How to keep your wedding dress photo fresh

Guest post by Felicity Westmacott

As a wedding photographer, I meet a number of amazing wedding suppliers and will be inviting a different one onto my blog to share some tips on various aspects of wedding planning. There are so many little tricks and tips that I haven’t considered before that I know will help you as you run through your to do list.

This week, I’m pleased to have Surrey based wedding dressmaker, Felicity Westmacott on the blog to share her top 5 tips for making sure your wedding dress stays photo fresh. Over to you Fliss!

As a bespoke wedding dressmaker, I create and send out dresses that need to be perfect. Not only do I make sure they fit and flatter each bride but I also prepare them with steaming and careful packing so they are ready for the big day. Having a dress that is perfect at the beginning of the day and one that looks just as good 4 hours later for photos, isn’t as easy as it sounds. Here are 5 tips for keeping your wedding dress photo fresh all day.

Photo fresh Preparation Before the Day

1. Have your skirt made the right length

This tip goes all the way back to your dress fitting. You’ll want to check how your skirt looks when you’re standing still, but more importantly that it’s not in your way when you walk. You won’t be able to lift the skirt with a bouquet in one hand and your other through your aisle partner’s arm. So it needs to be reliably not tucking under your feet as you step.

Bride looking over shoulder while holding dress

I’ve met brides who want their hem well off the floor and others desperate for it to be puddling on the carpet. Many brides think their skirt must be absolutely floor length to be ‘right’, but really just off, maybe 1cm or half that, is better. It means you’ll be able to walk gracefully up the aisle without the distraction of managing your dress. It will spoil your photographs, your video and your wedding day zen if you’re tripping over your skirt every few steps or having to bunch up your skirt to walk. I recommend a hem that sits just up from the floor instead!

2. Store your dress carefully

Your dress will probably be given to you in either a long gown bag or a box. Depending on the price point, the seller may or may not have steamed and prepared the dress for you. If the dress needs just a little TLC, then hanging it bag free from a doorway or shower rail for a few days before the wedding is ideal for allowing small creases to shake out. For bigger creases turn the shower on and fill the room with steam but take care not to splash water on your dress. If your dress looks very crushed take it to a dress shop or dry cleaner to be professionally steamed. This might cost £30-£50.

Photo Fresh On the Day

3. Allow enough time to get dressed

Don’t get dressed in a rush! Give yourself double the time you think you’ll need in your pre wedding schedule to get dressed. It’s better to be standing around for 20 minutes with a glass of bubbly than being in a panic while someone breaks their nails trying to get 40 tiny buttons done up in 3 minutes.

Bride swinging her dress

4. Think about the order of ceremony

Plan the bridal prep so that your family and attendants are all ready before you begin getting dressed. To keep your dress stay looking photo fresh, you’ll need help to get into it carefully. If others are worrying about their own preparations, they won’t be ready to help you.

Hair and makeup can easily take a couple of hours. This is something to consider if you need to get into the dress first, as your dress will get creased if you sit in it for a long time. If possible, put the dress on after hair and make-up. If you’re having your hair and make-up done first, wear a pretty dressing gown for the bridal prep pictures.

How do you get into your dress? Are you stepping in or pulling it on over your head? If the dress goes on over your head after your make-up has been applied, you can avoid getting makeup on the dress by draping a silk scarf gently around your face and hair. This protects the dress, and your hair and make-up too!

Don’t bend over in your skirt to put on your shoes. This will bunch it up and crease it. Instead, ask for help. Having your maid of honour help you with your shoes makes a lovely photograph!

5. Let your worries go to keep photo fresh all day

Once you are in the dress, let all your worries go so you can look your best in the pictures the photographer is trying to capture.

Princess Diana famously drew gasps from the press and onlookers as she emerged from the royal carriage. Sitting in the carriage had creased her taffeta wedding gown from head to toe! And if you watch Kate Middleton’s footage you’ll see how walking round the font in the cathedral flips her train over on one side. Her designer dashed from the pews to fix the problem, but to no avail. Even princesses can’t avoid such problems, so why do we think we mere mortals, with no fairy godmothers on hand, will be able to? So let your worries go! By following my advice you can avoid the most common mistakes and have the best chance of your dress staying photo fresh all day!

Bride laughing while stood outside barn

Your wedding dress is a real thing which moves and reacts as you do. Magazine editors photoshop dresses to look perfect. Stylists tweak and arrange things for every shot. Being a model in a bridal shoot is hard and boring work. Your wedding day should be anything but hard and boring so my advice is to let go of the worry!

Preparation is the key. Do everything you can beforehand, to ensure your dress will look amazing on the day. Then let go, and trust your photographer to capture you having a wonderful time in a dress that makes you feel incredible!

You can get more wedding dress advice from Felicity on her blog.