Why Doesn't My Bride Understand?


added June 2010

Hi Leanna,

Thanks for your website, I think you have a lot of invaluable information for brides on it, In fact I’m considering printing it out and asking each bride who comes into my store to read it (the alterations part).   I have been selling bridals, and maids for 8 years in my small store and love almost every minute of it.  However in contrast to your bridal shopping advise, we have TONS of repeat clients, I have one maid who started buying maids gowns from me several years ago and has been in 4 weddings, she has referred me to each bride and I have done every one, now she is getting married and we have done her entire wedding, including both moms.   Here is my problem, I don’t have hardly any bridezillas come in – but when it comes to alterations I simply cannot explain in enough English terms that they should expect alterations.  I continually have irate mothers and maids who don’t understand that being flat chested and a bit “hippy” will result in alterations, even if you are a size 8.

 I’m seriously considering selling my business because I put 190% into every bride and every maid,  and having to deal with stressed out moms who believe I should pay for alterations is just getting exhausting.  I also sew – and my mother was a tailor for 20 years and works with me in the business, so I am keenly aware of exactly what will need to be done with each dress.  But no matter what I say – they smile and shake their head – until it arrives and is too big in the bust – or too big in the waist, then – I have made a mistake in their eyes.  Thanks for your words on alterations, it is ALMOST THE EXACT words I say about 10 times daily, but I am simply not listened to,  I’m thinking about having an alterations agreement signed before I order maids gowns- maybe if they read it and sign it – they will remember what they agreed to and why we ordered and 8 and not a 4 for their daughter.      

Thank You, Naomi

Hi Naomi,

Thank you for your great comments from the other side of the isle. I have had stuff on my site from the bridal store/alteration specialist viewpoint long before I had advice for brides, but it wasn't very popular I guess. Now that I have lots of resources for the bride's side of the process my site is very popular. I am hoping to use this popularity to educate both bridal stores and brides that the process of gown buying and altering is loaded with land mines for both the shop associates and their clients.

I think some of the things I write to brides is harsh, but like you have observed, they just don't listen to the store workers. I can say the same thing to them in an email and they seem to listen. My in-person brides are always understanding with my explanations, but I do get them after they have accepted the reality that alterations are necessary. I do occasionally get complaints that the bridal store person ordered the wrong size. I occasionally agree, but more often I have to teach them the measuring and ordering process (that I know darn well was explained to them at the store) and why the size they have was correct. I have written about sizing and explained about the difference between custom made and special order, but maybe I need to write a page called, "Why did I end up needing alterations?". What do you think?


Wow! you are so right on.  Even though you said the difference between a custom and special order, it just does not matter.  The customers who had me so upset  last week when I wrote, her dress was 1.5" too large at the bust so upset  last week when I wrote, her dress was 1.5" too large at the bust so upset  last week when I wrote, her dress was 1.5" too large at the bust so upset  last week when I wrote, her dress was 1.5" too large at the bust so upset  last week when I wrote, her dress was 1.5" too large at the bust so upset  last week when I wrote, her dress was 1.5" too large at the bust and fit through the waist.  A seamstress (not mine) told her she would have to re-make the entire dress because the princess seams at the bust would be over too far.  it was ridiculous.  I finally convinced her to take the dress to my independent seamstress who works for my store and it was a $25 alteration!  my seamstress laughed the whole time she talked to me about it. I explained that we had to order to size chart and not cut to her measures but she just couldn't process what I was saying.  I'm not sure why the other seamstress tried to milk her for another $100+ on alterations on her $95 maid gown, but it sure ruined my week!  You go girl!  Glad to have someone speaking the truth on the net!



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