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Wedding Gowns-more to know

How To Fit A Gown Properly

Your gown will probably have to be altered somewhat to fit you. The seamstress at the bridal shop should be able to make any alternations your gown requires. Unless you are a very accomplished seamstress, the alterations are not something to attempt yourself.
Here are some things to look for in a good-fitting gown.
Neck: It should not be so loose that it puckers, nor should it feel tight. A lower neckline should lay smoothly against your neck or chest.
Bust: The gown should lay smooth, but should not be binding. Try reaching up over your head, and stretching your arms out in front of you. If these movements are comfortable, the top is not too tight. The darts should lay across the fullest part of your chest, not above or below it.
Sleeves: Shoulder seams should lie on top of your shoulder. The cuff should lay on your wrist bone, with lace or trim laying across the top of your hand. If the sleeve style is tight, it may be somewhat uncomfortable.
Waist: It should lay smoothly, with no puckers or wrinkles. It should also not be too tight. You will be moving around and will be eating dinner in this dress!
Length: It should fall from 1 1/2” to 2” off the floor with your shoes on. It should hang evenly all around.
Order your dress in the size you are — don’t buy a smaller dress because you are counting on losing weight before the wedding. Wedding gowns run small, so don’t be worried if the bridal consultant suggests a larger size than you’d normally wear. When deciding on the size, she will choose the size that matches the largest part of the gown. If you have a larger bust, and a tiny waist, the gown will fit your bust, and the waist can be taken in. It is much easier to take a larger dress in than to have to squeeze into a too-small dress. You will have a few fittings before the wedding for alterations. Make sure everything on your dress fits well, and is comfortable.

The Pregnant Bride

There are maternity gowns available for pregnant brides. And yes, white is still permissible for pregnant brides. If you are not too far along, you may simply want to choose a gown that is a couple of sizes larger than your regular size. Don’t order a gown more than two sizes larger, or everything else (sleeves, neckline) will hang on you. If you are going into your third trimester, you will probably need to purchase a maternity gown. Bridal shops do carry these gowns. Call around to see which ones in Rochester may have them. Also - another hint - you should consider carrying a large bunch of flowers as your bouquet, if you want to be less obvious about being pregnant.

Your Second Marriage

Even though you have already had one wedding, you can still make your second beautiful. If you really want to wear white, then go ahead. Many times second marriages are not as elaborate as first marriages, with the bride wearing a less ornate gown. However, you do have the option for a more sophisticated look than a first-time bride. Cream and off-white are more usual for second-time brides, but you can wear any color you feel looks good on you. Also, any length is allowable.
One item that second-time brides should not wear is a veil or a long train. These pieces are intended as a symbol of innocence, and are inappropriate on a second-time bride.

Restored Gowns

Many brides save their wedding gowns in hopes that their daughter will someday wear them. If you are planning on wearing someone else’s gown, you will probably have to plan on having some alterations done. Contact an experienced seamstress or bridal consultant for their recommendations. Taking a dress in or shortening it are easy, but making it larger or longer can be a challenge. Lace may have to be replaced, or new fabric inserted. It can be wonderful to wear your mother’s gown, but also make sure that it is really what you want to wear.

One-Of-A-Kind Gowns

Your personal style may be to always do things a little different. Your wedding gown can be whatever you want. Except for black, any color is permissible, so if you want to wear bright red, wear it! As long as you keep it in good taste, you can wear whatever you like to celebrate your wedding.

Having Your Gown Made By A Seamstress

You may opt for having a gown made by a seamstress, or relative, or making it yourself. You should look in bridal magazines for the style you like, and take this to a seamstress. She may be able to work from the photograph, or you may have to find a comparable pattern. You may want to get several patterns to get the exact neckline, sleeves, etc. that you want. Make sure that whoever sews the gown is an accomplished seamstress. You don’t want to have your gown be anything less than perfect.

Ordering A Gown

If you are ordering a custom-made dress, you should order it at least six months before your wedding date. You must allow time for it to be made, delivered to the shop and for alterations, if any are necessary. Remember, all alterations should be done in time for you to have your formal portrait taken, about four weeks before your wedding. You will probably have to give a 50% deposit when ordering. You can purchase a dress in less time, but then you are limiting your options. It’s a good idea to give your wedding date as a month earlier than it really is, so that the dress is in the shop in plenty of time.


You will probably be asked for a deposit at the time that your order your gown. Ask about their payment options. Find out when your dress is to be delivered, and the costs of extra length or alterations. Ask about the cancellation policy of the store. Make sure you understand all details of the contract. Keep any receipts you receive!
These points should be covered in your contract: Dress manufacturer, style number, size, color, ornamentation, special orders and their costs, delivery date, price and payment schedule, deposit paid, fitting costs, pressing costs, the store’s policy on cancellations, and the store’s policy on refunds, the policy for pickup and gown storage, and cleaning, if they do that as well.
A good policy is to call the shop, a few days after you place your order, and check every detail of the order with a consultant. A double check never hurts.

Dressing For The Wedding

You should allow plenty of time to get dressed, as your wedding attire will probably be more ornate than you are used to wearing. After you have put your dress on, try not to sit down on it and wrinkle it. If you must ride to the wedding, try to sit on the petticoat or slip rather than the gown itself.

Walking In Your Gown

We don’t usually wear clothes this ornate, or this long! Wear your dress a few hours before the wedding day, practicing walking in it. Keep your head up, and your shoulders back, so that the gown hangs properly and you look the most elegant. Remember to lift the gown when going up or down stairs. You look beautiful! Move as if you do!

Cleaning Your Gown

You should have your gown cleaned after the wedding, even if there are no visible marks or stains. You can do this yourself, or take it to a professional cleaner. It should be cleaned within two days of the wedding, so any stains will not become permanent.
You can take out water soluble stains, such as beverages or perspiration, by blotting them with water and detergent. Wine stains can be taken out by rubbing damp salt on the spot then scraping it off when dry. Greasy stains, such as lipstick, salad dressing or frosting can be taken off with spray-on spot removers or hair spray. If there is a large stain, or the fabric is delicate, you should probably as a dry cleaner to remove the stain.
If you take your gown to a professional dry cleaner, call his or her attention to any stains or spots on the gown. Ask if they will also prepare your gown for storage.

Storing Your Gown

Fold it carefully into a large box, with white tissue paper to prevent wrinkling around folds. Seal the box carefully, so that moisture will not seep in. Store the box somewhere it will not be exposed to light, or large temperature changes. A basement (if it gets wet), or an attic (if there are large temperature changes in it) may not be the best place for your gown.
Do not put your gown in a plastic bag, or leave it on a hanger. The bag may hold humidity inside, which will mildew your gown. Leaving your dress on a hanger may pull it out of shape by the weight of the gown.



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