Wedding Dress Fitting Etiquette (Do’s and Don’ts)

Updated January 14, 2023
Wedding Dress Fitting Etiquette (Do’s and Don’ts)

Most bridal gowns must be altered to fit flawlessly. But before you schedule your fitting appointment, you should learn the wedding dress fitting etiquette.

Like everything involved in wedding planning, dress fitting has specific unspoken rules.

Although “wedding dress fitting etiquette” may sound like you’re only accommodating the seamstress, it’s equally necessary to save you time, money, and nerves.

If you follow wedding dress fitting best practices, your gown will look impeccably after just three effective appointments.

The main objective is to clearly know what you want, find the right fitter, and follow the schedule.

Of course, wedding dress fitting also has its “dot’s.” You won’t be refused service or be left without a dress for going against the etiquette. However, certain things may noticeably complicate the process.

Do – Read Reviews

Finding a trustworthy and experienced seamstress is vital.

Your dress may still end up looking perfect if you neglect the third fitting or forget to bring your shoes along. But if you choose the wrong fitting service, your gown may be ruined.

How to choose a good wedding dress fitting service, you may ask? Well, there are multiple ways you can check the quality of provided service. The most obvious and reliable one is reading reviews online.

Perhaps, the fitting service can be found in search engines or social media, and brides tend to be pretty vocal about their experiences – both positive and negative ones.

You may also ask your acquaintances who already got married which fitting service they chose and whether they would recommend it.

Lastly, ask your bridal salon about in-house wedding dress fitting. Firstly, that’s a huge time-saver. Secondly, in-house seamstresses likely have already worked with the same or similar dress model and know how to handle it.

Do – Make the First Fitting in Advance

Don’t leave your wedding dress shopping and fitting until a month before the event. Even if you’re sure about the size, your dress will most likely need to be altered to fit flawlessly.

Minor alterations such as basic hemming may take about a week or two, considering that many wedding gowns have intricately layered skirts. As for significant customizations, some require over a month.

Thus, schedule your first wedding dress fitting in advance. Ideally, the first appointment should be 8 to 12 weeks before the wedding and the last at least two weeks before the wedding.

Staying on the schedule will ensure that the seamstress has enough time to make all the necessary alterations. And the more complex the changes, the more time is needed.

Do – Take Your Add-Ons Along

Your wedding dress fit is affected not solely by your weight or posture but also by your underwear and shoes. Don’t forget to bring all the essential day-of add-ons to each fitting to ensure it’s done correctly.

You need to wear the same underwear you’ll be wearing on your wedding day. Each woman knows what a difference the right bra or Spanx can make.

Furthermore, you shouldn’t wear anything that could be seen through white fabric – no blacks, reds, or colorful patterns.

This means that you should purchase underwear at least 8-12 weeks in advance, too. The same applies to your wedding shoes. Although that’s a difficult choice, you should at least know the desired heel height.

Your heel height determines the necessary skirt length and may even affect the waistline fit. So, you should at least bring a shoe pair with a heel height comparable to that of your dream bridal shoes.

Although other accessories such as jewelry or bag aren’t necessary, you may still want to bring them along.

They might have a significant impact on the final look – for instance, your gloves can affect the desired sleeve length.

Do – Schedule Multiple Fittings

Wedding dress fitting doesn’t always come out right from the first time, and in most cases, that’s not the tailor’s fault.

The general recommendation is to schedule at least three fittings to ensure you have time for additional changes.

The necessary wedding dress fitting count may be even higher if you’re losing or gaining weight, fitting for pregnancy, or making significant customizations.

It’s easy to neglect some details on the first fitting.

For example, you may be focused on the loose waistline and not pay attention to overly long sleeves. Or you may find a cool train loop idea online long after the first appointment.

In other words, wedding gown fitting doesn’t always go as planned. Save yourself the headache and ensure you don’t have to compromise the fit for lack of planning.

Do – Check the Final Look

In a perfect situation, after the final appointment, you pay the remaining fitting service fee and take the dress home.

Bringing the dress back afterward may be possible, but it’s best to make sure you’re satisfied before you step out of the salon.

You already know that you should bring your undergarments and wedding heels along to every fitting. However, on the last fitting, you should also bring along other accessories, such as jewelry and gloves.

You may even make the same hairstyle and makeup you’d like for your wedding to see how the entire ensemble looks.

Your final wedding dress fitting is the perfect chance to check how you’ll look and feel on your wedding day.

Don’t – Forget to Budget for Alterations

Many brides neglect wedding dress alteration cost when making the budget and end up in a situation where they have to compromise.

Thus, don’t forget to include the fitting estimate when deciding on how much you’re comfortable spending.

The price of wedding dress fitting may vary greatly depending on the alteration type and extent. You may spend as little as $50 or as much as $1,200, so consider consulting your local seamstress in advance.

Don’t – Order a Smaller Size

Ordering a much smaller size is among the most common wedding dress shopping mistakes.

Hoping to lose a few (or a few dozens) pounds for the wedding day isn’t uncommon. However, taking in a large dress is easier than making a small dress bigger.

This doesn’t mean that an experienced sewist can’t alter a dress that is too small. Many wedding dresses feature seams that can be let out by a few inches specifically for this reason.

Alternatively, your seamstress can insert a corset back or gussets to make the bodice several sizes larger. However, you likely don’t want to pay more, spend more time on discussions, and attend additional fittings.

Be realistic about your weight loss and schedule appointments not earlier than three months before the wedding. At that point, your weight will be unlikely to fluctuate drastically.

Order your regular size – even if you lose 10 pounds, your seamstress will be able to alter it.

Don’t – Bring a Support Team Along

Bringing someone you trust along is always a good idea. Your friend or mom can give valuable advice and provide the necessary support. They can also crack a joke to help you relax and not be overly critical of your look.

However, you shouldn’t bring the entire bridal party to the fitting. Too many opinions may distract both you and the fitter. Plus, you may start feeling anxious under a dozen of extra eyes.

You want to be focused on the dress fit rather than chatting and laughing. So, even though it’s fun, leave your dress discussions for a friends’ lunch after the fitting.

Don’t – Request Unreasonable Customizations

Generally speaking, the extent of possible wedding dress customizations is limited only by your fitter’s skills and your budget. However, you should stay reasonable and keep the timeline in mind.

If you were satisfied with your dress’ sleeves on the first two fittings, don’t request to add balloon sleeves on the third appointment unless your seamstress is sure you have enough time.

Sometimes, brides become overly excited or nervous as the wedding comes closer. You may feel enthusiastic about every new wedding dress idea you see online or think that you’ve chosen the wrong style.

In this case, remember that you were pleased about your dress a few weeks earlier. Don’t let a sudden idea ruin your timeline and drain your budget.

Don’t – Hesitate to Speak Up

Although you will have multiple wedding dress fittings, don’t forget that you’re limited in time. If the dress still doesn’t fit right on the second appointment, don’t hesitate to speak up.

Of course, your fitter will do their best to make your dress fit flawlessly, and you may be afraid to come off as rude if you say you don’t like its look.

However, you will be the one wearing it, and you’re paying good money to make it look perfect. Be it a zipper poking your back or an overly tight corset, be vocal to ensure you feel comfortable on your special day.

After all, it isn’t always the seamstresses’ fault – the dress may not fit as expected due to your weight fluctuations or different undergarments.

Some brides avoid mentioning fitting issues, fearing that too many alterations would ruin the dress. There is no need to worry – high-quality fabric can withstand endless alterations if done correctly.

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