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THE BRIDESMAID’S GUIDE TO THE PERFECT DRESS


As a key member of the bride's entourage, you have been entrusted with two primary responsibilities: accompanying the bridal party during dress shopping and grace the wedding day with your impeccable presence. In anticipation of these forthcoming events, I would like to address a pivotal task that requires your attention. You are going to need to head on over to a tailor or seamstress to alter your dress.


So, how do you know if your dress will even need alterations and when they’ll need to be done? Or how much are they going to cost? 


First, before even considering the alterations, you must remember when ordering your bridesmaid dress, please keep in mind that there is typically NO extra fabric in the seams for letting the dresses out. In case your measurements fall between two sizes, it is advisable to order the larger size and have it adjusted later. Remember, it is always simpler to take in a dress than to let it out.


HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED MY DRESS TAILORED?


This complicated question has a simple answer: If the dress doesn’t fit you properly, you need alterations. By adjusting the garment, you can ensure a perfect fit that complements your body.


Alterations are crucial, ladies. You’re going to want to look and feel your best on the wedding day and in the photos that live on forever, so they’re a must! When it comes to a long day of standing, dancing, and posing for photos, being comfortable is just as important as looking great.



Now that we agree that alterations are a MUST, let’s discuss the most common kinds:

 

1. HEM THE LENGTH

 

You can't always produce something out of nothing, despite 50 Cent's catchphrase. Since there's no ideal method to lengthen a gown, most designers tend to make them longer to accommodate ladies of varying heights. It's likely that you may need your gown shortened by a few inches if you are shorter than 5’8”.


Additionally, if you are tall, the dress might need to be purchased with extra length added. This usually adds six inches, so once the dress comes and you've chosen your shoes, you might need to have it hemmed to the proper length. Even if you just need one or two of the five, the bride will appreciate that she won't have to see your toes next.


2. TAKE IN THE BUST


For those that are pear-shaped, you’ll need a dress big enough to fit your hips and derriere. But the bodice might be too loose.


Tailors/seamstresses can take in the bodice (usually at the side seams), so the dress fits properly over your bust, and you are completely free to bust a move.


3. TAKE IN THE WAIST AND HIPS


If you have more endowed breasts, you may have to go up a size or two to fit your bust. But then, the dress’s waist and hips might be too big.


Like taking in the bust, a tailor/seamstress can normally take in the waist and hip, so the dress fits you from head to toe.


4. SHORTEN THE STRAPS

 

Unless you’re wearing a strapless dress, you must consider the length of the straps.

Whether your gown has spaghetti straps or wide ones, they must be the perfect length. Otherwise, they’ll be slipping off your shoulders all day long. If they are not already the right length, a tailor can shorten them for you.





WHAT TO BRING TO A DRESS FITTING


Obviously, you must bring your dress to the fitting. But there are a few other things you’ll want to bring as well. Make sure to bring the shoes you plan to wear on the wedding day. That’s the only way to ensure you’ll have the proper hemline.


You should also bring or wear the undergarments you will wear with the dress. A lot of bridesmaid styles already have built-in bra cups, but if you plan on wearing a bra, put it on when you try on the dress at the consultation. This way, you’ll get the perfect fit. If you plan on wearing any other shapewear, bring that too. Apart from glam (like jewelry and hair accessories), you should bring everything to the fitting that you are going to wear on the big day.


WHEN SHOULD YOU HAVE ALTERATIONS DONE?


Here’s a tip that’ll save you a lot of headaches: Never wait until the last minute to try on your dress or get your alterations. 


Schedule a fitting approximately one month before the wedding. Some women prefer to do it earlier, and that is fine too but don’t wait until the last minute. Call well in advance of the time you would like to schedule as these specialty seamstresses’ appointments fill quickly. Want an appointment in September for an October wedding, call to set that September date in July.

 

If you think your dress needs extensive adjustments, schedule your consultation about six weeks in advance. That way, you’ll have time to do a second fitting and a final fitting when the tailoring is completed. Remember, during peak wedding season (June to October), bridal seamstresses get busier than toy stores at Christmas time. So, schedule your fitting as far ahead as possible to make sure you get an appointment.


And don’t forget this one crucial step:  About one week before the wedding, try the dress on at home to ensure it still fits. Do not wait until the morning of the wedding to find out you can’t zip it up!


HOW MUCH DO BRIDESMAID DRESS ALTERATIONS COST?


The price of alterations varies depending on where you live, but most bridesmaids can expect to pay between $125 and $250 for bridesmaid dress alterations. In some cities, tailoring can cost closer to $300. It all depends on what the dress needs.

 

For example: Just shortening the hem or straps? If yes, that will be less than a dress requiring more alterations, like taking the sides in. Hemming a bridesmaid dress is normally between $90 and $130 depending on the number of layers and types of fabric.

Dress details are another factor that makes a huge difference in the cost of alterations. Gowns with beading and sequins, while beautiful and totally reminiscent of The Great Gatsby, take more time and skill to alter. You will pay a bit extra to look like Daisy.


CONCLUSION


Having the proper alterations is a must. You want your hem to move gracefully and for your straps to lay nicely on your shoulders. However, please remember; you will probably only wear this dress one time. You need to determine to what extent you want to have your dress altered. Do you REALLY NEED to have the waist taken in? Or can you get by with just hemming the gown?

 

A good tailor or seamstress will make your dress look and fit stunningly. So, finding the right one is essential! And if you don’t know one, ask for recommendations. Check Google ratings! Be sure to book your fitting well in advance. Bring your shoes and undergarments with you!

 

Spending a little time and money on getting fit BEFORE the big day ensures smooth sailing the day of.  And that will keep you smiling from photos to the dance floor - all day long.



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