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wedding dress too small

Quick Solutions for a Wedding Dress That’s Too Small

For many brides, finding and picking your perfect wedding dress is the most exciting part of planning. After years of binging Say Yes to the Dress, most women have an idea of what their look will be like, and seeing it on is a magical experience.

Unfortunately, sometimes the bride runs into issues with her dress. Wedding dresses are elaborate garments that can be made in unique shapes and fussy fabrics.

As a result, sometimes it just doesn’t fit due to changes in weight or errors from the designer. If you find yourself in this predicament, read more about how to pull that zipper on a wedding dress that is too small.

Don’t Panic!

The first rule for anything that might not be going according to plan is not to panic! If you start to freak out, the situation will only grow worse! So try to stay calm, identify the issue with the dress, and come up with ways to fix it so you can continue forward with your perfect day.

Sometimes in life we just have to accept that not everything is going to go according to plan. However, there are ways you can avoid an issue with your gown on your wedding day.

Once you have it at home, try it on during the months ahead to make sure it continues to fit right on your body type. If you catch a problem earlier, it’s easier to remedy, even if it’s because of unexpected weight loss!


Ways to Fix a Small Wedding Dress

If you are dealing with a small size, there are a few solutions depending on the problem. The most important step is to identify where or why your dress is too small.

Is the waist inconsistent with your measurements? Is it too short? Are the sleeves or bust too constraining? Is there a reason your weight may be fluctuating?

Once you figure out what’s causing the discomfort, you can tackle the issue. Some at-home alterations may require some sewing skills, so be sure to invite a handy friend over if you’re not able to do anything like that or defer to a professional. Read more for the ways to tackle all different fit and size problems.


Sending It Back

wedding dress rack

If you notice a problem far ahead of your big day, discuss the issues with the dress at the bridal salon where you purchased it. They may be able to contact the manufacturer about the issue, or you can transform it into a custom wedding dress.

Further, some bridal boutiques will do a first and second fitting in-store, which is a great opportunity to catch any fit problems. The boutique may even have an in-house seamstress, which is good, as they are more likely to have a matching piece of fabric.

If you ordered your gown online and have enough time, speak to the retailer’s customer service line and see if you can swap it out for a different size in time for the wedding. But beware– you’re more likely to get results by getting alterations done or doing your own than trying on a totally different size gown!

Try to use a sample gown to get a good idea of your sizing.


Getting Your Gown Professionally Altered

wedding dress alterations

If it has some serious fit problems, bring it to a tailor or seamstress to get alterations. This is your best bet to get friendly service and a dress that fits just as you dreamed it would.

You can look on forums like Yelp or on local social media groups to find tailors with a good reputation. The time for alterations is usually a few weeks to a month.

The unfortunate thing about getting professional alterations is the price. Be sure keep possible alterations in mind when budgeting!


At-Home Wedding Gown Alterations

white lace

If you’re at the last minute or absolutely can’t afford to go to a professional, there are a few alterations you can make at home as long as you’re seriously careful. If the dress is much too tight, you need to let it out to make it bigger.

Many wedding dresses are designed with this possibility in mind, but you still need to be really careful. It is also more difficult with a zipper. You can read a step-by-step guide to letting out a dress at home here, for which you’ll need a panel of fabric, a fabric tape measure, and more.

If your it is actually too big, you can take in a dress at home too, but it’s just as crafty and requires some sewing ability, so precaution is still recommended.


Show Off Your Shoes!

non traditional wedding dresses

If your dress is a bit short and can’t be fixed, just take it as an opportunity to wear a killer pair of shoes! Finding the perfect pair of wedding shoes can be just as exciting as finding the dress, though it’s not hyped as much. 

If your hemline is a bit short, the shoes will be the star of the show! Try to pick a pair that go with the style of your dress and your theme– if your wedding is on the beach and your dress is sort of flowy, try a nice pair of sandals, for example.

If your dress is super glam, find a shiny pair of pumps. If the shoes make sense with the dress, then your dress being short might seem less noticeable to your guests.


Making It Fit

what to do with old wedding dress

If you’re going to try your hardest to get your body inside that fabric, there are a few tips and tricks. First of all, you should be wearing the same undergarments and shapewear that you wore to your shopping trip and all of your fittings.

You could also add a more intense piece of shape wear, like a tight pair of Spanx on the waist to help your body fit inside.

You could also try the traditional squeeze and pull method– but be careful! You don’t want to break the zipper. If you’re going to attempt this, have two or three more people assist you.

Still, it’s best to get the necessary alterations instead of being uncomfortable the whole day.


Quick Wedding Dress Alternatives

red wedding dress

So you unfortunately can’t fit into the dress in time. For many brides, this may be a sad realization. The good thing is that there are plenty of alternatives!

If all goes awry with your dream dress a few weeks before the wedding, you can order a nice dress for relatively cheap from an online boutique. 

If it’s the morning of your wedding, have one of your bridesmaids run to a local mall or department store! A lot of brides choose to forgo a super expensive wedding dress for a more accessible option, anyway, so while it may be disappointing, you’ll still look like a glowing bride.


More on Wedding Dresses

At Yeah Weddings, we’re dedicated to your dress dreams. Click to read more about the average engagement ring size,  how to choose the right veil, and plenty more.

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Katie Sheets

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