Funding, Finding and Fitting into your Wedding Dress (I ❤ Weddings Series #2)

Funding, Finding and Fitting into your Wedding Dress (I ❤ Weddings Series #2)

Jan 28, 2015

(As promised, here’s the piece from my goddaughter about the wedding dress. Although Queen Victoria was the one who popularized the use of white wedding dress when she married Prince Albert in 1840, the first recorded white wedding dress was worn by Anne of Brittany, when she married Louie the XII of France in 1499. Fast forward to the 21st century and brides still wear the white wedding dress. Let’s hear it from a brand new bride as she shares valuable insights on the three important Fs of a wedding dress.)

Katzi (Kathleen Marie Fres Felix-Santos) in her dream wedding gown
Katzi (Kathleen Marie Fres Felix-Santos) in her dream wedding gown


Funding, Finding, and Fitting into Your Wedding Dress

by Kathleen Marie Felix-Santos

When I was four years old, my mom gave me a coloring storybook of Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s Royal Wedding. I enjoyed reading and coloring the pages so much and dreamed that one day, I too shall find my own prince and wear a beautiful big princess gown when I get married.

I was a flower girl a number of times at weddings of my aunts and uncles. I would always enjoy being a flower girl. Unlike other little girls who would complain about stuffy gowns and itchy petticoats, I would refuse to remove my gown. So naturally, one of my favorite topics when it comes to wedding planning is dress shopping. It’s so easy to get lost in wedding gown trends and labels. Luckily, I have a few tips to make dress shopping a fun experience. Remember, dress shopping isn’t only about finding your dream dress. It also involves being able to pay for it and looking your best in it.

Top left: Katzi as flower girl; Top right: Katzi with mom Dada; Bottom: Bride and Groom with their entourage
Top left: Katzi as flower girl; Top right: Katzi with her mom, my sister, Dada; Bottom: Bride and Groom Joey with their entourage


Funding your dress

A few years ago, even before our boyfriends proposed, my best friend/Maid-of-Honor, Janna and I would talk about our dream wedding suppliers, including gown designers. Our then boyfriends, Joey and Yaw (Joey is now my husband and Yaw is now Janna’s fiancé!) would exchange worried looks and always go “What? You’re willing to pay that amount for a dress you’re only going to wear once?”

So Janna and I decided that we should start saving for our own dream gowns. Saving for my wedding gown way before getting engaged was one of the best decisions I ever made because when it was time to shop for my dress, it felt good that I was going to be able to call the shots. So my tip is to start saving for your dress early. I know it may sound funny or even assuming because you may not even be engaged right now, but trust me, you will feel a sense of freedom when your own wedding dress shopping day comes and you know that you have enough money set aside for the gown that you want.

To start your dress fund, set a target amount by doing some research on the price points of the styles or the designer that you like. Remember to add 10% to this amount as wedding costs tend to increase every year. Set an end date and break down the total amount to make the goal less intimidating. I can tell you that reaching your goal amount would take a lot of discipline, creativity, and patience – things that you would also need when planning your wedding and starting your married life.


Finding your dress

When Joey proposed, I got really excited because after years of saving, I would finally get to wear my dream wedding gown! After reserving our church and reception venue, I booked an appointment at a bridal salon. I tried A-line and ball gowns and loved them all! Of course, my favorite was the gown with the biggest skirt. It fit so well! I was finally going to be able to buy my dream gown that I saved for for 3 years. But I was also having second thoughts. The price was really expensive for a single-use dress, never mind that it was a European brand. I knew that with the same amount of money, I could find a local designer who would be able to make not only my dress, but also that of my mom, my mother-in-law, and entourage. This is another reason why I highly recommend saving for your dress early because it makes you more conscious of your spending since you will be using money that took you years to save.

Luckily, my chief bridesmaid, Dyan suggested her wedding gown designer – Mila Santiago-De Leon. I was a bridesmaid at Dyan’s wedding and I remember really enjoying the designing and fitting experience at Tita Mila’s shop. So I met with Tita Mila and we discussed my concerns about my body (huge hips!) and she made suggestions on what she thought would look good on me. Because of the personal touch, I was convinced that I had to go with Tita Mila. I was so happy that the mommies and my entourage wouldn’t have to worry about their gowns either. I showed Tita Mila my pegs for the gowns – sleek and clean so all the female entourage had to do was show up at the shop for their fittings and Tita Mila would come up with a design that best suits their body types. I also read somewhere that dressing your entourage in different styles in the same color fabric makes them feel individually special. Of course, although the wedding is supposed to be the bride’s day, I also wanted to honor my friends and sisters-in-law by making them feel beautiful in their gowns. No hideous, embarrassing entourage gowns were allowed at my wedding.

Katzi with her bridesmaids and maid of honor
Katzi with her bridesmaids and maid of honor

I really enjoyed my dress fittings so I’m sharing with you 3 tips to make finding your dress a painless process:

  1. Bring a trusted advisor. In my case, I brought my mom. My mom always has my best interest at heart and would tell me honestly if I looked bad in a certain dress. During my fittings she would make comments and suggestions which helped make my gown prettier.
  2. Research the kindest cut for your frame. There are a lot of fashion resources online which can help you get an idea of what would fit and flatter you best. Narrowing down your choices ahead of time will make decision-making easier.
  3. Listen to your designer (or shop assistant if you’re buying off-the-rack). Your designer is trained to dress various body types and make recommendations on the fabric, shades, beadwork and lace types based on your wedding venue, time and season. Listen to her! Incidentally, listening is also important in a successful marriage.


Fitting into your dress

While Tita Mila and her team were busy creating my dream wedding gown, I had another thing to think about and that was getting in shape for the big day. Even now at 30, I am still fascinated by British Royalty. So of course, I also look to Kate Middleton for style inspiration. In fact, I even tried the diet she followed to prepare for her own wedding a few years ago. While it showed some results, I wasn’t really able to sustain it because it was a high-protein diet. So I just focused on eating healthy. I stopped eating potato chips and fried dishes. I also tried to be more active by walking more. In less than 5 months, I lost 10 pounds and I did it without starving myself. I would always eat 3 full meals a day and have snacks in between but the difference was that I made better food choices. Steamed instead of fried, fish instead of beef, and non-fat yoghurt instead of gelato.

Aside from achieving my goal weight, I also felt more energized which was really helpful especially a month before my wedding when I would stay up late planning our program, laying out our missalette, finalizing seat plans and driving through Metro Manila traffic to make it to back-to-back supplier meetings and fittings.

On my wedding day, I felt happy and confident in my wedding dress. I also felt proud that I was able to achieve my goal weight. My only hope is that I will be able to sustain my healthy diet. Staying fit means I will have more spirit and liveliness to share with my husband and this can bring a new sense of vitality to our relationship. And also, my godmother (both in baptism and wedding), the FQ Mom issued a challenge during her speech at my wedding reception – for me to still fit into my wedding dress 25 years from my wedding day (like she did!) for Joey’s and my Silver Wedding Anniversary renewal of vows! Needless to say, Challenge Accepted.

I hope my tips help. In the end, what’s important is that you feel comfortable that the dress fits both your body and budget perfectly, making you feel more beautiful than you’ve ever felt before.

The gown details
The gown details


To read the Introduction and Article #1 of I Weddings Series, please go to Archive




  1. I will be speaking on January 28, 2015 at the 2015 Thanksgiving Kapihan and 15th Anniversary Kick-off of Sun Life Asset Management Company, Inc. together with Marvin. The event starts at 2pm at the Function Hall 3, SMX Convention Center SM Aura.
  2. I will be speaking at the 3rd Mompreneur Summit on January 31, 2015 at the Edades Tower in Rockwell. The event starts at 9 am. Other speakers are Mutya Laxa Buensuceso, Rissa Manaquil-Trillo, Jacqe Yuengtian Gutierrez, Hindy Webber Tantoco, Jill Gerodias-Borja, Eileen Juan, Mia Fausto Cruz, AA Patawaran and Janice Villanueva. To register please click


Bridal Credits:

Bridal Gown: Mila Santiago-De Leon

Makeup by Gold –

Photography by Arwin Doloricon –


(Rose Fres Fausto is the author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys (download free book sample) and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (a story and activity book for kids from 1 to 92). Click this link to watch the new and exciting Book Trailer.

To read her other articles go to Author Archive of, and Send your questions and comments via email to To watch her interviews and other videos, go to FQ Mom you tube channel.)

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