My Policies and Why I Have Them
I can not stress how important it is to have the actual undergarments and shoes you will be wearing for the ceremony for your fittings. It could mean a big difference in the fit of the gown. If you show up for your fitting without the proper undergarments I will refuse to fit you. It's just that important.
I do keep a selection of bra pads that you may wish to try for your gown if you are thinking of not using a bra. We can discuss this at your first fitting, but if you choose to change your undergarments after I have started working on the gown and I have to make changes because of the fitting differences, I will have to charge you extra to make these changes, so purchase your undergarments before you come to see me.
The same goes for shoes. You must have the shoe you are going to wear on the wedding day in order for me to get your hem correct. I will not pin a hem with shoes that are "sort-of like" the shoe you will have or shoes that are "the same heal height". I want to get it right the first time and you do not want to pay me to do it again if you show up with different shoes.
I have found that 12 to 8 weeks is a good, comfortable time to start fitting a gown, both for the bride and me. With the need for 3 to 4 fittings, scheduling this way is convenient. It gives me 2 weeks in between fittings to do the necessary work. Which is another value of mine - non-pressured sewing time.
This leads to the reason for the limits. In truth, a wedding gown can be fitted and altered in a day or 2, but it is a risky thing to do. The pressure to get this done fast is just not worth it. I have been up sewing on dresses at 3 AM the morning of a wedding before, and the risk of making mistakes is just so very great that I think it a great disservice to any bride to plan something like that. Though I have never made a mistake in these cases, I am still human and do not wish for my record to get broken. I have seen others make heartbreaking mistakes and know several horror stories. I do not want any of these to happen to any of MY brides.
Now that said, there is often a situation where the bridal company has messed up and the dresses are delivered at the last minute even with the best efforts of both bride and salon. In this situation things can be done, but avoiding this is always best. A bride should be calling alterations specialists as soon as she orders her gown to get on her schedule. We book up very fast during wedding seasons and I often say no to brides calling me with less notice than I need.
If the brides lives farther that 2 hours away from me it presents a difficulty for her to see me the 3 to 4 times necessary for most bridal alterations. I often take out-of-town brides but only if they can agree to make the trips necessary within the 12 weeks to get the job done well. It's often becomes difficult with all the other things there are to do to prepare for a wedding.
This is the one exception to my 10 week rule. I must still have about 2 month's notice for this work, but I will not see a lady sooner than 2 weeks before the wedding date. I need to block out the time I will need for doing this work and I must be able to do that 2 month's before the wedding. I do not accept work when a lady calls me 2 weeks before the wedding saying she knew she had to wait to see me until then. I will be booked with too many other dresses to have the time to see you. I do not "fit people in". That would put more work than I know I can handle and may cause accidents which I refuse to allow.
This policy is necessary to get a good fit and to protect the gown from unnecessary extra alterations that might weaken it's structure. If a bride continues to loose weight and the gown has to be redone to fit her smaller body, than she risks harming the gown and running out of time before the wedding to get the extra alterations finished. Not to mention frazzling the nerves of the seamstress which I doubt any bride really wants to do. I therefore ask that any bride change her diet from loosing weight to a maintenance schedule once fittings have started.
I figure that if you can trust me with your very precious garment, I can trust you to make payment in full at the last fitting.
Many brides wish to have someone accompany them to their fittings. It is often the mother, but it can also be a sister, best friend and sometimes the father. These people are welcome as long as there aren't more than 3 at a time in the fitting area.
Sometimes the bride has children that need to be with her. This is OK as long as the bride understands that I can not let her hold a child while I am fitting her. I can not fit the gown correctly while she is holding a child. Even the calmest child will cause the bride's posture to be abnormal if the bride is holding them. This is expressly important for pinning the hem.
My Studio is not child safe. Babies and toddlers must be secured by a pumpkin seat or held by another guest for their own safety. There are many sharp and dangerous items in my studio and neither I nor the bride can pay due attention to a small child while we are fitting the gown. Older children are welcome as long as the bride understands that her child must be disciplined enough to not be running around the studio and possibly getting hurt on any of the sharp items I have sitting around in clear sight.
It is often very inconvenient for a bride, busy with a hundred things to do the day before her big day, to be able to pick-up her finished gown right before the wedding. I encourage brides to make this a priority for my own special reasons that the bride will understand if she can make this happen. Most brides find it no problem. For those who do, I understand and will release the dress to a trusted family member or friend that has been specially designated by the bride.
For fittings and final gown pick-up I allow almost anyone accompanying the bride except the groom.
It has been rare that I have been asked to allow a groom in fittings or to collect the gown, but I have very important reasons to discourage this. Many modern grooms, and even brides, do not find the old traditions about the groom seeing the gown or the bride before the ceremony a risk of bad luck. I do not either, but if you have not been a groom you also have no reason to understand the importance of this old tradition. I have noticed in my 20 years of working with brides and attending their weddings that there is a very precious thing about the experience of a groom seeing his bride in her gown for the first time. Whether it is her appearing at the back of the church with her daddy at her side to make that important stroll down the isle, or at her parent's home or some beautiful park for the taking of pictures before the ride to the church doesn't seen to matter. It is the fact that the groom's first view of his bride on the wedding day is in the gown that makes it special. It is a very precious memory that will stay with a groom for a lifetime.
However you have planned your wedding day to run and the many special moments that you will remember through the years, I would encourage you that this is a very special consideration you can make for your groom.
It is often difficult to make adjustments without cutting fabric but it is so very important to avoid mistakes. Insisting on 3 to 4 fittings to accomplish this for a bride is also inconvenient, but when you realize that there really is nothing more important to the wedding plans than the gown, than making the scheduling possible is easier. I have found that if the bride knows that her gown is being altered with care, all the other considerations in the wedding plans just seem to go easier because she has no reason to fret about her precious gown.
Though brides maids do not have the same fitting needs as brides, they must still be treated with care. Four weeks is usually a good time frame unless there are extenuating circumstances, like pregnancy.
It is very important to schedule no more than 2 maids for any one fitting appointment so I can give them the attention they need. Brides often want to have all the maids fitted at one appointment so they can be all the same, but this creates a big messy situation and no one can get the individual attention they need. The last time I did this for a bride I ended up dealing with close to 20 people in my little studio that included 6 maids, the young flower girl, her baby sister, the groom, the bride, the mother-of-the-bride, and a few other friends/family members interested in the process and waiting for it to be over so they could go eat. It was a huge mess and I felt like I simply could not give my normal level of personal attention each girl deserved. And the maids that got fitted at the end of the session had been standing around waiting for 2 hours for their turn. I just don't think that's a kind thing to plan to have happen to your friends/family members you have asked to participate in your wedding.
Dealing with the varied body types in a wedding party is hard enough without creating this type of situation. So, I no longer do fittings this way.
Another thing Brides do because they want all the maids to fit alike is to use the same alterationist for all the maid's needs. This is good if all the maids live in the same town and can get their bodies to the alterationist for fittings in a timely manor before the wedding. Many times this is not possibly and the out-of-town maids are having their fittings the day before the wedding. I have done alterations this way but I do not recommend it. It is very stressful on me, the bride and the maid. It is so much better to get a skilled alterationist in the town where the maid lives so they can have non-stressful fittings.
As with out-of-town brides, if an out-of-town maid still wishes to use my services she must comply with my rules for fitting appointments and be willing to travel as many times as I say she needs to for me to do the work the dress requires. Normally this is only two fittings but for some situations I need to see maids up to 4 times.
If you've worked in the bridal industry for any length of time you learn that stuff just happens. We are only human and mistakes can be made. Orders don't come in when promised. Fabrics don't cooperate with the planned alteration. People miss appointments. Measurements taken don't match the dress that comes in 2 weeks before the wedding with no time to reorder. Ladies get pregnant unexpectedly. Family members don't agree on everything. The Middle East has a crisis.
Perfection is not always attainable under these circumstances, but high quality can still rule the day if all parties can retain a flexible mind set. In the 20 plus years I have been working with brides there have been many crazy situations, but anything can be overcome and fixed if everyone just stays calm and lets themselves discover alternatives to the situation instead of dwelling on what can't be done or what they wish had been done.
What I mean to accomplish with these rules is the best job I can do for any bride or maid. If you procrastinate in calling for your appointment and I am booked up, I will not be able to help you. If you decide to go against my diet rule and loose more weight so the gown is too big after my altering, you risk my not having time to take it in more.
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