Sandra Bullock's wedding dress from The Proposal

Celebrity, Wedding Dresses
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Courtesy of Touchstone Pictures

Here comes the bride! I couldn't resist showing you a sneak peek of Sandra Bullock's The Proposal wedding dress. In the new comedy, which opens this Friday, Sandra Bullock plays Margaret, a type-A executive who forces her young assistant (Ryan Reynolds) to marry her in order to avoid deportation to Canada. When the couple plans an impromptu wedding in Alaska, Sandra's character wears a 1930s-style wedding dress that originally belonged to her groom's grandmother (the hilarious Betty White).

And as you can see from this "before" photo, transforming the too-large wedding dress into a beautiful bridal gown was anything but easy. "It was kind of an interesting design problem," says costume designer Cat Thomas, who actually created two custom-designed silk Charmeuse wedding dresses (one large and one small) for Sandra to wear in the movie (see the final version after the jump).

There's more!

Fortunately, the results paid off—in the wedding scene Sandra looks stunning in the altered version of the gown. "It's old-fashioned but updated and modern at the same time," says Thomas of the dress, which included romantic details, such as a high neck, that Sandra specifically requested.
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Courtesy of Touchstone Pictures

Thinking of wearing your mother's dress at your wedding? Check out Cat Thomas's Dos and Don'ts for making a vintage wedding dress your own. —Kathryn Papanek

DO think about simple ways you can modify the dress. While specific alterations will vary depending on the dress style, a straightforward change (such as raising the hemline) will often modernize an old-fashioned gown.

DON'T wear a dress that doesn't suit your body type or personal style. "If it's something that's not flattering, then it's probably better to choose something that suits you better," Thomas says. "Your personality may be different than that of your mother or grandmother."

DO choose new shoes, hair accessories and jewelry. Thomas says that wearing modern accessories is one of the easiest ways to update a vintage gown.

DON'T try to alter a dress that's too small. "It's so much harder to make a dress bigger than it is to make it smaller," says Thomas. "It also gives you much less flexibility in alterations and changing the shape."

DO highlight your favorite aspect of the dress. "There's probably something about that dress that that you're attracted to," she says. Think about your personality and emphasize what you want the dress to say about you on the big day.

DO think about other ways to incorporate a vintage look into your wedding. Even if you decide that wearing an older dress isn't the way to go, you can still find ways to include aspects of your relatives' style in your wedding attire. Thomas suggests working embroidery from your mother's gown into your wedding dress or wearing a vintage veil.

The Proposal opens in theaters this Friday.

See tips and ideas for how to shop for your wedding dress and more wedding dresses with high necks.

See more celebrity-inspired wedding looks from your favorite films.

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