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How to Prepare for Alterations

One of the many things on your to-do lists leading up to the wedding may include getting your gown fitted. There isn't a lot of information on what to expect during your fitting or what to bring. Whether you're a bride or part of the wedding here is an easy guide on what you should know before your appointment.

Personally, I have worked in bridal alterations for a couple years and learned so much about this aspect of a wedding. For example, whatever the customer is wearing affects the dress looks before and after alterations. One bride in particular was wearing a corset bra from our store and a petticoat during her first fitting. She got the bodice and hem pinned to be altered. Then four weeks later when she came back to try on her dress, she wore a different bra and didn’t bring her petticoat. To her when she put the dress back on it looked too loose on the top and the hem looked longer than she wanted it to. After looking at her records, the issue was her undergarments. Thankfully since they were from our store we were able to let her borrow the same ones to make sure the dress fit properly. When she had it all on, the dress fit exactly how she wanted it.

Here is a list of the essential things you need to bring for your fitting:

3 Things to bring to your fitting

1. Shoes

Going to your fitting one of the most important things to bring is shoes. If you haven’t picked the exact shoes you wanted that’s ok! If you plan on wearing heels, bring some that have the height that you want. Anyone that plans to wear flats you can wear regular flat shoes during your fitting. As for the height of the hem, if you aren’t sure about the height of your shoes I suggest rescheduling your appointment until you have fully decided. The reason behind this is once the hem is done if it is too short the length can’t be added back.

Tip: For those bringing heels that haven’t been broken into yet, bring socks to wear with it since you may be standing in the shoes for more than 30 minutes.

2. Undergarments

Every gown is different, from the shape, detailing, and fabric. Taking the right bra, shapewear, or petticoat is vital in altering anything on the dress. For dresses with open back, sheer material etc… There are a lot of strapless bra options like sticky bras, tape, or in most cases you can get bra cups sewn into the dress if the place offers that service. In those instances definitely bring any alternatives in case especially for women who need more support in the chest area. For normal bras, shapewear, or slips if you plan on wearing any bring those as well. Moving onto petticoats, these give shape to whatever dress you're wearing and also help from dresses going in between your legs when you're walking. They aren’t required for every dress but if you wanted a certain silhouette to your gown consider getting one before your appointment.

3. Accessories

This one is optional and depends on each bride. If you have any additional add ons for the dress like a sash, specific lace/material, ribbons etc… For veils for example if you wanted that shortened at all they may offer that service. In certain circumstances some have wanted their veils turned into sleeves for their dress or even a cape! Anything that you might want for your dress like a modesty piece for any dresses with a deep V-neckline it is recommended to bring your own material in case the seamstress doesn’t have any to provide. When in doubt just bring in your own add ons.

4. Water/Fan

This one might be confusing as it has nothing to do with dresses at all. For brides with bigger gowns and lots of layers I highly recommend you bring some type of portable fan and a water bottle. It might take an hour or more to get pinned. If your dress has beading, lace, and lots of different fabrics, standing in it the whole time can get warm after a while. Having a fan will definitely help during your fitting and taking a water break in between. I have had a bride almost faint before, bringing either one of these things can help prevent that.

Tip: Don’t lock your knees during your appointment to help prevent fainting. Look straight forward if you are getting the hem done so the hem is accurate to how it will be when you stand/walk.

Before ending this guide here are a few last things to keep in mind:


An important thing to note when scheduling your appointment is by your wedding date. It’s best to schedule your appointment a few months before the date. Every business is different ranging from 4-6 weeks needed to work on your dress. Generally, after the first fitting the next appointment should be the last one where you pick up. Sometimes the dress needs adjusting so keep that in mind to avoid scheduling the appointment too close to the wedding date.

Who to bring

Unlike appointments where you say yes to the dress, this one only needs about 1 or 2 people to attend. Most alteration rooms are small and so having more than 2 people can be crowded in the room. In general having up to a couple people seeing anything they notice with the dress is enough since having a whole group of people can be very distracting and can make the appointment longer. Bringing either moms/future mother in laws, maid of honor, bridesmaids, or any other relatives are usually who brides bring to help. For brides adding a bustle to their gown definitely bring at least one person to see how to put it on after the alterations have been done.


Last important thing that might’ve been the first question you had about alterations. There are a few things to keep in mind about prices for alterations. Every dress is different and needs different things done. Unless you know someone who can personally alter it, the prices can seem very high. When I first started working for alterations, I thought they were really high as well. Seeing the work it goes into doing one dress takes lots of skill and time. Essentially you are paying for a service to be done within a window of time along with several other dresses that need to be done. All alteration businesses vary and to further understand any confusion ask all your questions during the appointment.

This guide will help you and the seamstress save time. Stay connected by following us on our Instagram page!


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