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Wedding Fashion 101

What to Ask Your Wedding Dressmaker

Whether you’re wearing 50 yards of taffeta or a simple satin sheath, your dress is a major purchase.

Wedding dressDebra McClinton

1. How long will it take for the dress to be ready?

It usually takes four to eight months from the order date. If you get an answer that specifies a longer period of time and you’re on a tight deadline, consider going with another retailer.

2. How many fittings will I need?

The average is three. (You will probably require more if a pattern is being created for you from scratch.) At the first fitting, the seamstress and you figure out what needs to be done: Is the hem too long or too short? Is the dress puckering anywhere? At the second fitting, you’ll determine whether those initial goals were achieved, see if the dress is fitting as it should, and decide if any fine-tuning is required. By the third fitting, the dress is supposed to look just as it should on your wedding day. Ask a bridesmaid or a friend to tag along for a crash course in need-to-knows, like how to bustle the train.

3. Are fittings included in the cost of the dress?

Some stores offer a set number of fittings (usually three), which are included in the price, and they will charge an additional fee for more. (When it comes to couture gowns, unlimited fittings are usually included.) Some retailers do not provide any complimentary alterations but recommend that you use the inhouse seamstress for fittings.

4. Can I customize anything on this dress?

This answer will vary, depending on the designer and the retailer. Some offer unlimited options. (Different neckline? Sure! Another color? Why not?) Others won’t change a thing. If the answer is a flat no, you can take the gown elsewhere for customization, such as additional beadwork or a lace overlay.

5. How far in advance do I need to book fittings?

Depending on the popularity of the store or the seamstress, you may have to plan way ahead to get the dates and the times you want. (The alteration process usually begins about six weeks from the wedding day.)

6. What happens if I gain or lose weight after the final fitting?

Seamstresses are used to dealing with fluctuations, as long as the changes are not too dramatic. So last-minute adjustments can probably be made without a big fuss. (If you think that gaining or losing a substantial amount of weight is in the cards, give your seamstress a heads-up as early as possible. That way, she’ll be able to take needed measures, such as leaving extra fabric around the seams.) Check before-hand to see what those final tweaks will cost.

Read More About:Dress & Attire

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Talk to your venue before renting any items. Ask if you’ll be charged additional fees for using outside vendors and if the site can accommodate additional setup and breakdown time for special lighting, ceremony chairs, or hanging lanterns.