Don’t Forget to Practice the Dress!

July 1, 2022


I’ve seen it happen so many times.

A bride missing her entire cocktail hour because no one knows how to bustle the dress and the complicated button-and-thread system is taking forever to sort out.

A timeline gone wrong because the amount of time it would take to button 150 clasps was grossly underestimated.

A bridal suite with palpable stress because the corset is too tight or the buttons are too small and no one has a crochet hook.

It happened at my own wedding – a last minute scramble to bustle what I now know is a very complicated system and absolutely no one knew how to do it. I cringe when I look at my first dance photos because the back of the dress was supposed to lay in gentle ruffles and instead it was squared off and boxy, fabric sticking out in odd directions because we ran out of time and couldn’t work on it any longer. Or that I asked the seamstress for cap sleeves and then quickly realized I couldn’t lift my arms above my head the entire day.

This doesn’t have to happen! So many brides wear their gown at the bridal shop and don’t touch it again until the wedding day. I was the same way – I didn’t want to get tired of it or second guess my choice, I didn’t want to risk anyone seeing it, and I definitely didn’t want it to get dirty or creased. We assumed we would figure out the bustle on the day-of and it wouldn’t take long. Spoiler alert – it was a source of stress all day long.

Some gowns are so simple, a bride can dress herself. Most are not. Add in a corset, a million back buttons, and layers of petticoats…you’re now looking at a 4-woman job to get in the gown. It takes time! I always try to include about 20 minutes or so for the bride to get dressed in the timeline, but that time can quickly evaporate when no one is sure how the criss-cross back works or the bustling system is confusing.

Have your Mama or your Maid of Honor go through the entire system with you once or twice before the wedding day. Wear it with shoes, check the hem length, make sure it’s fitted but you can still sit down. See if your undergarments are going to show or if you need to try a different style. Don’t assume you’ll figure it out on the wedding day! Our timeline can be buffered in other places throughout the day but it’s a huge bummer to start the day off with stress and confusion over the gown – this is your permission slip to try the dress on again!

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After 12 years and over 200 weddings, I've created a wedding experience that is completely unfussy and truly irresistible.

Exceptional, gorgeous photography doesn’t have to be so serious; it can be playful and celebratory. Wanna know what lights me up? Unscripted, in-between moments on fast-paced wedding days and salty cocktail hour snacks. It’s been a thrill to see my work featured in magazines and online, but I’m proudest of all the brides who turned into friends.

Based in Gettysburg, PA, Travels to Maryland & East Coast | © Brittany Thomas Photography 2024 | Refined and romantic wedding and elopement photography | FREDERICK, MD | HARRISBURG, PA | MARYLAND'S EASTERN SHORE | LANCASTER, PA | BALTIMORE, MD