Monthly Archives: May 2019

Understanding Your Wedding Dress Fitting Timeline

When should you first see a seamstress to have your wedding dress fitted in time for the big day?

You’ve found your dream dress, put in the order, and after months of waiting, it’s finally arrived. For most brides, this is the first time they’re able to try their gown on in their size, rather than in whatever sample size was available to them in the bridal boutique. But even trying on your actual dress in a size that is closer to your body, almost every dress requires alterations of some kind, and these can have a dramatic effect on the final product.

Most brides know this, of course, and are eager to set up their first appointment with a seamstress to begin the alterations process. But while it does take several weeks to get the dress just right, it’s important to time the appointments carefully—especially if you expect to change sizes in the final weeks before the wedding. Schedule your first fitting too soon, and your dress may not fit the way you want it on your big day. But, leave it too long, and you may have to compromise on some of your major alterations.

It’s typical for a bride to have three to four fittings to get everything just right. Most of this can be handled in the last two to three months before the wedding. Even knowing this, most brides can feel anxious about their schedule as the big day nears. So, if you want a more detailed breakdown of your wedding dress fitting timeline to ease your mind, read on.

3–4 months to go: Bespoke customizations.

Some brides order a dress that’s close to what they want, but still need some significant alterations to be their dream gown. For instance, a bride may want to incorporate a dramatic contrasting color into the dress, add sleeves, or change the neckline. While these are all doable for an experienced seamstress, they do require extra time. And because these changes affect other parts of the dress, some of them must be done before any other adjustments can take place.

If you know your dress will require customizations, talk to your seamstress early to get an idea for how much time she will need to fashion these alterations. However, if you found a dress that was practically perfect in any way (save the fit), you probably don’t need to schedule your first appointment so early.

2–3 months to go: Major alterations.

For most brides, their first fitting will be about two to three months out. At this fitting, the seamstress goes over every aspect of the dress from head to toe to see what needs to be altered. Even though dresses are ordered in a size that is close to body measurements, most brides will still need to adjust for every nuance of her figure. And since it takes several months for the arrival of the wedding gown after an order is placed, it’s more than likely that the bride’s measurements will have changed in the meantime.  Even a small change in size can impact the fit of a gown as there is little to no give or stretch in the fabrics of wedding gowns.

Don’t forget to bring the undergarments and shoes you plan to wear for the wedding! The height of your shoes and the way you stand in them will affect how the dress falls and are crucial to getting the hem just right. Plus, the amount of structure and padding (or lack thereof!) will change how the dress falls.

By the time the seamstress finishes pinning shoulders, bust, waist, hip, and hem, many brides are left wondering if any part of their dress won’t be altered by the time the fitting is over. This may be overwhelming for you, but don’t worry. Your seamstress knows what she’s doing and has seen it all before.

1 month to go: Minor adjustments.

After the major heavy lifting is done, it’s time to make the final tweaks. Maybe you want to fine tune the neckline of your dress or raise the length of your sleeves by a quarter inch. It’s hard to make these adjustments until the major ones are taken care of, but now that they’re out of the way, your gown should be close to the ideal you had envisioned.

With one month to go you still have plenty of time to get the details perfect, so don’t be afraid to discuss any reservations you may have with your seamstress.

2 weeks to go: Final fitting—final check.

In most cases, the final fitting is more of a quality check to be sure that everything done in the prior fittings has turned out according to plan. The last thing anyone wants is for the bride to discover a problem with one of the adjustments on her wedding day. But, if there is still something that needs adjusting, the final fitting is the bride’s last chance to make the change.

Getting your fit just right is key to feeling comfortable on your big day.

It may seem like a lot of work, but remember that you’ll be in your dress all day. Getting the fit right won’t just improve the appearance of the dress on your wedding day—it will also make it more comfortable. The last thing you need as you’re walking down the aisle is for your dress to be anything short of perfection. So plan plenty of time to get your alterations done, and you won’t second guess yourself on your big day.

When Should You Buy Your Wedding Dress?

Your big day is on the calendar. Should you already have a wedding dress?

Among the number of big milestones you’ll pass on the way to your wedding day, perhaps the one that looms largest for most brides is that of finding a wedding dress. For most brides, it’s both an exciting and anxious time of the wedding planning, as it brings to the surface any number of childhood dreams and adult insecurities.

Because of this, many brides are eager either to buy the dress right away, or put the shopping trip off till the last possible minute. However, both these approaches can lead to some unfortunate consequences down the road. So, if you’re wondering when the best time is to buy your wedding dress, here are a few pointers.

1. Set your wedding date.

For most brides, this is the easy one. You get engaged, and the absolute first priority is to pick a date to share with your friends and family. However, some couples like to take things a little slower and put off setting the date till they have a few other details arranged—including the wedding dress.

This isn’t the worst decision you can make, but it can still backfire. For instance, what if you find a gorgeous, breezy dress perfect for a beach wedding, only to set a date in the middle of winter? Or what if you find a beautiful dress, but are not quite ready to order it, and then life circumstances cause you to push the wedding off for another year or two? By the time the day comes to order, you may no longer be able to have the dress you want as it is no longer available.

We strongly recommend that brides not start wedding dress shopping until they have a date on the calendar. So long as it’s not coming up really quick, you’ll still have plenty of time.

2. Choose your wedding venue.

After the date, the venue is the most important decision for most brides. The wedding venue not only determines the size and style of the wedding, it can also have a significant bearing on the date.

Some venues book up months or even a year in advance. If you have your heart set on a location, you may even find yourself planning your wedding date around the venue. And when it comes to your dress, the venue will have a huge impact.

After all, if your reception is in a barn without air conditioning, you may regret choosing a poofy ball gown. And if you’re getting married on a beach, you may want to reconsider your plans for a cathedral-length train.

3. Give yourself time for the dress to be made —and altered.

For many women, their wedding dress is the first and only piece of custom sewing they ever purchase. These aren’t ready-to-wear purchases, but rather custom gowns sewn as an order is placed. Because of this, brides should expect to wait between 6-7 months for their dress to arrive after they’ve ordered it, and that still doesn’t count the time it takes to do fittings and alterations.

Brides usually have about three fitting appointments to get their dress just right. The first covers the most major alterations, such as adding sleeves or making an adjustment to the neckline, and adjusting any fit issues. The second fitting is to review any and all changes to the dress and finalize the fit, and the third is to ensure everything is just right. Taken together, these rounds of tailoring can take as much as three to four months.

Because of all the work involved, we recommend brides order their dresses between twelve and nine months in advance of their wedding, but after they’ve set their date. You can still order dresses closer to the wedding, but your options may be more limited, and it’s best to spare yourself the stress of a rush delivery.

Three months to go and no dress? Here are your options.

Of course, many brides find themselves looking for a dress with just a couple months—or even weeks!—to spare. In these cases, you may still be able to find a gown, but you may have to set aside some of your visions of a “perfect” dress and focus on the available options.

Typically, the best option for brides on a limited timeline is to start looking for sample sales. These are the dresses that are on the rack in the bridal salon for brides to try on, and salons typically run a sample sale on some of their older styles when they’re trying to clear out their store rooms for new inventory.

That said, just because a style is “old” doesn’t mean it isn’t still lovely. Just keep in mind that whatever you try on will have to be a pretty close fit, as your timeline for alterations is also shortened. You may be able to make a few adjustments, but you’re largely going to be wearing what you try on in the store.

Another option that is sometimes available, but shouldn’t necessarily be 100% relied upon, is that many of our designers have a few of the more popular wedding dresses in stock, meaning that we have the ability to get them within a few weeks of the date the order is placed.  Again, while this is not always the case, it has worked for many of our brides in the past and we love being able to offer a brand new dress in a shorter time period.

If you’ve exhausted these options, think about hitting up some vintage or second-hand stores. You may get lucky and find just the right dress!

Spare yourself the last-minute stress and buy your dress in advance.

For some brides, the dress they wear on their wedding day isn’t a big priority, which means they’re happy to compromise on the style, especially if it means cutting down a big budget item. But if you have a specific vision for how you want your wedding gown to be, give yourself the time you need to see it fulfilled.

Find your venue, pick your date, then call us. We can help you find the dress of your dreams.