Inside Weddings shares the trusted wedding professionals in our Editors Circle, plus a directory of local vendors to find dress preservation, cleaning, and alteration services!
Once you've found your dream wedding dress, it's time to make sure your wedding gown is absolutely perfect for you. Almost every single bride needs a professional alteration service for her bridal gown to ensure it fits beautifully when it's time to wear the dress on the big day. After you've said "I do," you'll want to also clean and preserve this special garment. Wedding gown preservation is a wonderful way to have a special keepsake of your wedding dress, and preservation services are absolutely essential if you plan to pass your dress down to future generations.
Even if you don’t plan to keep your bridal gown, it’s important to make sure it is properly cleaned and preserved before you sell or donate it. This step is especially crucial if you hope to have your future daughter wear your dress to her own wedding one day. After decades go by, it would be terrible for you to dig up your beloved wedding dress for your daughter only to find it is not in good enough condition for her to don on her own special day.
You'll not only want to ensure you read the care label for special instructions, but also make sure to take care of the cleaning and preservation within one month of your wedding so stains don't set. Also, don't assume your wedding gown is not dirty if you can't see anything – sweat and oils can cause damage and yellow the fabric over time without proper cleaning. You'll also want to be sure it's in a proper container (not hanging) and stored in a safe, dry storage room in an acid-free preservation box.
Even if you're having an indoor wedding, there's a chance you'll have some of your wedding photos taken outdoors. How can you make sure to keep the hem of your wedding gown clean before you even walk down the aisle? Try using a stain-protecting spray along the bottom hem – preferably done by a professional to ensure no damage is caused. You can also wear a petticoat to lift the hem an extra inch or so, stand on a white sheet to protect your dress from the elements, or even hire a seamstress or bridal dresser to perform steam cleaning on your gown or make any necessary repairs throughout the day.
While there are exceptions to every rule, we're outlining a general timeline to keep in mind. If there's a particular designer or bridal salon that you have your heart set on, we encourage you to find out their specific timelines so you don't miss out on having the wedding dress of your dreams.
10-11 Months Out: Find and buy your beautiful wedding dress or wedding gowns. We encourage brides to have a venue in mind when they start shopping, so the gown can fit the formality of the location.
3-4 Months Out: Bring your wedding dress to a tailor or seamstress for alterations. Many bridal salons offer alterations, so check there first! You can also find a local tailor, seamstress, or dressmaker in your area.
2-3 Months Out: It's time for your first fitting! Your dress will be pinned or marked with the necessary alterations. Bring your wedding undergarments, as well as your wedding shoes, with you to this appointment since the hem will be set.
4-6 Weeks Out: Fitting #2 will be similar to the first in that you'll want your shoes and undergarments, plus any jewelry and accessories. You'll address any underlying concerns, confirm everything requested was completed, and decide if your dress looks how you imagined.
2-3 Weeks Out: Your third and often final fitting! Often, your wedding dress will go home with you; however, if additional alterations are necessary, you'll need to pick up your wedding dress from your bridal salon or seamstress at a later date.