How Weight Gain and Loss Affects the Fit of Your Wedding Dress

Your wedding dress will probably be the tightest piece of clothing you will ever wear. And if you’re like me, and your weight fluctuates all the time, it can be hard to keep your weight exactly the same as when you put on the dress. So I’m going to talk about the relationship between your measurements and your dress, and how they can get along.

I used to work at David’s Bridal. When I started there, I showed a girlfriend that she was easily a size -1, and she wanted her mermaid dress to look like it was painted on. This is never a good idea for mermaid dresses. You need enough hip room to bend, but this girl wasn’t listening to any of that. Even my boss couldn’t convince her to stay a bit relaxed. When she finished her dress, she tried to sit in it and couldn’t. Her dress did not allow her to bend 90 degrees. Instead of admitting that she was wrong, she said that she was fine and that she could stay up all night. Lesson #1: Make sure you can sit down. Even skinny girls can open a zipper, and I often wonder if she did it.

Another bride I remember had a ball gown with a tulle skirt. Tulle is a very light and airy material. To make the hem you simply cut it, since it does not fray, so there is no going back. The girl came for her second fitting and tightened her dress. She wasn’t bothered by the tightness; she was upset that the hem was higher on the sides than the front and back… noticeably higher. She wasn’t my girlfriend, so I didn’t see what she looked like in her first tryout. My boss whispered to me in the other room, “She gained weight.” At David’s Bridal, they take your measurements at the first fitting, so if you get to the second fitting and the dress doesn’t fit you, they can prove it’s your fault if the measurements don’t match. That sounds cruel, but it’s actually good business practice as this happens quite often when delivery times are 4-6 weeks. Now that I have my own business, I avoid this problem by finishing my clients’ dresses in 2 weeks or less. Anyway, lesson #2: Your weight affects the hem. The tighter the dress becomes, the more the hem will ride up. Likewise, if you lose weight, your hem will droop more and you could trip over it.

Another important thing to remember is that your undergarments will have a profound effect on the fit of your dress. By underwear I mean the bra, slip, shoes, and Spanx/shapes. Lesson #3: When you go to your first tryout, be sure to wear all of the official undergarments that you plan to wear on the day of your event. If you change something, you better believe there will be a difference in fit. For example, I once had a girlfriend come back for a second fitting and her strap was too loose. It was perfect to start with, so we wondered what had happened. Well, I found out that I had switched from not wearing a bra to a push-up. Now that her bust was properly supported, no more pressure was being placed on the halter strap, causing it to gape behind her neck. This is something I wouldn’t have even thought about if I hadn’t had this experience, so be careful with your underwear.

Quick Lesson #4: Children grow quickly; You never know when they’re going to have a spurt. If you are the mother of a flower girl or a junior bridesmaid, I recommend that you finish the work close to the wedding date or leave some room in the dress. Many junior bridesmaid dresses these days have elasticated panels in the back, which is nice. Quick Lesson #5: Don’t go to your second test right after eating. I hope this goes without saying, but if you’re going to do this, make sure your first test is also right after a meal.

And now a story with a happy ending: Four months before getting married, I decided to quit the job I had and look for something more professional. Two months later, I took a job in another state and moved within 15 hours of my fiancé and my dress. I changed my dress to fit before I left, and I knew in the back of my mind that I was going to need to work out so the dress would still fit when I got back for the wedding. Well, I didn’t exercise. Moving to another state without my fiancé and working at a company that had “Pizza Fridays” and birthday cake at least twice a month, I gained about 5lbs in those two months. I was getting ready to have to let the dress out just two days before the wedding. But when I tried it on, I could still close it. It was hard, but I was able to do it! Lesson #6: You don’t have to completely stress over your weight. Five pounds up or down probably won’t hurt.

You can save yourself and your seamstress a lot of heartache by following these six lessons. If you’re planning to lose weight for your wedding, be sure to let your seamstress know ahead of time. When I am told this, I usually schedule both tests as close to the wedding date as possible, although this is not always possible with some arrangement shops. Above all, be smart. I’m certainly not saying that all fit-related issues are the customer’s fault. But you can make sure the liability is out of your hands by keeping this tip in mind.

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