The Mindful Bride, Wedding Planner Tips from  Altering the Dress

After a bride finds her dream dress, she should begin the search for a tailor to fit her gown perfectly for her wedding day.  This is a part of the wedding planning process that is not typically emphasized, but is essential so a bride can wear her gown to its greatest potential.  Most brides do not realize the meticulous process of fitting a wedding gown until they go through the experience.  Adrienne Smith of Meeting Planner Online understands the alteration process first hand and shares her insight and experience about this part of the wedding planning process.

Many bridal boutiques, from David’s Bridal nationwide to Ultimate Bride of Chicago, offer alteration services, of which a bride is not obligated to use.  However, in-house alterations services are very convenient, less expensive, and typically do quality handy work.  If alterations aren’t offered at the bridal shop where the dress was purchased, then this adds another step in the wedding planning process of finding a tailor or seamstress.  Bridal boutiques that don’t offer in-house alterations will sometimes provide a few tailoring suggestions, but a reference from a friend or family member, and ideally from a previous bride with first-hand experience, is certainly ideal.

Unless your tailor is a close friend or family member, discuss all the business matters up front, such as cost, time frames, and number of fittings.  A bride and her tailor may consider signing a contract that addresses expectations, dates, costs, the condition of the dress and that the dress is in the possession of the tailor (don’t forget to include the veil and any accessories).  Most tailors will charge by the hour (average $20-30), and after the first meeting and seeing the gown, your tailor should be able to provide an estimate of how many hours alterations will require.  Keep in mind that each fitting will take at least an hour, and often more time depending upon the complexity of the dress and alterations desired by the bride.  Brides should plan on a minimum cost of $150 for alterations and can spend up to $400-500 if a gown requires more than the basic hem, bodice taken in/out, and bustle.  

Two must-have items for your first fitting are shoes and undergarments that will be worn on the wedding day.  Even down to the panties (seamless is always recommended), good tailors will insist they be worn to ensure successful fittings and smooth curves.  A good tailor will have a bride move in her dress in a variety of ways that mimic wedding day actions, such as sitting, walking up and down steps, and even dancing.  Simulating these behaviors gives a bride a better idea of how she will feel in her dress on her wedding day and what she can do or shouldn’t attempt!

Depending on how popular a tailor is with brides and time of year, a minimum of 3 months is recommended from first fitting to final fitting.  It’s also wise to bring along a third party as another set of eyes, and if that person is the mother or grandmother of the bride, extra tissues are also recommended for this part of the wedding planning process is always emotional and definitely enjoyable.