Looking for Communion dresses can be a huge task especially when you are dragging a 2nd grader around. For 16 years, I have been photographing little girls in their communion dresses and I have heard stories from the moms and little comments from the girls when it comes to their dresses.
The first mistake is to let your daughter pick the communion dress out. Of course she should have a say in her dress, but over the years I have seen gowns that did not compliment their body type. I have had tiny little girls in long, puffy gowns that they were lost in and it made them look shorter than they really are. I have had stocky girls in tight straight gowns, or gowns that fit too tight in the turso area (which draws attention to the stomach area) and then puffs way out that sometimes makes them look bigger. Try to get a style gown that they like but at the same time looks best with their body style. Also remember, all little girls have a tendency to push their stomachs out when standing and that can change the look of the dress too.
Covered arms look better in pictures. We as adults know that our eyes go straight to the sleeveless arm area in a picture. We all hate how our arms look in pictures and the same is true for little girls. Sometimes a very tiny arm will look great in pictures, but even if the sleeve comes down a bit, that can change where our eyes go when looking at a communion portrait. We want our eyes to go to our child's face, not her arms. Some sleeveless communion dresses do have a jacket to go with it just for this point.
Linen dresses are beautiful but they show wrinkles very easily in person and in pictures.
Make sure the arm and neck areas fit correctly. Many times communion dresses fit perfect in the turso area and length wise but the neck and arm areas are loose. In pictures, that is the area you will see every time so please make sure that it's fitted correctly. If you buy your dress from a dress shop, they will make sure that it is done. If you purchase your communion dress online, in a department store or if it was given to you, chances are it will have to be altered. Take the time to have it altered at a tailor shop. It doesn't cost that much and it will make or break your dress.
Regardless where you get your dress from your daughter should feel comfortable and special in it. Hopefully with the above pointers, you both can agree on a dress that will look stunning on her in person and in pictures.