For Aly Murphy, Wedding Dress Shopping is a Lot Like Dating


*Important Note* None of the dresses in this article is the dress I’ve chosen for our wedding. I lost sleep last night wondering if I should even be sharing these photos at all, but hey, when have I ever held back from y’all before? Please do not tag or share this article with my fiancé until after the wedding, as he feels very strongly about not wanting to see me in white until the wedding. Thank you!

You’ve gotten engaged, booked your venue and now it’s time to dress shop! You’ve been looking forward to this moment since you were a little girl. You are surrounded by your nearest and dearest and are filled with excitement and glee. Fast forward to 10 stores and 100 dresses later and your naive plan of Instagramming you and your bride tribe toasting with champagne after finding the one is replaced with gamechangers and worry if you are ever going to find the one. In a way, dress shopping for me has been a lot like dating.

Buying the first dress you try on felt like marrying your high school sweetheart. Sweet and charming, but also… restrictive. Just as over a decade of dating taught me, it takes time, patience and self-control to find the perfect match. With each store I went to, I felt as I was getting closer to finding the one, but was lacking a clarity in what exactly I was looking for. Who knew lace came in over 100 different styles and there are 10 shades of ivory?

It wasn’t until one of my last appointments at Modern Trousseau of Charleston, that I was finally given a proper lesson in dress fittings and fabrics as well as a pleasant reminder that this was all supposed to be fun! While I’m in no position to give advice on dating, I would like to offer future brides a few tips I learned that might help make dress shopping a little less fearful.

Research what types of gowns look better on what body types. Brittani Lace, manager of Modern Trousseau of Charleston says, “Finding the right silhouette is key and the first step is to choose a shape that will play up your best assets! If you don’t know your body type, don’t fret! Trust your bridal consultant to help you find the perfect fit for your figure.”

Ball Gown: This is a classic shape that never goes out of style. This shape defines the waist and flows into a flowy voluminous skirt. This is a great option for brides who have an hourglass or pear shape and those with a fuller hip. A ball gown is not always recommended for a petite bride, as the shape can be overwhelming.

A Line:  This silhouette shape is named after the A-shape that it creates. It’s shape is flattering on most women as it defines the waist then gently glides over the hips. Pairing with a sparkly belt at the natural waistline draws the eye to the smallest part of the body. 

Trumpet/ Fit to Flare: This shape is just as it sounds. It is fitted through the hips an then flares or trumpets out below the low hip area. This is a great option for petite brides as it will elongate and you’ll appear taller. For those who want to accentuate their hourglass curves this shape will create a va va voom body-hugging silhouette.

Learn about the different laces. My mom was a big fan of lace, while I tended to be attracted to crepe and silk. I think one of my apprehensions with lace was that there were so many different types (from light, delicate French Chantilly lace to heavy, bold patterned cotton lace), that I started to feel victim to the paradox of choice. Brittani Lace (no pun intended) was extremely patient and helpful in explaining the distinctions between the different fabrics.

“Brides who are getting married in a warm climate should consider a lace or fabric that is airy and lightweight like tulle or organza. Structured heavier materials like Alencon lace, silk mikado and satin won’t cling and are great options for early spring- winter venues, ” Brittani says.

Here are a couple of my Mom’s favorite lace dresses:

Lovely Bride Charleston

Bridals by Jodi


Don’t be afraid to step outside your box. A Boho bride might fall in love with a classic A-line just as a traditional bride could end up with a beaded ball gown. Trust your instincts, but also trust your consultants with looks you might not originally chose for yourself. As much as I’ve adored all of the dresses I’ve tried on over the past two months, Modern Trousseau designer, Callie Tein, and I have decided to work together to design something new that I can’t wait to share with you – and especially my fiancé next summer!

Boho Dress

Boho Look. Modern Trousseau


About Aly Murphy

Aly Murphy is an international etiquette consultant based in Charleston, SC. She previously lived in Manhattan while she studied the history, social psychology and neuroscience...

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One thought on “For Aly Murphy, Wedding Dress Shopping is a Lot Like Dating

  1. You narrated my experience almost exactly! I ended up trusting my consultants and saying my “second yes” to the exact opposite of the dress I’d envisioned for myself. But I couldn’t be more excited about my decision! Thank you for sharing both the excitement and the indecision of this whole process!

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