Archive 2017

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

Show Stopper

What an amazing few days I have just had at the Excel wedding fair exhibiting with the family bridal store and advising many, many brides on how we can achieve their dream look with the gown they are choosing.

Wedding shows and exhibitions are a great way to meet the people that will be helping you with your dream dress and whilst these bigger shows are a busy, bustling environment, you can often walk away with a gown at a fraction of the price it might have been in the store.

Adjustments can always be made after the dress has been bought, either by a local technician travelling to you, or by taking a trip to where the store is located. It might be advisable to get a quote from that store while you are there so that you have a comparison to a local professional.

My family business has always worked on the principle that it is more than our reputation is worth to let you walk away with a dress that is less than perfect. So, if you are buying a sample gown ask what the charge will be to replace any beading that may have come loose whilst being tried on by others, the cost of cleaning and the price of any fit adjustments that will make this garment perfect . In the grand scheme of things, it’s far better to pay a little extra for the fit alterations than wear it looking too big or too snug anywhere.

So, although we did not get a break all day (and there were five of us up there on our stand), it was the most amazing time. I still can’t believe how many of you have less than six months to go to your wedding day!!! Get booking those dresses and the fitting dates with the lucky lady that gets to fit your gown for you!

Nikki x

Joyous January

This is the month of many excited brides visiting the stores, searching online and getting things booked!! Whether you got engaged over Christmas and can’t wait to get out dress shopping or this is the year of the wedding, it all starts happening NOW!

Christmas is over and I’m pretty sure there are a few New Year’s resolutions of healthier living, diets and skin care routines! Get started, but don’t let it put you off searching for your dress – it can always be altered down and that’s where I come in!!!

I always get lots of emails and phone calls in January for appointments to be booked in throughout the year, so I really do think it pays to be organised. July and August are by far the busiest months for weddings and last minute alterations, and you don’t want to be left high and dry without someone to adjust your gown. After all, until they invent an extra day in the week, there’s only so many gowns that can be altered in a day.

So, even if you are not sure what might need doing with your gown, if you’re not using the technician from the store you purchased your dress, then get chatting to some local technicians to see about availability, and get booking an appointment even if it’s months in advance.

I have a customer for this year that is flying in to the UK a few days before her wedding. We have already booked in the fittings and I know the sort of alterations that will need doing so that I have left time available to complete them within those few days. Now it goes without saying that this stops me taking on any other work for those few days. As she lives abroad, there is no room to move the fittings to accommodate other dresses.   Imagine if she hadn’t already booked that in with me? I could take on something else and she would be left ‘phoning around with a few days to her wedding – NOT ideal.

Another example of planning and researching would be a young lady whose wedding dress I adjusted while she was over for two days from Dubai (and not back again until the day before the wedding). Now, she was in the unfortunate position that the very experienced technician she was using became too ill to make the adjustments within those few days. The technician in question knows me well and gave her my contact details so we had it covered! If you are on a tight timescale, or have some constrictions to your availability, maybe have a ‘Plan B’, or ask if the technician you’re using does! If we can’t do it we quite often have ‘friends in the right places’ and between us will never leave you without a solution!

So, now you’ve brightened up your January by finding your dream dress, let’s look forward to a romantic February! I’ll see you in between for a few anecdotes from the work room (want to hear about a little evening gown rescue I have just done after the client in question thought she would ” have a go” herself?!).

 

Nikki xx