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What To Do If You Hate Your Wedding Dress

7th November 2015 |By | 5 Comments

At one point or another, many brides have a momentary wobble about their wedding dress – should I have gotten the other one? Should I have tried on more dresses? Did I get the right size? After hours of trying dozens of styles on and forking out a hefty bill on your ‘dream dress’, it is only natural to feel anxious that you made the right decision.


Usually these feelings pass and you realise you were worrying for nothing, but for some brides that gut wrenching feeling just won’t go away. Maybe you felt pressured into buying the dress, perhaps you bought it a long time ago and your tastes have changed or maybe if doesn’t fit like it use to. Whatever your reason for hating your dress is it can be incredibly stressful and worrying knowing how to deal with the situation. So let’s take a look at what to do if you hate your wedding dress and hopefully we can over come this problem together!

The first thing to decide is, do you need a completely new dress or can you work with the dress you have?

I Want a New Dress

Do you have enough time to start from scratch to find a new dress? If you want a brand new gown from a bridal boutique you will want to allow approximately 6 months for the dress to arrive in store and to have alterations (assuming you need them).

If you don’t have this much time most bridal shops have ex sample dresses which they can sell off the peg and the high street is now offering a better range than ever of wedding dresses.’s wedding forum and public selling websites allow brides to selling their pre-loved wedding dresses and offer a quick and affordable way of finding a wedding dress when you don’t have much time.

Pre-loved Wedding Dresses |

Image courtesy pre-loved/ex sample boutique Swoon Bridal

Talk to the Shop About a Refund or Exchange

Find out where you stand with regards to getting a refund or exchange from the place you purchased your dress.

If you bought it from a high street store it is likely that you will be able to get a full refund if you still have your receipt and you are still within the stated time period. If you don’t have your receipt or have passed the cut off time for a refund you may still be able to get an exchange as long as the dress is unworn and still has its labels.

Bridal boutiques tend to have stricter refund and exchange polices. Most wedding dress shops don’t offer refunds and only provide exchanges in certain circumstances. However, it’s always worth talking to them and explaining your situation as they may be able to offer either one as an exception.

For information regarding refund and exchange laws contact Which? consumer rights.

What To Do If You Hate Your Dress |

Selling Your Dress

If you aren’t able to get a refund or exchange it’s time to get online and utilise those selling skills! Upload lots of good quality pictures and include details such as the designer, size, colour and price. Another way to sell your dress is through wedding dress shops that sell second hand and ex sample gowns, but bear in mind that it’s unlikely you’ll get back the full price that you paid as the shop will take a cut of the sale price.

I Want to Work With What I Have


Sometimes all a dress needs to make it look fab is the right accessories!

If you feel that your dress is too plain or lacks the wow factor things like statement jewellery, an embellished veil or a jazzy belt can make all the difference. Not only will a belt or sash add a personalised touch to your dress, it’ll nip in your waist, accentuating your beautiful figure!

David's Bridal Woman Collection |

Image courtesy of David’s Bridal

Wearing the correct underwear is vital! If the dress is clingy and figure hugging make sure you’re wearing seamless knickers or support pants to give you a streamline silhouette! A corseted dress with boning and support in the bodice usually looks and sits better when you don’t wear a bra! However, if you feel like you need that extra support, invest in a bra that not only fits perfectly but works with the style of your dress. Considering how plunging the neck and back is and whether you need one with multi way straps. Your bra size will vary from shop to shop so make sure you get professionally measured in store.

Bridal Underwear |

Image courtesy of David’s Bridal

Sometimes A-line and fish tail gowns require a hoop to help keep the fullness and shape of the skirt. They can completely transform the look of a dress so if you haven’t already tried one, give it a go!

Another accessory that can transform the look of a dress is an illusion jacket which is worn in a way that it looks like it is part of the dress.

Pronovias Illusion Jacket

Image courtesy of Pronovias

Visit a Seamstress

Even the most stunning dresses can look awful if they are not fitted properly to the person who is wearing it. We recommending visiting a seamstress who specialises in bridal gown alterations as altering a wedding dress is not as straight forward as your everyday clothes! When you visit her, take along the underwear you’ll be wearing, the shoes and hoop as these all alter how the dress will look on you. Explain what you dislike about the dress and work out with the seamstress what can be done. From applying or removing bead work to adding straps, and changing the fastening from a zip to a lace up back, these are just a few of the things that a professional and experienced seamstress can do to transform your dress!

Don’t Let it Ruin Your Day

We’re going to let you into on a little secret. As much as everyone talks about how important it is to have ‘the dress of your dreams’ and you’ll know when it’s ‘the one’, plenty brides never feel like this about their dress and it really doesn’t matter! At the end of day the most important thing is that you are marrying the person you love more than anything in the world and we can assure you that your other half along with all your friends and family who love you are going to think you look perfect!

Written by

Lucy has a degree in fashion design and 12 years experience in the fashion industry, including 3 and a half years as the manager of a bridal boutique. She loves to hear every little detail about a bride's wedding plans and it is no surprise that the first thing she wants to know is what they're wearing!

5 Replies to “What To Do If You Hate Your Wedding Dress”

  1. yuyuliu

    Wow, so many perfect bridal dresses, in 2016, i think such lace wedding dresses will be in vogue again.

    Reply· Dec 3, 2015 6:11am
  2. Lorraine Morrill

    Where do I stand if my dress as not arrived in the shop 3 weeks before the wedding and needs alterations can I get a full refund

    Reply· Jan 23, 2018 2:43pm
    1. Kate Thompson

      Hi Lorraine, I’m so sorry to hear this has happened. The same thing happened to me when I married actually and I ended up demanding a full refund and buying an off-the-peg dress the same day. If you have paid just a deposit then you can ask for your deposit back, cancel the order and simply walk away. You may not be given your deposit back, however, depending on the small print of anything you may have signed with the dress shop at the time of ordering. I was told I couldn’t have my deposit back initially but they did eventually give me my money back in the end. I would ask them to you give you the date – in writing – when the dress will be ready, and dates when it can be altered in good time before your wedding. If your gut instinct says that it won’t be ready in time and you need more peace of mind, then before asking for a refund, make sure there is another dress you can buy and have altered in time. These days there are some gorgeous gowns on the high street so it is still possible you could find a dress you love and not have to worry about not having a dress at all time for your big day. I hope you get the dress you want. Much love to you and congratulations on your forthcoming wedding.

      Jan 24, 2018 10:24am
  3. Kerry scott

    I’ve been and tried dresses on thought I found the 1, paid half but not had measurements taken as yet so it hasn’t been ordered as I was going to go back in a couple of months as they said before October. I’m now doubting if it’s the right dress would I get a refund as it hasn’t been ordered?

    Reply· Apr 11, 2018 9:11pm
  4. Etta Pilcher

    O, God – I haven’t even started trying dresses, I am not in the best shape I need to be and also I am super afraid that I will keep on looking do wedding dresses even after I find “the one”…

    Reply· Jul 20, 2018 12:59pm

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