princessly.
After shooting brides for some time, you begin to see what dresses accentuate or enhance your best features. Finding a dress that will show you off in the best way possible has to do with your normal figure.
Not the one you’re starving to fit into, but the one that you’re happily confident in and can dance, sit and laugh in all day.
I love this quick body shape calculator to help you get a general idea of what will drape your body beautifully.
I’m pear shaped so I opted to have a loose fitting skirt made of tulle. Also the main part of the dress was an infinity dress made of Satin Jersey. A heavy material that wasn’t too expensive because it was a satin blend. Extremely comfortabe and stretches with you.
An infinity dress is a dress that has very long ties that you can tie all sorts of ways so that it never has to look the same twice. I got this because I can wear this even after the wedding!
image from www.shesaidoui.ca
It was extremely confusing when I was first shopping because I had no idea about materials.
Here’s a complete list of wedding fabrics I found off of theknot.com
A lightweight, soft, transparent fabric.
A Jacquard-woven fabric with raised designs; traditionally popular for fall and winter, now also worn in warmer weather.
A lightweight, semi-lustrous soft fabric, that is satin-like to the touch.
Delicate, sheer, and transparent — made from silk or rayon, with a soft finish; often layered because of its transparency, making it popular for overskirts, sheer sleeves, and wraps.
A light, soft, and thin fabric with a crinkled surface.
Similar to brocade with raised designs, but woven in a much lighter weight.
A lightweight hybrid of silk and rayon (or polyester) woven into a satin finish.
A finish similar to shantung, but with thicker, coarser fibers, and a slight sheen.
A structured, ribbed finish like grosgrain ribbon; usually quite substantial.
A tightly-woven, firm and durable finish, with single diagonal lines on the face.
A sheer, lightweight fabric often made of polyester or silk with a crepe surface.
A fine, sheer net fabric, generally used on sleeves or necklines.
A very elastic knit fabric; the face has lengthwise ribs and the underside has crosswise ribs.
A heavy silk taffeta with a subtle, wavy design.
A stiff transparent fabric.
Crisp and sheer like chiffon, with a stiffer texture similar in effect to tulle, but more flowing; popular for skirts, sleeves, backs, and overlays.
Peau de Soie
A soft satin-faced, high-quality cloth with a dull luster, fine ribs, and a grainy appearance.
A knit fabric with a waffle-weave appearance, pique has distinct sides. The outside resembles a honeycomb or waffle and the underside is flat and smooth.
An inexpensive man-made fiber that can be woven into just about anything, including duchesse satin
Similar to silk, but more elastic and affordable.
A heavy, smooth fabric with a high sheen on one side; very common in bridal gowns.
The most sought-after, cherished fiber for wedding dresses (and also the most expensive); there are several types with different textures: raw silk and silk mikado are just two examples.
A four-ply silk organza.
A brand of blended silk, usually heavier than 100-percent silk.
A smooth silk satin, with a glossy front and matte back.
Similar to a raw silk, shantung is characterized by its rubbed texture.
Crisp and smooth, with a slight rib.
Netting made of silk, nylon, or rayon; used primarily for skirts and veils (think ballerina tutus).
A soft, thick fabric with a felted face and plain underside.
I read everything I could about ordering online, and nothing ever felt 100% comfortable. However I do have to say that I am completely satisfied with the end result.
Here’s my story of ordering my dress online:
I knew from previous horror stories of buyers ordered online.
Some Wedding dress designers said they could knock off designer dresses and reproduce them out of country. Just the thought alone of getting this Vera Wang dress for under $500 was silly, but too tempting to not look.
From this you can see, I wasn’t going for the traditional route of dresses. But after overwhelming proof that ordering out of country resulted in terrible excuses for the original, I let this “designer” dress go.
How was I going to buy a dress, I couldn’t try on or couldn’t see before it was made?
Find a design that didn’t hinder too much on my measurements!
Like I said I went with a tulle skirt and an infinity dress underneath. Even if I gained or lost a few vanity pounds the dress would still fit me. This seemed like the best design to go with that matched all the criteria.
1. Accentuated my body shape in the right way
2. Didn’t have to try on, because it’s basically like putting on a very long shirt that’s only fitted in the waist.
Next was to find a wedding dress designer that wasn’t crazy expensive, worked inside the the USA and spoke perfect english.
Etsy.com has become my place to shop for all of the one-of-a-kind items I wanted to make our wedding special. The first round of browsing through Etsy.com wasn’t that inspiring. I had to search for a long time until I found someone I liked. But they have some amazing wedding dresses that can be made all your own.
The fact that some makers have this amazing button made it all worth it.
I am all about custom! Imagine, you now have the chance to make your dress completely yours. As a creative, this was incredibly exciting and a must for me.
Here’s what I did to ensure the dress maker I was buying from was legit.
1. Saw the reviews, read as many as I could
2. Read up on the maker and saw that she lived in the States
3. Conversed about 45 times back and forth with the maker about my wedding dress vision and talked colors, materials, and other things.
4. Her prompt response was a big factor for me. I hate texting or asking a question via messenger only to feel like I’m the last thing on your list.
5. She followed up with me when I was still deciding back in January of this year.
When to Order
I ordered asap. I knew there was going to be adjustments so I wanted to give the maker lots of time. If you can find a maker that can make alterations included with the price of your dress when you buy it.
In fact I wanted to get every big purchase out of the way asap. It’s just better to have extra time than none.
Having it altered at a local tailer could cost you way more. In my search to have it altered locally would cost me half as much as the dress! The only thing I needed altered was the hem, it was a bit too long.
Better to send it back to the person who made it, and only pay for shipping.
When it Arrived
To the tee, the wedding dress designer had sent the dress at exactly 12 weeks like she said. 6 weeks to order the fabric and another 6 to make it.
When it arrived, I didn’t open it right way. I was actually scared I would experience some Pinterest fail of “nailed it”.
“What if my worst nightmare comes out of that box?” I thought.
It came in a small flat-rate shipping box from USPS.
I let it sit there for a good 5 hours, went out for some food with Kevin and came back home.
Finally I said, “you know what, it’s going to be freaking amazing and I’m going just trust the wedding dress designer.”
I opened the box to find two black mesh bags. Rolled up in them I could see the tulle part and a bundle of fabric that didn’t exactly scream dress of my dreams.
As I opened one bag, I saw the tulle. It was amazing. Fluffy and light. The color was exactly what I had pictured. The biggest smile appeared on my face. I could feel myself slowly transforming into a little girl. I was excited now.
Then I picked up the peculiarly heavy, second satchel and uncovered a bundle of smooth fabric. Satin.
I thought, “Do I have to put it together?”
What’s going on here? Then it dropped.
Unrolling itself like a ancient scroll with a godly message written on it.
Still quizzical, I found the hole to put one foot in and then another. Slowly fitting myself and finding the ties of the infinity dress, it began to come to life. I reached for the tulle skirt and hopped in.
With no label, it was no designer dress, it was 1,000 times better, it was made for me and no one else.
My smile grew wider and wider. There, all alone in my room, surrounded by posters of Spider-man, Gundam figures, and other boyish things, I looked up and saw a woman in the mirror.
Looking back, I saw my husband’s wife and tom-boy who couldn’t help but giggle with glee at this little moment of femininity.
I’m so glad I let go and trusted, that moment was all the more special because of it.
So those are my tips if you’re ordering online and my story of wearing my wedding dress for the first time. It was the perfect wedding dress and the perfect memory to lock away into heart.
I’d been vlogging about the journey to our wedding for sometime, but obviously I can’t put my dress in a video until the day of. So writing about it was fitting.
What was it like when you first tried on your wedding dress? Tell me in the comments.