How to Find a Wedding Gown: Got Tips?

Published in: Beauty Tips, Just For Fun


I dunno about you, but I sure enjoy a good wedding. Cake, dancing, the crackle of crazy emotions in the air AND the chance to get your drank on (hopefully at an open bar, haaaay)?! — I’m so there.


With wedding season swinging into high gear, MBB reader Katy emailed for help finding her wedding gown.

Hey Karen!

I’m sure you’re used to getting the typical beauty questions–but I was wondering if you could help me with something fashion related?!

I know you’re a Bay Area girl, and I’m beginning the search for my wedding dress (getting married in October of this year). Do you have any salon suggestions? I don’t mind traveling around the greater Bay Area, I just want to find the right dress!


Oh, Katy. The dress. THE DRESS! You gotta make sure you have one you absolutely love! Along with a bridal salon suggestion (more on that in a minute), I thought I’d throw in a few things I learned along the way while searching for a gown.


  1. If the person assisting you at the salon shows you a dress that at first glance doesn’t quite seem your style, just try it on anyway. Experienced shop people tend to develop an eye for how dresses will work with certain body types. You never know what will end up looking great on you until you try it on.
  2. Bring a friend who’ll dish out tough love. Thank gawd my girl C. Money was there at the gown shop with me to talk me out of that slinky silk slip of a Monique Lhuillier gown. She told me, in the best possible way, that the cut of the dress wasn’t the most flattering for my body type (“That thing just might burst at the seams if you have an extra glass of wine and slice of cake at the reception”).

    If I hadn’t listened to her, I might’ve looked like a silky sausage in my wedding pics. You can’t put a price on a friend who can give it to you straight, ya know?
  3. Check out Amy Kuschel Bride in San Francisco. Amy’s an SF designer who creates sophisticated, elegant custom couture wedding gowns at pretty affordable prices.

    A custom dress is created specifically for you from scratch (as opposed to an off-the-rack dress) so the gown should fit you to a T!

    If you don’t live in the Bay Area but are still interested in Amy’s dresses, you can also find them at select salons and trunk shows across the US.

    Not only are Amy’s gowns amazing, but her staff is prompt, friendly and fast.
  4. Save a few bucks by purchasing a sample dress. If the wedding’s already over budget, consider buying a sample gown. Many dress shops sell sample gowns for up to 50% off!

MBB former brides and brides-to-be … do you have any other wedding dress advice for our homegirl Katy?

Your friendly neighborhood beauty addict,



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So far, 45 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. KyaLyn says:

    Search the wedding websites for dresses you like and bring their pictures in with you, so the salon can get an idea of your personal style. Also, let them know what type of ceremony and reception you’re having. (Garden, formal, beach, etc)

  2. Mishel says:

    !!! omg karen. u looked GORGEOUS on ur wedding day. ur dress was amazing and u have a glow to ya =)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mishel,

      Thanks! Yeah, that was a good day. It helps to have a professional do your hair and makeup. Now if only I had someone around 24/7 to hook me up, ha ha ha!

  3. Dao says:

    Since I’ve never been married, I have no experience in this field whatsoever. However, I would look into sales. David’s Bridal usually has sales quite often. Also, please get the gown ahead of time. I remember one of my college BFFs ended up paying a large sum of money for a gown that does not look that expensive.

    Another thing, and this really depends on the taste, simpler gowns always look more expensive (but actually are cheaper!)

    Dao´s last blog post..Show You My Stuff: the Train Case

  4. Tekoa says:

    Book appointments on weekdays. Its probably going to be less crowded and the employees less frantic.

  5. pia says:

    *gasps* your dress was totally beautiful, Karen. And you looked gorgeous!!

  6. Didi says:

    drooooool! those dresses are lovely! and you look beautiful! I especially like your veil – how long is it and how did you attach it?

    Didi´s last blog post..Peek into Didi’s Makeup Bag

    • Karen says:

      Hi Didi,

      It was an elbow length veil. My friend C-Money helped me make it! We got fabric from Joanne and made the veil in my living room. I couldn’t bear to spend 40 bucks on a yard of tulle, LOL!

      I ended up popping it on top of my head. 🙂

  7. katy says:

    Karen! I almost spit out my morning tea when I saw that you put my question on the home page! I’ve since announced this post to everyone who’s within earshot at my office. Ok, I’m not gonna lie, I gave it a shoutout on Facebook, too!

    Thank you!

  8. Mikele says:

    OMG KAREN! You looked totally gorgeous on your wedding day!! (as you should!) lol I went to David’s Bridal in Richmond(Pinole?) for my wedding dress and I lURVED it! Though I’m divorcing… if I ever remarry… I’m copying your dress Karen!! 😀

    And I totally agree about trying on what they recommend you try. That’s how I ended up with my dress!

  9. Nikki says:

    im getting married in june and i found my dress(this is what it looks like: ) but it was completely and totally a style i would have never picked for myself! i tried it on for a friend and i just fell in love with it.

    best of luck on your search katy

  10. Tatiana says:

    Silky sausage…hAHAHAHA! loved that one

  11. Faye says:

    Karen, you look lovely! Your next post inviting people to post pics should be of their wedding days. I’d bet we get some good ones.

    At the time I got married, my friend worked at Vogue. She told me about a new designer whose show she’d seen at the designer’s graduate school assignment show. I went to see her and had her design my wedding dress. To this day it’s my favorite dress ever — romantic but sleek and modern at the same time.

    The designer’s name is Sophia Kokosalaki, and she’s just starting to get big now (had her first show this year, I think). It’s kind of cool to think that I was one of her first “real” clients.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Faye,

      Oh, great idea! I will write that down on my “post ideas” list.

      I’ve never heard of your designer so I’ll definitely look her up. Hey, ya never know when you’ll need another gown for a vows renewal ceremony!

  12. Alexis says:

    I found my dress at a fundraiser. It was sponsored by Brides Against Breast Cancer where designers donated dresses and they were sold for about 50% off. It was in a ballroom at an Atlanta hotel and I got mine for $400, along with my veil, extra crinoline (sp?) and a corset. Check out their website… I know they go all over the country :).

  13. Alexis says:

    I forgot to mention… all the profits go toward breast cancer research, education, etc., so it’s for more than one good cause! 🙂

  14. Amanda says:

    I LOVE your dress!!! those are great photos too. No tips at this time, just wanted to say that I love anything wedded related also. 🙂 I love the planning of it all…

  15. Daya says:

    Do not let anyone talk you into a dress because the person A-says it’s a great deal B-the dress is what THEY want to see you in. If you don’t feel it’s THE dress for any reason, don’t get it. While I liked my final dress, I wasn’t in love with it.

    -Look into bridesmaids dresses too as an option. If the wedding is really informal, this may be all that’s needed. As they say in 27 Dresses, “you can shorten it and wear it again.” 🙂

  16. gio says:

    You looked gorgeous on your wdding day Karen. Your dress was beautiful!

  17. TerriB says:

    After trying all of the boutique bridal places in my city, I was about to give up in tears when I stopped at a small family owned place in a Mexican strip mall :). My taupe/white dream gown happened to be hanging on a sale rack of bridesmaid dresses. It was a designer brand sold at some of the higher-end places, but shopping at this inconspicuous shop brought me the personal attention I needed after visiting the bigger, expensive places. Although the outside display windows had some shiny lime green,low-cut prom gowns, the stock inside the store was amazing!

    • Karen says:

      Hi TerriB.,

      Thank you for sharing that story. It goes to show ya that you *never* know where you’ll find the perfect gown. Gotta keep those eyes peeled!

  18. jessica says:

    Karen, you were a beautiful glowing bride! I love love your dress too. You dish out great advice, I will def. keep it in mind for (far) future reference. Thanks! =)

  19. Renee says:

    Karen you looked so beautiful in your dress! Sigh … makes me want to dress up and get married!

    Did you ever write a post on the makeup you used on your wedding day? I’m curious to know what you wore 😛

  20. Jacki says:

    You looked AMAZING in your dress!!! I agree with Renee, what about your makeup on your wedding day?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Renee and Jacki,

      Thanks guys! I didn’t do my own makeup that day, I hired a makeup artist. Her name is Dorys Foltin and she’s based on Oahu, Hawaii. She has her own makeup line called Maleana, and she used a bunch of her products on me that day. You can purchase the items online at It’s been a minute since I’ve visited her website though (I got married in 2006) so hopefully the items you want will still be on there if you’re interested. Anyway, here’s a list of what she used:

      MALEANA Skin Vitality Mineral Mist
      MALEANA Concealer under eyes
      MALEANA Airbreeze C40 and 50
      MALEANA Loose translucent face powder 16 and 12

      MALEANA Sheer Satin Shadow 685 and 523
      MALEANA Dimensional Shadow Cognac
      MALEANA Shimmer Dust Tender
      MALEANA Indelible Gel Liner Black Out
      MALEANA Lash Thickener
      MALEANA Waterproof Mascara Black

      MALEANA Safari Bronzer Congo
      MALEANA Blush on Powder 392 and Kiss of Pink

      MALEANA SuperWear Lip Cream Bridal Rose
      MALEANA LumiShine Paparazzi

  21. NeenaJ says:

    Karen, a bit off topic, but still about weddings. What, in your opinion, is the best waterproof mascara to use for the big day? I don’t usually use a waterproof formula, so I need some help (it’s less than 2 weeks away)!


  22. Shana T says:

    I love talking about wedding things! When I went shopping for my wedding dress,I had all these styles in mind that I liked. I probably tried on a hundred dresses.I was really clear about what I wanted but nothing looked right. I was about to give up when the sales girl brought out a beautiful dress, it was strapless and I always said I didn’t want a strapless gown. She convinced me to just try it on. Guess what? It was awesome! I loved it! It was the perfect style for me and I felt like a million dollars in it! So I agree with you Karen. Don’t be afraid to try on what the salesgirl reccomends. They usually have a lot of experience and they can give you alot of good suggestions! Katy, congratulations and I hope you find your dream dress!

  23. Daya says:

    Dorys did my makeup too! I loved her..she was so sweet 🙂

  24. cloudburst says:

    Beautiful dress & beautiful bride! I love the simple, clean lines of your dress, very chic.

  25. Marisol says:

    Wow Karen… you look radiant in your wedding dress!

    Marisol´s last blog post..Movies & more movies

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