The One Characteristic to Look for in a Wedding Dress

what to look for in a wedding dress

Sunday, June 14th, 2020



You and I both know your wedding dress is not the most important aspect of your wedding. If you don’t really care too much about what you’re wearing or what it looks like, that’s totally fine. You don’t need to be over-invested in it. It’s okay if you don’t cry when you pick it out (but it’s also totally okay if you do). This article will address the one thing to look for in a wedding dress.

Movement is the number one characteristic to look for in a wedding dress.

After having been to over 100 weddings, there’s one common thread – how you feel in your attire heavily dictates how your day goes. What DOES matter is that you’re comfortable, and you like it. And one other super important detail goes into it as well – movement. Here’s the thing: your entire day will be in this dress. Not just the standing ceremony, the calm portraits, etc. We’re also talking getting in and out of cars, sitting at dinner, hitting the dancefloor, walking up stairs – everything.

You need to have movement.

It may seem obvious, but it’s really not thought of as often as you think. I’ve had so many brides who cannot sit down in their dress. Who can barely lean in their dress. I’ve had a bride who felt like she couldn’t eat in her dress. And all of these factors are just going to make you miserable. A totally form fitting dress is definitely gorgeous, but limits you SO MUCH if the material doesn’t have any give to real life.

So while you’re trying on dresses, find a nearby chair and sit. Then sit on the ground. Then lay on the ground. Dance and spin and laugh in the mirror. Because these are all things that, on your wedding day, are going to make for gorgeous photographs. And you don’t want to miss a thing.

It needs to have movement.

You’re here with me because you want fearless, emotional photographs that have life and volume to them. This requires a lot of movement and playing and laughing and having these genuine connections. And what better movement can be found than in a dress? I know that not everybody loves the ballgown style, but even form fitting dresses have movement. While you’re in the fitting area, take a few spins and watch the way the dress moves. If it’s A-line or ball gown, are you able to pick it up easily from the front/top layer? Are you comfortably able to hold it? If it’s more fitted, does the bottom open in a gorgeous way? The way the fabric moves around you will add to the energy of your photographs in a substantial way.

Above all else, make sure you feel like yourself in your attire. A beautiful gown or suit only goes so far if you later look back on your images and feel like you don’t even recognize yourself. Make sure that you can not only laugh, hug, and live in your attire at your wedding, but that you know it feels like you.

What characteristics are you looking for in a dress?

Do you want to be able to spin, walk, laugh, hug? What are your make or breaks when it comes to dresses? Talk more in the comments below!


Hey! I'm Makayla, a wedding photojournalist based in Duluth, MN and Saint Paul, MN. 

I believe that stories are best told untouched, undirected, and with intentionality and meaning.

This blog is a space to share advice for couples about weddings, advice for photographers about witnessing events with intention, and steps to create decisions based on your values and what matters most to you.

Grab your favorite beverage, pull up a chair, and let's get to know each other.


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