Wedding Dress 101

By Sally Herndon

Choosing a wedding dress can and should be fun – the most important thing is to trust your feelings and get what you love! That said, brides should start looking for a dress from eight to twelve months from their wedding day. When you find your perfect dress it has to be ordered from the designer and standard shipping time is anywhere from six to 20 weeks. Alterations should start at least three months out. There is always a little wiggle room, but that’s the standard baseline.

If a bride comes to me at the last minute, we do have off the rack dresses. And, if they see a dress they like, I can try to get it shipped right away, but that only happens if the designer has the dress in stock.

Being open minded to all dress styles is important. What you think you’ll like is not usually what you end up buying. Today, there are so many options online that look great on your computer, but are not what looks the best on your body. If you love a dress, trust that feeling – don’t try to find something wrong with a dress that makes you happy. Choose what looks good on you. Sometimes brides come in and are sure they want a mermaid dress, but end up with a big, beautiful ball gown. It’s all about what looks good on your body type.

Ivory and off white are the most popular colors. What many brides may not know is there are a lot of colors available – a layer of blush or other color, satin usually, can be set underneath the lace or tulle overlay. This gives the dress some contrast and the lace design stands out more – instead of the standard ivory on top of ivory. A lot of brides are nervous about using anything different so they go with ivory over ivory – again, I tell them, if you love it – go with it. Choosing a wedding dress is a hard decision these days – there’s a lot to pick from.

We have in-house alterations and can suggest out of house options, depending on what is most convenient for you. Always take the shoes you’ll be wearing or at least the height. And take any undergarments you’ll wear. A lot of dresses have so much structure you don’t need a lot of support, but some women like to wear a spanx or a corset. If your dress doesn’t have any structure or boning, you’re going to want to wear some type of shape wear. Remember the alteration is a process – it takes time and multiple visits to get it done perfectly.

Choosing a veil is very personal and is all about your preference.  A lot of women like birdcages or finger length veils, but if you’ve always wanted a long, dramatic veil, that’s what you should choose.

Finally, while every woman is going to be thinking about their fiancée while walking down the aisle, it is YOUR special day. Be happy and comfortable with what you’re wearing and everyone else will be happy and comfortable too!

About this writer

  • Sally Herndon

    Sally Herndon

    Sally Herndon is the manager of The Dressing Room, a bridal salon located at 11405 #7 Ocean Highway in Pawleys Island. Brides are seen by appointment only – to learn more, call 843-979-0103 or visit

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