I hate strapless wedding dresses.
Can I just say before I start this post – that I am no fashionista. Actually, I think I might need more help in the fashion department than most women in their 30’s (anyone else watch the fab 5 and wish they could transform your closet – and life – or perhaps that’s just me?) However, over the last 6 years that I’ve been a wedding photographer I’ve seen my share of wardrobe malfunctions on a wedding day and friends, most of the time it’s all because of those damn strapless wedding dresses.
On a wedding day, my job as a photographer is to document the day as it unfolds. To be a fly on the wall and only give direction when it’s needed – which is normally during the family photos and bridal portraits. My heart honestly breaks when a beautiful moment gets spoilt by someone yanking their dress up or tucking in a side boob – which consquently ruins the candid photo I was about to take (for example, the photo is now of you adjusting your dress instead of it being of you interacting with your friends & family.) This can happen to any woman wearing a strapless gown (regardless of your size), whether you’re the bride, a bridesmaid or a guest. Of course there are exceptions and my JFL brides have totally rocked their strapless gowns (you’ll see some of them in this post) but there are a few things I urge you to consider if you’re thinking you’d like to wear one for your wedding day!
THINGS YOU NEED TO REMEMBER WHEN CONSIDERING A STRAPLESS WEDDING DRESS:
Keep your options open when shopping for your wedding dress: Strapless wedding dresses are seen as a ‘classic’ style of dress and have been worn for over two decades (apparently they became popular in the mid 90’s.) BUT – and this is a big but – just because a lot of dresses might be strapless, doesn’t mean that you should wear one. Seriously, there are so many beautiful dress styles available. Make sure you explore all your options – or even add straps onto an otherwise strapless gown!
If you don’t wear strapless dresses on a regular basis, don’t even think about it for your wedding day: Remember, wedding days are long, you want to feel comfortable. You’re going to be in your gown for 10-12 hours (sometimes longer if you really like to part-ay) so I hazard a guess that if you don’t wear strapless dresses often, it’s going to annoy the hell out of you. If it doesn’t fit properly (which in my experience a lot of them don’t) you’re going to be hitching it up ALL day, you’ll be worried about a nip slip (trust me, it happens) and it’s honestly going to be a real pain in the arse. SO, I repeat, if you wear strapless dresses all the time and totally love anything strapless, go for it. If you don’t, please don’t even consider one!
For strapless to work, you need to be seriously toned: In order for a strapless gown to stay put all day, it needs to be pretty tight. Now that means that any extra ‘padding’ you might have on your upper body (think on your back, under your arms) is going to be revealed when you wear a strapless gown. Keeping in mind too, you’re going to be photographed from all angles on your wedding day so you want to look your best from all different perspectives, not just the front. Make sure when you’re trying on wedding dresses that you consider how it looks from the front, back and each side. The full 360!
Can I also just add, back fat can only be photoshopped by an expert retoucher, or it looks weird. DO NOT ask your photographer to ‘just photoshop it’ – please chose a gown that suits your body shape from the start and it will save you a whole lot of disappointment or worry.
TO THE BRIDE who wants all her bridesmaids to wear the same dress… please reconsider: Unless you’re lucky enough to have bridesmaids with the exact same body shape, asking them to wear the same style of dress is simply the wrong choice. It will result in your bride tribe feeling uncomfortable and looking uncomfortable. And no one wants photos of bridesmaids looking unhappy. Instead, recognise that you have a wonderful bunch of ladies with varying body types that need to dress accordingly! Decide to gift them matching jewellery or plan to have the colour of the dresses the same if you like. It’s much nicer – and will look so much better – than forcing them to all wear the same type of gown. I do suggest though banning anything strapless. For all the reasons I’ve already mentioned…
BRIDESMAIDS, please try your dress on the week before: It’s not only the bride that needs to be prepared with a well fitted dress and the proper undergarments she needs for the day. You do too! The vast majority of wardrobe malfunctions I see are actually the bridesmaids and not the bride – and generally, this can totally be avoided if as a bridesmaid, you also have a last fitting the week before the wedding to make sure you’re good to go. Please don’t leave it to the last minute when you won’t have time to fix anything that needs fixing or buy a better bra or corset to make a dress look better.
LASTLY, TO THE WEDDING GUESTS who like to cut it lose on the d-floor: If you plan to show off your moves on the dance floor (or if history shows after a few vino’s you can’t resist a good tune) make sure you wear an appropriate outfit. I’m sure you can imagine why – just don’t risk it. That’s not the lasting memory you want to leave the older guests that might be watching your moves from their seats at the reception is it?! Let’s save the grandparents from a heart attack and keep all your bits where they belong, inside your wedding attire that is beautiful AND appropriate.
P.S Strapless dresses are also IMPOSSIBLE to get a stunning dress photo during the prep on the morning of a wedding day. The only way to hang them is by using the fabric loops that are sewn into the sides of the gown – and they NEVER hang nicely. If you know me, you know how much I love the details on a wedding day and this just breaks my heart a little more…
So, there you go. My two cents on strapless dresses and why I’m not really a fan of them. From my experience, every bride looks and feels the best when she is wearing a gown that is right for her body shape and she is comfortable in… so when you start dress shopping, try on as many different styles as you can and find the one that is right for you!