Tips for an Amazing Wedding Dress Experience from a Bridal Couture Expert

This week’s guest blog post is from Bo Lee at BoLee Bridal Couture of Sunnyvale, California.  She owns and runs more than a beautiful showroom with plush changing rooms and amazing collections.  She has consulted with hundreds of brides to assist them in selecting the perfect wedding dress.  Her advice here today is a generous gift to us all. 


Planning a wedding is undeniably one of the most stressful events in a girls’ life. For this reason, do yourself the favor of consulting with an experienced professional like BoLee Bridal Couture. Here are some helpful tips from Bo Lee for your journey in finding your dream dress!

It seems that every bride is waiting for that crying “this is the one” moment like we all see on TV, but in reality, not every bride has this experience; not every bride is the same.

If you’re a bride that tends to stress easily, our suggestion is to plan ahead. If you plan a good 10-12 months before your wedding date, this will significantly decrease your dress stress. Ten months to a year for a dress? Yes! It may seem a little crazy, but designer dresses are cut and made to order; they do not sit at a warehouse waiting to be shipped. And if you’re an easily stressed bride, you want to give yourself time.

On average, dresses take four to six months just to order. And of course no dress comes in and fits perfectly, so you will need alterations to give you that perfect fit for your day! This typically takes 2-3 months. If you plan on having accessories such as a veil or other hair pieces give yourself time to order that as well, about 2-3 months.

Seems simple, but what if you don’t have a year? There is always the option of buying a sample dress. These are dresses sold off the rack and are usually a great price for a designer gown. However, be prepared to have it altered because the standard sample sizes are 8, 10, 12 and not every lady’s body is the same!

Now, we’d like to address a somewhat sensitive issue… Weight! We all think about it, especially a bride-to-be. Obviously she wants to look her best for her wedding, and this may include the bridal diet. We see it often, and it is never a smart idea to order a dress too small and hope you’ll fit into it later. It is also not a good idea to wait until the last minute when you’ve lost weight to order a dress, because then you risk the chances of ordering your dress in time. Always order the size that fits you now and if you do lose weight, that is what alterations are for and kudos to you! If you don’t lose weight, not to worry, that is also what alterations are for! Either way you will look beautiful and have a perfect fit! Nothing is more gorgeous than a woman with confidence, who is sparkling from the inside out on her wedding day!

We know that all you ladies are busy conquering the world but when that special time in your life comes to start planning your wedding, take some time for yourself! Flip through bridal magazines, pin on your Pinterest wedding board and subscribe to wedding websites to reference the dresses you like. This is the best way to get an idea of what you want to look like for your special day. So when you do come across a dress that intrigues you fold the corner down, pin the picture, or save it to your mobile device so you can show your consultant when you go to your appointment.

You should think of what you want to look like on your wedding day, romantic, rustic, vintage, classic these are just some examples. If you find yourself completely unprepared for your appointment, don’t fret, just tell your consultant and she can take it from there. You will find out pretty quickly what you like and what you don’t like in just a handful of dresses. Remember, it is the consultant’s job to help you find the perfect dress and in order to do that, sometimes we have to start from scratch.

When you are at your appointment, the best mindset is to be open and decisive. If you loved the pictures of the dresses you brought in with you more than you actually like the dress on you, don’t feel defeated, be open! If you are open-minded to try different silhouettes or fabrics, this can be the best way to find your dress. Sometimes, dresses have no hanger appeal but they might look fabulous on you!

How do you know it’s “the one”? Some girls cry when they’ve found the dress, but most don’t! The best way we know of leading you to that moment when you say, “it’s the one” is by asking a couple of simple questions.

One: Can you see yourself getting married in this and walking down the aisle to your fiancé?

Two: Are you excited to put this dress on and do you get sad to take it off?

Three: If this dress were gone tomorrow and you could no longer get it how would you feel?

If you see yourself getting married in a dress, get excited to be in a dress or would feel totally crushed if a dress were gone, then you have found your dress! Congratulations!

Now that you’ve found a dress you love, be decisive! So many brides find their perfect dress on their first shot, but they feel like it is too easy and they need to keep shopping. That is not the case at all. Why would you want to make your dress shopping harder on yourself? It’s like falling in love with your fiancé; after you do, you don’t go looking for another guy.

On the other hand, if you don’t have that “it’s the one” moment, don’t be discouraged, just change your game plan. Obviously what you’ve been looking at hasn’t worked. So change it up by trying different fabrics, silhouettes, or you may need to change your mindset. Many brides can’t make a decision because they fear making a mistake or disappointing others. That’s okay, not everyone’s tastes in dresses are the same. You are not going to please everyone because the most import person to please is yourself! You are the one getting married in it, so you need to love it!

Another important point that many brides don’t think about is who they actually bring to their bridal appointments. It is not a good idea to bring everyone you know, too many opinions equal too many minds to please, and remember, the only mind to please is yours! Bring people that know your style and that won’t force their style on you. They may not love your dress for themselves but they love it for you, those are the people to bring! Remember; bring people who are supportive, not critical!

So by following these insightful tips, you too can have an amazing experience finding your dream dress!


BoLee Bridal Couture is a high-end retailer of designer wedding dresses located at 542 Lawrence Expressway in Sunnyvale, CA. Their goal is to provide expert guidance to brides as they find the perfect dress! They offer a relaxed and open setting where a bride can take in the atmosphere and not feel overwhelmed. They also have great team of consultants who value customer satisfaction as their top priority and they strive to not only find the dream dress but to give their clients the best experience possible.

Also find BoLee Bridal Couture on Yelp or Facebook.



How to Reduce Wedding Day Stress – Tip #2

DOUBLE the time you think you need – for EVERYTHING!

This is the most important tip of all.  Time seems to pass much more quickly on the wedding day.  No wedding vendor we know (and we know a MANY) can think of one bride who didn’t run late for just about everything.  This creates a huge amount of anxiety and stress for you and for your family and wedding party.  Then add booze to the mix and chaos will rule!

The solution is simple.  Double the amount of time you think you need for everything.  If you think hair will take an hour – give it two.  If you think makeup will take 30 minutes – give it an hour.  Wedding planners can really help with this but if you don’t have a planner, you must allow plenty of time or you will not have a stress-free wedding and you will not have time to get the gorgeous photos you saw on your photographer’s website!

One of the most common causes of wedding day delays is getting from one place to another.  If you will be in different locations for hair, makeup, getting dressed, ceremony, photographs, and reception, a lot of time can be chewed up getting around.  This is why a carefully thought out timeline is so valuable.  Having a limo is great because you don’t have to deal with parking but if you don’t have this luxury all day, select a designated driver to get you around.

Here are a few of the time-killing delays you can expect related to getting around…

  • Getting out of the bridal suite – you may have to find things to take with you, get others to come along and in a messy bridal suite, this can take time.
  • Getting from the bridal suite to the car – you may have a bit of a walk to the car, in the big dress, and while you’re walking, you are running into friends and relatives who want to greet you and chit-chat.
  • Getting the car – your car may be in valet so make sure you call down before you leave the room.
  • Getting into the car – you may be wearing the largest garment you’ve ever worn and getting into a car may be difficult.
  • Finding your destination – you may not be familiar with the area or how to get to your destination.  Be sure to print directions to all destinations before the wedding day.
  • Traffic – what else is going on in town on your wedding day?  Any parades or big sporting events that might create a traffic nightmare?  Find out ahead of time by asking your hotel or checking a local events website.
  • Drive time – calculate the expected drive time taking into account the time of day and any other possible issues such as detours or weather.
  • Parking – scout out the parking situation ahead of time for every location you’ll be going to on your wedding day.   Use a limo or designated driver to avoid the parking dilemma.

Really take the time upfront to think through the flow of your day and pad the schedule.  It will make ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

How to Reduce Wedding Day Stress – Tip #1

Don’t be afraid to ask for help…

Your wedding day should be one of the best days of your life, filled with laughter and tears of joy.  You should be surrounded by people you love who are having the time of their lives at your wedding – the wedding that they tell you is the best one they’ve ever been to!  However, your wedding could be one of the most stress-filled days of your life, filled with arguments and tears of anguish.

So begins our Guide to Planning a Stress-Free Wedding Day – available as a free download here.

However, today we have a little sample tip from the guide to share with you here on the blog.  Check back again soon for more tips or download the guide now!

Get Wedding Planning / Coordination Help

While not everyone has the budget for a wedding planner, almost anyone would have a smoother wedding day with a little help from a professional planner or at least a day-of coordinator.

You’re probably not a professional event planner so why put it all on yourself to plan the most important event of your life?  You’re already too busy with your job, dress hunting, honeymoon planning and (admit it) dieting!  A wedding planner can schedule meetings for you, attend them with you (or for you), help pick out invitations, linens and take care of all the details you just don’t have time for. 

A professional planner knows the industry, they know many other vendors and they are simply very efficient and know where to find the best prices on everything.  You can very easily save money on your wedding by hiring a wedding planner.

A good wedding planner will work with your photographer to make sure your wedding day flows smoothly and you have all the time you need to get the gorgeous photographs you’ve been dreaming of.

So, our advice is to look into hiring a planner even if you don’t think you have the budget for it.  You just might find that they pay for themselves and you get your life back!

This tip is an except from our Guide to Planning a Stress-Free Wedding Day – available as a free download here.

A Gown Designer’s Top 6 Tips for an Amazing Wedding

We have something very special to share today!  This post kicks off a series of wedding expert guest posts here on the Jim Vetter Photography Blog.  It occurred to me recently that I know so many great wedding vendors and they all have so much valuable insight and advice they can share.  So, I’ve gathered some of the top bay area wedding professionals to share their top tips for having an amazing wedding.  

The first of these talented and experienced wedding industry specialists is indie vintage gown designer and blogger, Amy-Jo Tatum.  I met her a few years ago when I was searching for awesome vintage gowns for an inspirational styled bridal shoot.  I fell in love with her gowns (seen below) as well as her vintage vivaciousness.  I think you will love her t0o!  ~  Jim Vetter



Hello!  My name is Amy-Jo Tatum.  I’ve worked as a bridal gown designer since 1984 and seen so many changes not only in wedding fashion but trends and societal codes as well. When Jim asked me to do a guest post for his blog I was totally jazzed as well as honored.  Jim might blush here while I’m giving him a plug–but here goes: He has all the traits of the quintessential photographer and working with him has always been a stress-free and pleasurable experience.  Add to that he’s tops at coordinating the time factor–his and yours–  most essential in capturing great images on your wedding day. That said,  I’m going to continue here with a few more insights about finding stellar qualities in a photographer and what my brides have told me over the years about what they liked and didn’t . . . .


By engagement time, many of my clients/brides already know their photographer through friends and/or family–someone who’s already hooked up in their network.  But not always.  My husband and I fell in love with our photographer years back at a wedding fair.  We took one look at her work and knew her style was exactly what we were looking for.  I can’t stress enough how important finding the right photographer is.  These images will be family keepsakes a hundred years from now so choose your shooter carefully.  These days the web is a treasure trove of wedding blogs and images I know can be totally overwhelming at first. Info overload aside, you really need to zone-in on the photographers and style you like. By the time you’re ready to interview candidates you’ll have a clearer picture of how you want your wedding shot.


Look for Great editing.  I find the best photographers know when to stop with all the special effects so the picture looks natural.  Think of a great make up artist and how and where he/she knows just where to enhance.  For me over edited pics are the equivalent of digital paintings–great for a Grace Coddington editorial but typically not the thing for chronicling a wedding.

Easy.  Yes, you need a shooter who’s easy to work with.  Primadonnas behind the lens last about as long as disposable cameras.

Timelessness.  Is your photographer too trendy? Ten, fifty, a hundred years down the timeline will these pictures look too dated–Instagramed?  Photographers who stand the test of time are the ones who create pictures that generations later, the viewer recognizes something familiar and timeless . . . .


You’ve come a long way baby!  Think back to all the restrictions there used to be on weddings starting with the dress.  Can you believe some women (though not as many as there used to be) are still asking if it’s okay to wear a white gown without being a virgin?  Add to this once upon a time  you couldn’t bare back, arms, decolletage, legs, etc. in a proper church wedding.  You had to be covered up and veiled almost completely. The result was those cookie-cutter satin uniforms of yesteryear they called, bridal gowns.  Thanks to a new generation of women saying, “I’m gonna wear what I want when I tie the knot,” a wedding can be on the beach in the sand, bride sporting bare feet.  It can also be in a barn in a polka dot dress with your groom in spurs.  The point is, you can pretty much do and wear whatever you want as long as it’s all about you and your true love on your wedding day.


Look for easy to wear.  Go for natural and micro fibers if you can. It’s going to be a long day so opt for something that breathes well.  I once read a great Yelp review on a designer who created a gown so comfortable the bride didn’t want to take it off . . .

Wear what you want.  If you fancy a red dress go all out and find a custom designer who will indulge you. If you’re lucky you’re only gonna do this wedding thing once so you mind as well wear the dress you want . . .


The Etiquette Police have passed on.  Those old dowagers who wrote and kept the books have left their mark via grand dame actresses like Maggie Smith reminding us women like this really did run society.  It used to be the season you got married dictated almost everything about your wedding: Whether your fiance wore a morning suit or if those bridesmaids could wear pink in the dead of winter.  All I can say about sporting colors, wearing formals and even carrying an out-of-season bouquet is, you and your groom need to do what makes you happy.   I’ve seen some very beautiful pastel winter weddings and grooms in relaxed attire in grand ball rooms and it all worked. The key is, it’s all about you guys . . . 

Most important tip of all: Eliminate Stress.  Yes eliminate.  Relax.  You’ve planned this out a long time and want to share your joy with everyone!  I know weddings can be like one big family reunion and what family doesn’t have it’s own special tremors that rock the scale? But if you tune into the right headset from the start, you’ll realize this is all about you and your life partner–not them or any outside influence like a cake not being delivered or the officiant being late.  In the end, it doesn’t really matter what goes down at your wedding but how you handle the marriage.  And by the end of the day you’ll already be married.  What more could you ask . . .?

Amy-Jo Tatum is an indie bridal designer of vintage-inspired gowns and accessories. When she’s not in her design studio, you’ll find her blogging about bridal fashion on her blog, Bride Chic

How to Choose a Wedding Photographer

Choosing a wedding photographer is unlike any other choice you will make as you plan your wedding.  There are no other decisions that have such long term implications for how you remember your wedding day for the rest of your life.  For this reason, there are some very important considerations you will want to make.

So many couples make their wedding planning choices based primarily on price.  This does make sense for many of the things you need for your wedding.  However, unlike the food, the dress, the flowers, or the music… your photography is not forgotten after the wedding.  Your wedding photos are all that remain of the wedding day and you don’t get a second chance to get them right.

So, let’s talk about what’s really important…

You gotta LOVE your photographer!

You will spend a significant portion of your wedding day with your photographer.  You will want to spend that time with people who enhance your experience and make it even more exciting.  This is why its so important meet face to face with your photographer candidates before you book one.  Meet them for coffee or a drink and get to know them a bit.  If they are not someone you’d want to hang out with, then they are not your photographer – regardless how nice their portfolio looks or how low their prices are.  Don’t settle for a mediocre experience on your wedding day.  You deserve better!

You gotta LOVE their work!

There is a huge variety of photographic artistic styles out there.  Which one is right for you?  I suggest imagining yourself in the photos you see on each photographers website.  When you do this, how does it feel?  If you feel anything but excited and happy, they are not your photographer.  Keep looking.  You don’t want to have to give stylistic direction to your photographer so that you get images you love.  You are hiring an artist and you should give them the artistic license to fulfill their vision.  Just make sure that you love their vision by looking at a lot of their work.

You gotta TRUST your photographer!

Gaining trust in someone you’ve just met can be challenging.  To some extent, you will need to make a leap of faith.  So, in addition to meeting them in person, you should read their reviews and connect with their client references if possible.  We collect client reviews on and but there are various other review sites out there.  Be sure to ask each photographer for their reviews.

So how do you go about finding the right photographer?  Here is the advice that I give to people I care about.

Personal Referrals

Ask your married friends and family about their photographer.  There is nothing better than a referral from someone you already know and trust.

Photographer’s Website

Many wedding photographers don’t have a studio that you can go visit so their website is their virtual storefront.  Spend some time exploring their site.  It will tell you a lot about them and how they run their business.  If the site is outdated with broken links then that may the kind of photographer they are.  If the site is clean and easy to navigate and understand then that is likely to be a photographer that is easy to work with and communicate with.

You’ll find the photographer’s portfolio on their website.  These are the photos that the photographer believes to be their very best work.  It is also the work that best represents their artistic style.  If there are lots of different styles in their portfolio then it is hard to say what style photos you’d get from them from your wedding.  Choosing a photographer with a consistent style that you love is very important.

Photographer’s Blog

Don’t forget to check out the photographer’s blog.  This is typically updated much more frequently than the website itself and gives you a much better idea of the quality and style you could expect if you hired them.  If a photographer hasn’t updated their blog in several months then that’s a red flag and you should wonder whether they are actively working in your market.

Speak with your photographer candidates

Whatever you do, DON’T simply send emails asking for pricing and package info.  If you like the photographers’ work, and their online presence is promising, pick up the phone and call them and make a personal connection.  The price list tells you nothing about the experience you’ll have.  Make sure you get a feel for what they have to offer before ruling them out based on price alone.

Meeting in Person

When you finally meet in person with your short list of photographers, have some questions ready for them that will help you understand what it would be like to work with them.  Here are some great things to ask/discuss when you meet:

  1. What is your style of direction and interaction with your clients when you’re shooting?
  2. How can you help us look our best in the photos?
  3. How does the wedding day flow with you as our photographer?
  4. How will we view our proofs after the wedding?
  5. When will our proofs be ready to view?
  6. How will my family and friends order prints after the wedding?
  7. What is included in each package and how are they priced?
  8. What add-ons may we be interested in and how are they priced?
  9. What kind of guarantee do you offer?
  10. May I give you direction about who/what to photograph on my wedding day?
  11. How will you make my wedding day coverage unique to me?
  12. What is the process with you after the wedding for proofs, ordering, delivery, etc.?
  13. Will you be shooting our wedding personally or is there a different photographer?
  14. Why are you a wedding photographer?


In addition to asking these types of questions, be sure to take some time to get to know them as a person.  This will give you a much better idea about whether or not you want to spend a large part of the most important day of your life with them.

Stepping Up and Booking your Photographer

When it finally comes down to making the decision, trust your gut.  If it doesn’t feel quite right, its probably not.  If you really like the photographer then chances are that you will get great photos.

Before you sign on the dotted line, confirm exactly what you’re paying upfront and when the balance is due.  Also be sure you understand what the payment and refund policies are.  Most photographers (including us) make all payments non-refundable.  However, by this point you are confident in your choice because you did your homework and your due diligence.


Finally, when you’ve booked your photographer, signed the contract and paid the retainer, its time to celebrate having made one of the most important decisions about your wedding.  If your photographer is interested in providing fabulous experiences, they will be giving you a bottle of wine or champaign after you book.  Crack that baby and have a toast to a fantastic wedding with amazing photographs that you will cherish for the rest of your life!

San Francisco Wedding Photography by San Francisco Wedding Photographer, Jim Vetter Jim Vetter Photography is anything but your average San Francisco wedding photographer. Each wedding is treated with care and creativity not found with other San Francisco wedding photography studios. Your wedding day is carefully crafted to offer one of a kind unique photography in the San Francisco area.  This is San Francisco wedding photography at its best. Jim Vetter Photography is an award winning photographer based in the San Francisco bay area. Offering wedding coverage in San Francisco, San Jose, Napa, and destinations worldwide.  This wedding photography studio is one of the top studios in the country and is located right here in the San Francisco bay area.

Elegant. Romantic. Fun. These are the words typically used to describe this San Francisco wedding photographer.  We take pride in offering our clients the type of San Francisco wedding photography they are looking for. Its one thing to take pictures, its another to create art for our clients.  Our San Francisco clients are typically looking for artwork for their home vs. snapshots, and that is what draws them into our San Francisco wedding photography studio.  Serving the San Francisco bay area Jim Vetter Photography offers San Francisco wedding photography coverage in the San Francisco bay area, including but not limited to, San Jose, Marin County, East Bay, San Mateo, Napa and Sonoma, and the surrounding areas 

Not looking for a San Francisco wedding photographer? Please be sure to consider us for all your family photography needs in the San Francisco area.  We are located conveniently in the San Francisco bay area just across the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County.  Please call or email us for more information.  Learn more about this San Francisco Wedding Photographer

Top 5 Tips for Looking Great in Your Photographs

As a wedding photographer in the San Francisco area, I photograph a huge variety of people. Big & small, short & tall, shy & bold, young & old. Regardless of who you are, you will look best in your photos if you follow these 5 simple tips for looking great in your photographs.

Tip #1 – Closer is Bigger

If you don’t want your butt to look bigger than it actually is, shift your weight to your back foot and push your hips away from the camera.  This tip applies to any body part.  Whatever is closest to the camera will look bigger!



Tip #2 – Slimmer from the Side

Turn your body so the camera sees the side of your waist – it is much smaller from the side than straight on.  This is true not only for your waist but also for your shoulders and hips.  Guys may want their shoulders square to the camera so they look bigger but most women don’t want to look broad so remember to avoid facing your body square to the camera.





Tip #3 – Lean in to look Lean

Leaning back can make anyone look like the Michelin Man!  So, to get rid of the extra chins, you need to slightly lean forward from your waist up.  This also makes your chest bigger than your hips which most of us want.  Lean in to look Lean.




Tip #4 – Roll ’em Back to remove the Rolls

If you’re wearing a strapless gown, then you run the risk of looking like a snow cone or the top of a muffin if you don’t roll those shoulders back!  Only the super skinnies can get away with that high fashion forward shoulder roll.  So, make that expensive dress look its best by rolling your shoulders back.  This will also accentuate your bust line – just in case that’s of interest to you.


Tip #5 – Show them Big Sexy Eyes!

Your eyes will look bigger and more beautiful if they are open a little wider.  To do this without looking like someone just pinched your bottom, I suggest lowering your chin slightly while doing the Lean (Tip #3).  When you lower your chin, you’ll be looking up a bit to the camera which opens you eyes and makes them look much more bright and sexy.


Bonus Tip – Relax!

If you can’t remember any of the Top 5 Tips above, just relax and think of the camera as a good friend who’s trying very hard to flatter you –  you beautiful thing, you!


Do you have friends who would benefit from these tips?  Share this post on Facebook with the link below.

Here’s to looking amazing!