Feeling Wedding Dress Regret? Here's What To Do

If you’re feeling dress regret, you’re not alone! Here’s how to manage those feelings, and here are the steps to take to feel great about your gown.

By Rachel Varina

What To Do If You’re Feeling Wedding Dress Regret
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

  • Talk to your seamstress to see if simple alterations are the key to making the dress feel right.
  • Major alterations, such as adding sleeves, changing the silhouette, or altering the neckline could make the gown perfect.
  • If your budget permits, a second gown for the reception will give you another chance to don something special.

Whether you purchased your dress and are now having second thoughts or your wedding day has come and gone, wedding dress regret is real. Feeling special and beautiful is the goal for so many brides, but what happens if you suddenly realize that the dress you picked isn’t quite right? If you’re having cold feet about your gown, or are wishing that you would have opted for something different on your wedding day, here’s what to do to feel better about what you wear (or wore) for your “I dos.”

Talk to Your Seamstress

If your dress arrived and instead of having an “aww” moment, you had an “oh no” feeling when you slipped it on, don’t panic. There’s a good chance that your gown simply needs some alterations to fit properly. Often, samples in boutiques are stretched out (and upon first try you probably added a veil and accessories when you said “yes” at the shop). Chat with your seamstress to see what suggestions he or she has. Perhaps the gown is still your dream dress, but it just needs to be adjusted here and taken in there. You’d be surprised how different a well-fitted dress looks to one not yet adjusted.

Tell the Boutique

Perhaps you recently placed your order for your dress and quickly afterwards you started feeling the pangs of regret. Call the boutique ASAP to see what your options are. Odds are that you signed a contract, but if the dress hasn’t arrived yet, they might be able to cancel the order entirely. If that gown has already arrived or is on the way, see if the boutique is willing to keep it as a sample in exchange for store credit. When chatting with the boutique to try and come up with solutions together, just be sure to be polite and respectful.

Add Some Accessories

Before tossing your dress aside, do what the bridal boutiques do and accessorize. Maybe it seems off alone, but with a belt, veil, hair piece, and jewelry it works. Ask the boutique to deck you out, or invite your married friends over and ask them to bring their wedding accessories to see what your dress looks like when you pull together the entire ensemble. You might find that all that was missing was a few additional bridal touches.

Consider Major Alterations

If you’ve accessorized and just don’t feel like your dress is right, head back to the seamstress with a different mission in mind: major alterations. Chat with your pro about what you do and don’t love about the dress, and then see what suggestions he or she has. Changing a neckline, adding appliques, altering a silhouette, or adding/removing sleeves might be the key to transforming your dress into your wedding day vision.

However, before approving any adjustments, be sure to get a cost breakdown. The more extensive and time-consuming the changes, the more costly it’ll be, so check your budget and communicate with your seamstress to see what works.

Look into Reselling

Perhaps you know that a new dress is the only option. After checking your budget, make sure to take some time to figure out what didn’t work with your original gown so that you select the right one the second time around. If you’re trying to figure out what to do with your original dress (and the boutique won’t accept a return), try selling it on sites such as Preownedweddingdresses.com or StillWhite.

Just make sure to be realistic about how much you think you’ll make from it (expect no more than 60 percent what you paid) and consider that it might not sell right away. Therefore, you should make sure that you have the room in your budget for something new, should your original dress go unsold.

Opt for a Reception Gown

If you have the wiggle room in your budget for a second gown, consider wearing your original dress for the ceremony and a new dress for the reception (or whichever way works best for you). Not only will the change up add a level of elegance to your look, but you’ll get to have photos in two lovely gowns and can even shop for something more dance floor friendly. Luckily there are plenty of places that sell gorgeous gowns for less than a boutique price tag. Check out Lulus, or shop pre-owned dresses for a cost-effective look that doesn’t skimp out on the elegance.

Plan for a Vow Renewal

While it might seem like you only get one time to wear a wedding dress, that doesn’t have to be the case. Vow renewals are becoming much more popular, and are a great excuse to either wear your original wedding dress again or opt for a new one. The fact that you made it a specific number of years as a married couple is reason to celebrate, so don’t be afraid to go all out with a veil, cake, and even a photographer.

Whether you’re experiencing dress regret post “I dos” or ahead of walking down the aisle, don’t forget that there are still plenty more days to celebrate in the future. Ultimately what matters most on your wedding day isn’t what you’re wearing, but who you’re marrying. Whether you accessorize your current dress or opt for a new one, as long as you feel beautiful on your wedding day, you’ll be sure to shine.

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