Photo: Abby Jiu
Since most wedding dresses are made to order, you probably won't find a shop that has samples of every dress in every size. However, if you are either petite or plus-sized, call ahead and ask the salon if they carry samples in smaller or larger sizes, as this can make the entire experience more helpful and enjoyable for you. To get a sense of how a gown will look, a consultant will pin the gown to fit or have you try on a similar dress that fits. The gown you choose will be ordered in your size — most dresses can be made to fit any size — then altered to fit perfectly. Don't be surprised if the size that is ordered is larger than you generally wear. Wedding dresses are sized differently than ordinary clothes. For the best results:
Inquire in advance about the fee for alterations.
Costs for alterations are not usually included in the price of the gown. Some shops charge a flat fee, others bill according to the work required, which can range from taking in the waist, shortening the sleeves and hems, to adding appliqués or beadwork. If there is hem detail (such as lace), order the gown in the length you need, so the hem will not have to be altered.
Expect to return to the shop for at least two fittings.
Three or four visits are sometimes necessary. Make and write the appointments in your calendar shortly after ordering your gown, so that the time is reserved on your schedule. And don't forget to bring along the appropriate bra, slip and hosiery to make sure you get an accurate fit.
Be sure that your gown is short enough.
The bottom line: The hem of the gown should gently skim the front of the shoe's toe area. If the gown is too long, the front of the skirt will skim the floor, causing the gown to wrinkle and you to step on it. This is why it is important to bring your wedding shoes with you to all fittings.