If you've been designated as the brides official 'dresser' for her wedding day, you may be feeling a little daunted by the task! Wedding dresses can seem complex, and there are often elements to the gowns that you may not have had to deal with before (underskirts, inner corsets, concealed zips with faux buttons, the list goes on!). This guide is here to walk you through all the most common steps it takes to get into a gown. if you are dealing with a corset back see out other blog post HOW TO: Corset backs made easy
We have added step by step pictures, to give you reference to some of our points, so have a scroll through whilst following the numbered steps below.
Before you start:
Make sure the area you will be dressing is in clean, as the gown will be going on the floor. *TIP - If you are on fluffy carpet, place a bed sheet down to avoid fluff transferring onto the dress, tulle gowns especially love to pick up carpet fibres!* Dressing a bride in front of a mirror is very important to make sure the gown is sitting correctly when fastening. Also make sure that your hands are clean before touching the dress.
Before stepping the bride into the gown, make sure she is completely ready (e.g. sprayed deodorant/perfume and been to the bathroom, as it’s going to be a long day!) if the bride has very complicated or strappy shoes, ask her to put these on first, otherwise leave shoes until the end.
Here we go:
Place the dress on the floor facing the mirror. Work your way through the lining layers to create a space on the floor for the bride to step into. ( if there is a hoop, place this on the floor first and put the gown on top, the bride will then step into the hoop and dress together)
Help the bride step into the gown and pull the dress up together, do this slowly to make sure no hooks/beads have gotten caught. Make sure the gown is being pulled up nice and straight, if it is twisted, take it back down and pull up again, rather than twisting it when it's on!
Check that the top of the gown looks right in the mirror and have the bride check the position of her bust in the cups. We want the height of the dress to be right, as once fastened the dress will not move! Check that all the inner lining layers are pulled down and the dress looks smooth from all angles. Once the gown is in position, its time to fasten. If the gown has an ‘inner corset’ which looks like a bra strap, fasten this first to a comfortable setting for the bride.
If the dress is a very tight fit or has a lot of structure; either have the bride place her hands on her waist to push in or have a 3rd person to hold the zip together. Then zip as far as you can. Next fasten the hook and eye at the top of the zip and finish the last part of the zip if you couldn’t initially. If you do not have an illusion button back, now skip to the final step.
Fasten the hook and eye at the top of the illusion mesh. See our button back tutorial at the bottom of this page for a close up demonstration of how to fasten the buttons with your fingers OR with a hair grip which is a great hack! They can be fiddly so make sure you are doing this with plenty of time to spare.
Start off by fastening the top few buttons. Again, check that the positioning is still correct after each step, instead of trying to readjust anywhere at the end. If there is any resistance on the mesh, have the bride push her hands straight back against her bust to give you more space round the back.
Instead of working straight down the buttons, I like to alternate between a few at the top, then a few at the bottom. This helps the dress pull together naturally instead of pulling too hard on the mesh and button loops.
The tightest part is usually the section where the bra strap would normally sit. If you are struggling, again have a 3rd person hold the mesh together for you so that you only have to focus on the button instead of pulling in as well.
Once the illusion back is complete, continue fastening the buttons which conceal the zip (not all gowns have these buttons as it may be an invisible zip instead). Now check the bride again in the mirror. Lift the skirt and, starting at the very lining layer, gently pull on each layer and make sure they are all smoothed down to avoid and creases on the body or lumps where the stiff tulle layers may be gathered up in the skirt. Then add accessories i.e. belts, jewellery and shoes!
Our bridal button tutorial below can help you with some wedding day hacks if your finding the buttons a litte fiddly to fasten!