Facts About Wedding Dresses That Every Bride Needs To Know (But Doesn't)

lace wedding dress - bridal gown shopping advice

Are you a bride getting married and shopping for the most perfect, amazing wedding dress? You're in luck because we love all things brides fashion, style and wedding planning advice around here and today we're giving brides our best wedding dress shopping advice. 

We're a little biased (we can't help it!), but your wedding dress might be the most important part of your wedding day bridal style. You'll see your wedding dress pictures, you'll remember it forever and you might even save it for your daughter someday.

(If you save your wedding dress, let's get in touch because we love making wedding garters from mother's wedding dresses!)

Today, we're giving you our best wedding dress advice and facts about wedding dresses that most brides do not know, but they need to know.

wedding dress shopping tips and advice

Photo Credit:  Morgan Marie Photography, Styling: Leona Morelock Designs

Here are our best tips and facts about wedding dress shopping that most brides do not know, but they need to know. And after reading this post, you'll know too!

Fact: Your Wedding Dress Will Get Dirty

I know, this is a hard one to hear for many brides. You love your wedding dress, you probably paid a ton of money for it. But, when you wear your wedding dress, it will get dirty. If your dress is long with a train, it will drag on the ground when you walk, or guests might accidentally spill something on it when coming in close for a hug.

Try not to waste any time on your wedding day worried about your dress getting dirty or being sad about it. It's going to happen. There are ways to clean it after your wedding is over. 

Fact: You Will Have To Alter Your Wedding Dress

It is rare for a wedding dress to fit you perfectly right off the rack. Most, if not all, bridal dresses will need to be altered to fit you just as you are, no matter your size, no matter your style of dress. If you are buying from a trunk show, sample sale, ordering from a boutique dress shop or having it custom made, your wedding dress will need to be altered, or adjusted, to give you. 

Alterations can be anything from a hem to making it shorter or longer or pulled in at the sides to fit you more closely. Or you can go more detailed with your changes and add straps and beading or more.

Wedding dress alterations are nothing to fear, they are your friend. There are so many amazing seamstresses out there who will take your dress and make it fit you, so you don't have to fit it. 

Fact: The Are A Million Different Shades Of White (And Ivory)

White, ecru, off white, ivory, taupe, diamond white, light ivory, champagne...I've lost count on the number of shades of white and ivory when it comes to wedding dresses. If you've painted a room in your house, you know exactly what we're talking about when it come to 

Oh and every wedding dress designer has different shades between them. For example, one dress designer's diamond white is completely different than another designers shade of diamond white. 

You've been warned. The best thing to do is order a swatch of the dress shades so that you can compare and see the colors in person. 

Fact: If You Steam Silk, It Will Stain

If you have a silk wedding dress, in this case do not (I repeat, do not) steam your wedding dress on your wedding morning. I know you want to get those wrinkles out of your wedding dress, but a traditional clothing steamer uses hot water to get the wrinkles out, and that water will stain your silk wedding dress. 

If your silk wedding dress is wrinkled and you want to smooth it out before walking down the aisle, try hanging it on a hanger and taking a hot shower with the door closed. Or, you can try using a dry iron. (Do not use an iron with water in it. Remember, water stains silk.) Try a brand new iron, if you can get your hands on one the morning of your wedding.

The best most important thing to do with a silk wedding dress to remove any wrinkles is to test a small piece in the back before jumping right to the front. 

Fact: It's Easier To Take In, Than Let Out Your Dress

Do not order a wedding dress a size or two smaller than you are currently at the time of ordering your dress hoping that you'll loose weight. It is much easier for alterations on your dress to be taken in than it is to add fabric. Letting your dress out involves adding fabric, which can be difficult for alterations. Whereas, taking your dress in or making it smaller is much easier for a seamstress.

Your wedding dress will need to be altered no matter what (See fact above.), so order the size that you are the time of ordering to save yourself any trouble.

wedding dress shopping advice

Fact: Strapless Dresses Can Have Straps Added

If you find a strapless wedding dress that you love, but you really want (or need) a wedding dress with straps, know that you can add straps to just about any strapless wedding dress style. 

I've said a few times here, your wedding dress will need to be altered no matter what, so adding straps to a strapless dress shouldn't be too hard. 

If you want spaghetti straps or even straps made from the scraps of your wedding dress's hem, there are so many options to add straps and customize your dress to make you feel amazing. The alternative is true as well. If you find a wedding dress with straps that you love, you might be able to have it altered to be strapless. As I said, embrace the wedding dress alterations!

Fact: Wedding Dress Sizes Are Not Exact Or Uniform

Wedding dress sizes are not the same as ready to wear cloths and the sizes are not uniform or the same across designers. For example, if you wear a size 12 in regular clothes and you try on a wedding dress that is a size 12, it might not fit you right. It might be too big or too small or somewhere in between. In addition, just like the colors, a 12 in one dress designer is completely different than a size 12 in another designer.

This is why it is so incredibly important for you to work with your wedding dress shop to order the correct size that fits you the best at the time of ordering. Your bridal dress shop consultant knows best and will guide you in the right direction. And then embrace the alterations once your dress arrives. 

Also, because of sizing difficulties, be very careful ordering your wedding dress online and on websites without trying on your dress in person. Make sure that you fully understand the return policy before ordering your wedding dress online.

Fact: You Must Order Your Dress Earlier Than You Think

Wedding dresses take a long time order and be shipped to your bridal dress shop. It's a fact. Order your dress sooner rather than later. And order your dress sooner than you think to order it. 

Most wedding dresses are made once you place you order, which means that you need to give your dress designer time to make your dress for you.

In addition to ordering and production, you also need to allow time for alterations. We've talked a lot about alterations in this advice post and they do take time. Your seamstress will not be able to alter your wedding dress in a few minutes, or even overnight, so please give them as much time as possible and order your dress as early as you can.

When you order your dress early and give yourself enough time, you also give yourself more options to choose just about any style dress that you want. If you wait, the closer you get to your wedding date, your dress options get smaller.


What do you think? Were you surprised by any of these wedding dress shopping facts that you might not known. If it makes you feel better, most brides getting married and planning a wedding are in the same situation as you, they didn't know these facts. You're not alone!

So, I know that some of this was hard to hear, but we always try to be honest with you around here about all things wedding planning. It comes from a place of love! We want you to love the wedding planning process as much as you're going to love being married!

Don't forget, we have so much helpful and practical wedding planning advice on our blog. Whether it's with our our tips or our wedding heirlooms, our main goal in life is to share our expertise and help you have a joyful and stress-free wedding planning experience. You can shop our wedding garters and bridal accessories anytime and you can find all of our wedding planning tips on the blog.

Before you go, don't forget to get our Ultimate Bridal Fashion Timeline, this is everything you need to know about what to order when do you don't miss out. It's free and worth it!

Happy wedding dress shopping!