Should You Sacrifice Comfort Over Style On Your Wedding Day?


It’s a dilemma many brides face: Should I choose comfort over style on the biggest day of my life? Or sacrifice being able to move freely in order to look absolutely stunning? Wedding dresses can be heavy and constricting. Some have boning that pokes into your ribs and who knows where else. Sometimes it’s hard to walk in them and you’re not entirely sure why. Plus, there are corset strings and low backs and confusing bustle buttons to consider. How on earth is someone supposed to wear, much less dance in one, for hours on end?

It’s important to remember that the first time you try on your wedding dress will also be the most uncomfortable one. Take into account that the dress has not yet been fitted or hemmed to your exact proportions. In fact, bridal boutiques typically carry only one size of each dress, making the chances of trying on your true size slim to none. Even still, bridal expert Julie Sabatino of The Stylish Bride explains, “In almost every wedding dress you’re going to feel different than you do on a normal day and right off the bat you’re going to be less comfortable.” So establish your personal threshold for discomfort early on and decide how much you’re willing to suffer for fashion.

For some, nothing will get in between them and their dream dress—nothing. West Coast-based wedding stylist Cynthia Smith of Cynthia Cook Brides finds that most of her brides are in fact willing to be uncomfortable and she’s not about to convince them otherwise. “Don’t let comfort dictate the overall wedding look you are going for,” she says. “Make sure you have your moment in your wedding dress no matter what!”

But keep in mind, a less than comfy wedding dress might somehow show up in your wedding photos. “When a bride is fussing over her dress all night or struggling to walk in heels and a long train, it comes through on her face and in her body language,” explains photographer Alisha Siegel. “I encourage all my girls to be in dresses they are comfortable in, which completely depends on the girl. I’ve seen girls in ballgowns who are more comfortable than a bride in a slip dress, so it’s totally bride-specific.”

On the bright side, designers these days are shying away from using heavy and uncomfortable fabrics, like horsehair and layered petticoats, and opting more for lighter alternatives that still manage to achieve the same amount of dress volume and drama. Plus, as two bridal stylists suggested, one of the things that contributes the most to your having a relaxed and enjoyable time at your wedding is your choice of footwear. Newlywed Hannah Crane can attest to this. “Wearing platform sneakers under my dress was the best decision I made that day,” she says. “Aside from marrying my husband!” And if sneakers definitely aren’t your thing, a tonal platform or stacked heel can provide equally comfy results without sacrificing style. The important thing is that every bride should do what feels best for her, regardless of what everyone else might think looks good. “I don’t think I sat down once, and no one could tell what was under my ball gown,” Hannah adds. “And even if they did, who cares?”

—Molly Borman