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Wedding Dress Alterations 101 (AKA What No One Tells You In Advance)

If you’ve ever watched the wedding show that dominates a certain cable channel, you’ve seen the excitement on a bride’s face when she finds the perfect dress for her taste and style. With literally thousands of dresses available to select, it’s no easy task for a bride to find her dream dress. When she does find it, it’s truly a moment worth celebrating.

But what you rarely see on television is the fact that selecting your bridal gown is the beginning of the story for most brides. Most brides will need wedding dress alterations to make it fit perfectly for the look that they want on the big day. Here are a few things you need to know about dress alterations and looking your best for your wedding!

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Include Wiggle Room in your Budget for Wedding Dress Alterations

When you are setting up your wedding budget, remember to take into consideration that your perfect dress will require alterations for the perfect fit. Alteration prices can vary depending on many factors; where you live, what tailor you work with, what your dress is like and what work needs to be done. The majority of Brideside brides report that they spend between $200 and $600 on alterations, but plenty of brides fall outside that range. It really just depends. Remember when you’re planning the budget for your big day look to consider the price associated with having your dress fitted and any customizations you’ll want. Make sure the tailor you choose is able to meet your deadline, and has experience in tailoring different designs, fabrics and bridal silhouettes. Search online for reviews or ask your local dress store to find the best price and compare tailors.

When you’re making alterations to your bridal gown, you want to make sure that the finished product fits your body exactly right so that you can look and feel your best on the big day. The best way to do that is to find a tailor that you trust based on the quality of work that they’ve done. A reputable bridal tailor may charge a higher price for alterations, but that’s because they are experts at working with fine fabrics such as light, sheer fabrics. Trust us: It’s far better to pay an extra hundred or two to get the best possible tailor you can for your wedding dress alterations than to try to go cheap and risk getting a detail wrong!

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Don’t Forget: All Those Trips to the Tailor Take Time!

Your wedding dress isn’t something that should be rushed. The details that go into making your dress the best that you will ever wear take time, and by the same token, so do the alterations. When you get your dress, scheduling an appointment for alterations is one of the first things you should do so that your tailor has enough time to give your dress the proper attention that it needs.

How much time is enough time? Ideally, you want to give your tailor a few months to complete the work. This is for two reasons. The first is simply because of the amount of detail that goes into your dress and the need for your tailor to respect each and every layer while altering the dress to make the proper adjustments. If you try to rush the process, you’re likely to get a result that’s far from what you really want.

The second reason is because sometimes, one fitting appointment isn’t enough to get the result that you really want for your finished dress. Most tailors will have you come in 2-3 times before the wedding to make gradual progress on your dress. In the first fitting you’ll talk through the changes that you’d like to make and your tailor will recommend fit adjustments. In the second and third you’ll try on your dress to review the changes made. During this timeframe, there’s a chance that your body might change from the hustle and bustle of wedding planning or if you’re working out or dieting in preparation for the day. If that’s the case, you’ll need to have another fitting scheduled to make additional adjustments to your bridal gown. Although alterations can be done in a shorter time frame, leave yourself a few months to schedule the alterations process to avoid running into a time crunch if any issues should arise.

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Your Opinion Matters

Your tailor might be incredibly experienced, but nobody is a better judge of your own style and tastes than you. That’s why it’s important to have a meeting with your tailor and make sure to express your opinions about your bridal gown before you get any alterations done. When your tailor asks you questions related to your wedding dress alterations, he or she is trying to get information from you to make sure that the final product is going to be exactly what you want it to be.

In order to make that happen, you need to make sure that you speak up and say exactly what you like and don’t like about your dress so that your tailor gets a full picture of what will really make you feel overcome with joy when you see your finished dress for the first time. If there’s a detail that you really don’t love on your dress, make sure that you tell your tailor exactly how you feel so that it can be altered to become something that you’ll genuinely be happy with on your wedding day. If changing the sleeves on the dress is the most important thing for you, it’s important to say so. If you don’t take the time to speak up, your tailor isn’t going to know what details really matter to you, and instead of getting a dress that you’ll genuinely love, your finished dress is more likely to be something that’s good but not great. Put simply, that’s not how anyone should feel about their bridal gown!

Remember, when you’re buying your dress, alterations are almost sure to be part of the equation. The alterations process is the time to not only make your dress fit perfectly, but also when you get to customize your gown with any finishing touches. Be sure to allocate both alterations time and budget to perfect your dream dress! Ready to get organized? Download our free wedding budget spreadsheet.

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