Traditional or modern? White or something less expected? Short or long? Sleeved or strapless? With so many options to choose from in the wedding dress department, today's bride does not have it easy. In the midst of all the planning, it can be tough to distinguish between what you really want to wear and what you end up thinking you should wear because of outside influences—be it family, society, or the latest trends sweeping the bridal industry—and end up with wedding dress regrets years down the line. To provide some sage advice on the subject, 12 real brides spilled their biggest wedding dress regrets plus what they'd do differently if they had the chance. Read their honest stories to avoid some common wedding dress pitfalls.
Scroll down to read the biggest wedding dress regrets from these former brides and see what they wish they'd done differently.
"My mom really wanted me to wear a ball gown–style dress, so I acquiesced. But at each fitting, I would ask them to take out more 'pouf,' and by the end, it just looked like a deflated ball gown. Moral of the story: Wear what you want to wear in the first place." — Lauren
"When searching for the perfect dress, I didn't actually give much attention to the where and when of my wedding. I thought it was more important that the dress match my dream, instead of making sure it was appropriate for late May in Washington, D.C. That was a mistake. My dress had sleeves and included a crinoline slip with multiple layers to keep the skirt full. It, of course, ended up being unseasonably hot that day—about 95 degrees—and I was dressed like someone from Gone With the Wind." — Karen
"While I still like my dress from that day, I do regret the poufy sleeves—primarily because I think it identifies that fashion to a specific decade and it bothers me for some reason. I wish I had gone with something more timeless. My bridesmaid's gowns also sported the awful sleeves and a peplum to boot. I think I could've done better—something more flattering for everyone." — Lee
"I regret not doing a sweetheart neckline on my dress and not wearing a veil. At the time, I chose not to get them to save money, but I think I would have been happier with my look overall if I had just gone for it." — Lindsay
"I wish I had worn a piece of my mother or grandmother's jewelry that day. All of my friends seem to have done it subsequently, and I always feel a tinge of regret that I didn't do it myself. It's just a nice, symbolic touch." — Jennifer
"I'm not super into fashion or clothing, so I bought a simple dress from J.Crew and didn't give it a second thought. In retrospect, I wish I had at least taken it to a fancy wedding dress tailor so that it would have fit perfectly to my body." — Abby
"When they are measuring the length for your bustle, make sure you put on the shoes you want to dance in, rather than the ones you're doing the ceremony in. I had them do the length and the bustle with my four-inch heels on, and then, when I wanted to dance with flats, my dress dragged on the ground. Another alternative that I never seriously considered, but wish I had, was changing into a short dress for the super dancey part of the night. It would have been simple to switch into a short dress for the last hour or two, but I was worried about looking high-maintenance with two dresses. Instead, I became high-maintenance by having to constantly pull up my dress as it dragged around the floor." — Sam
"I wish I had worn my hair down and just pinned out of my face a bit. I never wear my hair up normally, so the updo felt stiff and out of character." — Paige
"I don't have regrets about my wedding gown—it was custom-made and incredibly generous gift from a designer who was a family friend. But I do regret my shoes. I wish I would have chosen some gorgeous, fun heels and not felt like they needed to be so traditional. And you only wear your wedding dress once, but the shoes you could wear again and be reminded of that special day." — Naomi
"I went to a lovely spa the weekend before my wedding. I was walking on a marble floor, there was a spill, and down I went. Cut to a purple and blue mottled foot and a severe sprain only days before my wedding. I had the dress of my dreams and the shoes to match, but I wound up under the chuppah in pristine white Nikes!" — Thea
"I really liked my wedding dress, but there were similar dresses I had looked at that were less expensive. Now, looking back, I probably didn't need to buy as expensive of a dress—you just wear it for one day. My regret is not being a little bit more budget-friendly." — Jenna
"I don't really have any regrets about the dress itself. I got it on sale, it wasn't quite the style I wanted—it was a halter so I altered it myself to make it a strapless dress then added my own crystals to it. Looking back, I wouldn't change anything about the dress. I only wish I had sold it right away. I didn't end up having any daughters to pass it down to, styles change, and it's turning yellow, even though I treated it, and now there's nothing I can do." — Dawn
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This story was originally published on March 3, 2015, and has since been updated.