Wedding Dress Fittings & Alterations: All Your Questions Answered

Everything you need to know

Updated 10/18/17

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When it comes to wedding dresses, you want to make sure you have a perfect fit. That's why it's so important to buy your dress early on (about nine months before the big day), giving you plenty of time for wedding dress fittings and alterations. We talked to Nicole Sacco, the director of fittings at Kleinfeld and Say Yes to the Dress star, to get answers to the most commonly asked questions about dress fittings.

How long does it take to alter a wedding dress?

Because alterations take time, you should schedule your first fitting eight to ten weeks before your wedding day.

How long does a wedding dress fitting take?

The first fitting is generally one hour, and each subsequent fitting should take even less time since the dress is getting closer and closer to the perfect fit.

How many dress fittings are needed?

"Brides typically need three fittings to sculpt the gown to the body and ensure the proper fit. At the first fitting the bride will meet the artisan fitter who will be with her during every fitting until her wedding day. The gown will start to take shape when the fitter starts pinning and tucking the fabric and sculpting it to her body. At the second fitting, the bride should have a better idea of how the gown will fit," says Sacco.

Sometimes the process is complete in just two fittings, but sometimes you need three. Either way, schedule your final fitting to take place one to two weeks before the wedding, since your body won't change much in those final weeks.

What should brides wear to their fitting?

"Brides need to bring the shoes and undergarments they will wear on the day of the wedding in order to obtain the proper fit," says Sacco. Haven't settle on a shoe yet? At least bring a shoe that will have heel of the same height you anticipate wearing on your wedding day (otherwise you'll end up with a hem that's too long or too short!).

What can be done if a bride either loses or gains weight once the dress arrives?

"If a bride loses weight, the gown will be taken in at each fitting appointment until it fits perfectly. If a bride gains weight, we will try to open the seams and release some extra fabric. If there is not enough fabric to work with, we can order fabric from the designer and a panel can be added to the dress," says Sacco.

Is it worth it to purchase a dress in the wrong size if it is a great deal or will too many alternations ruin a dress?

It is always better to purchase a gown in a larger size rather than a smaller size. "We can always make a gown smaller but it is harder to make a gown larger. Depending on the style and embellishments on the gown, alterations should not 'ruin' the style," says Sacco.

What is your number one piece of advice that you give to brides about choosing their wedding dress?

"Make sure your wedding gown represents your individual style and matches the venue you are getting married in and the overall vision of your wedding day," says Sacco.

There you have you have it: Everything you need to know about when to do wedding dress fittings and what to expect during the alteration process. Good luck finding the perfect fit!

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