Bridal Gown Alterations: What to Expect

Bridal Gown Alterations: What to Expect

When it comes to your bridal gown fittings, what should you expect? To many of you, this is the first time you’ve ever had anything altered, let alone a wedding gown! The following is a summary of what to expect when having alterations done to your bridal gown. Even if you do not choose to have your alterations done with us, this information will be useful to you as nearly every gown needs some kind of alterations.

Wedding gowns of today are extremely well-constructed with intricate design. They require a true understanding of movement, effects of changing curves, and structure. Therefore, these gowns are challenging to reshape and require an experienced professional.

1. When should I start my alterations?
We recommend coming for your first fitting about one month before your wedding. Most people need 2-3 fittings to get things “just right.” If we start too early, your body will likely shift before the big day.

2. What do alterations on my wedding gown cost?
Alterations are quoted based on time and materials needed to complete the job. The average bride may need a hem, sides tweaked in certain areas, and a bustle. Depending on the fabric and details on the gown, prices for these usual services typically add up to $300-400. We will give you an estimate of the anticipated costs, and you can choose what you would like to have done. You may even choose to take it elsewhere for your desired alterations. We always strive to achieve the best possible fit for you!

3. What should I bring?
You should have any and all undergarments that you wish to wear with your gown. Most brides use a long line bra/bustier. We sell these as well as bra cups, which you are welcome to try while at Hope’s! It is also VERY important that you bring the shoes you will wear on your wedding day!
NOTE: Changing your undergarments and/or shoes changes the fit of the gown drastically! If you change anything, such as your bra from fitting to fitting, it will cause the gown to be fitted incorrectly.

4. Who should I bring to my fittings?
It is best to limit your guests to 1-3 people you trust and who know your wishes for the big day. We do recommend bringing your personal attendant (or someone similar) who will be dressing you the day of your wedding to your final fitting. This allows us to “train” this person on lacing you in, bustling your train, etc. to help them feel comfortable!
5. What happens during the fittings?
First Fitting
You and our seamstress will talk about how you want the gown to look, and she will evaluate the work that needs to be done. She will pin the gown and make notes. You will be fitted from the top down, starting at the shoulders and ending at the hem/bustle. Please address any concerns at this time.
There is one charge for alterations, based on the work needed and the intricacy of the gown. You may be charged extra in the following cases:
-You need or request work at subsequent fittings that was not in the initial quote
-The dress is finished and your weight changes resulting in additional work
**Payment for the balance of the gown (if applicable) is due at the first fitting.
Second Fitting
The work has been done according to what was discussed with the seamstress at the previous fitting. She may use a temporary stitch that can be easily changed. There may also be pins in your dress; this is simply to verify fit and position before making any permanent changes.
If the dress is small or large at the second fitting, do not panic! Everything is temporary, allowing us to make changes right up to the end.
This may be your final fitting, before final pick up and try-on, or you may require a third.
Third Fitting
Everything is checked one final time before cutting fabric from the gown; more adjustments will and can be made. Rarely, a fourth fitting is necessary.
This may take place after your second or third fitting, based on your needs. We request that you try on your gown one last time; if any minor adjustments are needed, we will try to take care of them on the spot before you take the dress with you.
The gown will have been professionally pressed by our pressers. It will be in a long bag specially made to accommodate pressed bridal gowns without compressing them. This is a large item, so we ask that you plan which vehicle you bring to your pick up accordingly. Too many people in the car or not enough room to lay the gown flat results in wrinkling! Our associates will assist you with your gown to your car. Lastly, avoid leaving your dress in the car for too long if possible, and hang on the highest place (like a door) when you arrive at your destination.

A Few Notes
1. Our seamstresses are extremely talented and highly skilled professionals who are experts in their craft.
2. Prices vary based on degree of difficulty in altering the gown: it is based on the work that needs to be done, the intricacy and inner construction of the gown.
3. A wedding gown does not stretch like our everyday clothing does. Every pound counts! Women’s weight is not static. For one, we fluctuate based on our hormones, and if your fittings occur during certain times of the month, the fit may change. Please do your best to maintain weight once alterations have started.
4. Losing weight/gaining muscle: Remember muscle weighs more than fat! You may not think you have lost weight as the scale does not reflect it, but you have lost inches. Alternatively, be careful working out to not gain too much muscle.  Do more high reps, low weights—otherwise your dress might be too small!
5. The alteration of couture garments (such as wedding gowns) is a slow, delicate process and we do not cut fabric right away. In addition, sometimes we must complete one part of the alterations before we can begin on the next step. So please be patient, and “trust the process.”
6. Gowns do not come bustled- it is custom designed by our seamstresses for your height, body type, and dress style. Most of our brides choose to have a bustle done, if nothing else, for ease of movement after the ceremony.
7. Once we have started work on the gown, there are no refunds for alteration costs.

If you have additional questions regarding your bridal gown alterations, please call our staff at (319)446-7887.


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