Bridal Alterations – 9 things you should know
As a London based wedding dress designer and dressmaker, I am writing this long overdue post today about bridal alterations. Whilst I both design and make dresses from scratch, I also work with brides to alter and restructure gowns they have purchased elsewhere. This means that I see a lot of brides who have purchased their gowns too early in the process only to find a year later that they don’t like it anymore. Or, brides who purchase a dress planning to lose two dress sizes or more, only to find it never happens!
Whilst there are few practical articles explaining the ins and outs of bridal shopping, the aim of this post is to help brides understand where the costs accumulate when making a purchase for their wedding dress, and how their choices could potentially work out to be very expensive in the long run.
1 Before purchasing any dress, ask for a written quotation that clearly explains and quotes for the work that needs to be done to the dress. This will help you to know the true cost of the dress prior to making the purchase.
2. It is crucial that you bring your ‘on-the-day-bra’. Wearing the wrong bra will affect the fit of the bodice particularly if you have a dress with a low front/back or neckline that needs to be adjusted to work with you bra.
3. Take along two spare bras when trying on dresses. I often recommend a underwired bra and a strapless bra – preferably in a flesh colored tone.
4. Wear flesh toned underwear to be on the safe size. Modern dresses are often very sheer and black underwear can ruin the visual aesthetic of a gown whether it be a bra strap or a knicker line.
5. Do not take pictures/selfies within the store without asking. To do so shows a lack of respect for the Boutique owners who are investing their time to help you find a dream wedding dress, and in many case providing you with drinks and beverages. It is kinder to ask their permission prior to whipping out your camera. We most certainly do not allow photos under any circumstances so that our gowns are not then paraded in Facebook groups by price shoppers.
6. If you haven’t decided on your wedding shoes, then it is important to take along a shoe of a similar height to what you plan to wear on the day. I always recommend that you find your shoes as soon as you have the dress – so that you all get to know each other! Heel height is really important to determine the final hemline of the dress. Wedding dress hemline are quite complicated as their can be anything from 3 – 9 layers of hems that all need shortening. If this needs to be done twice, you may find yourself with a much bigger bill than you expected or, a dress that is ruined.
7. When purchasing beaded gowns or dresses with all over applique work, ask the instore dressmaker for a written quotation to do the work. Why? Because many of these gowns are not designed to be altered and can prove be very costly due to the time intensive nature of the work. This can easily run into a few hundred pound due to the delicate nature of the cloth.
8. Book early and allow yourself plenty of time to attend two or three fittings with your chosen bridal alterations seamstress. Remember that she may well have quite a lot of work already booked in for other clients just as important as you too.
9. If, you need your dress back in super quick time (under four weeks during busy seasons), this is classified as a ‘rush’ order. Charges for rushed orders this varies, so be prepared to pay extra for the service.
Finally, one last tip. Wearing fake tanning lotions will leave soil marks on your dress which may not be easy to remove without the hefty added costs of dry-cleaning the dress prior to the wedding. All of which adds to the cost of the dress.
Thank you for reading. If you have any questions that I have not addressed, please reach out to me via EMAIL HERE
“Like may brides to be, I made the fatal mistake of ordering a dress a couple of sizes smaller with the expectation that I was going to drop a load of weight before the big day….so when I turned up and met Cynthia, (after doing a lot of searching for Wedding Dress Alterations) at her beautiful boutique shop, I was a little (more than a little) panicked. Not only was the dress far too small, but it also had very little shape – i.e., it did not pull in in the right places….all in all it was a bit of a disaster. Cynthia was amazing! She assured me that something could be done, was super friendly and made me feel 100 times better about my obvious faux pas. Within a matter of weeks, Cynthia had completely transformed my dress. It was unrecognizable from the garment I had handed over – in the most amazing way.”
Review from GOOGLE