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This Is Your Essential Wedding Dress Alterations Checklist

Read now and thank us on your wedding day!

This Is Your Essential Wedding Dress Alterations Checklist

We’ve written so many posts about choosing your ideal wedding dress. But we’ve never properly discussed how to move in your wedding dress once you’ve purchased it.

Now, it’s worth pointing out that, on your wedding day, you won’t be moving about with the same ease that you do in your gym gear. You’ll be travelling at a slower pace and taking extra care. That being said, you don’t want to be so confined by the dress that you can’t fully enjoy the fabulous day you’ve got planned. That’s where our wedding dress alterations checklist comes in!

Think of this wedding alterations checklist as a simple set of instructions to help you test-drive your wedding dress during the alterations process. That way, you can avoid any discomfort or wardrobe malfunctions!

The golden rule of alterations is that you start with a garment that’s too big for you, and a sewer takes it in. This can either be done in-house at the boutique or by a bridalwear specialist. It’s during these fittings that you can really achieve a good fit. But what exactly is a good fit? Well, stick with us, because we’ve got that covered too.

How to Move in Your Wedding Dress

To achieve the right fit when it comes to wedding dress alterations, you’ll first need to figure out how mobile you want to be in your wedding dress. This varies heavily on the type of day you’ve got planned. Most wedding days require very little strenuous activity beyond performing your own personal interpretation of YMCA during the DJ set.

If you’re having your ceremony in a forest or trekking up a mountain for wedding portraits, however, you’ll want a bit of extra room in your dress. Before your fitting, have a think about what you’ll be doing on the day. Especially think about what you’ll be doing in the lead-up to your wedding portraits, as this is when your dress needs to look its best. Now you’re ready for your fitting!

What to Bring to Your Wedding Dress Fitting

Here’s a handy list of items you need to bring with you:

  • Underwear. Bring a good quality strapless bra and pants in a colour that’s close to your skin tone.
  • Shoes. If you’ve already got your wedding shoes, bring them along. If not, bring a pair with a similar heel height.
  • Any accessories you’ve already purchased. These might include hair accessories, jewellery, or even a veil.
  • Make-up remover if you need to remove yours. We recommend wearing as little as possible and make sure to ditch the fake tan, too!
  • A notebook and pen or somewhere to make notes. You’ll need to write down details of further alterations needed, collection dates, etc.

The Essential Wedding Dress Alterations Checklist

There are a few moves you need to pull during your wedding dress fitting to guarantee a great fit. Note that we aren’t using the phrase “perfect fit” because honestly, it doesn’t exist. A skin-tight wedding dress looks amazing but isn’t practical. A loose wedding dress doesn’t look great but is a dream to wear. You’re looking for that sweet spot in between.

But don’t go flailing about in the dressing room just yet. Make sure the person who’s doing the alterations is happy for you to move about and take it nice and slow. There may be pins or temporary stitches in place, and you don’t want to damage the dress at this stage.

  • Walk around. Go for a nice long stroll around the room. Keep in mind whether you’ll need to walk up steps on the day or climb an incline to reach a special wedding portrait location.
  • Note your temperature. If the fabric loses or retains more heat than you imagined, you’ll need to take extra precautions against the elements.
  • Slouch. In a perfect world, you’d keep your shoulders back, your chin up and your stomach tucked in for the duration of your wedding day. But, realistically, you’ll let that perfect posture slip at some point during a 15 or 20-hour celebration.
  • Sit down. You’ll need to sit for a significant portion of the day, including the ceremony and the meal, so it’s important that you’re comfortable doing so.
  • Mime hugging someone. There’s no need to lock the person doing your alterations in an embrace (although you wouldn’t be the first one!) Instead, mimic the gesture, then try it again as if you’re straining to reach a tall person or bending down to a short person or child. Trust us, this is an important one to get right!
  • Dance. There’s no need to break into a full-on shimmy! But if you’re expecting to stay in your dress for the whole night, it’s a good idea to test things out by having a brief bop.
  • Raise your arms. You’ll be surprised how often this is required on your wedding day, between waving, Meghan Markle-style, at onlookers as you travel to the ceremony, and raising the roof on the dancefloor.
  • Mime getting in and out of a car. It helps to practice entering and exiting a vehicle, particularly if you’re planning an unusual form of transport.
  • Figure out your bathroom plan. You’ve got to be wearing the dress to figure out how to pee in it, and now’s a good time to do it!

What Do I Do If My Wedding Dress Doesn’t Fit?

If it turns out you can’t do everything on the wedding dress alterations checklist comfortably, don’t panic. Usually, the designer, staff from your boutique, or the person doing the alterations will be able to offer a solution. If not, you may just have to remember not to lift your arms too high on the day. Or accept that there might be a little tear or two by the time you make it to the bridal suite. It’s crucial that you’re comfortable in the dress. But some things, like bringing a friend with you to the bathroom, or having to lift your skirt as you walk, you can learn to live with. And if all else fails, your new spouse can always carry you around. It’s the least they can do, don’t you agree?


Getting organised? Come and speak to a wedding coordinator at The Wedding Gallery!

By Holly Sutton

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This is your essential wedding dress alterations checklist