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What to Do If You Hate Your Wedding Dress

Bride ascending steps into ceremony Photo Credit:

Taking a poll. By a show of hands, do you believe you did or will be getting married in the dress of your dreams? I’d really like to know!! Because while I definitely sought out to find a dress that I was absolutely in love with, I didn’t get married in it. I’m finally over that fact, and have come to terms with my dress regrets, but I hardly feel like I’m the only one who’s ever gotten married and not been 100p onboard with my outfit. My sister, on the other hand, had those magical ‘it’s THE ONE’ feels after she found her dress last year, and two fittings in, she’s just as 😍😍😍 over it - falls harder each time she sees it, actually!

Whether you were all-in on your ensem from day one, grew to love the gown after your favorite girls gushed about it, hated it after you bought it, or didn’t care enough about the dress to dwell on it day in and day out, it’s important to remember that every bride’s experience is different. Everyone has their own priorities and biggest deals, for some it’s the dress, for others it’s the venue or the food, entertainment or flowers. Even if you got married in a gown that was leagues away from ‘the love of your life’ (wedding wear wise), but had no problem with it at the end of the day, you did it right!

Even with all the things you should know before buying your dress, you can still end up with something you either end up hating altogether or just learned to be content with. Just know that the wedding gown will certainly be something that guests notice, but it probably isn’t something that they’ll care all that much about once you’ve made it to the altar. So, no need to stress about it.



We traded stories here in the office and also caught up with current brides-to-be to see what they thought about their gowns and whether they were ‘THE ONE,’ and here’s what everyone had to say:

Bride looking down at her bouquet with veil on Photo Credit:

“YES, I always knew it was the one. I was obsessed with my dress. It was everything I was looking for, and I randomly came across it in Lovely Bride. I got misty-eyed when I walked out of the dressing room, and that’s how I knew it was it!” ~ Erica

“Mine was made for me by my Aunt. I didn’t love it, but didn’t have the money to buy a new one. Plus, she made it herself so there wasn’t much I could do except wear it.” ~ Jocey

“HELL YES, it was the one. I knew what I wanted and the vibe I was going for, so I ordered a dress from Saldana Vintage. I sent in my measurements, and not long after it came in the mail. The dress fit like a glove and needed zero alterations. It might have been a little crazy of me to put all my eggs in one basket - deciding on one dress, without going to any bridal salons or trying anything else on, but it worked for me. During our first look, my husband told me it was the most beautiful dress he’d ever seen.”

~ Davina 

“Yes, I knew my gown was ‘the one,’ but it took a while to get there, because I had previously been obsessed with another one I saw in a magazine. I stepped into my gown and had a feeling it was right for me, but in the back of my mind, I was still convinced the other one was it. I went back and forth a lot, but ultimately decided on the one I’ll be getting married in. I definitely had the feels, I just wasted a lot of time overthinking it.” ~ Avery

“Mine was going to be custom-made by a seamstress. I gave her a deposit and she skipped town, so I had one made in two weeks. It was meh.” ~ Amy

“When I saw my gown hung up, it caught my eye, but it wasn’t what I thought I would get. The minute I put it on, though, I knew it was the one. I came out and my mom said the look on my face told her it was my dress. I didn’t even ask who the designer was, it didn’t matter, all I knew is that this was meant for me… Plus it was low-cut and I thought to myself, my guy is going to like this. So, bonus.” ~ Kara

And if it’s not ‘THE ONE,’ relax. 

We’ve put together some tips to help you deal. Starting with…

Bride standing with dress fanned out and curls in her hair Photo Credit:

Dress stress can’t dull your best day ever.

Look, as much as we allude to this ‘dream dress’ and becoming the best wedding gown shoppers ever, the only ‘ONE’ that’s most important is the one who you’re marrying. Not saying that wearing something you’re less-than-thrilled-about is fun, but at the end of the day, it’s a dress. It’ll probably get cleaned after your wedding (possibly even unintentionally stained or stepped on) and then zipped away and hung up in your closet for the foreseeable future. So, try to push any weird feelings you have about what you’re wearing out of mind for the marathon day, and just enjoy your new love. If it helps, and you really just hate the dress, let your lover rip it right off ya right before your wedding night sex.

You could try one of these, though, if you’re really struggling.

Reach out to your bridal boutique ASAP to ask about return policies.

Most bridal salons have strict ‘bride or die’ policies about their dresses, meaning that once you buy it, you’re kind of locked in for the long haul. That being said, it definitely doesn’t hurt to ask anyway - especially if you’ve caught the “f*** me, I made a mistake” feels really soon after your purchase. You never know, the shop owners/salespeople could empathize with you (maybe one of them even went through something similar herself a few years back) and try to offer some consolation. Maybe no returns, but a sweet exchange deal? 

Bride standing in lace dress with hands on her hips and sash Photo Credit:

Consider alterations or add-ons that might help you feel better about it.

Would a bit more bling help you out - if you felt like it was lacking in the glam department? Maybe an embellished belt would do something for you or perhaps even some killer statement jewelry or a statement veil could add more pop or color to your overall look. If it’s an easy change, like modifying a neckline or adding sleeves or a waist-cinching sash, your bridal salon might jump at the opportunity to help, especially if they can get you to look at some more merch…. Just sayin!

Remember what it is you loved about your dress, and try to refresh that feeling.

One of the biggest things that drew me to the dress I ultimately decided on was that it was fit and flare. I had never considered that silhouette, since I had always ‘dreamed about’ wearing a ball gown. I tried it on, just for shits and gigs, and I loved the way it looked. I think I shocked myself so much that I was like ummm maybe I do need this dress, people will be hella surprised. When I went for my first dress fitting - 10 months after we bought it - I was extremely underwhelmed by the experience. Maybe because the woman who helped me get into the dress the first time (the shop owner) wasn’t there to fit me in it again, and instead I was assisted by an unenthused seamstress who had NO idea how to corset my back. Once the shop owner was back the next day, I rescheduled, and went in for round 2. She got me in the gown and it fit much better. Still wasn’t in love with it like I was on day 1, but I got some pep back in my step. If you need to call for reinforcements and rally the troops to recreate that magic, then you do it! 

Bride and groom barefoot on the beach Photo Credit:

See if a second/change-out look fits in your budget.

Whether you spent thousands or hundreds of dollars on your dream dress, you still allocated a large chunk of cash to pay for it, so if you can handle being disappointed just for a little bit, to wear it to your ceremony and save a new, best-be-in-the-budget dress for your reception - you might be able to cope with the situation. If not, consider alternative second looks… like a behind-the-scenes mid-wedding snip that you’ll be so in love with (and forget alllll about the dress).

Bride in dress looking nervous shot in black & white Photo Credit:

Go off the rack or rent.

Again, we’re not saying you have to empty your bank account to do ‘damage control’ for a failed dress attempt, but if you can afford it, there are plenty of awesome off-the-rack or buy-online options that you can shop in a minute. Rent the Runway also has a stunning fall rent-now wedding range. Their M.O. is why buy a dress you’ll only wear once? Sooo, they obvi understand how to look past the pressure of ‘finding the one.’Bridesmaid Brands Doing Big Things With the Color Blue RN

All things considered, if you can embrace an ‘anti-bride’ POV, just to keep yourself from going crazy, then by all means, do i!

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