Wedding Dress Fitting Guide B ecause fashion preferences were once ornate and dependent on precise fits, ready-to-wear clothing really did not become widely available until the early 20th century. Such attire is now the norm, and the average person may be unfamiliar with custom- made or tailored items. Fittings are a part of wedding planning, and here’s how brides-to-be can navigate the process of finding and being fitted for a dress. •Where to start. The magazines and the internet are great sources for brides to get ideas of what they like and how a dress should fit. Stacia Smith, owner of Formal Fantasy in downtown Stillwater, suggests Pinterest or other similar sites are good places to look. “Don’t order online,” Smith says. “You have to see and feel a gown in person to really know what you are getting.” • Take a picture. When you find something you like take a picture(s) with you to the bridal stores. Pictures will give the sales associates and shop owners ideas of what the bride likes. Plus brides don’t know all the “jargon” associated with gowns’ styles and extras. A picture is worth a thousand words to express a bride’s wants. 8 - Stillwater Bridal Showcase 2019 • Try on sample gowns. The first step is to make your rounds to various gown shops and try on the samples they have available. Most sample sizes will not be the size you wear every day, so expect them to be ill-fitting. Do not be discouraged. Once a gown is chosen, the dress shop will take your measurements and order the gown according to the manufacturer’s sizing guide. Again, this can be shocking, since the size will likely be larger than what you wear in street clothes. Some shops will also order a little larger to allow for adequate tailoring. • Schedule the first fitting. “The first fitting should be 8 weeks before the wedding to be done 4 weeks before the wedding,” advises Smith. This is the time it takes to complete most standard alterations, and complex customizations can take even longer. Brides should also budget for alterations. These can average $100-300 and up depending on the dress and bride’s wants. • Bring your shoes and undergarments. Remember to bring along the exact shoes and undergarments you will wear with your gown. Smith says this is a must and requires these items for fittings. A change in shoes or bra/ corset can result in the alterations fitting poorly so these items should be brought along to all subsequent fittings. • Speak up. Make sure to speak up at fittings if anything is uncomfortable or needs tweaking. Seamstresses are masters at their crafts, but they are not mind readers. They have to understand the desires of the bride for the best fit and overall look of the dress. • Check the details. The second fitting is designed to check that all issues from the first fitting have been addressed, the gown is comfortable and you can move freely. At the last fitting, ask the maid of honor to come along so that she understands how to bustle or help you handle complicated straps or closures. A bride’s wedding day is one of the biggest days of their lives. Following these basic tips and steps will allow her to shine in the perfect dress with the perfect fit.