For most brides finding the dream wedding dress is no doubt one of the highlights of planning a wedding. So much thought and effort go into the search and once the dress is found, then all the finer details for the big day will start to fall in to place.
One element of the planning that is often underestimated is the fitting of the gown. Of course, it’s wonderful to wear a beautiful gown but if the shape and fit is wrong then you won’t enjoy wearing it and you certainly won’t get the admiration that you are looking for.
It’s not that difficult really. First and foremost, make sure that you buy a dress that suits your body shape. If you must change anything about yourself to suit the dress, then it’s not the one for you.
Look for balance when you are deciding what dress most suits you. Do you look at the whole silhouette and think “yes I love that, and I feel great”? OR is your eye being drawn to a certain area of your body.? For example, does your bust look particularly top heavy or do your shoulders look broad?
None of these things should be a problem. Look at the neckline, waistline and hemline and see if you are happy with what you see. Do you see a balanced silhouette and are you enjoying the whole look?
Once you have that nailed then the next thing to tackle will be your actual dress fittings which ideally will start 6-8 weeks before the date of your wedding.
You will need to have your wedding shoes for each of the fittings so that the length can be fitted accurately. Each layer of the dress will need to be altered precisely so that you can walk easily without any part of the hem (including the lining) curling under or catching on your shoes.
Make sure that you walk around (head held high, no slouching) with the shoes on to make sure that you are happy with the length. Ideally, the hem should just hover slightly about the ground.
If your dress is fitted around the hip (i.e. fit and flare) then ask to sit down in the dress and make sure that you are comfortable sitting for more than just a moment. You won’t want to eat your wedding dinner standing up! Avoid asking for the dress to be fitted tighter because you think that it looks better. Be realistic. You want to wear it all day and ultimately not want to take it off. If it’s too tight it will restrict your movement and you will more than likely feel that you cannot wait to take it off.
If you buy a dress that is too big for you (i.e. a sample dress) then ask if it can be altered to fit. Generally speaking, a dress can be taken in by one dress size. Of course, each fitting will be assessed individually but as a rule of thumb, more than one dress size could result in problems for you.
Also remember that your dress is made from fabric and is not a suit or armour. It may ripple or ruffle when you move. The thing to look out for at your dress fitting is that there are no ripples or ruffles when you are stood still. If you are wearing a fitted dress, then it should not ripple across your thighs. If it does, then it is too tight.
Another one to look out for is the bust. If you are top heavy, then your bridal consultant and the fitter should advise you on what type of bra/body to wear that will compliment both your shape and the dress. It may take a couple of attempts to get this right so a visit to a reputable bra fitter will be invaluable. Avoid high neck dresses if you are fuller busted as this will definitely make your bust look bigger. If you are on the smaller side, then ask for bust pads to be fitted (or shoulder pads for boobs as we like to call them)! Make sure that when you lean forward, there is no gaping. You won’t want to give your guests an eyeful!
If your dress has a train, then ask your fitter for a bustle. This will depend on the type of fabric and the length and shape of the train, so some may be a little more complicated than others, but you will be so glad that you had this added when it comes to your first dance. Take your Mum or your bridesmaid to your final fitting so that they can see how the bustle is attached and have a practice. That way there are no last-minute panics.
A wedding dress won’t transform you. It should allow you to be the best of you. A well fitted dress will do that for you and show you at your best. This in itself with give you such confidence and will almost guarantee that you have the day that you deserve.