MaeMe Bridal Podcast: Beyond the Basics of Wedding Dresses| Part 1
Let’s dive a little deeper into wedding dress knowledge so you are fully equipped and instead of feeling nervous to shop, you will be prepared and excited to experience your bridal moment!
Hey there, and welcome back to the MaeMe Bridal podcast. I’m your host Melissa Estess, and I’m thrilled that you’ve tuned in because today we are diving deeper into the process of wedding dress shopping! We polled brides who have purchased wedding dresses from MaeMe and we found out that a huge majority of brides were scared to shop for their wedding dress; but after meeting our staff and gaining some knowledge about wedding dresses their attitude totally shifted! SO, I figured, why not empower and educate brides before they come into the boutique, so more brides can feel comfortable, confident, and excited about their special moment and saying YES to their wedding dress! Today, my goal is to answer some of your specific questions about wedding dresses and what you need to know to successfully say YES to your dream dress!
Today, I will dive deeper into:
- Wedding gown construction
- Wedding gown measurements
- Wedding gown customization
What inspired this episode
So, we have a private Facebook group for all of our MaeMe brides, and I asked them last week, how did you feel prior to shopping for your wedding dress? I included 3 different images they could select from: Excited, Nervous or Frightened. 67% of the brides admitted that they at least felt nervous, and some frightened… less than 30% of brides responded that they were excited to shop without feeling overly nervous or scared. You guys, those are alarming numbers! If we see 2000 brides a year who are shopping for their wedding dress, that means that 1400 of them are nervous or scared to shop! In following up with our brides based on their responses, almost 100% of them said that they felt so much better after visiting us and talking with our team and how amazing they felt once they realized they weren’t alone, that their fears were very similar to many other brides, and after educating them a bit on gown construction, alterations, sizing, customizations, etc… so my goal is to equip you with all of this knowledge before you shop, so that number…1400 brides a year who are scared or worse of wedding dress shopping is substantially minimized!
Construction of Wedding Dresses
Wedding gowns are not made like everyday clothing. The bodices of wedding gowns, the top portion from shoulders to waist, are designed to offer support and curve the body in all the right areas. Of course, every designer is a little different, and depending on the the style of gown you are looking at, the patterning and structure of every gown will differ. Most of our wedding gowns average 20 or more corset stays, also known as boning. This means, in your single gown, you have 20 points of structure to hold and support your frame within the bodice. Our plus size wedding gowns often include additional corset stays to ensure the highest level of support and structure, so that our brides can feel confident and enjoy their wedding day all the way through, without the worry of the gown losing it’s shape or loosening over time.
We only carry designer lines that specialize in high quality, well-constructed garments using quality fabric and details. I’ll get to this in part 2 of this series, but the quality of your dress is the bulk of your investment! In addition to the number of corset stays in the bodice of your gown, our average wedding gown includes 3-5 layers of fabric.
The details of the gown’s construction are also extremely important. All pearls, bugle beads, clear stones, sequins, and lace are NOT equivalent. Some less expensive lines glue their beads to the gowns instead of hand knotting each bead, or they string all the beads together to save time and labor, and so if you get one snag on your gown, a huge chunk of the beads of your gown could fall off. Similarly, I’ve seen poor quality wedding dresses (not sold at MaeMe) have lace that is poorly attached, or does not have finished seams, so essentially, to save time, the seams of the gown are left unfinished, and then they just sort of slap a piece of lace over the seam to cover it up. Not only is this not the correct way to construct a wedding gown, but you end up with a lumpy product because of the messy seam work and poor quality finishes.
Moral of the story here is to shop at a reputable, local, boutique who has parterships and great working relationships with reputable designers who stand behind the quality of their garments and can walk you through all the elements of the wedding gown you are looking at purchasing for your wedding day. I cannot stress this enough, but a wedding gown is NOT something you want to order on amazon… you are probably laughing, but we’ve had brides try it.
Measurements and Sizing of Wedding Dresses
Designers use size charts to grade or proportion their wedding dresses. Bridal size charts do not run like regular clothing, as they are based on a European size chart. Do not be alarmed, as the sizes run about 2 sizes smaller than the size you normally wear. I know, that’s not fun, but it’s just a number.
Most women, including myself, are combination size. That means, that I do not fall in the same size for my bust, waist, and hips. The industry recommendation is that you order your wedding gown based on the fullest size, and then have the other areas taken in in alterations to achieve the ideal fit.
For our fuller-busted brides, cup size and appropriate bust support is often a concern. When we work with a bride who is fuller in the bust, we always take her frame into account when selecting wedding dress styles. Some styles do not accommodate for inserting a fuller cup into the bodice construction.
Customizing Wedding Dresses
Customizations is a very broad topic that I will devote an entire podcast episode to, one, because I LOVE wedding gown design, but two, because there is WAY too much for me to cover in just a few minutes. We work with several designers that allow us to make custom changes to the gown from the pattern making stage, which allows you to have a one of a kind, totally unique, designed for you, satisfying your every desire, dress for your wedding day. Of course, there is a cost associated to such elite desires; however, I just wanted to mention that we work with designers that can accommodate almost anything your heart desires! We’ve had several brides lately who have made the comment, “I’m so glad I came here. I had no idea you had such beautiful dresses, and could order me exactly what I wanted. I thought for sure, I’d have to fly to New York or LA to find something this perfect.” Of course, sketching dresses is one of my absolute favorite things to do, so if this is something you are interested in, please let us know, and we can share more about the custom design process with you!
I hope you found this information helpful and more prepared and empowered about shopping for your wedding dress! If you’d like to schedule an appointment, click here! Of course, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].