Now that the holidays have come and gone I have been seeing  A LOT of happily engaged couples posting on social media about their recent holiday engagements.  Holiday chaos is settling down so couples now have the opportunity to start planning their upcoming weddings.   As a wedding photographer, one of my favorite things is hearing how my clients got engaged and hearing more about their individual love story.  It helps me get to know each couple better and makes telling their story through imagery so much more intimate and rich.    There are soooo many things to think about when planning a wedding – even if it is a simple, intimate wedding. One of those things is going to be: the dress (or pantsuit).

Recently, I had the opportunity to collaborate with some amazing people in Bend for a bridal shoot.  My model Allie is a natural beauty and we had so much fun during this session.  Allie is dressed in this boho chic Morilee gown by Madeline Gardner.  For all of you local brides shopping for your dream dress, this exact dress is available at Bella Brides Bridal in downtown Bend.  The ladies Sarah and Jesseca, at Bella Brides are so warm and amazing to work with.  They have a great selection of modern, traditional and slightly edgy beauties (like this one) to choose from.  I absolutely love the beaded detail and metallic embroidery on this dress.   Also, THAT plunging neckline!!!!   Dang!

Finding the perfect wedding dress is super important.  I know from experience it may not be an easy task.  Since it is something you will be in for the greater part of the day, you want to feel dang good and LOOK dang good for the photographs.  I may be biased, but if you are going to spend thousands of dollars on a dress you wear one day, you should be considering finding that perfect photographer to document the day because the photographs of you in your dress are going to be what remains after the blur of such a love-filled event.  If you didn’t skimp on your dress, don’t skimp on your photographer.   Photographs are heirlooms.  Photographs are memories.  They hang in your house, they will be shared with your children (maybe displayed at your funeral) and cherished for a lifetime, not to mention they are going to be the memory of how fabulous and radiant you looked on your wedding day.

A few tips when choosing your wedding dress:

  1. Find a dress that compliments your silhouette and body type.  The little details and style can make a huge difference in looking good to great.  If you don’t know your body type. Google is helpful if you don’t know what this is.  But working with a skilled stylist at a bridal shop will also be SO helpful!
  2. Comfort.  If you are having a laid-back, outdoor, beach wedding you probably don’t want a heavy, “fairytale” ballgown.   If you are going for a romantic, candle-lit affair, but your problem area is your stomach and hips (you may be an apple or pear shape) you might not want to select a trumpet style dress.   Is your dream wedding on a cliffside overlooking the ocean in Iceland?  It probably will be windy; you might want to consider a tulle dress that has great movement paired with comfortable footwear for chasing those waterfalls.  Are you looking forward to getting down during the reception?  Make sure the dress you pick is comfortable enough to bust out those dance moves during your reception.
  3.  Don’t forget the neck line.  It is the first thing people notice.  If you are going strapless, make sure it is a perfect fit around the bust.  You don’t want to be yanking up your dress during portraits.  Those gaps on a loose fitting dress will be noticeable in photos.  Spend the extra cash and get it altered.  Have your gal pal or mom snap a picture of you in the dress (if the bridal shop allows that).
  4.  Make sure you have the proper undergarments for your dress.  You don’t want to see lines or lumps and you want them to work for you if you know what I mean.   Don’t wear a saggy bra you have had for 10 years.  That being said,  remember your posture.  I like to remember a little saying, “T.O.”  excuse my language … T.O. = “tits out”.  Take a deep breath and pull those shoulders back.
  5. Don’t have unrealistic standards.  Try not to get overwhelmed and don’t feel like you need to make a production of finding the perfect dress.  While it is great (and helpful) to have a second opinion or take someone with you dress shopping don’t feel like the experience has to be like the movies.  When was planning my wedding we lived in a very rural town. . .  Not a single dress shop.  My mom and best gal pals were states away.  I ended up finding my dress online and ordered quite a few to try on at home while my fiancé was at work, desperately trying to keep the dog hair off of them.
  6.  Accessorize.  These details are great to photograph and can make your whole look come together.  Eloping in New Zealand?  You might want to find the perfect wool shawl to wrap around your strapless dress as you sip cocktails as the sunsets across Lake Wanaka.  Maybe your mom has a southwestern style turquoise squash blossom that would go perfectly with your boho dress and your desert wedding.  And don’t forget those shoes.  Comfort is key.  If you found your dream Manolo Blahniks but can’t spend the day in them, bring some flats you can slip on while you and your photographer chase that last light of the day.  Trust me.  It will be worth it.

 

Model: Allie

Dress:  Bella Brides // Morilee by Madeline Gardner

Space: White Aspen Creative 

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