Getting dressed on the big day

At last – it’s time to put it all on…

Wearing your wedding dress

Be careful getting into your transport to the reception – you don’t want to pick up a smear of engine oil on the way. Make sure your dress is arranged to minimise creases. If you are wearing a veil over your face, you may want to wear it up until you get to the ceremony, so you can see what is happening.


If you are wearing a dress with a voluminous skirts, you’ll need to practice walking elegantly in it – the key is to keep the skirt moving forward just ahead of you by giving it a tiny kick before you take a step. You will probably wear your dress in its full glory only for the ceremony itself. After this, many fancier dresses have detachable parts or trains that can be bustled, which will aid movement during the day.

Don’t try to deal with your dress on your own. Ask for your bridesmaids’ help to make sure your skirt is lying properly during photos, and don’t attempt to go to the loo on your own. For brides in large skirts this is a two‐person job, and those in ball gowns may have to take their dresses off altogether.

Emergency kit

You should give a “wedding handbag” to your chief bridesmaid to carry for emergencies. The following contents are recommended to keep your outfit in tip‐top condition during the day:

  • Spare stockings or tights : If you’re one of those people who only has to look at a pair of stockings to ladder them, it’s worth carrying spares just in case the worst happens.
  • Anti‐perspirant deodorant: If you’re prone to stress sweats, this is a must. If your sleeves are tight‐fitting, you might want to get your dressmaker to sew in some perspiration pads, so as to avoid those unsightly underarm damp patches.
  • Aching feet: After posing for too many photos, pep up tired and swelling feet with a cooling foot spray. These tend to come in fairly large bottles, but you can decant a small amount into a handbag‐size vaporiser.
  • Safety pins: In case the worst happens and a zip goes.
  • Baby wipes: These will remove most small stains and unsightly smudges that might occur during the day.

Taking it off

On the happy couple’s first night together, few brides can manage the transition from wedding dress to seductive lingerie alone. Usually you will need your new husband’s help to undo all those buttons, laces, hooks and eyes. As most new husbands are – rightly – inexpert at this (and possibly a little tired too!), allow some time and patience for this.

Allow the dress to drop to the floor and then take his hand to step over the skirts. Many brides like to lay their dress on a clean sheet under the bed for the night. It doesn’t matter too much what you do with it, as it is only one night, but don’t wrap it in plastic and don’t fold it into sharp creases. It’s not a disaster if you simply leave it on the floor for that night…

If you’re not used to wearing a large, expensive white dress all day (who is?) you might be a bit concerned as to how you’ll get through the day without treading on it, spilling something on it or even how you’ll manage to get to the loo!

Don’t worry – we’ll take you through everything you need to consider about wearing your dress on the day itself. Follow these guidelines and you’ll find wearing even the bouffiest meringue a cinch.

Getting dressed

The general order of getting dressed on the day is as follows:

  1. Underwear
  2. Hair
  3. Make‐up

Then 20 minutes before you are due to leave, it’s time for:

  1. Dress
  2. Shoes
  3. Veil
  4. Gloves

A helping hand

Most dresses require the help of at least one other person to get into (and out of) them. Ask your assistant (most probably your chief bridesmaid or your mother) to hold the dress for you to step into, and pull it up over your body. If the dress really needs to go over your head, make sure you cover your face with a (preferably silk) scarf to prevent you from smudging your make‐up – or worse, getting lippy on the dress.

Your lovely assistant will then need to assist you with doing up zips, laces, hooks and eyes and buttons, depending on your dress’s fastenings. If your dress has many hooks or buttons, it’s not a bad idea to count them in advance, so your assistant can check them off as she goes. This means you won’t discover later on that they haven’t all been done up properly.

Best foot forward

Then you can be helped into your shoes. Don’t try to bend over to do them up, and if you must sit down, don’t do so on the back of your gown – remember, this is what everyone sees in the church! Sit on a backless stool or drape the back of your skirt over the back of the chair.

Get your assistant to give you a last look over before you leave for the ceremony. If possible, take a look at yourself in a full‐length mirror, but avoid walking around the house too much in a full skirt – you don’t want to sweep it through a puddle of water on the bathroom floor or the dog’s bowl in the kitchen.

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