Dopers, help me pick a wedding dress!

I’m in for #1 and #4 with a lighter pattern. This sounds weird but Victoria’s Secret has some nice dresses for smaller people.

I’m only saying this because I used to sew a lot and half the time the dress that looked so cute on the pattern didn’t when it was made.

It’s like trying on a dress and it not looking so great once you try it on. Except worse because your only looking at a drawing on the package.

Lots of dressmakers make the dress in an inexpensive muslin and make the alterations on that and use that as a pattern to cut out the real thing.

Even if they just do the bodice that way to see how the neck will fall.

My mother sews a bunch, if she was making a dress from an expensive fabric, she would also make a scratch dress first. Its doesn’t take so long because you don’t do the hemming and zipper and such. And yeah, we had the same experience, despite the fact that she’s been sewing for me since I was born (actually, probably before I was born), the dresses often don’t come out like we expect.

I would just take all four dress patterns to the dressmaker, she should be able to figure out what you have in mind and help you pick one that suits your body type.

I pick #1.

Another vote for #1, and another request for more info on "the empty camera trick’.

I think Costco’s cakes are FABULOUS - far tastier than lots of nasty wedding cakes I’ve had. I think lots of wedding cake places emphasize looks over taste. While a gorgeous multi-tiered cake is impressive when you walk in, it all looks the same on the plate! They have some very pretty flowery designs, too, so I wouldn’t count out having them decorate it as well.

Their flowers are great, as well. Another cheap but pretty garden party decorating idea is getting a bunch of glass bowls (dollar store) and putting some river stones (dollar store) and water (hose) in them and floating a camellia, chrysanthemum or begonia or other roundish floating flower on it. $2 + one flower for each piece.

Remember that some flowers need special handling to make them last in bouquets or corsages. The last thing you want to do is ruin your beautiful Irises by wetting the flowers. Here’s a good place to start.

First and second ones are my favorites.

I really like the first one.
What’s the “empty camera” trick, now?

I like the third one.

The Empty Camera Trick -

(And it’s a cruel one as well…)

Step 1 - Bride-to-be goes into Expensive Wedding Dress Store and is presented with Most Expensive Dress In Her Size. She puts it on, comes out of dressing room in it and every saleslady in the store falls all over themselves. “That’s the most gorgeous dress on you! Do you model? I’ve never seen a dress look so good on anyone before! Can we take your picture in it to show other people how the dress should really look?!?”
Flattered BTB says sure, thinks she should certainly buy this dress if it makes her look like such a star. Salesperson takes many pictures, complimenting all the while, can’t gush enough about how lovely BTB looks in MEDIHS. BTB buys dress and leaves, not knowing that if she’d looked in the camera, she’d have seen there’s no film in it and the behavior of the salespeople was a ruse to sell her the dress.

Step 2 - Profit.

The costume and tux rental place I worked at summer of '90 in Waterford, MI did that stuff. I worked in the back and in stock, so I wasn’t directly a party to it. The manager’s excuse to me was that everyone in the industry does it and it doesn’t hurt the bride. What did I know, I was 20?

Ouch. This is what bridesmaids were invented for - to raise an eyebrow and give a subtle shake of the head when the bride looks like a constipated cow in a dress, no matter what the sales staff says.

OTOH, if you have iron self-control and can really NOT buy anything, trying stuff on is a good way to find out generalities - do you look good in scoop necks or jewel necks or square necks? Princess seams, A-line or empire waist? Although your dress #1 theoretically should be pretty on most body types, there’s always an exception.

I admire your class in not wanting to bare shoulders and cleavage during the wedding. To that end, I really like the one with the shrug and not the one with the rose. From your description, the middle one in the last page would be quite flattering.

As a seamstress, I would warn you to ask to see actual dresses that the seamstress has made. Pictures can hide a multitude of flaws.

When I made wedding dresses for friends, I first made a pattern from broadcloth and fit that. I used that as the pattern to cut the dress itself. On one, because I had a very limited amount of cloth to work with, I made a trial dress first. I would prefer to do that every time.

Do go to shops with someone you trust, but no checkbook or credit card on your person, and try on a dress with similar lines in a similar cloth. That tells you more than any picture ever will.

While there are dresses available off the rack, having won made can be a good solution if you do have scoliosis. Ask your seamstress how she accommodates that sort of thing. If she tells you it doesn’t affect the fit, find another seamstress.

Thank you, Lee, for that great advice; I didn’t realize any of those things and you have fought my ignorance!

To that end, which would a seamstress prefer; making a dress from a pattern or altering a purchased dress? I’m also concerned about store-bought dresses mainly because one never knows if it was made by someone getting a fair wage or a child in a sweatshop. If I have it locally made, I’ll worry less.

Do seamtresses/tailors dislike brides?

You’re absolutely right, that would be **the ** best reason to have bridesmaids! However, I don’t exaggerate when I say I have no one to do these things with.
No family within 7 hours and no friends within 4-5, and those are boys. Closest I have is a pushy neighbor lady who’s recently started going through the worst (so far) of her menopause symptoms and is quickly becoming a pill.

The dress shopping I did last week was accompanied by the fiancee, but this is supposed to be a surprise for him, so… I’m kind of stuck.

Mayhap I could take my laptop with me to a store, try on dresses and webcast it live for ya’ll to comment on? :wink:



Buy the patterns you like best, cut them out in cheap cloth off a sale table, and pin, tape, and/or fabric glue them together.
The cover pictures on patterns are drawn to inhuman proportions. The dress won’t look like that, though it may look good. It especially won’t look like that if you are shorter than about 5’8 or 5’10 (depending on the pattern company).

Luckily they are mostly drawn for a B cup, so the bodice is probably fairly accurate for you. But not the proportion.


I’m sorry if I missed it in the thread, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable suggesting style without more information! Like, how tall are you, what’s your general body shape, relative leg, neck and torso length, size of your upper arms, what kind of hairstyle you might be thinking of, whether you can do high heels, etc. and pics of you.
For a garden wedding, though, I might suggest something lacy, something with sheer layers and/or something that reflects light well or interestingly in terms of materials.

Love #1 and #4, edging toward #1 for an outdoor ceremony.

And may I congratulate you for not choosing to put a huge bow on your butt. (Really. Does anyone look good in that?)

I don’t know exact measurements anymore, but here goes -
I am about 5’ 6 1/2", 34B, my arms and legs are pretty long, my middle is thicker than I would like but I’m working on that. I have size 11 legs, size 9 hips and size 7 waist. I have size 7 chest and size 11 arms. I’m a freak of nature, I know.
I haven’t decided on my hair; it’ll be up in some fashion, at least on the sides. The fiancee has asked for flower in my hair off the side in “Hawaiian girl style”, best he could describe it. I can wear heels, but my fiancee and I are the same height* so I’l refrain from more than an inch heel.
I liked the idea of sheer layers but it would be pretty summery and I’d like this to become a year-round dressy occasion dress.

We are looking at ways to webcast the wedding, his laptop’s got a built-in camera and Charleston has great free wi-fi on the peninsula! ‘Live Doper Wedding!’

*I’m lying, he’s a half inch shorter at least.

I’d go with number 4 because even though you’d like to wear it again, it would be so much fun on the special day you’ll have. It could be done in a lighter (color and weight) fabric and be just right for a floaty summer day.

Here’s a recent pic of me, along with my upper body and some lower bit.

Neither the hat nor the porta-potties will figure in to the wedding.