Bridal Alterations Maidstone

Nicola Leverington - The Wedding Dress Surgeon

Services

Brides

Alterations to wedding dresses including hems, take-ins, bra boosters and re-sizing

Bridesmaids

Alterations to bespoke and high street bridesmaids' dresses, including hems, take-ins, shoulder lifts and re-sizing

Prom

Alterations to bespoke and high street evening gowns and prom-wear dresses, including hems, take-ins, shoulder lifts and re-sizing

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Brides to be – how to stay positive during lockdown

As I sit here and type in my dress fitting studio, it’s a gorgeous day outside.  The sun is shining, the sky is blue – a beautiful wedding day.

For many of you, your weddings will have been put on hold for now due to the coronavirus.  When Boris Johnson proclaimed that social gatherings couldn’t take place for the time being, my heart sank for all the brides-to-be I’ve met and, of course, all the brides I haven’t.  Your wedding day has been in the planning for months, maybe even years and for it not to go ahead is, well, not in the plan.

I understand how disappointed you are but there are some things that you can do to stay positive.

First things first – move the date

Something you can do straightaway is move the date.  It sounds easy but might be a little complicated as you’ll have to coordinate all the different people and businesses involved in your day.

It’s a good idea to select a new date for your big day as soon as you can, and I’d recommend sometime next year as we don’t know how long this current situation is going to last.  The venue should be fine with you doing this but bear in mind that they will have 2021 weddings booked in already – you might not be able to have the exact date you’d like.  Try to be flexible and patient.  This also applies to caterers if you’re using them, photographers, hairdressers and any other business that you’re employing for your special day.

It makes sense to go for a similar time of year unless you think your dress and those of your bridesmaids could work all year round.  It may be that you need to invest in something to keep the wedding party warm if you change from a summer wedding to a winter one, say.

If you’re going to incur costs by moving the date, check your wedding insurance, if you have it.  The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented event so look for wording such as ‘act of God’ (i.e. something that you can’t control).

And then if you want to use this time to change venue completely, check the small print of the contract that you’ve signed.  You likely paid a deposit and that may or not be refundable.

OK that’s the serious bit out of the way.  You have a new date and that will no doubt make you feel positive and calm that your wedding celebration is going to happen!

Planning time

Couples often wish that they could have just a little more time to work on the finer details of their big day and now’s your chance!  If you were always a little concerned about sitting Auntie Pam next to your groom’s best mates from school, you can have another go at the seating plan.  Were you considering doing a speech but didn’t have the time to write it?  You have plenty of time now to not only write it but practise it too.  And that first dance … they’ll be calling you up to Strictly Come Dancing after they see the new Mr & Mrs with their choreographed ‘show’!

Use this time wisely to make sure that your new wedding day is as perfect as you can make it.

Wedding fund

As much as being in isolation is very strange, we are all saving money and for wedding couples, this could be very handy.  If you had to make compromises on your big day before, see this as the opportunity to save more for your wedding fund so that you can afford what you really wanted.

You can start dreaming about that desert island honeymoon, Jimmy Choo wedding shoes or that designer wedding cake you saw on Pinterest!  If, however, your savings will now stretch towards the venue of your dreams, do consider my point above.  Your existing venue might not be willing to refund your deposit.

The original wedding date

When your original wedding date comes around, you are bound to feel at least a little sad.  That’s ok, you know: we have all been thrown by these circumstances and we’re all allowed to be disappointed about cancelled plans.

I suggest that you have some fun on your original wedding date, though, and still mark the occasion.  It’s been on the calendar for quite a while after all! Here are my top suggestions.

  1. Pop some fizz and catch up with your family and friends. You can do this over the phone but seeing your family and friends’ faces and would be more special.  Dress up in something nice and don’t be afraid to remember what you should be doing at that time (“Now the hairdresser would have been arriving” etc) as you go through the day.
  2. You and your fiancé could prepare a unique meal for the day. Maybe splash out on steak or make a complicated dish together or even try to make the wedding breakfast you had planned!
  3. Eat cake! Order a cake in the same flavour as your wedding cake and really enjoy it!  You can even cut it together as well – may as well get some practise in for your wedding day.  I just don’t recommend you order a cake as big as your actual wedding cake – that’s a lot of walking round the block for your daily exercise!
  4. Plan ahead and write each other a love letter for the other to open on the morning of what would have been your wedding day. If you had written your own vows, save those for the big day and make this something a little ‘lighter’ but still as meaningful.  It’ll get your day off to a beautiful start.
  5. You are likely to have had to move your honeymoon so use your special day in isolation to plan your new honeymoon. That might mean starting from scratch (if you know you’ll be able to claim your money back from the original) or, if you’ve just moved the dates, you can research local beauty spots that you might want to visit as well as great bars and restaurants.  By the end of the day you’ll be so excited about your post-nuptials holiday that you’ll be donning a bikini and finding the sun lounger in the shed!
  6. This might be my favourite – pose for photos! This will be a fun memento of your wedding day for you to look back on and you’ll be able to create a photobook of the day to show future generations!

I know it’s tough having to move your wedding date, but it really is out of your control.  As a wedding dress alteration specialist, I would recommend that you try on your dress every now and again to see how it’s fitting (behind closed doors of course!).  If your dress does need altering when life returns to ‘normal’ then see me or your bridal gown seamstress asap to discuss what needs to be changed.  The more time we have the better!

In these weird times, it’s important to stay positive and look forward to celebrating your marriage to the one you love with family and friends when everyone’s well and it’s safe to socialise.  Think how much everyone will be looking forward to it!  This is going to be an amazing story for the grandchildren …

Nikki x

They come in all shapes and sizes…

We garment technicians would be without a job if everyone was a perfect sample size and 5′ 10″ tall! Every wedding dress would fit perfectly and there would be no need for all those fun fittings in your gown on the lead up to your wedding.

However, the real challenge is not in fitting a dress around a variety of shapes, but around the variety of changing shapes and sizes.

Picture the scene… a gaggle of six bridesmaids come in to be measured for their dresses nine months before the wedding: one aged 10, one aged 17, two ‘high-street’ size 12s (one pear-shaped, the other ‘athletic’), one size 16 and the last a comfortable size 26.

By the time the wedding day is fast approaching the 10-year old has started developing a bust, the 17-year old has put on a dress size due to overeating with exam stress, the size 16 has fallen pregnant and will be 6 month’s along by the wedding day and the size 26 has gone on a major lifestyle change and is now down to a size 20 and is still dropping about 2lbs a week. The two size 12s have stayed the same but one has bought in a different bra to the one they were measured in (and that they fully intend wearing on the day even though it adds a whole dress size to the bust).

Now this example is pretty typical of a wedding party and as a garment technician we are very used to undertaking these adjustments. However, this all comes at a cost, but please don’t be surprised when the store charges for these services. It’s a real skill to adjust dresses to fit every shape, but even more so for the sales assistant to be expected to predict every possible change that may or may not happen within your wedding party.

If you’re privy to knowing any of that information in advance (a bridesmaid is trying for a baby or someone is planning to join a slimming programme for example), then let the store know as they have probably dealt with this before and can advise you on the best course of action together with the costs you might incur for the relevant adjustments.

So, pop a little extra money aside in the budget for those unexpected alterations. Whilst we are all here to help you, one cannot possibly predict every eventuality before the wedding and last minute adjustments can sometimes come at a premium (especially at the height of the season).

Till next time

 

Nikki x

The Price of Perfection

There was quite a debate on one of the face book groups that I am a member of today sparked by a bride having a little rant at that price she was quoted for a particular service. Now let me start by saying that you as the bride have a choice, a budget, and an ethical or moral standard of your own that no one else should have the power to change if you are not happy with something.

All too often professionals in the wedding industry come under fire from supposedly adding a ‘wedding tax’ (for want of a better term) to our standard pricing structure. Now, in all honesty you could be forgiven for thinking that the price is inflated just because it is wedding-related. But the honest truth of the matter is that, as small businesses involved with arguably the single most important day in your life, we have a duty to provide a service to the very best of our ability. This quite often means that we may travel further, spend more time perfecting the item in question and even invest in additional equipment or training to get the job done properly. Most of us don’t live lavish lifestyles or drive flash cars, we are simply charging enough to continue running a business and support a family.

The service in question on the Face book post is irrelevant as this is an industry-wide misconception. In the case of your adjustments let me paint a picture – I am definitely going to charge more for a wedding dress than an evening dress. Why? Frankly and honestly because I am going to spend more time on it and my time comes at a premium. I EXPECT a bride to have more “mirror” time admiring herself in her gown (and so she should). This is the lead up to HER moment and she should be enjoying every moment. I also expect that there may be the need for more than one fitting and that a bride can change her mind on things previously discussed.

I fully expect to spend more “thinking” time working through the particular problems that her gown needs to have rectified to make it a picture of perfection. It also occurred to me whilst commenting in the Face book group, that on average a bride will spend around £1500 on a wedding gown that is, in essence, ill-fitting as it has not been made to measure, or she has changed shape since it was ordered. Then, when you are standing in front of an expert that – like me – will often have a degree or some form of qualifications along with many, many years experience (having altered hundreds, if not thousands of dresses before yours), only to question a £100-£200 additional charge. Now, for my part, I am arguably transforming the dress to look a million dollars! Priceless!

So whilst it is important to stick to your budget and not completely blow it on every wedding-related purchase, it’s also important to get an idea of what the average alteration cost is. So, obtain a few quotes or compare a few websites. Inexpensive doesn’t have to mean bad, but my experience, professionalism and expertise come at a price that I firmly believe are worth paying for. We as industry professionals have a passion for perfection.

Nikki x