How to choose a wedding gown: case for a ballgown

Roseanne Murray, La Fleur Edits

When the time comes to choose a wedding gown there are endless options. From fits and silhouettes to fabrics, colors, and patterns; the bridal fashion industry has evolved far past the solo option of the traditional bridal ballgown.

However, there are still brides who desire to choose a classic gown, something quintessentially bridal. Amongst the plethora of new styles, choosing a classic gown almost becomes the unexpected choice as more brides strive for a less traditional style.

I spoke to two of my brides about their experience choosing a wedding gown, and what ultimately led them to choose a traditional ballgown for their wedding.

How Kate chose her wedding gown

I’d like to introduce Kate.  She wore a simple and classic gown from Blush & Raven and I’m looking forward to sharing photos from her Teatro wedding very soon.  

When I began my hunt for the perfect wedding gown, I knew exactly what I didn’t want: a strapless ballgown. With that decision firmly in place, I set out to every bridal boutique in Calgary to find “the one”.

Having previously been a bridesmaid half a dozen times, I believed the strapless ballgown was overdone, and too hyped up. I proceeded to try on, what felt like, every style of gown on the market. Mermaid gowns, fitted gowns, silk gowns, crepe gowns, thin strap gowns, A-line gowns…the list goes on.

Upon visiting one of the last bridal boutiques on my adventure, I accepted that classic bridal moment of exclaiming ‘I’m saying yes to the dress!’ wasn’t a reality. Nothing I tried made me feel pretty or confident, and not once had I truly felt like a bride. On the last weekend of shopping, I decided a thick-strapped A-line gown would do because it was nice enough and I was too exhausted to continue trying any more gowns.

For reasons I will never understand, I asked the bridal boutique if they had a strapless ballgown I could try. I wanted to say I had, without a doubt, tried on every style of wedding gown there was. The consultant disappeared and came back with a 100% silk strapless ballgown: there was no denying it was a pretty dress. I stepped into the gown, she zipped me up, I looked in the mirror, and I swore really loud.

This was my moment. This was the moment I had been waiting for. I felt pretty, I felt confident, and I felt like a bride. Not to mention it was comfortable! And it had POCKETS! I was shocked, but boy, was I also relieved.

 There is a reason why a ballgown seems like the quintessential wedding gown. It just feels so special, so glamorous and so bridal. I mean really, where else do you get to wear a ballgown?  Everything about my gown was perfect in the most surprising way and I knew without a doubt, that this was my gown and I had no second thoughts. I was thrilled with my decision and to this day, I am such a fan of the ballgown. It’s timeless and elegant. And, if you’re lucky like me, your ballgown might even have pockets!

Roseanne chose a ballgown

Next up is Roseanne who tied the knot at the Fairmont Banff Springs.  I first met Roseanne when she worked as a bridal consultant at Cameo & Cufflinks.  If you follow my blog, you’ll recognize Roseanne and her fiancé Ben and their specular Lake Minnewanka engagement session.

After years of working in a bridal boutique, I’d assisted hundreds of brides in finding their dream dress, so I knew what to expect. I wanted something with a slimmer silhouette, without too much detail or lace. I’ve always loved simple, minimalist gowns, and anything which felt too much like a princess dress wasn’t for me, or so I thought.

During my appointment I tried several styles of gowns, from more fitted to soft A-line skirts, I tried scoop necklines, plunging V-necks, and strapless sweethearts. I even tried on dresses with lace, more textured skirts but nothing felt quite right.

My future mother-in-law requested I try on a wedding dress she picked out, which was the opposite of everything I was looking for. It was a huge ballgown with a luxurious satin skirt, complete with small 3D flowers and sequins all over the bodice and straps, and softly trailing down into the skirt. I thought it was way too extravagant, had too much sparkle and detail, and was such a stereotypical bridal gown.

I tried it on last, and reluctantly, opening admitting I was trying it on simply to humour her. As the consultant was zipping it up, I stared in the mirror dumbfounded. It was perfect.

I turned around to show my Mum & future mother-in-law and they both gasped. Nothing had come close to making me feel as much like a bride as that ballgown. There was something so whimsical, romantic, and classic about it. It felt opulent and special, and I was surprised by how thrilling it felt to twirl around in a big skirt, the train swishing behind me.

I felt so confident, so beautiful, and I couldn’t picture any other gown feeling as special. I couldn’t imagine marrying the love of my life in any other dress. I used to always think, why go for such an opulent dress when it’s just for one day? Well, that’s exactly the reason I chose it. I will only have one wedding, so why not indulge and wear the spectacular ballgown?

A big thank you to Kate and Roseanne for sharing your “ah ha” moments as you were choosing your wedding gowns.  


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