Tips for a successful Bridal Gown fitting

tips for a successful bridal gown fitting

You finally found your dream dress, waited an agonizing 5 months for it to arrive and now it is time for your first fitting! Generally, you will have three fittings, depending on the extent of your alterations. Here are some tips you can follow so that your bridal gown fitting goes smoothly and you get the results you want.

Schedule your first gown fitting for 6-8 weeks prior to your wedding: 10 weeks out is the maximum amount of time before your wedding that you should have your first fitting. A bride’s weight can fluctuate and you don’t want to pay a lot of money to have your dress altered, only to find that it is too big or too small as your wedding nears.  

•Purchase your undergarments:  Remember that with most of today’s boned bridal gowns, less is more.  There is usually no need for a bustier underneath a boned gown and, in fact, it often just adds bulk.  You can often wear nothing, or ask your seamstress to sew in bra cups (padded or unpadded).  If you are unsure what to wear, buy a bustier or strapless bra and leave the tags on so you can return what doesn’t work.  You can try on all of your options at the fitting and also have your seamstress show you what bra cups would look like.  She should be able to help you make the correct choice for your dress.  It is VERY important, though, to bring the undergarments with you to your first fitting, since your seamstress will not be able to fit you properly without them.

•Tame Lumps and Bumps: If you are wearing a mermaid, sheath or otherwise fitted gown, Spanx
will be your best friend.  The “Higher Power” style will hold you in, smooth bumps and banish panty (I hate that word) lines without adding bulk.  You can purchase a pair at Nordstom or Bloomingdales for about $36.  Spanx has also designed a line exclusively for Target called “Assets”.  Assets “Sensational Shaper” is like Spanx “Higher Power”, but is only $20.  I have not used Assets personally, but I have heard very good feedback on the Target brand.

Bring your Wedding Shoes: This is one of the biggest no-nos for brides at their first gown fitting, no shoes!  Varying heel height really changes the hem, and when you are wearing 6 layers of tulle and a floor-length gown the seamstress needs accuracy so that you don’t fall flat on your face walking down the aisle.  Nuff said!

Stop losing weight!:  I have read that some alterations specialists require brides to sign a contract stating that if they lose or gain more than 5 lbs after the first fitting, that the seamstress is not responsible for the accuracy of alterations and quality of the outcome.  While I would never have done this, it was always frustrating to see brides fretting over losing weight a month prior to their wedding (of course, I am also guilty of this). Once the gown has been fit, you are really doing yourself a disservice by losing more weight.  This is especially true for strapless gowns.  I have seen numerous photos of brides who lived on green tea and yogurt after their final fitting and their dress is loose and falling off of them.  Not a pretty sight.  I have also met brides who lost 10 pounds, had their final fitting and then GAINED weight on their wild bachelorette weekend. They were popping out of their dress by the time of their wedding.  Just try to keep eating healthy and don’t crash diet.  Your body, hair, skin and seamstress will thank you.

Eat before your fitting!:  Have a light, healthy meal that is not too salty before your fittings. Standing in your dress being poked and prodded for a long time is not fun and I have seen brides and actresses get lightheaded and nearly faint during fittings.  Don’t starve yourself the morning of your fitting hoping that the dress will fit better, but also don’t eat a McDonald’s Extra Value Meal. If you are bloated for salt at your first fitting, your dress may be too big by your second fitting.  Also, take into mind your period.  I had one bride come in for her first fitting and the dress did not fit around her bust. She realized that her period was due that week and she was bloated.  Sure enough, when I had her come in the next week, it was fine.

Research Bustles: There are two basic types of bustles (I am sensing a blog entry in my future). Google bustles and you should find a lot of images.  The Knot also has two bustle bios.  Bring a photo to your fitting, so that the seamstress can get a visual of what you would like.  Also, if you want any changes done to the design of the dress (a sweetheart neckline, a plunging back) it is good to bring a photo with you, just as you would take a photo of a new hair style to your hairdresser.

Do a Dress Rehearsal: At your final fitting make sure you have your undergarments and shoes (like a good little bride) and also bring all your other accessories (veil, jewelry, etc..) and a camera. It helps to do  some light make-up, since the harsh lighting can wash you out and try and style your hair approximately how it will be on your wedding day (up, down, half-up).  It will be a great opportunity to take advantage of the full-length mirror and see how the entire ensemble looks together.  It is also wise to bring your Maid of Honor or whomever will be helping you to get ready the day of the wedding.  She can learn how to tie your corset strings, fluff your petticoat, do your bustle, or anything else you may need help with.

I could go on and on, but I think if you try and follow these tips, getting into your gown on your wedding day will be smooth and stress-free.

Does anyone have any other tips?

2 thoughts on “Tips for a successful Bridal Gown fitting

  1. Hemming wedding gown . DIY, . Please give suggestions. This is grandma, who inheriated the allteration job. Please should I cut the material off, or just try to hem it with everything still attached. I will do this all by hand. Will embroidery needles be suffice. Hem needs up 3 inches, plus underskirt.

  2. Hi Laura! It is difficult to say how to hem the gown without actually seeing what the cut of the skirt is and how it is origially hemmed. A couple tips I can give you are:
    1. Try to hem the dress the same way the designer hemmed it. If there are facings and stiffners, put them back in.
    2. Try and leave as much of the original hem as possible. You never know if someone may want to wear the dress in the future. Also it leaves room for error, incase you realize you hemmed it too short!
    3. embroidery needle are generally too thick to use on delicate fabrics. Use a needle that is thin and suitable for silks. The fabric store should be able to help you out.
    4. If you feel the job is too big and you don’t want to pay big money for a bridal alterations specialist, use your local drycleaner. I probably wouldn’t use them for more difficult alterations, such as taking in the bodice (unless they were someone I had used for a long time and trusted), but they should have no problem hemming the dress. It is really worth the small extra cost, to have it look professional.

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