Your Guide to Wedding Dress Fittings

Tips on what to except from each fitting session you'll attend for your bridal gown.

Your Guide to Wedding Dress Fittings

Photo: Laurie Bailey Photography

Congratulations! You’re getting married and you found the gown of your dreams! Now comes the logistical side of your wedding dress: fittings. Bridal gown fittings are pertinent to ensuring you look and feel your very best when you tie the knot. On average, brides attend three separate dress fittings, but that number may increase depending on the quality and quantity of the bride’s desired – or required – alterations. Wondering what a typical fitting is like? Read up on our tips below to make sure everything goes seamlessly! 


-   Purchase your undergarments and shoes, and prepare to bring them. These pieces can really affect how the ensemble fits – even the smallest change can throw off the final product. Wear them (or bring them along) to every fitting you attend!

First Fitting:

-   About 6-8 weeks before the wedding.

-   The purpose: to ensure the basics are correct. Is the dress the right color and size? Does it showcase the designs you remember? This is when the seamstress will note all of the changes, both big and small, that need to be made. It’s your time to communicate openly and honestly – after inspecting the dress, ask what can be realistically changed in the time allotted, then go down that list with the seamstress. Make yourself heard! However, keep in mind that some of your desires may not be possible, and be ready to compromise when and if that happens. Take this time to ask how many extra sessions your particular set of alterations might take.

-   Watch for: the look of the dress. You haven’t seen your dress in some time, so make sure to go over it with a fine-tooth comb – metaphorically, of course. Notice anything that you’d like to fix, alter, or add. Additionally, pay close attention to what your seamstress suggests, as they are a professional after all. 

Second Fitting:

-   About one month before the wedding.

-   The purpose: to check that the problem areas have been updated. The most important thing during this session is to ensure the changes that you and your seamstress agreed upon have been implemented. Once this has been established, review the gown for any extra problems that did not exist before, or problems you may have missed in the first fitting. Again, don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. Additionally, we recommend you use this session to test out any accessories you’ve been considering – see how they look with the dress, take pictures, get extra opinions, etc.

-   Watch for: the feel of the dress. Concentrate on how the gown feels in any and all fashions: ensure it stays in place as you walk, jump, spin, sit down, etc., and that the hem is at the top of your toes, the bodice is as tight as you’d expected, and that the fabric hangs correctly. 

Third Fitting:

-   About two weeks before the wedding.

-   The purpose: to do any minor, last-minute adjustments. This is the time to go over final details. We recommend bringing your mom, MOH, or a bridesmaid along, especially if you’ll need help getting into your dress, to learn how to go about putting it on, bustling it, etc. There shouldn’t be any real issues with the gown at this point, but look out for small wrinkles and learn about caring for the garment during this session. How do you need to clean it? Preserve it?

-   Watch for: the “final product.” Look at the ensemble as a whole, as this is almost exactly how you’ll look on your big day. Admire how everything has come together and take a moment to breathe, relax, and take it all in. Lastly, make an appointment to pick up your dress as soon as possible, preferably at least a week – more, if possible – before your wedding. We also recommend trying it on one more time once you’ve picked it up. 

Find out what you should do before you try on wedding gowns, see 10 chic necklines for your dress, and discover how to incorporate something old, new, borrowed, and blue into your ensemble.

Opening photo by Dmitri and Sandra