My Tall Lady Wedding Dress Experience

It has been several years since I have experienced the excitement of wedding dress shopping. And that it was exciting- like all brides, I bought a plethora of magazines, scoured the internet and visited multiple bridal boutiques in hopes of finding “the one”. To this day, I love to leaf through a magazine and see the wedding dress trends of today and consider- if I were to get married today instead of over 5 years ago, would my dress be much different?

Nope. I loved it. Why? I got it made for me.

I find that I am sometimes able to get by shopping in select regular stores that have longer measurements for pants and sleeve lengths. And I’m sure tall ladies everywhere shared a collective sense of joy when loooong tops and tunics became (and have stayed, so far) a fashion staple. But wedding dresses- sure you can take down the hem, but what about the waistline?  Yes, tall women are long-legged in most cases, but a lot of the proportion and height comes from having a long torso.

I found that when I tried on wedding dresses, the bodice never hit in quite the right spot and looked AWKWARD. Having grown into my height some time ago and being quite proud of it, the last thing I want to feel on my wedding day is that awkward feeling I experienced in my teens. My mum’s friend had recommended a local Vancouver designer and after trying on several awkward dresses, we thought it would be worth it to pay him a visit and get an estimate.

So, isn’t it expensive?

Of course it can depend where your budget is in the first place. Personally, I have accepted that a product of being tall is shelling out a little bit for my clothes to fit properly, and it is so worth it when everything hits in the right place. In my experience, the cost of having the dress made in a design that I loved and would fit me to a tall “T” was actually quite reasonable-  and in quite a few cases (depending on the designers you are looking at),  less than what I would have paid for a dress from a boutique.

If you’re a tall gal in Vancouver, here is the website of the designer who created my dress. On my wedding day, I felt comfortable, beautiful and confident and that feeling should be a given and not something you have to even consider on that day, of all days. If you are located in other areas of this fine continent, I recommend you grab a few pictures of your favourite dresses from magazines and consult with a local designer to see what magic they can conjure up for you in the form of stunning white (off-white, pearl, ivory, etc…) gown.

7 thoughts on “My Tall Lady Wedding Dress Experience

  1. When I got married, I knew so much about weddings that I got a job at a bridal salon as a part time gig – to help with finances and feed my love of wedding gowns. There I got to try on every dress that was on the market, as it was the largest bridal shop in the midwest and they had over 2000 samples to choose from.

    I found My dress… “the One” …as I took it out of the box to check it into stock. It was perfect – the right fabric, style, amount of lace, back – everything! What was not perfect was that it was short waisted and short in length. But it was made by Jim Hjelm and being a couture gown that made it changeable., Most gowns on the market can be ordered with extra length – 8 inches if need be (found a dress for my much taller sister a few years later as well) – but Hjelm dresses (and most couture designers as well) can be changed even more. I ordered the dress with a 2 inch drop in the waist, 5 inches of extra length, and a cathedral train (it came with a chapel one). All the changes cost me $400 more (it was made of silk, so not cheap) but it was sooooo worth it!

    On my big day I could not have had a more perfect dress and best part when it came in – no alterations were needed as the length was ordered to my height in shoes – so the extra $$ to change it was a wash. So, moral of the story, even if you do not have a local seamstress, or you have fallen in love with a dress by a specific designer, there are changes that can be made when it is being made at the factory that can make it perfect for your height… just ask!

    • That is very good to know, thank you so much for sharing your story! I suppose designers know that a wedding dress is the one thing that women won’t accept as being “just a bit off, but I’ll make it work.”

  2. I had a similar problem, but carry my height in my legs. I was able to buy a dress from a local shop in Milwauke, WI 40 years ago. My main problem was the shoes in size 13(USA).

  3. Actually it depends on the designer. Almost all manufacturers have an extra length option available. Other than that they say order up a size and get alterations – alterations are necessary for almost everyone. Couture designers (examples: Hjelm, Diamond, Amsale, Pricilla… translate gowns that are more than $1000 starting) offer more options because many of their gowns are handmade and not mass produced. Some designers even ask that measurements be sent with the order so they can be tailor made for the bride. My gown was about $1600 retail (but I got an employee discount) and I had $400 in changes ($200 of that was for the longer train). Extra length will run $50-200 depending on the fabric and amount needed (again some have a standard 5 in, others will cut exactly what you want which is great since the largest alteration cost you would have is for a hem). It is important to know what hollow (spot at the base of your neck) to hem length IN SHOES is going to be – because asking about options depends on this. Same is true for bridesmaids. My dresses were Watters and Watters – lots of extra length options for all their gowns and they are stylish. My sister had a floor length gown on her 6’4″ frame with 2 inch heel – no problem!

    Funny – for my sister’s wedding, I wore a Jim Hjelm bridesmaid dress that would have matched my gown as well…came with enough length AND even still had the kick train in the back not taken up by my height! And I still love it today.

    • Sounds like knowing the wedding biz really helped you out in this situation! I had little to no knowledge of the wedding industry when I got married and pre-wedding I was pretty overwhelmed so didn’t investigate a tonne of options. That being said I am still happy with the route I chose as the dress cost no more than $2200 (although nowadays I imagine would be quite more, and of course as you said it all depends on the deign and the fabric). Great tip about the “hollow” to the floor. Thanks again!

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