Local brides share their tips for smooth sailing as you prep for the big day.

This story first appeared in the Fall/Winter 2019 issue of Columbus Weddings, published June 2019.

Whether you’re sporting a sleek mermaid silhouette or a full, dramatic ballgown, chances are you’ve never worn anything like your wedding-day attire before. Wrangling unruly layers of tulle, shimmying into form-fitting Mikado silk or fastening dozens of tuxedo buttons is anything but graceful; learn from others’ experiences to make sure you avoid missteps. The No. 1 piece of advice we heard? Wear Spanx or other shapewear to ensure a slim, line-free silhouette. No. 2? Make sure someone—your bridesmaid, maid of honor, mother, sister—knows how to operate your bustle. Read on for more.

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“I chose a ‘block’ heel vs. stiletto for my shoes, and oh my god, am I glad I did! I was totally comfortable in them all night long.” —Nicole Diaz, married Alejandro Diaz on Sept. 21, 2018

“Crochet hooks for buttons are a must. Teach the groom how to do this so he can help you take your dress off at the end of the night. You might think you want to wear your wedding dress forever, but trust me, by the end of the night you will be so over wearing it that you just want out!” —Brittney Haas, married Alex Haas on Oct. 6, 2018

“Use Body Glide [anti-chafing gel] on itchy spots! My wedding gown had a lot of beading and was uncomfortable under my arms. Body Glide saved me from embarrassing red spots on the big day!” —Katelynn Dougherty, married Ben Lautzenheiser on Sept. 22, 2018

“Double-sided tape comes in handy to keep everything in place—you can even use it for jewelry.” —Kayla Childs, married Aaron Childs on Oct. 5, 2018

“I decided to bring a change of shoes to be more comfortable at the reception: kate spade new york glitter Keds. They were not broken in, so I had huge blisters on my ankles at the end of the night. Needless to say: Break in your shoes!” —Sarah Hackett, married Jeff Hackett on Oct. 27, 2018

“My mom ended up sewing my dress onto my corset undergarment on the day of the wedding. Even with the clips and hooks, the dress was sliding down. We were glad we packed the emergency sewing kit!” —Erin Carpenter, married Kevin Carpenter on Aug. 18, 2018

“I had a giant ballgown that weighed 15 pounds. The top was illusion, so it was made of mesh. When we were going through my fittings, I would get a rash on my shoulders and neck after wearing it for a few minutes. We ended up adding clear plastic straps connected to the skirt of the dress to act as ‘suspenders’ to hold the skirt up. It was a game-changer!” —Amy Waugh, married Justin Waugh on Oct. 3, 2018