When will the dress be ready?
Most dresses will be finished in an average of four to eight months. If your seamsterss is unable to get your dress completed before your wedding day, consider going to another tailor. Appointments for your alterations may need to be made far in advance if their are specific times and dates you need. The last fitting is generally scheduled two weeks before your wedding day. If you are in a rush for your dress, don't be surprised if there is an additional 15-25% rush order fee.
How many fittings are needed?
Most dresses require only three fittings. The exception is for dresses made from scratch which may require several more. During the first fitting, your seamstress will determine what step will need to be done to the dress. For example, is it too long, too short, does the bodice need to be tightened, buttons moved etc. It's a good idea to have your shoes purchased by then & bring them along to the fitting. (You may also want to consider bringing your lingerie to this fitting as well.) The second fitting will allow you to determine if the goals from the last have been met. Additional changes can be made at this fitting. It's often a good idea to bring a friend along for the third fitting. This is when your dress should look like you want it to on your wedding day. So it is a good idea to have someone shown how the dress should bustle etc.
Do the fittings cost extra?
Many stores will offer three fittings in the price when you use their tailor. Designer gowns, however, usually offer an unlimited number of fittings. But make note, not all dress shops offer this. It's alway a good idea to ask up front about this service.
Can I make changes to the dress design?
This will depend on the designer and the dress shop. There are usually limitations to those changes. For example, you may be able to order the dress in a different color or with a different neckline or length. If the answer is a no , you can consider going to a seamstress for your customizations.
What happens if I gain or loose weight after the final fitting?
As long as the changes aren't too drastic, your seamstress should be able to make some last-minute adjustments. If you think there is a good chance you will be gaining or loosing a lot of weight in this timeframe, then it may be a good idea to give your seamstress a heads up. This was she can save extra fabric if necessary. Be sure to check on the additional costs to this.
How do I care for the dress?
Most dress makers will provide instructions on what to do with your dress to ensure it remains in perfect condition until your wedding day. They may also offer advise on where to have the dress cleaned and how to preserve it after your wedding day. (Many dry cleaners offer this service, but make sure you go with one that is well known for this service.)
Check out cleaners such as Margaret's in the San Diego area for more information on this process.