Learning to Love My Wedding Dress

by Aleisha

Bridechilla Chloe reached out to us to share her story. She was disappointed with the wedding dress that she chose, but the process was too far along to change her mind. So after a private cry, she started brainstorming ways to personalize her wedding day look and regain the love for her wedding dress.

Proposal? Perfect.

Ring? Heaven.

Fiancée? My soul mate.

Wedding planning? No, thanks.

My fiancée and I got engaged in March 2016. At that point, we had been together six years already, and I knew very early on that I wanted to marry him. What I didn’t know was that I did not want to plan a wedding.

It began with the obligatory post-proposal comments five minutes after we had shared our exciting news. Had we set a date? Was I going to be a vintage/modern/rustic/<insert adjective here> bride? What colour scheme had I chosen? Would my makeup complement the flowers and bring out the features of the room and make the Groom’s boutonniere POP! or accentuate the chair covers? 

Aside from wondering what the fuck a boutonniere was, I found all of these questions made me want to retreat, pay someone to organise everything and hibernate until the wedding day when I could show up, look pretty and have a good time.

Not only was paying someone to do everything out of my budget, but I also have some Type-A ‘I-like-to-be-in-control-and-everything-perfect’ tendencies that would not cope well with outsourcing.

So. I decided to start with the thing that I was most excited about… the dress.

I was never the girl who had dreamed about her wedding dress, so I was open to trying on anything and everything to find the right dress for me. My only ‘essential’ was that I had to feel comfortable and everything else was up for grabs. I went to a ‘Meet the Designer’ day at a bridal boutique and tried on several dresses. That was when I saw a dress in the most fabulous fabric I had ever seen. Even though the style wasn’t quite right, I was able to work with the designer to create a dress using that material and in a style I knew would work for me. I felt boring. 

My aforementioned Type-A personality was about to spontaneously combust at the thought of buying a dress I had never seen in full, but the designer drew the dress I envisaged, and I felt confident that I knew my style well enough for the dress to suit me.

Fast forward six months and I went to try on the (almost complete) dress for the first time.As I stared at myself in the mirror while the zipper was being fastened, I couldn’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of… blah.

There was nothing wrong with the dress. I loved the fabric, the fit, the buttons and the train. The designer, the shop assistants and my mother flapped about telling me how beautiful I was, but I just couldn’t get on board.It just didn’t meet the vision and expectation of what I thought it would look like.

No tears of joy, no visceral reaction to seeing myself in the dress I was going to be married in, just… nothing.

So there I was, standing in the bridal boutique with the dress on, feeling sorry for myself while trying to smile and pretend I was over the moon and in love with the dress.

If there were a Bridechilla test on what to do when you don’t like your dress, I would have passed this one with flying colours.

Instead of losing my shit in the store, I went home and allowed myself a few hours of self-pity, chocolate eating and gracefully shedding a single tear ugly-crying in private. After a bit of self-reflection, I realised quickly that I needed to get over myself. I had accepted that I wasn’t getting a new dress unless I was willing to pay another small fortune, so I had to get creative about how I would fall in love with this dress and how I could feel a bit more like me when I wear it on my wedding day.

Listen to a recent episode of Bridechilla, all about wedding dress stress

Hair Style

My hair is my thing. It always has been. It’s full of volume, does pretty much whatever you tell it to and my hairdressers seem to be obsessed with it. Most of the time, I have it up and out of my face and the day I tried the dress on was no different.

While I had the idea that I would wear my hair up on my wedding day, the minute I let it down, it transformed the look of the dress. It framed my face and changed the look of the neckline that I was so disappointed with.

Since trying the dress on again, I have decided to go with a half-up, half-down situation for the hair so that it is out of my face but has the ‘look’ that improves the dress.

Tip 1Be open to experimenting with a different hairstyle! You may very well find that the look you had your heart set on actually doesn’t do you or your outfit justice.

Talk to your hairdresser and get to know what is achievable for your hair and what would work for you, e.g. you would be disappointed if you paid $120 to have your hair styled into 1940s glamour waves only for them to drop 30 seconds after leaving the salon because your hair is too fine.

Listen to the professionals!

Also, listen to the advice of those you trust, to tell the truth about what suits you (not just those who have opinions and can’t keep them to themselves).

Make Up

I thought back to all the times I have had a bad hair or face day and what I do to give myself a bit of a szhoozh.

My go-to is a red lip. It draws attention away from anything I am trying to pretend isn’t happening, such as birds nest hair or the eternal dark circles under my eye. While I haven’t decided if I’ll channel T-Swizzle on my wedding day, I know it’s an option that would make me feel fabulous and boost my confidence.

Tip 2 – makeup can transform a look.

Get fun and get creative with makeup but be true to your style. Whether it’s a winged eye, Kimmy K-style contouring or some pouty lips, don’t try anything that you haven’t tried before and that doesn’t feel like you.

You don’t want to be looking back on your wedding in ten years’ time and ask yourself why you look like a clown.


When I tried on my dress, I couldn’t help but think that something was missing. It is a beaded, structured masterpiece but it was still crying out for a lil’ something-something.I tried on a jewelled belt and statement earrings and found they transformed the look of the dress and made me feel a bit sassier and more like me. I could now see myself walking down the aisle in the dress with that belt and those earrings. They completed the look for me.The shop assistants at the bridal boutique almost fainted when I mentioned I was going to get married wearing flat shoes. But I haven’t worn a pair of heels for longer than an hour in a very long time. Why would I choose my wedding day to put myself through that kind of torture?

Comfort is so important to me, so I have managed to find some sweet flats online that will both be comfortable and match the art-deco vibe of my dress.

Tip 3 – Have some fun with your accessories.

If you are wearing white, accessories are the perfect way to incorporate some colour into your look for the day. If you are following the ‘something old, something new’ tradition, your ‘something blue’ could be shoes, a sash or belt, or even some jewellery.

There is no need to go overboard with the accessories, though. Sometimes less is more, so consider how much you have going on around the top half of your dress before you add those earrings, that headpiece, a necklace and a veil.

Amaia Belt from Happily Ever Borrowed

Now, I am not saying that how you look is the most important thing about getting married. What is important is for me to feel like myself on my wedding day. After all, that’s who my fiancé fell in love with. So this is what I need to be at peace with the dress that didn’t make me cry tears of joy like they do in the TV shows.

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1 comment

Kate June 9, 2017 - 11:49 am

I am having the same emotional reaction to my gown…. I feel nothing. The pressures of picking this outfit for this event is overwhelming. So, I have plans to change the gown slightly and get some awesome jewelry on board. Good advice on the hair. Good luck ladies!


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