Finding that Special One and Only

You know deep down you have found the right one. An inner calm runs through your soul. You feel comfortable, confident and captivating. The approval of your family and friends adds to your certainty. You have found the perfect wedding gown.

Until then, here are a few things to take into consideration on your quest to find the perfect wedding dress.

Make Comfort a Priority

As a bride, you can plan on spending 12 hours or more in your wedding dress. When shopping for a gown, many brides-to-be prioritize style over comfort. Keep in mind that a dress can be both stunning and comfortable. During dress fittings, move around in the dresses you try on. Walk, sit, twirl and bend, just like you would on the dance floor, to get a feel for how comfortable you’ll be in your dress all night.

Opt for Options

Many women visit bridal shops with specific dress styles in mind. When browsing the racks of gowns, keep an open mind, grab a few styles that didn’t make your wish list and explore different materials and cuts. You may end up falling in love with a dress you never would have chosen initially.

“We’re loving the long sleeve trend that’s coming back after all these years. It’s really a classic, sophisticated look, but the right dress can also look sexy, too–bride sexy,” Margaret Feil, owner of Renee Austin Wedding in Grand Rapids emphasized.

Consider trying non-traditional trends like a two-piece dress or a pale-colored gown–who said wedding dresses have to be white?

“Blush and champagne are the new ivory, and ivory is the new white,” Feil said. “We don’t even have a white dress in store!”

Dress courtesy of Morilee by Madeline Gardner Julietta Collection.


What’s underneath your gown is just as important as the dress itself. Ill-fitting bras, shape wear and other undergarments can lead to discomfort and may alter the look of your dress. Deb Bates, owner and professional undergarment fitter at Meme’s Foundations in Grand Rapids, recommends bringing your wedding gown along when you go to get fitted for undergarments.

“I always ask clients, ‘where’s the dress?’ when they walk in to get fitted,” Bates said. “Don’t get your dress altered before your get undergarments because they change the shape of what the dress will look like and you may have to get it altered again,” Bates added.

Body Type

Everyone’s body is unique and beautiful. Don’t limit yourself to certain styles–try them all! Recognize the parts of your figure you’d like to highlight and go from there, choosing dresses that play up your best features. If you have shapely legs, look for a dynamic dress with a slit to show them off, choose a strapless dress to draw attention to your shoulders or go for a structured gown to enhance your hourglass shape.

Focus on Fit, Not Size

Remember, bridal gown sizes do not coincide with street sizes. Depending on the manufacturer, you may have to select a gown that runs a few sizes larger than the size you normally wear. Trying to squeeze into a dress that feels too small will only lead to discomfort on your big day. Instead, rely on your measurements and make sure the dress feels comfortable and right for your body, regardless of the number on the tag.


Sometimes, your ideal gown has to be created. Many can be modified to ensure that you feel secure and confident marching down the aisle. Areas of the dress can be taken in or let out and sleeves or fabric can be added for more coverage. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.

Something Borrowed

Not all beautiful wedding gowns are new. Try shopping at a bridal consignment shop to browse gorgeous, refurbished dresses. Many consignment shops re-create gowns that fit with the biggest trends of the moment, offering plenty of out-of-the-box options while staying in your price range.

Stephanie Howard, owner of Second Dance, pointed out that customers can save up to 25 percent on new dresses at a consignment shop and 35 percent on used or refurbished dresses.

“At Second Dance you can try on your dress in the store and leave with it,” Howard said. “Some of the dresses are already bustled and hemmed, so you might find one that already fits you.”

Shopping for a wedding dress is meant to be an exciting outing. Going in with an open mind, a realistic price range and a positive outlook will create the special experience you deserve.

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