The Awesome Benefits of Buying a Sample Dress

shutterstock_454710727Here at Madeleine’s Daughter, we sell gowns to brides based on the sample they see here in the store, which means that 90% of the time, the brides here order a new gown, often in a different size or color from our sample. The sample is there to try on, but the majority of brides order new.

 So, what would be some good reasons to consider buying a sample instead of ordering a new gown? This whole idea can be a bit confusing, so let’s break it down for you.

  1.  COST: Designers set the prices on gowns, not the store where it’s sold. And, they have strict rules about how much stores are allowed to discount their designs. So, if a bride has a budget of $1,000, but she’s in LOVE with a gown that’s over her budget, the best way for her to get that dream dress is to buy the sample at a large discount. Samples are discounted anywhere from 20%-70% off, depending on the style, how long it’s been in the shop, the overall condition of the dress, etc.
  2. TIME: Not everyone takes a whole year (or more) to plan a wedding. In fact, lots of couples want much shorter engagements- 6 months or even less! Since brand new bridal gowns often take 5-6 months to come in once ordered, a sample is a great way around that little headache when you want to have a shorter engagement.
  3. NOT WONDERING ABOUT SIZE: Whether the sample fits you perfectly, or needs some minor tweaking like adjusting the straps, or taking in the bust, you’ll know from the get-go what you’re in for where alterations are concerned. Most brides have to wait until their size dress comes in to even begin to think about what alterations are needed, but brides who purchase a sample, not only leave with the dress, they leave with peace of mind!

 Of course, there can be cons to buying a sample- it may be a little shop-worn, or even damaged. It has been tried on by several other brides, and that bothers some people, but at the end of the day, the benefits far outweigh anything negative. So, no matter your budget, if you are even remotely close to sample size, let your stylist know that you’re open to a sample because it might open up an opportunity you might not have otherwise!

 

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What’s the Deal With Wedding Colors??

It happens every day here- a bride or bridesmaid or mother of the wedding will come in or call asking about the color of the dress, usually because she is shopping for accessories and trying to make sure they match.

But there’s something important to note with color and how it works in the bridal industry and it’s this:

 EVERY DESIGNER HAS THEIR OWN COLORS.

What do we mean by that? Well, what it boils down to is the fact that “Ivory” by Maggie Sottero and “Ivory” by Anne Barge could be two completely different colors. The same is true for fabric. “Ivory” lace and “Ivory” shantung could be completely different colors from each other.

These are both called ivory!!

 Confusing, right? Don’t even get me started on bridesmaid colors! Why can’t all the designers agree on exactly what shade constitutes “Navy,” right? Or “blush” or any of the popular wedding colors. But alas, this is not how our industry works.

 So, what’s our advice for making sure the veil, and all the other accessories are the right color? I mean, if the dress designer and the veil designer aren’t working together to make sure that all “ivory” dresses and veils are the same, then what is a bride to do? Well, our advice is to not worry about the NAME of the color. Worry about how the color looks. You may purchase a “diamond white” veil to wear with your “light ivory” wedding gown. There’s nothing wrong with the NAME of the color not matching!

 This means being VERY cautious when purchasing something online or in a different store from where you bought your dress. In other words, just because your veil is ivory, doesn’t mean you should purchase a veil that is ivory. When shopping for a veil, we ALWAYS recommend doing so while WEARING your bridal gown. (It’s really difficult to choose a veil while you’re wearing a pair of jeans.) So, whether you shop here at Madeleine’s or elsewhere for your veil, do it WITH your gown. Even if you don’t put the gown on, it’s best to have it, or even a small swatch to make sure that the veil color matches.

The same is true for bridesmaids- if you can get a couple of swatches of the bridesmaid dress color, it will make shopping for everything else SO much easier. Take this swatch to your florist, to the baker for your cake consultation, to the venue, to the linen rental vendor- take the swatches everywhere. Because unfortunately, “Navy” or “Plum” or “Blush” aren’t universal standard colors. Sigh. If only everyone would just use Pantone as a standard, all our lives would be so much easier!

Hopefully this little bit of advice will make shopping for your wedding a little bit easier!

 

How to Help an Introverted Bride

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You may remember our post from a few months ago about how to handle being an introverted bride, but what if you’re the super-outgoing maid of honor or friend of the bride and you just want to help her celebrate in the BESTWAYEVER!?!?!?!??!

Well, as much as we know your heart is in the right place for wanting to throw her a huge bridal shower and an extravagant bachelorette party, that might not be the best approach for your friend. As an introverted bride, your friend is already likely in full-anxiety mode over the many different events at which she’s going to need to be “on.” If you’re an extrovert, it’s hard to relate to this, but just take a moment to imagine whatever is most stressful and draining to you and that is every single typical wedding event she’s about to have in the coming months.

So, what do you do? Here are some fab tips on how to help your friend navigate these events in a way that will actually be enjoyable to her!

The Shower:

There are two main hurdles for the shower as an introverted bride. The first is the expectation to mingle among the guests throughout and the second is sitting in front of all the guests opening gifts for an hour or more. These are two very draining experiences for the bride. So, how, as her maid-of-honor, or bridesmaid do you help her?

First, think carefully about how the shower will be structured and try to plan some downtime for her. For example, if you choose to play games, perhaps letting the bride sit back while the “toilet paper wedding gowns” are constructed and letting her simply award the prizes at the end. If she’s feeling a bit overwhelmed after having mingled for the first hour, this will be a good opportunity for her to enjoy some of the food, have a glass of champagne and decompress a bit without actually leaving the party.

Second, why not relieve her of the whole opening-presents-in-front-of-all-the-guests part? Host an “open gift” shower where guests are politely asked to bring an unwrapped gift. When they arrive, there should be a clear space (usually a couple of large tables) for the guests to leave their gifts for the couple. This will actually allow the bride to mingle with her guests at a more relaxed pace since the majority of the event won’t be spent with everyone watching her open presents. And as an added bonus, she won’t have all eyes on her when she opens up the present full of wedding-night lingerie. (I think that everyone wins in that situation, not just the introverts!)

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The Bachelorette Party:

The same concerns tend to pop up for the introverted bride, regardless of the event and the bachelorette party is no exception. Being the center of attention can be difficult and so can having a huge crowd of people around that you’re expected to get crazy with all night (or all weekend). How to help your girl get through it?

Consider if the standard wild & crazy night on the town is what she would want to do! Is your introverted bride the kind who might not actually enjoy being decked out in a plastic tiara, fake veil, feather boa, etc. while being paraded through town from bar to bar? Not every bride is super excited about that part of wedding planning, believe it or not.

Maybe your friend would enjoy a quiet experience with her best ladies, for example a day at a spa, enjoying pedicures, snacks and pampering by the pool or hot tub. Or, if she IS the kind to get into the wild & crazy, but wants a more intimate setting, consider bringing the party to a more familiar, comfortable location like a friend’s place.

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The Big Day:

The wedding day itself could be causing your introverted friend quite a bit of anxiety in anticipation of all that is expected of her, so the best thing you can do is help her get the quiet, downtime that she needs. Don’t be offended if she wants to have her hair & make-up done separately from the bridal party. Even though you want to party with her, don’t forget to give her space and time with her new spouse. And if you see her getting stressed or near-meltdown, step in and help her out of that situation. Whether it’s an exuberant uncle that you ask to dance to help her end the conversation or a sorority sister who insists she and the bride re-create their Greek Week flash mob dance that you need to distract with a cocktail, the best thing you can do for the bride is help her enjoy herself.

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So, to sum up- just remember that not everyone loves being the center of attention and becoming a bride won’t magically change that about an introverted person. So, if you’ve got a friend who’s feeling a bit of anxiety for her upcoming nuptials, just remember that and do your best to help her through it and make it as enjoyable for her as you can. She’ll be incredibly grateful, trust me.

 

The Inevitable Truth about Weddings

Scared that something will go wrong on your wedding day? It probably will…but it won’t actually ruin your day, and you’ll have a great story to tell after. Actually being prepared for something to go wrong on your wedding day will really help you deal with it more easily when you find out what that thing is that goes haywire! Some people say that you can even expect up to three things to go wrong, but we’re pretty sure you can 100% count on at least one thing happening that isn’t part of your wedding day plan! We surveyed our own staff to find out what some mishaps were on their wedding days. Turns out everyone experience SOMETHING going wrong!

Kristin’s wedding fortunately had only minor mishaps. For example, when she arrived, the table linens were a different color than she had ordered from the rental company. What was her response? She was fine with it. “The colors still worked, even though it wasn’t what I had asked for. It still looked beautiful and that’s what mattered to me.”

McKenzie’s wedding was plagued with terrible weather. And we’re not just talking a little drizzle. Her mountain-top wedding was the windiest ever because of the tornado blowing nearby! “My veil blew right off my head the second I started walking down the aisle. As soon as the ceremony ended, it started to downpour! At one point, the weather got so bad that the caterer was threatening to leave! Fortunately, it all worked out. Every got to eat, and we danced the night away. And as for the rain on the ceremony, my favorite picture from the day is the photo of us kissing in the rain for the first time as a married couple!”

Lauren remembers being super excited for her cake. It was the “Tuxedo” cake from the Beach Pea, one of her (and our) favorite bakeries. During the reception, she remembers cutting the cake with her new husband for the photo op, but never saw (or tasted) the cake again after that! “To this day, I still have no idea what happened to my cake! Maybe some lucky wait staff got to enjoy it after we left, but none of our guests did!”

Brandie walked down the aisle with GREEN PAINT in the center of her veil. How did it get there? Even more than a decade later, the answer to that question is still a mystery. “It was not only in the center of my veil, but it was on the blusher layer! Right in front of my face! I have no idea how it got there, but once I saw Todd waiting for me at the end of the aisle, it didn’t even matter. We even laugh about it now- you have to be able to let these things go.”

Renée remembers all sorts of things going wrong. But perhaps the most memorable of the many mishaps was that the pianist played the processional way too fast and she had to practically run down the aisle. “I remember that I had perfectly planned the timing for everyone walking down the aisle to one of my favorite pieces by Debussy. I was very clear with the pianist about the tempo. He basically ignored me and I remember rushing down the aisle because I was afraid of the piece ending and having to walk halfway in silence!”

“So, what’s your point?” you’re asking right about now. Well, the point is that even though everyone experiences at least ONE mishap on their wedding day, that’s not what will define your day. And if you count on something going wrong, you won’t be as upset by it in the moment. Just expect something to go wrong and when it does, take a breath, let the professionals you’ve hired help fix it and remember that at the end of the day, if you’re married to your best friend, then it really was a perfect day.

Unveiled: Essense of Australia, Martina Liana, Stella York & Sorella Vita

Unveiling Essense of Australia wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t include all of the many divisions including Martina Liana, Stella York and Sorella Vita! Yes, this amazing company creates gorgeous gowns at three different price points PLUS a gorgeous line of bridesmaid dresses, too! It’s understandable why they would be one of our favorite collections. Here’s a little about each division:

Essense of Australia:

Combining a superb fit with couture finishing, Essense of Australia brings an attention to detail that sets our wedding dresses apart from those of many other designer labels and makes your wedding truly memorable.

Influenced by the fashion houses of Europe and the fashion center of New York, every Essense of Australia gown is painstakingly imagined and created by our talented and highly experienced Australian design team.

At the heart of each signature Essense gown is luxurious fabric and exquisite beading. The wedding gown line offers a diverse compilation of elegantly crafted designer wedding dresses ranging from glamorous, draped Angel Satin to alluring laces and Satin Chiffon. The use of authentic Swarovski crystals and diamantés adds the perfect touch of shimmering, head-turning sparkle. Plus, with innovative couture finishing options such as a lace or zip-up back, a bride can customize her gown to best reflect her sophistication and unique style.

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Martina Liana:

For the bride who radiates confidence, global glamour and impeccable style, there’s Martina Liana — the embodiment of exquisite couture bridal design.

The Martina Liana wedding gown collection has risen from the celebrated mind of Chief Creative Officer, Martine Harris, and our international design team to the heights of the world stage as a major international bridal fashion label.

Every cut, every embellishment, every consideration of a Martina Liana design is made with one idea in mind.

“A bridal gown is more than just something a bride will wear once. She will replay the memories of her day in her mind for years to come and pictures of her will be passed down for generations. A bride’s love story inspires us and this is why we love creating magical and unforgettable gowns,” said Martine.

This passion to create an enduring memory is exemplified in the couture craftsmanship of every Martina Liana gown.

You can see it in the way the luxurious fabrics flow as a bride glides down the aisle. In the handcrafted fit, that accentuates a womanly form. And in the heirloom quality detailing that will leave every guest in awe – and stir the heart of a husband-to-be.

“We had a vision to create a bridal fashion label that blended couture customization and quality with exquisite design. We are proud that this vision has been brought to life through Martina Liana. Each new collection is even more captivating than the last and we feel validated by the amazing response this label has received from brides across the world.”

When you select a Martina Liana creation, you wear something far more than just a wedding dress. You make a statement. One that exemplifies the style, the attitude and the elegance of the bride, and the woman, you are.

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Stella York:

Glamorous. Sexy. Extravagant. Stella York wedding dresses are more than just a designer label. It’s an indelible mind-set — with each creation a perfect complement to a bride’s attitude, style and spirit.

Wearing a Stella York gown, a bride will truly be as the name suggests — the stella, or “star” of her wedding day — adorned in a head-turning creation brought to life by the same Australian design team that brings elegance and sophistication to the designer wedding gown labels of Essense of Australia and Martina Liana.

Inspired by the world’s hottest red carpet trends, Stella York bridal gowns are imagined and handcrafted with stunning detail. Each gown is constructed to provide an exceptional fit and give the body perfect form, all at a competitive price.

Dressed in spectacular beading, glamorous laces and enchanting fabrics, the Stella York bride is assured to be the center of elegance and attention. Whether a bride is graced in soft organzas, chiffons and charmeuses or romantic satins and taffetas, the Stella York collection is an extraordinary accompaniment to her every desire.

And of course, this “unveiling” wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t mention Sorella Vita, the amazing bridesmaid dress collection!

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Sorella Vita:

Few relationships are as meaningful or unbreakable as that between a bride and her bridesmaids. It is a bond formed out of love and respect, a friendship destined to last forever. Together they are sorella vita – “ sisters for life”.

The Sorella Vita bridesmaid collection is designed to bring the hottest runway styles and the latest red carpet trends to the aisles of the most fashion-forward weddings.

Imagined by the same Australian design teams that bring elegance and sophistication to life in the designer wedding gown collections of Stella York, Essense of Australia, and Martina Liana, Sorella Vita provides the perfect touch of personality and style to any bridal occasion and at prices for every consideration set.

Featuring well-crafted details that are modern and eye-catching, colors that are rich and bold, and fabrics that are posh and glamorous, the dresses of the Sorella Vita collection bring confidence and style to each bridesmaid and every wedding day.

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You can tell we’re big fans of all the various divisions because we carry each and every one of them in our shop! We love the diversity of styles, fabrics and price points that we can provide to our brides through this amazing company! Book your appointment today to come and try on Essense of Australia wedding gowns! We know you’ll find one you love!

How to Infuse the Seacoast Into Your Wedding Day

Let’s face it- the seacoast of New England is pretty spectacular. The scenery, the views, the vibe- it’s got a lot going for it. A lot of our brides might have moved away from the seacoast, but want to come back here for their wedding because of the nostalgia the location holds for them. And if they love it so much, it stands to reason that they want their guests to love it, too. So, how do you incorporate the seacoast into your wedding without it necessarily being a complete “theme?”

The answer is in the details, of course! But if you don’t want your wedding to actually feel like it’s on lobster boat, consider these detail ideas, and don’t forget to exercise restraint- choose one or two ideas to incorporate to keep it from feeling too much like a kitsch-y theme.

Invitations:

It’s a well-known fact that the invitations set the tone for your wedding day, and this makes perfect sense as they are likely the first taste of your wedding that your guests will experience. The feeling of your wedding, including its location can start to be conveyed through the invitation that you choose or design. Preppy and nautical, or bohemian and beachy, there is a design out there for every couple. The paper, the font, the background design- all of these elements can come together to start to help your guests experience the awesomeness that is a seacoast wedding.

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Décor:

You don’t have to deck the halls in anchors and blue and white stripes to have a bit of a nautical feel, but touches of those elements can add a little seacoast charm to your event.

Maybe a small anchor charm hanging around the centerpiece vases, or some oyster shells scattered on the tables along with driftwood. Small touches can be just as beautiful and sometimes a lot more tasteful than bold statement pieces.

Of course, if your event is actually located in a setting that features the gorgeous seacoast, letting nature serve as your décor can be the most impactful (and cost-effective) option available to you!

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Favors:

Guests LOVE taking home a little keepsake from the wedding day, so put some thought into your favor and see if you can incorporate the charm of the location into that item. Perhaps it’s a whale or lobster magnet or keychain. Maybe something edible is a better choice for you such as local maple syrup, jam or relish from Stonewall Kitchen? If you prefer a less perishable gift, a set of lobster crackers or a bottle opener from Smuttynose? Whatever suits your personalities the best!

 

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Of course, these tips work regardless of the location, although we’re obviously fond of our hometown location! If you need more wedding-planning advice, keep stopping by our blog- we’ve got plenty!

 

“Best Of” Lists for Brides

While we do consider ourselves experts in a lot of wedding-related areas, we also recognize that it’s okay for someone else to do some of the legwork for us. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of awesome articles, blog posts, etc. for you. Whatever it is that you need for your wedding, there’s a solution in at least ONE of the links below!

 First, here is a list from Refinery 29 of 25 of the best wedding-planning apps out there. Let’s be honest, couples are planning more and more of their weddings through their iPhones. So, it’s understandable that app developers would be getting on board that gravy train. Whether you need an app for finding the perfect color palate or managing your budget, we’re pretty sure it exists!

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Second, here’s a fabulous list of the 14 best wedding website builders out there. Whether you prefer theknot.com or appycouple, each couple’s wedding website should reflect the personality of their wedding, so it stands to reason that not every couple would use the same builder.

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Finally, even though we’re living in a digital age, there are still some rules of wedding etiquette that are important to know. We’re not saying you have to follow all the rules, we’re just saying it’s a good idea to be informed. We think if you’re going to break a rule of wedding etiquette, you should do so knowingly, that’s all. So, take a look at this list of 24 wedding etiquette questions and their answers. Consider yourself the wedding Emily Post.

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Of course, there are countless other sources available to you as a bride, but sometimes it’s nice to have some information consolidated for you. We hope these lists are helpful to you! Did we forget something? Leave a comment and let us know!

 

I’m a Plus-Size and NERVOUS to shop for My Wedding Gown. Help!

Brides come in all shapes and sizes and at Madeleine’s Daughter, we feel like that’s something to celebrate not shy away from! Whether you are a size 2 or a 22, or anything else for that matter, shopping for your bridal gown should be fun, exciting and memorable! Pretty much all brides are nervous to shop for a bridal gown, but it can be especially nerve-wracking for the plus-size bride because the fashion industry in general isn’t always kind where size is concerned. So how should a beautiful, curvy girl approach shopping for her wedding gown? Here are some tips to make the experience a positive one (and just FYI, this advice is great for ALL sizes)!

  1. Remember that your stylist is there for YOU! They are not only going to help you in and out of each and every dress, but they will be able to answer any questions you have about the fit of the gown. Think of the two of you as a team. You know your body and she knows the dresses. Together you’ll communicate about what looks and feels best until you’ve found your dream dress!
  2. Believe it or not, we have a range of sizes to try on! The nature of our business requires us to almost always choose just one size sample of each dress, usually something between an 8 and a 12. But we want everyone to be able to try on dresses regardless of size, so we actually purchase a second sample of many of our dresses in a size 16 or higher. If there’s a specific dress you’re interested in, call us to see if we have it and if we do, what size it’s sampled in. We’re always happy to provide this kind of info to our potential brides!
  3. Remind yourself of all your beautiful attributes! Shopping for a bridal gown can be intimidating for everyone. We’re not all accustomed to trying on formal wear, but the things to remember are your assets and the fact that your wedding gown should show them off! What do you love about how you look? Your great cleavage? Your fabulous booty? Your sexy smile? Your bright, sparkling eyes? All of the above? Let your stylist know what you want to accentuate and they’ll bring you dresses that will do just that!
  4. Don’t feel pressured to choose what’s “flattering” unless it’s “flattering” to YOU! Although A-line styles tend to be flattering on literally everyone, that doesn’t mean that it is a silhouette that you’ll love or that will make you feel like a bride (it might, but don’t feel pigeon-holed to that particular style before you’ve even started). Although you are definitely looking for a gown that is flattering, be open to what actually defines “flattering” for YOU. And don’t forget to let your own style shine through in your choice.
  5. Keep an open mind! If I had a nickel every time a bride said, “I never thought I’d end up in a dress like this!” I’d have a LOT of nickels! Regardless of their size, the majority of brides end up choosing a dress that’s different from what they expected to choose. This is because you really can’t know until you try them on! So, if your stylist brings in a dress that you do not love at first glance, keep an open mind and try it on. Many (many, many) times, that “wild card” the stylist brought in ends up being “the one!”

The bottom line in wedding gown shopping (for ALL brides) is that it should be an amazing experience and at Madeleine’s Daughter, that’s our ultimate goal for every bride who walks through our doors.

Boho Bride Inspo

If you were to ask us our favorite bridal style, it would be nearly impossible to narrow it down. We love a classic, traditional bride just as much as a modern, edgy girl, as long as that bride is being true to herself. That’s what really makes a bride shine- when her bridal style shows her true self, and you feel you can see her personality through her wedding date attire. It’s not always easy to achieve that, especially if you’re a little more boho-inspired. Fortunately, here at MD, we totally get you, girl. And we’ve made sure to curate a collection of bridal gowns that will help even the most hippie-chic among you feel like yourself AND like a bride. Check out this boho bride inspo:

  1. Carina and Ahsan- This corset and skirt combo was one of the first of its kind. Now, bridal “separates” are pretty much everywhere, but before it was a trend, Watters was head of the curve! They not only figured out that separates are TOTES comfy, but they designed this style with an earthy, blush fabric ideal for the boho bride. The skirt is made of the softest tulle and the top has multiple shades of blush, making for incredible dimension in the design.Watters Carina Ahsan
  2. McKenzie- To us, boho almost always means lace, but not the traditional lace your mom wore. Today’s boho bride wants modern lace, like the kind on McKenzie by Maggie Sottero. It’s like a modern-version of the 70’s Gunne Sax styles, in the best possible way:  Maggie Sottero McKenzie
  3. Boho can mean a lot of things, depending on who you ask, but ultimately, it’s about a vibe. An easy, effortless vibe that doesn’t mean you don’t care how you look, it just means you are SO not into anything over-the-top, or princess-y. Which is what makes style #2067 by Mikaella so perfect for the boho bride: Mikaella 2067

And we know you want to see even more, so here’s just a few of the other looks that would be perfectly boho…

Of course, this is just a small sampling of boho-inspired gowns. Why not make an appointment today to try these (and lots of other) boho-inspired gowns today!

Navigating the Alterations Process

Being a bride is different from real life in so many ways, we could honestly dedicate this blog to that topic alone and barely scratch the surface. One of the many differences, of course, is what you wear or, in the case of this blog post, what goes into what you wear.

You know how it starts- the fairytale, “Say Yes to the Dress” moment is incredible- you’ve never felt more beautiful! Months later, your dress arrives in your chosen color and size, likely something different from the sample you tried on. It’s a little… ill-fitting, shall we say? So, you trust your bridal stylist and dutifully make an alterations appointment with a seamstress. Your first appointment is a few months before the wedding, so the clock is ticking. Your first fitting, you spend a bunch of time standing really still while your seamstress sticks pins everywhere. You give her a hefty deposit. Your next fitting, the dress is a disaster, like, totally taken apart and in pieces and you can hardly believe you trusted this maniac with something so precious. You leave freaking out and alternate between barely eating anything and binge-stress-eating for the next month while you wait for your next appointment. And then, miraculously, at your final fitting, your dress is flawless! Somehow you can’t even see where the alterations were made, it just seems to somehow fit your body. The bodice, the length, the bustle- it’s kind of incredible!

So, what is the magic that happens behind the scenes in that seamstress’ studio? And why didn’t she tell you that your second fitting would be traumatic?!?!

Well, it’s a lot of technical lingo to go over, so we’re going to break it down in as simple a way as possible. But, it’s important to remember that every bridal gown is different and every bride’s body is different, too. So, two brides in the exact same dress might need a completely different approach to their alterations. That’s why it’s so important to find a seamstress who has experience altering WEDDING GOWNS, not just making clothes or hemming pants. A lot of brides tell us, “Oh, I’m having my gown altered by so-and-so. She MAKES gowns from scratch!” Well, guess what. Making gowns and altering gowns are two completely different types of skills and although they may seem similar, just because someone can sew a gown together from a pattern, doesn’t mean they can alter the gown you bought and make it fit YOUR body. This is an important distinction.

So, now that you know all that, here’s the breakdown of what happens at each of your fittings. Hopefully we can take some of the mystery and STRESS out of this whole process!

 

The First Fitting:

When is it? Typically two or three months before the wedding. Different seamstresses require different time frames.

How long is it? This is probably the longest fitting, maybe 45 minutes to an hour, maybe longer if you’re indecisive about bustling or want some custom work done.

What is the seamstress doing at this point? She’s pinning all the alterations that need to be done to make the dress fit you flawlessly. Does the bust need adjustment? What about the straps? Is the hem a little long? Do you have a train that needs to be bustled? ALL of these things get pinned at this appointment. So, be prepared to offer your opinion on how you want certain things to look. You’ll be choosing your bustle style, your exact hem length and obviously agreeing to the tailoring of the bodice/bust/straps, etc.

What do I need to do/bring/prepare? Shoes and undergarments are crucial to this appointment. Without them, the seamstress can’t do what she does. It’s a total waste of time.

What does my gown look like at this point? Basically, it looks like it did when you took it home from the bridal shop, but with lots of straight pins ALL OVER IT.

 

The Second Fitting:

When is it? Usually a month or so before the wedding.

How long is it? This is likely another 45-minute appointment, at least. Again, that might change depending on how much you’re having done. Did you ask your seamstress to make custom straps to add to your gown?

What is the seamstress doing at this point? She’s taken your dress apart to get access to all the seams that she pinned at the first fitting. She’s sewn some of them back together, but not all of them. Some seamstresses use a technique called “basting” which is like “sewing lite.” It’s a less permanent form of stitching something together. Many times, at the second fitting, your dress is mostly “basted” together. No, this has nothing to do with turkeys. Anyway, at this fitting (and any fitting between the first and final), your seamstress is making small adjustments to what she’s sewn, each time trying to achieve exactly the fit you want.

What do I need to do/bring/prepare? Shoes and undergarments are crucial at this appointment as they are at the first fitting. Why? Well, how else can your seamstress check her work unless you’re wearing the same shoes and undergarments? If you’re gonna mess with her and switch out your shoes LET HER KNOW AHEAD OF TIME.

What does my gown look like at this point? Honestly, be prepared for your gown to be a bit… deconstructed. Think of it this way: in order to take in the seams she pinned, your seamstress has to access them first. Which means taking the dress apart a bit. Lace and beading often has to come off in certain spots. Is there lace at the hem? It might be detached at this point. Once I had a bride whose dress was in two separate pieces at her second fitting. The skirt was taken off the bodice. This can be panic-inducing. But be patient. It will all work out.

The Final Fitting:

When is it? Usually, less than two weeks before the wedding. Some brides do it, like, the day before, but that would totes stress me out to no end. I’d like a couple days before hand, pleaseandthankyou.

How long is it? This appointment is usually a little shorter- maybe 30 minutes or so- typically because there’s less to do. You’re basically trying on your (finished) gown and then freaking out because your wedding is like, days away.

What is the seamstress doing at this point? Not much, hopefully. The idea of a final fitting is to see everything all perfectly sewn and pressed and looking the way it will on the wedding day. If there is a tiny tweak to be made, she’ll likely do it on the spot.

What do I need to do/bring/prepare? Shoes and undergarments, of course. If you haven’t figured it out yet, these things are crucial to ALL your alterations appointments. DO NOT FORGET THEM!

What does my gown look like at this point? Umm… kind of awesome. The tailoring is done. The hem is perfect, the bustle is installed. It’s probably all pressed and steamed to perfection, too.

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Have more questions? That’s ok! Just ask! It’s always better to ask than to make an assumption, especially where your wedding gown is concerned! And if you end up with a seamstress who does a really stellar job, make her day by sending her a photo from the wedding day along with a nice “Thank you” card. Trust me, she’ll love it.