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Altering plus size, designer, or long sleeved wedding dresses? Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

What to Consider When Getting Your Wedding Dress Ready for the Big Day

In a perfect world, finding your wedding dress would mean a perfect fit right off the hanger. But more often than not, the dress of your dreams needs a few alterations to perfectly suit your body and style.

That’s where fitting comes in! Once you’ve found your dream wedding dress, you will need to have it fitted. Fittings are the perfect opportunity to add special details and personalize your dress.

Whether you prefer long sleeved wedding dresses or sleeveless gowns, there’s something perfect for your size and style to ensure you can shine on your wedding day. Seamstress work and tailoring can make your dress look and feel even better.

If you’re not sure where to start with fittings and alterations, don’t worry – we’re here to help! We’ve covered everything from first fittings to who to bring, and we’ve included some tips for sizing and alterations.

First things first:

What to Expect at Your First Fitting

Your first fitting should take about an hour. When you try on the dress, your seamstress will pin it properly to give you a sense of how alterations will look. This will also give you a sense of how your dress will fit once it’s fully fitted. If your dress has a train, this is also an opportunity to look at bustle options.

After the first fitting, each fitting onward should take less time since the alterations will be closer to completion. This initial fitting is usually the longest, and future fittings will generally take much less time.

When to Schedule Fittings

The sooner you schedule, the better. The further out you schedule, the more time you’ll have to ensure your dress is perfect for your wedding day. Try to schedule your first fitting when you buy your dress, or at least 8 to 10 weeks before your wedding.

Brides typically have three or four fittings, depending on the number of alterations. With each fitting, your dress will become more sculpted to your body. And after the second fitting, you should have a better idea of how the dress will fit.

Your seamstress will help you set a fitting schedule based on the date of your wedding. At the very minimum, expect your final pickup fitting to be scheduled a month after your first fitting.

Ideally, you’d have two to three months between the first and final fittings. Keep in mind that if you ask for a greater number of alterations (or if the alterations are more time-consuming), it’s going to take more time. Remember, your seamstress is the expert – when in doubt trust in their skills and instincts!

What to Bring

Since you want your dress to fit perfectly on your wedding day, bring everything you plan to wear on your big day to your fittings. This includes undergarments (bra, slip, shapewear), shoes, a veil, hair accessories, and jewellery. With everything on, you will have a better idea of how each piece fits together for your final look.

Undergarments affect how a dress fits, and shoes will change how the dress’ length looks. If you don’t have your wedding shoes yet, bring a pair with similar heels so your dress won’t look too short or too long.

Who to Bring

Remember, fittings aren’t the White Dress Experience. By the time you’re getting fitted for your dress, you’ve already made your choice. That said, it’s worth bringing a few people to your fittings, especially if they’re part of the wedding party. Consider your maid of honour and perhaps another close friend.

You want people who know your style and what you’re looking for, but who aren’t afraid to be honest and tell you if it’s not quite perfect. Plus, if you plan to make your train a bustle, your maid of honour should be present at the final fitting so she can learn how to bustle your gown.

Sizing

The rule of thumb for choosing a dress size is to opt for comfort. In short, pick the larger size! It’s far easier to take in a dress during fittings than it is to make the dress bigger. Nevertheless, it is possible to bring a dress up in sizes, in some cases. Don’t worry if your size changes throughout the fittings. That’s what fittings are for!

Style & Alterations

The style of your wedding dress should suit your individual preferences. And if you can make it suit the style of your wedding location, theme, and décor as well, that’s even better.

Your seamstress will help you decide which alterations will work best without compromising the style of your dress. Along with the length and fit, you can choose alterations to make your dress more like you, such as:

  • Necklines – For example, if you want to change the neckline from straight to sweetheart.
  • Sleeves – You can add sleeves to a strapless wedding dress to create a cap-, short-, or long-sleeved wedding dress.
  • Corset Backs – You can switch out a zipper back with one that laces up. This might give you more room to breathe as well.
  • Bustles – If your dress has a train, you can opt to lift up your train after the ceremony. This bustle will change your look for the reception, giving you more mobility to dance.

Most bridal shops have experienced seamstresses who will work with you and your dress leading up to the big day. So if you have any concerns, or want alteration advice, your seamstress will be there for you, making sure your dress fits perfectly, and just how you imagined for your wedding day.