The place to have your wedding ceremony gown personally tailor-made after buying it on-line

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As a COVID bride, I fearfully approached the search for wedding dresses without knowing whether I would actually get married or not, let alone find the dress at a certain shopping date. When I finally got to meet a specialist at Markarian in New York (masked, of course), the studio was closed to other clients and I didn’t bring any family or friends with me. I longed to try on a particular dress that I eyed and hoped to match. When I got it on, I nodded to myself in the mirror and thought this is it. Whether I’m going down the altar in 2022, 2028 or never at all, that’s my wedding dress. I was proud that in a world with so many strangers I was at least certain of that. Even if I tied the knot with my cat as a witness in my 60 square meter apartment, I would wear this dress. I turned to the manager and asked the more urgent question, “When can I have this custom made?”

As it turned out, it wasn’t when, but where. Due to COVID restrictions, internal changes were limited and Markarian recommended a second-party tailoring service called Change Specialists. I know that I am not the only bride faced with this dilemma; There are tons of reasons someone might need to find a seamstress to work on their dress. But I was a bit cautious with the process simply because bridal shopping was so far complicated and the evolving virus had made planning and travel even more difficult. I had a lot of questions about what the change timeline might look like for me, especially since I wasn’t sure whether my appointment would be postponed again.

After sending my measurements to Markarian, the custom-made dress was sent to me for fitting a few months later. Unsurprisingly, I needed additional adjustments, so I took my camera, dress, and mask to one of the three different bridal locations that Alterations Specialists operate (they also make home appointments if you’re in the area!). I was curious about the same things you probably are if you’ve read this far: How often would I have to come in? How much could my body change before the eventual wedding? How long does an appointment last? By the way, I’ve already bought the dress, so what additional costs do I see here? Thankfully, the Alteration Specialists team – and specifically the apparel maker I worked with, Diana Buendia – put me at ease as soon as I walked through the door. Read on for an overview of what the experience might be like for you before you even schedule an appointment with an expert.

Cost of wedding dress changes

First of all, it is important to mention that with the Alteration Specialists you get the feeling that you get your money’s worth as soon as you enter the studio. From the backlit mirrors with advances in technology that let you adjust the brightness, to the platforms set up near the changing rooms, the atmosphere feels luxurious. There’s also a spacious waiting room with fashionable coffee table books and additional floor-to-ceiling mirrors so you can put on a show up to COVID restrictions for any guests you bring with you. The price depends on the request and depends on the complexity of the order. My satin dress is very plain and had to be adjusted at the waist, side and under the chest. I also brought a second dress to wear for my reception, which had to be shortened a few inches and pulled under the arms. The total for these two jobs, which took about an hour to determine, including the time it took to get changed, was about $ 700. Prices can of course vary depending on where you are going, where you live and what your clothes look like.

Wedding dress changes schedule

At Alteration Specialists, the team recommends three separate adjustments, unless your dress requires more work or is extremely intricate. One of these adjustments is made on the day of collection to make sure everything feels right. As the bride, you have the option to add as many fittings as you think necessary in the months leading up to your wedding or event. Of course, the more work you ask, the bigger the bill. I settled on three and made my first appointment six months before the planned wedding date, the second three months and the last appointment of the week. The team will work with you to help you find your own best course of action.

Wedding dress changes in your area

Not in the New York City area? No problem. I’ve done research to bring you some companies that offer the same services as change specialists in several major cities, and feel free to message me if you can’t find others on this list.

Image source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sarah Wasilak

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