Dieting and the Dress

Once you’ve whittled down your waist, will the dress still fit? To make sure it does, tell your seamstress or dressmaker that you’re planning to lose weight, says Maria Donovan, owner of upscale bridal shop Priscilla of Boston—especially if you work out with a personal trainer, which can affect your size and body shape. She recommends scheduling your first fitting a little later than usual, and having your final fitting two weeks from the big day to leave time for last-minute fixes.

Michelle Kelly, gown designer and owner of Maine’s Willows & Ivy, advises downsizing brides to have their first fitting four months before the wedding. She normally schedules three fittings, but if you’re truly losing pounds she’ll do five—max. "If you keep taking the dress apart, it won’t look right," she warns.
Choosing an easily-modified style can also avert disasters. "Sleeveless is the easiest style to tweak," Kelly says. "If you order a strapless gown and lose weight in the bust, it will change the structure of the gown."

Still, there’s always a little wiggle room. A down-to-the-wire five-pound loss is a workable adjustment, even if your dress is strapless, says seamstress Lyudmila Sletkova, owner of Best Fit on Newbury Street. For Priscilla’s Donovan, even a loss of 20 pounds doesn’t cause a panic. "It may be a lot of you," she says, "But for us? It’s a piece of cake."

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