Updated: Jan 7
Congratulations, you are engaged and have just picked out your dream wedding dress!
The question on your mind now is "when should I get my dress altered?" and the answer may be different for different situations, but probably much different than what you've been told. Depending on where you purchase your wedding dress, there may be a tailor or seamstress onsite that does the alterations or it may be up to you to decide. At Gurcan Tailor we often hear stories about bridal alterations taking 2-4 months to get done with 2-4 revisions that take place within this period. This may have brides feeling like they are getting a better and more detailed experience, but in most cases, this may not be true.
Over a typical year, we work with 50-80 brides to alter their wedding dresses and hundreds of bridesmaids. When speaking with these brides and bridesmaids they are often shocked that we give them a 1-3 week turnaround time. In some cases, we even book an appointment for them that is closer to their event date (1-3 weeks out). The main reason we do this is because of weight loss or gain that may take place. Your body has the potential of changing more in 2-4 months than in 1-3 weeks. The last thing you'd want to happen on the day of the event is to have a dress that is too tight or too loose. If you are a bride or a bridesmaid, when you hear that your dress may take over a month to alter, you should be concerned. Though there may be some expectations in some very rare conditions.
For those of you who may be out of town, going in closer to the event date can be a little more tricky. If you do happen to be out of town and are planning to get alterations done where your event is, it is possible to get alterations done in your area. Of course, this can have consequences, such as your alterations not being ready in time or being done incorrectly, which can cause problems if you are in a time crunch. If you are planning on having alterations, not in the area the event takes place, it may be a good idea to reach out to a local tailor or seamstress in the area to see if last-minute alterations are possible if need be. Not too long ago we had a bridesmaid call us out of state asking if we were able to do last minute alterations on her dress since she had alterations done several months in advance and her dress no longer fit correctly. We agreed and had her come down 2 days before the wedding she was a part of and got her alterations done by the next day. Many tailors and seamstresses will be happy to help out with last-minute alterations, but it is always a good idea to check in advance so they are available then. We hope that these types of last-minute alterations are not needed, but it is always a good idea to have a plan in place.
At Gurcan Tailor we have been in the custom tailoring & alterations business for over 35 years now. Over the last 35 years, we have worked to alter thousands of dresses in several European countries and the United States. During our tailoring career, the most challenging job we have ever done was to combine two different wedding gowns into one, which took about a month to complete, but only three full days of work. So when we hear that it took 2 months and multiple appointments to hem, take in and adjust the shoulders of a dress it makes us wonder why. No matter where you are there are most likely some great tailors and seamstresses around but can be harder to find in some cases.