Ask the experts: your wedding gown alterations

We pinned down some bridalwear boutique insiders to find out everything you need to know about having a nip and tuck

Style 2714, £POA, Benjamin Roberts

“Order your dress in the size you need, not the size you want. The fit of a dress is much more important than the number on the label. Generally, dresses can be taken down by around two sizes so it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Use a recommended bridal seamstress as bridal alterations are much more complex than general alterations, so be sure yours are done by someone with experience and knowledge. We recommend having your first fitting around four-to-six weeks before the wedding and the final fitting a week or two before the big day,” says Catherine Wilkie, Alison Kirk Bridal

Camelia gown, £POA, Joyce Young Design Studios

“Wear suitable underwear and shoes. This allows us to pin the dress as accurately as possible to see exactly how it will fit on the big day. We would also advise anyone who is thinking about losing weight for their wedding to start as soon as they purchase the dress. This gives plenty of time for any weight loss, so the dress fits perfectly when altered,” says Li Gorman, Pan Pan Bridal

“When you buy a wedding dress you should always remember that any alteration costs will be extra on top of the price tag, so try to get a rough estimate of how much you will be charged for this – and then put aside more than you think you’ll need. Altering a dress to achieve that perfect fit isn’t easy, and if your gown has any kind of detailing on it, your alteration costs will go up. Some stores will have a capped alterations price (here at Kudos the maximum you would ever expect to pay is £250) but not all boutiques will have such a limit in place so it’s always worth asking the question,” says Jo Heinemeier, Kudos Bridal Boutiques

“The best piece of advice I would give with regards to alterations is to be prepared and to make sure you budget for them. Even if you are an exact high-street size, it does not guarantee you will be an exact bridal gown size, so alterations are usually necessary. It is the one day in your life you want to have a dress that fits you perfectly from every angle. If it does, you will be comfortable and confident on your day and in all your photographs. Your boutique should be able to advise you or provide a professional fitting and alteration service. Remember: alterations are not a luxury on your wedding day, they are a necessity,” says Sharon McPherson, Opus Atelier