Looking For Your Dress Part 4: Picking Up Your Dress
It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here! Your dress is finally in, and it’s been weeks/months since you saw it (8 months for me!). Maybe you started panicking that you made the wrong choice as your memory of it slowly slipped away over time, but now that it’s here and on, you feel silly for ever doubting it. But wait! This is no time to get all crazy and emotional! After all, there’s business to attend to…
What To Bring
Bring a copy of your original order so you have proof of exactly what you ordered, what you were promised, and what policies were in effect when you ordered. If you have already chosen your shoes or jewelry for your wedding day, bring those with you as well. Along the same lines, if you have a veil that you already are in possession of, bring that as well. If you don’t have the exact shoes you want, bring a pair of a similar height. Chances are you won’t have the undergarments you’ll need to wear under your dress yet (you may have been waiting to see exactly what the dress would call for or allow), but if you do, bring those too. I’d also recommend bringing at least one extra set of eyes with you. You don’t need an entourage (and I strongly recommend against one, limit yourself at most to 3 people), but have at least one person with you. You have an emotional attachment to the dress and may unwittingly gloss over problems with it, whereas your extra eyes will be better able to view it objectively and critically.
What To Check
When you get to see your dress, you need to inspect it. Make sure it is in the condition you expect it to be in. First things first, before you put it on, make sure it’s the right dress. Check the style number, the size, and color against what you ordered. After confirming the basics check for loose/missing beading, snags, stains, uneven stitching lines, exposed boning, and missing pieces that should be included (lacing for corsets, optional straps, sashes, etc). If you made any special requests, like changing the cup style or converting the button back to a corset, check for that as well. If anything is amiss at any point, bring it to the attention of the consultant before you put the dress on.
Once the visual inspection is resolved, it’s time to put it on! This will allow you to find any potential flaws that may not have been easy to spot on the hanger like crooked stitching or exposed boning. Remember that when you ordered your dress you picked a standard size based on how your measurements corresponded to how the designer makes their dresses, so chances are there are parts of your dress that you feel don’t quite fit right. That’s what alterations are for.
However, do point out any massive sizing issues, like the entire dress being grossly too large or too small. That can indicate that there was in fact a mix-up, despite what the tag may say. If you ordered on the smaller edge of a size and part of it is a little snug, it’s possible that in the past couple months you just changed shape a little (or if it happens to be that time of the month, that can make a difference too), and it’s nothing some Spanx or a few rounds at the gym won’t fix. If it’s just a bit snug, there is usually enough material to let the dress out in specific areas up to about 1/2″ without causing problems. Parts that are too large can easily be taken in (or if it happens to be in the bust area, you can have padding put in to perk up your girls).
Once everything meets your approval, you’re ready to start thinking about alterations. If the salon you’ve gotten your dress from does their own alterations, it’s time to talk to that department about when they want you to start that series of appointments. Some salons will insist you leave the dress with them, while others will insist you take it home until your first appointment. If you’re having your alterations done elsewhere for whatever reason, make sure you store your dress in a safe place where it will have the least chance of being exposed to moisture, dust/dirt, or extreme heat.
Talk with the seamstress (or if there is no in-house seamstress, ask your consultant for their advice!) about what kind of undergarments you may need for your dress. Some styles require the really attractive sounding “foundation garments”, which serve to give the dress the proper shape on your body by keeping your body parts where they should be (i.e. keeping the boobs in the right spot and smoothing any body lines). If you don’t have any specific requirements for your style, you have more freedom to choose things that are more fun and less functional (so long as they don’t disrupt the function of any of the dress parts!).
If There’s A Problem
I seriously hope you don’t have to read this section, and your dress is as perfect as you expect it to be. However, should something not be butterflies and rainbows, it’s important you handle it properly and quickly.
If the dress is not what your ordered, show the consultant the differences in the tag and your order receipt. This is obviously a mix-up in the order and the salon is responsible for fixing it and covering any additional costs (such as rush fees). This is the easiest problem to fix since there is hard evidence that someone effed up.
If the tag matches, but the dress still doesn’t look right, ask for confirmation on the aspect in question. If the color seems wrong, ask to see the swatches again (or if you ordered it the same color that you tried on, ask to see the sample). If the style number matches but it doesn’t look like the dress you remember, ask to see the sample you tried on, the catalog picture, or a picture you took yourself of you in the dress (the last one is your best bet). If the size seems wrong, check the measurements you submitted against the size chart you were provided and chose your dress from. Also check your current measurements against the measurements that were taken at the time. It’s quite possible you really did just change shape or size from when you ordered it, especially if you ordered it a few months ago. It would really stink to have to admit that it doesn’t fit because you might have hit the Oreos a little hard recently, but if the problem is that you did gain a little weight you need to own up to it and not hold the salon responsible.
If the problem is with the dress itself (everything in that second category of things I listed above like loose beading or stains), point out the specific areas there are issues with. Point out EVERYTHING. They can’t (and won’t) fix it if you don’t show it to them. Ask for their proposed solutions to the problems. Legitimate issues should be corrected at no cost to you, since you are not receiving what you ordered. If they do not have the capability to fix the problem in-house, ask for a refund on the dress in an amount that should cover you having someone else address the issue.
What ever the situation is, get any and all agreed upon fixes in writing. You should get a list of each problem and what the salon is going to do about it. Have it signed by the manager of the salon, the alterations manager if there is one and she will be responsible for carrying out the fixes, and anyone else that was involved in negotiating the situation. Make sure you get a copy and leave one with them. Do not leave with the dress until you are satisfied with the way things are being handled. As soon as you take the dress out of the salon, you release them from all responsibility for it.
I finally got to pick up my dress this weekend. Expect a post tomorrow with a run through of how the adventure went, as well as a picture or two 🙂