rule

On a Diet? And Other Weight Matters

rulef

It is NOT a good idea to diet between the time you ordered your gown and the wedding day. If you diet and make your body over 2 sizes smaller than the gown you ordered, alterations will be costly to make the gown fit your smaller body and you may loose design elements of the gown that you won't like loosing.

I fail to understand why any bride HAS TO diet in the first place. Your groom fell in love with you the way you are. If you think you have to change yourself for the wedding day than you need to re-evaluate the reasons you are getting married. AND if you are feeling the need to send me an angry email scolding me for this opinion than you are only proving my point correct - YOU ARE NOT READY FOR MARRIAGE! If you think you have to have a perfect body for your perfect wedding day than you are in for a very sad married life. Nothing in this human experience is perfect. Neither are you or your groom. You have to be yourself! It's so very important to present the person you are to your future spouse for the wedding ceremony. If you can't be who you are, are you going to turn into someone else just because you're getting married?

I get emails from brides almost daily, asking how to plan for their dieting in ordering/buying their wedding gowns. My answer is always - DON'T DIET! If you have been dieting before you shop for your gown it is best that you stop once the gown is ordered and go on a maintenance plan to keep your body shape the same as it was measured for the size of the gown. This will save you costly alterations and the great stress of dieting while dealing with the multitude of things that have to be dealt with in planning a wedding. This is supposed to be a happy time. Adding the stress of dieting does not make sense to me. If you can't make your way through this time with joy, than your marriage is in danger from the start.

I have a rule that brides who are dieting must stop once they have their first fitting with me. If they refuse, than I do not agree to do their alterations. I do not want the stress of doing the alterations twice should the bride's body shrink more than I have pinned the gown in the first place, and what customer wants to pay twice? It is not right for the other brides I am wanting to do good work for to have one bride stressing me more than necessary. I do not keep Bridezillas in my service. If you are overly stressing me than you can find another alteration lady to bother. I want to do my best work for each bride in my service unstressed by one bad attitude bride who is not ready for marriage.

Now, all that said - it is a good thing for a female to care enough about herself to want to improve her body and become a healthier person. Dieting may be part of this, but it is not a good idea to do it while planning a wedding. If you are doing this for the good reason of your own self esteem, do it before or after the wedding.


added July 2010

Hello….

I was just reading what you wrote about “altering” a wedding dress. My situation is a bit unique and I didn’t see the answer in what you wrote (though it may be there, and I just missed it)

When I went to place my order, based on my measurements I was between 2 sizes. My upper body was a smaller suggested size than my lower body. I am currently on a weight loss program partly because of the wedding but also because of my health. I had my 4th child a year and a half ago and after him, I had severe arthritis set in both knees. Because of the pain, my physical activity level went down drastically and I gained A LOT of weight in one year.

I know you said that you don’t recommend a bride loses weight for the wedding but I have to. This is not me first of all and second of all, I want to be able to walk down the aisle properly not hobbling along.

My question is: I ordered the dress the smaller of the two suggested sizes knowing that I would be losing a few inches before the big day.  I have so far lost 6 overall inches and will probably lose another 6 before the first fitting (1st week of October). I cannot put my weight loss program on hold when I am doing so well. So, based on a 12 inch weight loss – how many sizes do you think that is?  Also, will that be too much of an alteration? My gown is fairly simple with not a lot of beadwork and no lace. Right now the measurements are 46 – 46 – 56. When I ordered the dress it was 48 – 48 – 58.

Any advice you can give me would be appreciated.

Thanks, Lori

Hi Lori,
 
Generally, one inch equals one size. But that is very relative to the design of any garment. Sizing at any manufacturer is unique. I can't say what size you are now from the size you were measured at when you ordered. I think it's safe to say that you will be much smaller than you were and will need extra alterations.  
 
There are many complications weight lose creates in bridal alterations which leads to the reasons I recommend that brides not loose weight. If you loose weight between the ordering and the delivery, you will have to pay for more alterations than the normal bride. When I take on a bride for alterations I insist that she stop any weight lose program and go on a maintenance diet so her body won't change while I am changing her dress. If she gets smaller than I pinned her at than I will have to do the alterations twice to get the dress to fit the smaller body. I don't want to be doing my work twice and no bride wants to pay me twice.  
 
Most alterations cost the same up to 2 dress sizes. Once an alteration goes past 2 dress sizes things get complicated. Other places on the dress have to be altered for the increased size reduction which means more work and more time the alteration specialist needs to get the job done well. This translates to more cost to you.
 
If you can find a lady that is willing and has the time to do your alteration very close to the wedding date, you may be able to continue your weight lose up to the time she sews on the dress. During the busy wedding season I am booked up to 8 weeks and can't do jobs closer to a wedding date without doing less work for some bride I had already promised my time to. I just don't do that.
 
My best advise in your situation is to get on the phone immediately and call as many alteration specialists as you can to find someone who is able to do this type of work. You may also be told you will be paying a rush fee for having the dress altered close to the wedding date. Most any gown can be altered down several sizes, it's just the extra cost and stress to you that I advise brides to avoid when I say it's not a good idea to diet before your wedding.

added June 2009

Hello,

 
You have great advice.  I love your advice about dieting. I am dieting to lose weight for my health and not my wedding..My question is at the size I am now I am a perfect size eight in Maggie Sottero bridal dresses.. But here is the problem I am 4'11 and will lose ten pound in the next year on a healthy diet and exercise program..which will mean a loss of two dress sizes.. Should I wait until I am at the proper weight to buy the dress I love..
 
The owner of the bridal store informed me that due to the corset style of the dress if I lose
a size or two it will make no difference and to order the size eight..Is this correct..?
she just said that the corset will be tied tighter???
 
Thank you for your response.
 
Tiffany

 

Hi Tiffany,

 
There's more than one issue going on here. Yes, the sales person is sort-of right about the sizing on corset style gowns, but you may not like the looks of the lacings being tighter. Some brides like to see more space in the lacings and some like very little. If your weight loss makes the dress lace so tight that the loops on the sides are touching, it's not very pretty to me.  
 
I'm not sure 10 pounds translates into 2 sizes. It depends on a lot of things. Depending on where on your body the weight comes off may make it only 1 size. I tell brides that a loss or gain of 5 pounds usually doesn't effect the fit of the gown. Ten pounds can effect things but I don't see where it would be as much as 2 sizes.
 
Smartly dieting adds other complications. You also said you are exercising. Sometimes when you loose fat and replace it with muscle, you actually gain weight and can even gain inches. A few years back I decided to join a gym and signed up with a personal trainer. I went on the diet he made for me and in about 3 months I had friends asking me what I was doing because I looked so great. I gained about 10 pounds, but lost inches in nice places. I also had a bride who was taking a scuba diving course with her fiancee so they would have their license for the honeymoon. She gained so much muscle in her chest area that her strapless gown would not zip up once it came in. Fortunately I could let it out enough to fit comfortably. This is another reason why I strongly advise brides to fix their weight situation before buying their wedding gown. It's so unpredictable.
 
Have you tried on a size 6? Do you have time to wait to buy the gown? Ordering sometimes takes several months. Will this style of gown still be available when you come back?

 

Hello Leann,

 
Yes i have time to wait to buy the gown.  I was a very petite size 0/2 until i turned 28 and started gaining weight.. I am 33 and a size 6, So yes i have time to order my dress and lose my weight in a healthy way . I really only want to get down to a 2/4.. I like my curves.
 
I found  dress on line that I love, it is a sheath and beautiful,,
I had a question about the size and length being altered..
 
I have attached the dress to the e-mail for your advice
I am a32DD 27 waist and 37 hips at this time.  I when i lose more weight will this dress no longer be a good option???
 
Thank you

 

Hi Tiffany,

 
With your DD, any dress is going to be difficult to fit. A size 2/4 is proportioned for a B/C cup. I'm very surprised the lady at your bridal salon has not mentioned this. Bridal stores always order for the largest body measurement and take in where it is too big.

added March 2008

Hi! I just bought my wedding dress this evening and I’m concerned about alterations. I’ve read most of the info on your site and I’ve been somewhat reassured that my alterations can be done. I have lost 10 pounds in the past 2 months and plan to lose 10 more (I know your opinion on dieting, however, I have wanted to lose this weight for a long time and I plan to have it lost before my first fitting). The dress I currently have fits perfectly everywhere, hem included, except at the bust. It just needs to be taken in probably an inch or less at the very top. However, if I lose 10 more pounds I’m worried that the dress really will be quite big.

http://www.davidsbridal.com/bridal_gowns_detail.jsp?stid=1223&prodgroup=127

You can’t really tell what the dress looks like in this picture, but it has asymmetrical draping. I have a feeling it will be about a size or two too big by my first fitting. Will these alterations be possible for an experienced seamstress and how expensive will they be?

Thanks for your help-Erin

The dress is fitting you well now. I would advise you to stay at the weight you are now. If you loose weight before you start the alterations you may be adding a lot to the cost. It's up to you, but 10 pounds are not going to make you look much different. I can not tell you what this really will cost unless I see you in the dress, but this may add over $100 to the cost of alterations.


added February 2008

Your website is so informative and helpful, but I couldn't find an answer to the specific question I have. I'm a bridesmaid in a wedding that is taking place this coming October (2008). We, the bridesmaids, need to order our dresses by this Friday, the 15th of February. I currently match exactly the size 12 on the sizing chart for the dress we're ordering. However, I am currently about a size or two bigger than I normally am and have already started a weight-lose/exercise plan to get back down to an 8/10. I don't want to order a smaller size as I feel like that's tempting fate and I know it's much harder to alter a dress which is too small.

My questions is this: the dresses have side zips so I know there isn't much material to work with in terms of taking it in. Would it be possible to take the gown to a seamstress, have her remove the side zip in order to take the dress in and then reattach the side zip? I just want to know my options so this doesn't become too complicated.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Cheers, Bethany

PS: Here's a link to the dress itself- http://www.venusbridal.com/detail.php?did=61

Sure, I do this all the time. Dealing with zippers is not always easy, but it can be done.

What size you decide to order depends on how well you know yourself. Can you loose the weight easily in this time frame? If you know you can than get the smaller size. If you are not sure, get the larger size.


added July 2007

I just ordered my gown yesterday and ordered it in a size 18, which fit me perfectly and actually a bit snug except for the sleeves were too big. Also, the sales lady measured me and according to the sizing chart I was an 18. I am in hopes of loosing more weight before my wedding in March 2008 (I would like to loose 20-25 pounds). Anyhow, now I am nervous and wonder if maybe I should have ordered one size smaller, because I am scared that I will loose some of the detail with alterations if I loose weight. I also did not try the gown on with the correct bra, and I thought if I lost weight I could also wear a more heavily padded bra to compensate for an inch or two. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Here are the specifics of my gown …Beaded embroidery overlays the off-the-shoulder bodice, trimmed with peaked bands at the empire. An A-line skirt beautifully edged with scalloped embroidery beneath a satin band that continues onto the chapel length train…Thanks Stephanie

I always recommend that you try your best to stay at the weight you were when you got measured for the gown. You can not plan for sure that you will lose weight and even if you do your body gets to say where it comes off and it's usually not where you want it to.


added June2007

Hi! I just order my wedding gown over the weekend. I know it will need to be alter, just wondering how much can a wedding gown be alter. Here is the pictures of my gown http://share.shutterfly.com/action/slideshow?a=67b0de21b32eb06b6542&sid=9AbuGbZszcMla&auto=0&idx=3&m=1&d=1181059871640. I'm just afraid if I lose more weight it will ruin the design of the gown. I found out I lose about 2 inches around my waist in a month. ( I got fitted for my friend's wedding early may and when I got fitted for my gown over the weekend..my waistline is 2 inches smaller)

Thank you
-Nohreen-

I am getting an error message when I try to go to the link, so I can not see your pictures. Most anything can be altered, it just may cost more than you were planning on to get the job done. Without seeing the gown on you in person I can't tell you what will need to be lost to take it in.

You have not said why you are loosing weight, but if you are dieting I would advise you to stop. Two inches is not much for taking in gown, but if you purposefully loose more weight than the gown may end up not as nice as you would want it to be.


Hi there-

I'm 3.5 months away from my wedding... the dress I ordered was a size smaller than I was at the ordering b/c I had 9 months to lose the weight. I definitely fit nicely into the larger size, so one step down wasn't such a problem b/c it only required a smaller weight loss...

Well, I've lost 30 pounds (which should definitely be enough to shrink one dress size!!) but apparently it's all in the wrong places! The dress still doesn't fit and I can't get the zipper to close the last 4 inches up my back.

I read your page and I know all the ins and outs of seam-letting to get more size. **MY** question is about the strength and dependability on these "new" seams. I'm a plus size woman, 6'1" with large large breasts. I have a strapless gown on that holds me in wonderfully. However, all this means there is a LOT of pressure on the seams of this gown... are they JUST as strong once they are let out? I have complete faith in a seamstress and I'm sure the results will LOOK lovely... but I have these nightmares that I will sit down at the table and BOOM the seam will burst and I will come spilling forth...

Am I crazy? ~Jen

Unfortunately, your thinking is right on track. Letting out seams does weaken them. What you fear is a real possibility if the seams are let out so much that there aren't many threads to support them, it could pop open. This is mainly why I advise not to bank on loosing weight when ordering your size. And yes, 30 pounds should have been more than enough for one size, but the body rules and pounds don't always translate into inches where you want them to.

But you do have 3 more months to loose more, or you can try a trick I've been doing several of lately- open the back and make it lace up instead of zip. On this page is a picture of a gown I did for a pregnant bride: http://www.leanna.com/Bridal/Impossible.htm

If you do try letting out the seams be sure to leave at least 1/4 inch of fabric. 1/2 inch is better, but that won't give you much to let out unless there is a lot in the seams. Sometimes there is more at the side seams that can be let out and then you can let out a little in the darts and/or princess seams. Often a little bit in each area is enough to make a big difference.


added November 2006

Hi! I stumbled upon your site and it was very helpful! Thank you!

I was just wondering if you know of a situation where a dress couldn’t be taken IN enough. I’ve bought my dress but I’m losing weight rapidly. I’ve dropped about 2 sizes and I’m hoping to do more before my 07 wedding. I am starting to get worried that they won’t be able to take my dress in enough and that it’ll look awful.

Thanks so much, Kelly

It depends on the design of the dress, but in general it gets tricky going down more than 2 sizes. It can be done and look good, but it's not always easy. It will cost more the smaller it has to go. There are many complications that have to be delt with for the gown to look good once you go past 1 or 2 sizes. Some of the design might be right were the seams need to be taken in and you can loose much beading and pretty lace or embroidery work. I can say for sure because I have not seen your gown.

I know you don't want to hear this, but my best advice to you is stop loosing weight. I tell lots of brides that your groom fell in love with you the way you are. So many brides get to thinking that they have to loose weight to look beautiful for their special day, but it's just not true. Most men want something more than skin and bones to hug and being too skinny is not pretty.

It's better to be a little bigger than you want and have the gown looking great than starving yourself and have the gown look bad because all the pretty design was altered away. ~Just my opinion~


added October 2006

I am getting married on November 4, 2006 (3 weeks). I had the dress tailored in Washington DC (where I live) and we did my last fitting 2 weeks ago. I then took the dress to NY (where I am getting married), so that my Mom can have it steamed and my fiance won't see it.

Due to stress, I have lost weight and keep losing! I am a size 0 or 1 to begin with (2 in gowns), so I have never been very big. I am not sure what to do. The dress is strapless and my biggest fear is that it will fall down!!! Is there some way that a tailor could fit it too me 2 days before the wedding (if need be)? We are going up to NY the Thursday before the wedding. It is sewn to a bra already, and the bra fits me on the smallest clasps already.

I am trying to eat a ton, but the stress just makes the weight fall off.
Please advise!
Thanks, Jill

You also might not need this anyway. Just because you have lost a little weight doesn't mean the dress is going to fall. A strapless gown has boning in it to hold it up. It can be very loose and still stay up. And besides, a very tight gown looks horrible anyway. Most brides think their dresses have to be as tight as possible for them to look good but this is not so, especially for strapless gowns. A tight strapless gown will push pockets of skin up over the top near the armpits and in the back that look simply awful.

If you can't get last minute alterations, you also can use safety pins to make the bra tighter and give more support if the gown gets to feeling loose and uncomfortable. But don't worry - It will not fall down.


added March 2006

I just ordered my dress. It is a size 14, however, I am planning on losing b/w 20 and 30 pounds before the wedding. Should I have ordered my dress smaller or will alterations be possible. The skirt of the dress is made out of tulle and has a chapel length train.

Thanks.

Altering any dress down one size is usually doable. After you get to over 2 sizes it gets hard and expensive. I do not advise that any bride diet once the gown is ordered.


added February 2006

Dear Leanna,

My name is Stephanie Moore and you will probably think I'm insane for mailing you and asking you these questions, but after poring over the internet, I really feel that asking questions is my only options.

I'm getting married on March 24th, 2007 at General Butler State Park and Resort. My colors are black and white. I started searching for the perfect dress because I wanted to have a lot of time in which to get ideas in my head. Of course, I didn't think I'd find the perfect dress and then find out it's going to be discontinued before I'm ready to buy it (not because of the money, but because of diet - and Yes, I've read your entire website from top to bottom).

Before my fiancee "popped" the question, I had already begun a diet because I wanted to feel better about myself. I've been doing so good on it and figured that I could continue doing it. I'm a big girl with a lot of weight to lose. That being said, I thought "Oh well, I can continue to lose weight until about October of 2006 and I'll order a wedding dress." Of course, I didn't figure that I'd find "the dress" before October. I also didn't dream it would be discontinued before I got a hold of it.

So now - what to do? I love this dress and keep seeing myself in it in my minds eye... It's totally me. It fits my theme and is simple but pretty and puts me in white without being "all white". It's a $700 dress and right now, I'd probably wear a 24 in it. I really don't want to give up my diet. I've broken through the barrier of time where I feel deprived and unhappy and I'd have to give it all up to keep my weight at a unhealthy 245 pounds. My initial goal was to lose 60 pounds by the time I ordered a dress in October. I think it's a realistic goal considering it's six months away.

So I have a few options:

1: Order the dress as I am now. Give up the dieting, but be unhealthy for another year.
2: Order the dress a few sizes smaller, continue dieting and don't give up hoping that I'll make it into that size.

If I go with route two, it's always possible that I end up smaller than the dress and it has to be taken in. Then there is always the possibility that I can't do it and I'm out 700 bucks or I'm begging people to do impossible alterations.

Here are some facts about the dress from the manufacturer:

Silhouette: A-line
Neck Line: Halter
Waist: Asymmetric Waist Line
Sleeves: Sleeveless
Fabric: Lace Fabric
Lace: Lace Fabric
Train: Chapel Train
Beading: Black Sea Bead, Sequin
Size: 02-28

Does this kind of dress lend itself to alterations or does it look like a nightmare? I really appreciate your time and attention. I know that I'm probably asking the impossible, but you never get anywhere without asking.

Stephanie

From reading your letter I think your head is in a good place. I would not want you to give up on the diet. I also have to agree that this gown is perfect. OK, so what to do. You do have another option. Order the gown in a size 20 or 18. It may be too big if you do loose to your goal, but it will make it easier to alter. Altering 2 sizes is usually not a big deal, so, in theory, if you loose up to a size 14, you are still ok. You have a whole year to diet too. You could get down to a size 12 if you wanted.

The gown does have a design at the waist that will not be easy to alter, but not impossible. The neckline is also a deep scoop that will be difficult to change. Which makes me add another option - wait for another gown. I know this one is heartbreaking, BUT black and white is a hot item now and designers have been putting out more of them. You could get another similar gown next year - once your weight is stable - without too much difficulty.

You seem very self motivated. I personally think you will make your goal. And maybe ordering the gown in a size 14 or 12, will give you even more motivation.

What does your fiancee think about all this?


added February 2006

I just ordered a dress from Jasmine; it has a alencon lace overlay with a distinct pattern.
http://www.jasminebridal.com/html/web1/couture_1_photo1.asp?id=87

I was in between sizes -- my chest measured a 16, waist a 20. I plan to lose weight before the July wedding, but it just occurred to me that altering the dress might mess up the pattern in the lace.

Any opinions? How much could the dress be taken in without ruining the line?

Thank you so much for any advice you might have.

The pattern will be changed, but it won't be messed up. If you had ordered the smaller size the lace pattern would be different then too, but still just as pretty.

I never recommend dieting after the dress is ordered. As long as you don't diet, I'm sure it can be altered without messing up the line.


added November 2005

I found your site and hope you can help me. I am getting married on December 17. One of my bridesmaids got her bridesmaids dress and it is almost 5 sizes too big. Let me tell you I am freaking out. First of all, when she ordered the dress, she knew the dress was going to be too big in the bust and hips, but should fit the waist (the dress shop said it had to fit the largest part of the body). Since her measurements were taken, she has lost almost 30 pounds making the dress that much bigger in the bust and hips and too big in the waist. The dress is a fairly inexpensive dress costing $136. It is strapless and has an A-line and has no beading or lace, etc. It has a small band that goes around the top and a small band around the waist. I can email you a picture of it if you want. My question is this…is the dress fixable? Can a dress that big be altered down 5 sizes? At this point, I am not even concerned about the cost, although it would make me a little upset if she has to pay more for alterations than the dress is even worth. Meaning, if she paid $135 for it and gets charged $200 to fix it, I would have just ordered another dress all together, but that is not an option now because there is not enough time. I just want your opinion on if the dress is fixable. Thanks in advance!!!

Yes, it is fixable, but will take much to do it. A strapless gown is easier to do this to than most, but it will still be a bit of an expense. Depending on how the seams are constructed, it could be not too bad. I would have to see it on to tell, but yes, you could be looking at a $200 job.

If it helps you any - this is a much nicer problem than having one of your maids turn up pregnant and gain 30 pounds. I know it's little comfort, but try to not let it get to you.

Thank you so much!!! You have been helpful. Yes, $200 seems like a lot for a dress that is only $135, but like I said, at this point I would be willing to pay whatever it takes to fix it. If only I had more time we would just order a new dress altogether in a size that would fit better, but there is not enough time and I know by doing that you run into the problem of the dress not looking exactly like the other ones. You are right though about what you said, I am glad she didn't gain 30 pounds.

Thank you so much for taking the time to email me back, you have done more for me than the retailer I actually bought the dress from.


added January 2005

I am very concerned, I have lost a lot of weight and my dress was ordered in a size 24 and I have lost 75 lbs since. It has not arrived yet. I don't even know if it is possible to get a dress altered that much let alone in only 2 months. Is this possible? What should I do? I am willing to pay for the alterations, in the end what would those sort of alterations cost?

It is much easier to take something in than to let it out. Depending on the style of the gown and the decoration that will need to be moved it might not be a big deal at all. It could be costly only because there are more seams that will need to have something done to them than in just a simple adjustment. Going down more than 2 sizes is usually were the extra cost comes in. In my pricing system it could get close to $300, but that has been rare and that price includes the bustling and finish steaming that all dresses get.

Since you have not tried on the dress I would not worry yet. Why borrow trouble? Besides, you are in a much better situation than the bride who has a dress 3 sizes too small.


added September 2003

Hello. I have a quick question. I have just ordered a Maggie Sottero bridal gown. I am going to lose weight, but my question is what if you lose too much weight, is it possible to take the gown down several sizes? I know I am very optimistic about the weight loss here, but it was just something I was wondering about.

Thanks,
Stephanie


If you've been to my bridal pages you should have seen my policy on dieting. "If a bride has been dieting, the loosing of weight must stop when fittings start" I have had brides very frustrated with me and offer all kinds of "what if" scenarios to convince me that they just have to loose this weight and I have to change my rules to help them. I never do and the insistent brides usually go elsewhere for their fitting needs. Those who do use my services and either don't tell me of their weight loss plans or continue loosing weight against my instructions, get charged extra for any work I have to do twice because of their body changes. I do not like being put into this situation. It's bad on my nerves and the bride's. Last minute changes are never easy. When they are necessary because a bridal salon or manufacturer messed up, than you do what you have to. But to plan on it does not make sense to me.

As to your specific question about taking a gown down several sizes, I do not recommend that you alter any garment down more than one, sometimes 2 sizes. When you try to go more you run into problems in the seamlines that can not be fixed properly. Things can sometimes be fudged, but who wants to fudge a bridal gown? I can't explain the problems this creates easily in an e-mail, but if you were to take a pattern piece that is a size 6 and put on top of that same pattern piece that is a size 10 you would see that the edges don't all sit inside the size 10. An edge of the 6 may run outside the 10 for an inch or 2 because of the curve of the seam there has to curve more. That edge does not exist in the size 10 garment so it can't be sewn into a size 6. It's hard to visualize for someone who does not sew. These differences can be over come by totally deconstructing the garment, re-cutting the seamlines and reconstructing the whole garment. This is a hugh job and very expensive for a bridal budget.

Loosing weight during the stressful months before a wedding is not predictable as you have already surmised. You can be as strict on your diet as you can be and not loose a pound because of the way the stress effects you. Some brides can gain or loose by not even thinking about what they are eating simply because the stress effects the body differently and you can't predict it. Sometimes I have brides try to get me to alter the gown too small for what they are now, promising that they will loose the weight, but they don't realize that they really can't promise me that.

Brides also try to insist that this is the look they want for their dream wedding vision. Though I very much claim that much of my job is helping a bride achieve her dream vision, there are some things you just can't change. If a bride really does want a smaller body for her wedding day she must achieve the weight lose before the gown is chosen. All the other scenarios are not guarantee-able.

You have to ask yourself why you are wanting to loose this weight. I have brides thinking this way now and then and wonder it myself. And I am sure that if their grooms knew they were stressing out over it they would assure their bride that they love her and want her at the weight she is right now. If he doesn't than he's not worth marrying. And if a bride can not understand this than she is not ready for marriage.

I've given you a lot to think about. Here's one more thing. I can do a lot as a seamstress to get your dream gown to look fabulous, therefore making you look fabulous just the way you are. I can't change your body, and there are limits to what you can do to change it. I would rather see my brides enjoying the planning process, feeling good and comfortable on their special day than starving themselves and not getting the body they think they have to have.


added June 2003

Hi! I am getting married July 26 of this year and have not chosen a seamstress yet! How far off on timing am I? the only problem is that I am doing the Adkins diet and I am dropping like 3 lbs a week so I don't want to go too soon before the wedding and then still have a dress that is too big when the wedding is here! Also, since I have never been married before I have no idea how much alterations cost. I need the hem taken up at the bottom and I will need the waist and the breast area taken in. About how much should I be looking at for these alterations? I just don't want to get burned on the price!!! I am sending a couple of pics of my dress so you can see how extensive all of this might be. Please take a look and let me know how much you would charge me if you were the one doing it! Also, I live in Austin, do you know of any reputable places around here? I look forward to your response! Thanks so much!!!

Amy

OK, let me try to do all these questions one at a time.

First off, you need to have a seamstress NOW. I ask my customers to give me 8 weeks to do a wedding gown. If you were to be my customer I would need to see you this Saturday, May the 31st. And I would insist that you stop loosing weight at the time of the first fitting. If you did not wish to do that than I would not accept you as a client. Like you said you don't want to have the gown be too big after paying money to have it altered, and I do not want to redo all the alterations one day before the wedding because the bride purposefully lost more weight - you don't want to pay for it twice either. It's not good for my nerves or yours, or the structural integrity of the gown.

The other reason you need to have a seamstress now is that we get booked up. I am not accepting new clients till the end of June right now. So you would be in trouble getting on my schedule. But in your pictures, it looks like the gown fits you quite well right now. If you agreed to keep your weight stable I would think about going as far as 6 weeks before the wedding for the first fitting because it looks like you don't need much done in the bodice itself.

As for pricing, I have actually worked on this style gown before and it's not a cake walk dress. The top layer is organza and very delicate to work on. The beading is not fun to work around either. I took the gown I did in at the zipper because doing it at the sides would mess up the pretty banding at the neckline. I think it was about $30 for that. The hem was around $100 I think. Aren't there 3 or 4 layers? It has to be done at the bottom because there is no waist seamline to do it at the waist. Did you want a bustle? Figure in another $40. Finishing steaming can run you another $80 to $100 - BUT - you really don't need it for this gown in my opinion. The beading is so extensive that steaming really doesn't make it look any different. So you can save a big chunk there.

More about the loosing weight thing. You look absolutely stunning in the pictures. You do not need to loose more weight. You may not feel skinny enough, but why loose more if it is going to cost you more money in alterations when you look gorgeous now? You may also be thinking you have to loose the weight so your groom will like the way you look on your special day. In my humble opinion if he doesn't like you the way you are right now why are you marring him? Brides have all kinds of thoughts about how they want their special day to be in respect to the way they will look to others. Sure you want to look your best, but it makes me sad to watch brides go overboard with things like loosing a lot of weight as fast as they can. You sound like you are being reasonable at 3 pounds per week, but you have to find a balance between stressing your nerves and the picture in your mind of your perfect look.

I've worked with many brides that think that to look their best they have to be as skinny as possible. It is just not so. Brides often ask me to keep pinning it tighter and tighter until the zipper is stressed so much I am afraid it will bust while they are walking down the isle. I explain that it's not worth the risk to look like a toothpick and not be able to breath. Being comfortable is a big part of looking good. If you are not comfortable how can you look good? And risking a zipper busting apart as you stress it by hugging a family member is just not my idea of a good thing. If a bride insists on this I simply ask them to go elsewhere for their alterations. I will not risk a bad scene on any of MY brides. The customer is not always right because they sometimes do not know the consequences of their decisions. It is my job as a professional to educate customers about these things.

You may think me rash and unkind, but them's the facts as I see it. I want all my brides to have a lovely special day. It may mean you need to adjust your perception of things, but it's worth it to keep your mind flexible. Comfort does equal good looks when you're talking weddings. You are going to be in that gown for a very long time walking, eating, hugging, dancing. Just think how much easier it will be to pose for your pictures if you feel good. You will be able to stand straight and lovely if you are comfortable and not feeling confined.

Well, I'll get off my soap box. I tend to get into rants over things I feel passionate about.

I have made a post to a professional group I belong to and maybe I can find you someone in Austin. Also, try looking in your local yellow pages under "Alterations".


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