Looking For Your Dress Part 3: Order Up!
At the end of a successful trip, you’ll have found your dress. Yay!
When you decide on a dress, chances are you’re in a sample dress and need one ordered in the correct size (if it’s an off the rack dress, you’re done!). The consultant will take your measurements either while you’re wearing the dress or while you’re still in your undies (they won’t do the measuring over regular clothes for a variety of reason). The dress isn’t made to these measurements (most of the time anyway), but is compared to a size chart for that designer so that the right one can be chosen. Pay attention to the numbers the consultant measures, and ask to see the size chart when they recommend a size. Some dishonest salons are known to purposely order way too large so they can charge more for alterations, so it’s wise to check the size chart yourself before signing anything. If you’re lucky, all of your numbers fit into one size. If you’re like 90% of the population, you’ll probably land between sizes. Err on the side of the larger size. You can always take a dress in, but you can’t let it out that much.
If you are planning on losing weight, do NOT order the dress size you WANT to be by the wedding. Order the size you are, and if you’re straddling two sizes, you can feasibly do the smaller one because it should be within your reach to lose at least the one dress size, but don’t short change it anymore than that. If you end up in a situation where you didn’t get quite into shape the way you wanted, you’ll be left dress-less. Again, a dress can always be taken in, but let out very little (usually not too much more than half an inch). If you are planning on losing a large amount of weight, put off dress shopping until you’ve gotten at least halfway to your goal (or you are 6 months out, since that’s really the ordering cut off). Dresses fit differently depending on your shape, and the dress that you like now may lay quite differently if you lose multiple dress sizes.
Also be aware that wedding dress sizes run smaller than “street sizes”, so don’t be alarmed if you’re suddenly an 8 when you’re usually a 6 or a 4. This does not mean you magically gained weight, it just means your designer has a slightly skewed version of what size women are these days. My designer happened to run pretty true to street size and I ended up with a 2, but when I got a bridesmaids dress for a friend’s wedding that designer had me in a 10. A 10. I have no idea how one can have me as a 2 and someone else as a 10, but that just kind of shows you how wildly different they can be. (When the 10 came in, it was huge through the hips and bust, but I had to wear Spanx to get my waist in it!)
When you order the dress, the salon will have you put a deposit down, usually somewhere between 50% and 70% of the cost of the dress. The rest will be due when the dress comes in. Before you leave make sure you check and recheck the style #, the size, the color, and any other special requests you’ve made on the contract. Ask for an estimated date of delivery (mine was estimated to be between 4 and 6 months from the order date) and for when you should call if you haven’t heard anything. If your delivery time is close to the holidays, count on it taking an extra month due to both an uptick in orders and vacation time on the manufacturing side. At this point, you’ve done all you can for your dress. Now, we wait…