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6 Tips for Successful Bridal Alterations

Hello beautiful brides!! Chances are you've never gone through bridal alterations before. Alterations can be a daunting part of your wedding journey, but it doesn't have to be. With mindful preparations your alterations experience can be the most exciting part of wedding planning. Use this blog post as a guide to prepare yourself for the alterations journey; a journey that is one of the last stops before your wedding, but actually begins right when you get engaged.

Tip 1: Schedule your alterations E A R L Y

A great time to schedule your bridal alterations is as soon as you purchase your wedding dress.

But the best time to reach out to your seamstress is actually when you set your wedding date!! Your best course of action is to vet your seamstress just like any other vendor. This will help you stay within your budget, get to know who will be working on your gown, and trust that they have the skills and repertoire to achieve the overall look and feel you want to have on your wedding day.

Then, you will already be on your seamstress’ list for your wedding date and not have to worry about being denied by a fully booked seamstress down the line.

In general, seamstresses work roughly 10 weeks out from your wedding date, which is why having that date set is all you need to get on the books with your seamstress.

Tip 2: Be prepared for multiple fittings

If you're working with a skilled bridal seamstress be prepared for 2-3 fitting appointments, and possibly an additional pick up appointment.

Bridal alterations are a process which typically involve multiple fittings to ensure that the dress fits perfectly. Be prepared to schedule several appointments leading up to your wedding day, especially if extensive alterations are needed. 

This is another great reason to vet your seamstress ahead of time. You can find one that has the skills and the availability that best suits your schedule, or can be prepared to be available if they have a regularly packed schedule. 

We book out in advance just like other service providers, such as, say, your dentist. I recently tried to book with a new dentist and they were booked 3 months out. Think I was canceling that appointment? HELL NAH. Teeth are important. Just like your wedding day look!

Now, obviously life happens. Things come up. We do our best to work with your schedule; we just ask that our brides do the same in return!

Tip 3: Plan for the cost of alterations when you purchase your gown.

Yep. I said it. Too often brides have sticker shock once it comes time for alterations. You might assume that because your measurements are taken that your gown will fit perfectly once it comes in (which could be a whole other blog post), or that alterations are included in your purchase price. BOTH of these thoughts, without sugar coating, are just very, very wrong unless it is explicitly stated, you've signed over your first child, or  you agree to call the whole thing off if we say it isn't so. Kidding....kind of. As a human who also has a budget, I get it. Spending another chunk of money so close to the wedding, when all your other vendors' final deposits are also due, can make this a stressful addition to your wedding budget. 

That's why I cannot stress it enough to P L A N for this part of your wedding journey. Unless you are having a gown custom made, this is a regular expense for a wedding budget. So why wouldn't you plan for it just like your florist or DJ?

Tip 4: Do your best to maintain your weight

As bridal seamstresses we come at this with compassion. We are (mostly) also women who experience an ever changing body. Fluctuations are just part of being a woman. With that said, it's helpful to know your body and openly communicate with us if there is anything we should know. Like if you are participating in a workout plan, are prone to losing or gaining stress weight, or will be on your period on your wedding day. I know, like what?! That's super personal. But it is so important for us to know so we can ensure your gown will fit the body that you will have on your big day! 

All of our bodies are beautifully different. I had a bride last year who realized at her final fitting she would have her period the week of her wedding, which, for her, meant her boobs swelled up so much her gown wouldn't zip. This is when it's important for us to know how your body functions. We ended up letting the dress back out the day before her wedding, after already altering the side seams to be smaller, so that the gown would fit her wedding day body. (Notice I said the GOWN would fit her body and not the other way around).

Letting your seamstress know these things can help you avoid extra costs or emergency appointments, and most seamstresses have this as an item in their contract to help you avoid those extra work costs.

The point of alterations is to fit the gown to the body, not the body to the gown. So come to us as you are, let us know any important details, and we will take care of the rest.

Tip 5: Choose your shoes & think about undergarments when you purchase your gown

Let's start with shoes. Brides loooooove to wait until the last minute to purchase their wedding day shoes. I know this can be a hard decision, but it's one that's best made early, if you come to alterations without your shoes, you might end up with an extra fitting charge or rush fee because we CAN NOT and WILL NOT pin your hem without your shoes. THE SHOES. Not ones similar in height, THE ACTUAL SHOES (for the people in the back)... And bring them to every fitting!!

So often, (too often) brides (or their moms) swear that the description of the shoe online said the same measurement as the shoes they brought to their fitting, but when their shoe comes in it is just slightly off. And the shoe being slightly off can actually make a big difference in your hem length, incurring extra work costs, and having you stressed about your budget… AGAIN. I want you to know that we don't want to have to charge you for redoing your hem because of a shoe fiasco, because we know what stress that brings, but we deserve to be paid for our work.

Another reason to purchase your shoes early is so you can break them in before your first fitting. You won't know it because you've never done bridal alts before, but at your first fitting you could be standing still, in brand new heels, for an HOUR. Your legs will get numb, if your knees are locked you could faint, and all could be avoided if you got your shoes early and broke them in!

Also, just go comfy. Bridal sneakers are a great option.

When it comes to undergarments, ditch the bra. Unless you have a gown with a high back and boobs that need extra support, it's not going to work in most cases. This is a great item to discuss with your seamstress so you can examine the type of fabric your gown is made of, what kind of structure it has built in, and if sewn in bust cups will do the trick.

In my opinion, shapewear is a personal choice. When my brides ask me if they NEED shapewear, I will repeat forever, NO. Nobody NEEDs shape wear, but if it's something you want to use to "smooth out" or just keep some things in place, make sure you bring this to your first fitting. 

Also, think about the fact that you'll most likely be in your gown for 8+ hours and how it will feel being sucked in for that long. It's not comfortable, so decide wisely.

Check out my amazon links for my recommended shoes and undergarments

Tip 6: Communicate with us!

DON'T FEEL BAD ABOUT IT!!! We, as seamstresses, CRAVE to give you what you want. We are the ultimate people pleasers, if you will, and I promise we don't know what you're thinking. If the way we pinned something looks weird, or doesn't feel right, TELL US!!! We can't help if we don't know that you think something is amiss, and as perfectionists, it's certainly not a great feeling for us to find out you didn't like something that we could have made right if there was open communication. The last thing we want is for you to be unhappy with your results because you felt bad speaking up.

If you are having anything custom done, communication is also SO important! From one person to another, words can get misconstrued and we end up not creating what you thought you were getting. Don't feel bad if you don't like something, don't feel bad if you think you sound rude or like you're repeating yourself. As seamstresses we are skilled in these creative aspects and need ALL the information we can get to make sure OUR language matches YOUR language when it comes to describing your vision. Don't leave anything to assumptions, because we all know what happens when you

By following these tips and working closely with your bridal seamstress, you can ensure that your wedding day look will be on point. Your gown will fit you flawlessly and make you feel beautiful and confident on your wedding day!

If you'd like to learn more about my alteration services or how to book an appointment click the button below!

Leave a comment below if you think I missed any steps or want to share your alterations experience and how these tips could've helped!

<3 Jaime

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