The Perfect Summer Wedding Dress: How a Real Bride Found Hers!

Wedding Dresses
Summery wedding dresses by Monique Lhuillier, Jenny Packham, and Carolina Herrera

Photos: (left to right) John Aquino, Courtesy of Jenny Packham, Dan Lecca

What do real brides have to say about the wedding planning experience? Well, it's not all happy tears at the bridal boutique and indulgent cake tastings. Guest blogger Linley Taber shares the ins and outs of finding bridesmaid dresses that can withstand a high-kick on the dance floor, and more.

I blame my general fear of wedding dress shopping on watching too many bridal reality shows. I was so sure that my own dress-hunt would be a landmine of mood-killers (see: latent body image issues) that I waited a full six months to even step into a bridal salon. I had convinced myself the whole process was going to be a bust.

And yes, some of the early dresses—despite how gorgeous—didn't work out. From left to right, above: The lace Monique Lhuillier gown I'd assumed would be a front-runner was laughably unflattering on me. The vintage-style Jenny Packham I tried on made me look like a Vegas showgirl. And the mermaid-style Carolina Herrera? I needed two sets of hands to pull that baby over my hips.

But each "miss" helped me refine my idea of what I was actually looking for. Four appointments and 20-odd dresses in, I realized that I had a few non-negotiables: the dress must be light and comfortable (it's an August country wedding, after all) but not too simple, too plain, or too safe.

Everyone told me that when I found the winning style, I would just simply know it—a prospect I considered a little hokey. Yet when I first slipped into my future gown, I had a total "hello, lover" moment in the dressing room at Vera Wang.

Of course, I then had to wait an excruciating seven months for my first fitting. (Judging by my internet history, I spent most of that time researching different Spanx options for the wedding.)

And to be honest, the first fitting was a little anti-climatic: I had half-expected my dress to fit perfectly, but in reality it needed a slew of alterations. I felt like I was trusting the tailor with my life. But the second fitting? You guys, I had to be physically restrained from sending a picture to my fiancé. Which, I think, is the clearest sign yet that I found The One.

Browse more summer wedding dresses.

—Linley Taber

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