Confessions Of a Wedding Planner – The Wedding Dress

How does it feel to be responsible for the most important day of a woman’s life? Tamyn Kirby was one of the UK’s leading wedding planners, and as such, has seen it all. Here she gives Confetti a glimpse at some of the most heart-warming stories along with some invaluable hints and tips for brides to be.

Bridal dresses


One of the big expenses for a bride is her dress – they can often cost an extortionate amount…

I, personally, can’t think of any occasion where I’d willingly spend £2,000 on a dress – especially one that only gets worn for eight hours. Yet time and time again I’ve seen brides telling themselves their dress is ‘a steal’, because it only cost £2,500 when they set their dress budget at £3,000.

If you look around, there are great dress agencies out there where you can pick up a really good bargain. These dresses might be second-hand, but having been lovingly cleaned, updated or repaired, you’d never know. Putting them on, you’d assume they were brand-new.

I know one bride who picked up the most beautiful dress from Oxfam. She had it altered and added sequins and stones, and it saved her an absolute fortune. If you really have your heart set on something completely new, a lot of bridal shops sell off dresses for a reduced price at the end of the season, so that’s really worth considering. I do think, though, you should be careful of eBay, as the chances are your dress is being shipped from somewhere in the Far East, and if there is a problem with it, it could be a struggle to send it back. Even if a dress is delivered in perfect condition, you have to take care to keep it that way.

I always find it amazing that some brides don’t take better care of their dresses. I’ve arrived on wedding mornings to find dresses in a very sorry state, after having been rolled up and shoved in a suitcase. Another thing is that, even if you do look after your dress, it is hardly the most practical of outfits, many brides make the mistake of thinking they can keep their beloved frock perfect and flawless until the end of the day.

Unfortunately, the reality is that your big white dress is likely to attract dirt, gunk, wine and food with almost magnetic force. One of my brides even had her wedding train reversed over by her wedding car. Just before her church entrance, there she was with a dirty black tyre mark across the back of her dress. I’d expected an instant hissy fit, a torrent of abuse and tears, and possible GBH committed on the unwitting driver who did the deed.

But as I tried to appease her, assuring her that we could chalk over the mark or edit it out of the photos with computer wizardry, the bride put a hand on my arm. ‘Tamryn, is he here?’ she asked, nodding towards the church. ‘Yes,’ I replied. ‘Well,’ she smiled, ‘that’s the only thing that matters.’ And away she went to marry her man.

If you do decide you want to avoid frock horrors, then there is always the choice not to go for a traditional white meringue. A couple of brides I know opted for scarlet and burgundy dresses to mark their winter weddings.

Another bride, who had beautiful curly hair, looked stunning in a white trouser suit that she’d accessorized with lovely shoes and a big necklace. As her new husband said in his speech, ‘I never expected Tash to wear anything other than this, and she looks beautiful.’ Lovely.

And one newlywed changed into a little fifties-style knee-length dress – with a tight bust and layered skirt with netting – after the meal.

It meant she could dance to her heart’s content without having to worry about a heavy skirt and train restricting her – plus she had a back-up dress, something another bride, Eva, would have given her right arm for …

In Eva’s own personal frocky horror story, I could only watch in alarm from a distance as she leaned forward to hug her friend and somehow managed to smear tomato soup down her bodice. She looked like she’d been stabbed, and there was no hope of doing anything to reduce the bright-red stain.

Whereas some brides would have been reduced to tears, Eva actually took it very good-naturedly. Sighing at the state of her dress, she simply shrugged and said, ‘Well, thank God the photos are over.’ I loved her for her reaction, and as we stood in the toilets trying to clean things up a little, I was amazed to see her laughing at her own misfortune. She was a very levelheaded, lovely bride.

Tamryn’s top wedding dress tips

• Have a final fitting at least a month in advance to iron out any issues and, during it, make sure you practise all the moves you will make on the day. Stand, walk, sit, kneel and throw an imaginary bouquet.

• Everyone wants to look beautiful, but it’s worth being a little bit practical as well. I had to feel for the bride who decided on a medieval-style dress with huge draping sleeves. They dragged along the floor all day and got coated in food. Not a good look.

• If you’re having a church wedding, remember to be reserved. Don’t end up like the bride who chose a sleek halterneck dress scooped down to the small of her back and was asked by the vicar to cover up during the service. If you want to go sexy, then opt for a pretty wrap or faux fur stole to cover up with during the church service.That way, when you take it off at the reception, you’ll have a bigger impact.

• A duvet cover is the best thing to keep your dress in – it’s big enough to avoid the dress becoming creased at the bottom, and cotton is breathable so your dress will stay super-fresh, without any lingering odour of plastic.

• If you’ve got an impressive train on your dress, don’t forget to speak to your dress supplier to make sure you’ve got a ‘loop’ sewn in – this means you can tie your train up in the evening so that you can hit the dancefloor with no worries about tripping or slipping.

• Lacing on the back of a dress can take a while to do, and it can take a bit of practice to get right. It’s worth having a trial run with whoever is going to be strapping you in on the day.

Confessions of a Wedding Planner is published by Headline and is available to buy at any good bookshop or at Amazon.

Find more great information on our Wedding Planning pages!

Find Wedding Ideas, Inspiration, Venues and Services

mail icon

Subscribe to our Network

Stay connected with our network and get all the best Wedding Planning, Inspiration and Competitions directly into your inbox.