the bridesmaid without a dress: a cautionary tale

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A couple weeks ago, while I was walking home from work, I got a frantic call from a girlfriend saying she desperately needed bridesmaid advice. Before I tell this story, let me just say there are countless (way more times than I'd like to admit) times this type of thing has happened to me, but somehow, by the grace of God, I got out unscathed.

My friend was in a wedding--out of the country--that was taking place that upcoming weekend. Keep in mind, she called me on a Thursday. She had taken her dress in to get it altered a few weeks back (tight on timing, but still within reason) and scheduled a pick-up for the night before her flight was leaving.
In the chaotic work hours of the day, her pick-up appointment completely slipped her mind until it was 6:25 and she realized the tailor was about 15 minutes away, and it closed at 6:30. Frantically, she raced over to the location, of course to find it locked and dark, with no one around. The best part? She could see part of the fabric from her dress that the seamstress had left behind on the sewing machine. Open wound, pour in salt. 

After calling the company, looking their home number up in the white pages, and even attempting to go to the gym where a woman from the shop worked out with my friend to see if she could locate her, it was t minus 10 hours until my friend would be on a plane, en route to the wedding, a bridesmaid sans dress. Finally, a stroke of genius--having bought the dress from David's Bridal, she called the retailer and they unbelievably had the dress in stock at her nearby location. Best of all, she just got the size smaller than she'd originally ordered and it fit fine. Of course, she had to spend double the money (ouch) but the dress was reasonably priced, and it was worth it to not show up empty-handed and cause a complete bridal melt-down.
I take a few things from this story. 
1. Get your dress taken care of at least a month before the big day. I am in a wedding this summer taking place at the end of August. My tailoring appointment (this time) will be set up, completed, and the fitted dress will be hanging in my closet by the end of July. This will be a first for me. 
2. Go to a tailor you have a loyalty to, and where you are a valued customer. Of course, going to the place closest to you is convenient, but those extra miles won't seem as bad if you can call her in an emergency (and save yourself from buying another dress).
3. If possible, try the dress on (or a similar style by the same brand) before ordering. When you order online, bridal companies are ALWAYS going to encourage you to go a couple sizes up. Occasionally, the retailer makes money on the alterations, but this is also to prevent you from getting a dress that's too small, since altering down a size is much easier than altering up. However, I cannot count the number of times I tried on the dress after I ordered it and was basically swimming in it, causing hundreds in alterations. Save yourself the extra money by seeing if you can try the piece on up front. 

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