When it comes to choosing the dress of your dreams, let's face it- you might know what chiffon is but if you have to start distinguishing raw silk from taffeta you're in trouble. Luckily, help is at your fingertips. These few tips will help you separate the Vivienne Westwood's from the "Lady St. Petsois JuJu's"of dresses.

1. FABRIC You may not know what it's called, but if it looks and feels cheap, it probably is. Fabrics such as chiffon and tulle are commonly used for mass production because of it's low cost. Never order a gown without feeling the fabric first, you can always return the shirt you ordered online for feeling cheap but most wedding gown sales are final. And thanks to photoshop you can get duped by lace that looks amazing on websites but feels low-end. The good news is, you don't have to be an expert to find the higher quality versions of these fabrics! The best way to determine the quality is by feeling the materials and seeing how the fabric looks in different light sources. If fabrics don't feel right, it's time to walk away.

2. CONSTRUCTION You would never buy a new house that's crumbling, so why buy a dress that's poorly built? Take a look inside your dress and underneath too. The first sign of a poorly made gown is the lack of a hook and eye at the top of the zipper. That tiny element may seem arbitrary, but by industry standards it's essential. While it's common to find raw edges between the skirt and the lining, you should never see threads and fabric edges on the inside of your gown. You don't have to be a designer to know when something just doesn't look right. 

3. FIT The Ready-To-Wear industry produces garments that adhere to a sizing system. While this does leave out many body types, it's still the best way for the industry to dress consumers. However, when you're looking for the dress of your dreams it's frustrating to try on a size 10, order a 2 and still end up with alterations. For this reason, customizing your wedding dress is on the rise; the best way to ensure you love the fit and feel of your gown is to have it made to your measurements. 

4. DESIGN Wedding dress styles have subtle changes in comparison to the styles that are in and out of Zara within a matter of weeks. For this reason, we end up seeing the same sweetheart necklines and ballgown skirts every season. Having had many brides contact me in a panic after already buying a dress wanting a more unique design, my advice to my brides is don't settle. I promise your dream dress (or even pant suit) is out there. Here at Elizabeth Leese Bridal we are committed to creating it.

5. QUALITY CONTROL Dress boutiques almost always keep the dress finding process down to clockwork, but there are no guarantees on the other side of the industry. Allow me to explain. In some cases (and let's hope rare) the sample you try on can be different than the dress you receive; this could be a slight change in colors, fabrics, and construction. These changes can be made in between the sampling phase and the time an item hits the market to accommodate a buyer's request, lower production costs, or quicker manufacturing. It can be like the side by side of advertising and real life fast food hamburgers. While the industry improves each and every day, there is still no promise that somewhere along the lifetime of your dress, someone may have skipped over a detail or changed it entirely.

Thankfully we have solutions to the heartaches of finding the dress. At Elizabeth Leese Bridal our mission is creating gowns as unique as our brides. Custom-made means you don't have to sacrifice any of your must-haves in a wedding dress and the fit down to every last detail is in good hands! Don't let wedding dress shopping get the best of you or your big day. 


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