I have been altering and making wedding dresses for over 10 years now, and I have compiled my top ten list of things which I think are useful for a bride to bear in mind before and during her dress fittings. If its all a bit new to you and you have no idea what to do or expect beyond buying a dress, keep reading...
1. Book your seamstress in. Don't leave it until a week or two before your wedding. Weddings are seasonal, so seamstresses get busy. Either book your seamstress in for the work to do last minute, or book your fittings in 6-8 weeks before your wedding. It is a gradual process and can take a few fittings to get perfect.
2. Bring a couple of guests to your fitting. Some people like to be alone and don't need/ want opinions...Other people bring an entourage to their fittings. Remember, too many cooks, etc, and too many opinions can become stressful and unnecessary. Try and bring just your core team to fittings, and remember you'll have a few so can bring a couple each time, you don't need to bring 10 people every time you put on your dress.
3. Always bring your wedding shoes. Even if you are wearing flip flops, the shoes you wear can effect the way you walk and the way you stand, which will have an impact on how the dress sits on your body.
4. Don't wear fake tan. This seems obvious but I'm amazed at how many brides come to their fittings wearing fake tan. It does rub off. Fact. You don't want your wedding dress with a tinge of brown inside the lining before you've even got married, so avoid the fake-bake before your dress fittings.
5. Bring your wedding underwear. Check your wedding underwear doesn't show through your dress, or show if you have a low backed dress. White shows through white so check while you're wearing the dress and of course if you are wearing a bra or control underwear, this will effect the fit of the dress, so is important you are wearing it for your fittings.
6. Bring your accessories. I think it is always worth having your accessories with you for one fitting, to make sure everything looks good together, you haven't gone overboard with accessories and become a Christmas tree! These details won't affect the fit, but they might make you change your mind on where your sleeve ends, for example, or the neckline of your dress if you have a specific necklace to wear. This may also be the only opportunity to see it all together before the big day, so ask if its ok to try on all your kit while you are wearing the dress.
7. Bring image references for customisations. I find it really useful when my clients bring a picture of something they want doing to their dress. In some cases, even a little doodle has helped, just so I am clear that I know exactly what the bride has in her mind.
8. Maintaining your weight. I usually see my clients 2-3 times and often get asked when can they keep loosing weight or exercising until. Each seamstress might have different rules, but I say you have to stop by your 2nd fitting. Continually taking a dress in, and in, isn't good for the gown so once you reach a point in your timeline, you need to stop and just maintain. Speak with your seamstress and check what she is happy to do, and within a certain timeframe.
9. Eating before your fitting. I know loads of girls are trying to tone or get in to shape for the wedding, which is totally normal, however make sure you come to your dress fittings having had something to eat and drink. I've had many a fainty brides who are so deep into dieting, after 20mins stood on the spot in their dress, and they've had dizzy spells and needed to sit down. Equally, don't book your dress fitting the morning after a boozy night out or too soon after your hen do. Alcohol massively bloats you so don't try your dress to close to a hangover or the dress might feel a little snug!
10. Natural Light. If you are able, look at the dress on you in natural light. A lot of boutiques have downlighting/ spotlights which create unnatural shadows and not a realistic representation of what is there so get into some natural day light and the dress may look quite different.