Final Details: Wedding Dress Fittings, Etc.

So, now that you've bought your wedding dress, you think the fashion decision making is behind you. Uh uh. It's only just begun.
by The Knot
Wedding dress fittings
photo by Lev Kuperman

Choosing a style is only the first step on the path to scoring your dream dress. From first fitting to final, here's what to expect -- and what's expected of you -- during the next few months.

Before Your First Fitting

  • Decide which accessories -- jewelry, headpiece, wrap, bag -- you want to wear with your dress and buy or order them.
  • Buy your undergarments and bridal shoes. You must have your wedding day lingerie and shoes for all your fittings -- a simple bra switch or change in heel height can cause your dress to fit improperly.

Your First Fitting

The first fitting usually takes place about six weeks before your wedding day. Just like when you were shopping, it helps to bring one eagle-eyed friend or family member along for advice. And don't forget your shoes, bra, and slip -- along with any other accessories you have purchased -- so you can see how everything looks together.

For your purposes, this fitting is to ensure two main things:

  • That your gown is the right size, the right color, and the right design (neckline, train, sleeves, etc.)
  • That your seamstress knows what she's doing. A seamstress will most likely have an assistant (who could be the salon salesperson or another member of the salon staff) who helps you get into your gown. The seamstress should then begin looking for places where your dress needs to be taken in, let out, shortened, lengthened or altered -- hence the term "fitting".

While she's busy fitting your gown, take a close look at the way the material falls and notice how the waist feels, how the chest area fits, etc. Is there any funny puckering, bunching or bulging? Look closely at the stitching, embroidery, or beading. Does everything seem well-sewn? Look in the three-way mirrors to view all angles, and ask for another hand-held mirror if necessary. Speak up if you see anything that you don't like -- or forever hold your peace. This is your time to be demanding, so give into any bridezilla impulses.

The seamstress should be able to tell you why each problem exists, and what can be done to fix it. Of course, don't expect miracles. This is why trying on the sample gown was so important: You should have had an idea of what you were going to get. But you are also paying big bucks for this gown, and it is your prerogative to have as many fittings as it takes to get the perfect fit. On that note, don't forget to schedule your next fitting before you leave the salon.

Your Second Fitting

About a month before your wedding, you should have a second fitting. Again, bring along your foundation garments, bridal shoes, jewelry and any accessories you plan to wear on your big day. And if you're deciding between a few different sets of accessories bring along a Poloroid camera as well, so you can see how each option looks with your dress.

In addition, you'll want to make sure:

  • All your concerns from the first fitting have been addressed and fixed
  • You can move comfortably in your gown
  • Your dress stays in one place as you move
  • There is no obvious wrinkling, bunching or pulling of material
  • If you have a full-length dress, that your hem skims the tops of the toes of your shoes

Once again, speak up if you see something that doesn't look right. If there is a problem, continue to schedule fittings until you are completely satisfied.

Your Final Fitting

When the day of your final fitting arrives, ask your mom and maid of honor to come along so they can learn about your gown. Does it need bustling? Ask the salesperson to teach them how to do it. Does it have complicated straps or buttons? Make sure they learn how to work them before the big day. Also, now's the time to find out how to get rid of last-minute wrinkles. Should you use an iron? On what setting? Is steaming a better option? And what if you spill something on the gown? Are there certain products you should/shouldn't use?

Knot Note: Store some talcum powder, baby wipes and Q-tips in your bridal bag for quick fix-ups.

The Big Pick Up

When your final fitting is complete, schedule a date and time at least two weeks before your wedding to pick up your gown. When that day arrives, try your gown on one last time, especially if it's been a while since your last fitting. We all know the ways stress affects our appetites, and if you're suddenly too skinny for your gown you'll have time to adjust it, or your diet.

Preserve Your Gown

And finally, make arrangements before your wedding day to get your gown preserved as soon after the wedding as possible. If you are immediately heading off on your honeymoon, ask Mom or one of your bridesmaids to look after it for you.

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