One aspect of wedding planning that may cause a great deal of stress for any bride is their wedding dress. More specifically, ensuring an accurate and flattering fit. Besides, there are a variety of resources out there on obtaining these measurements, including size charts, diagrams, and reference guides. But with all this information available, it can be overwhelming and even a little confusing. Where do you even begin? So, this guide will provide a simple step-by-step overview of what to do and all you need to consider when taking or getting your measurements.
So, how do you measure yourself for a wedding dress? You can either measure yourself (having a family member or friend helping you) or have a salesperson or professional seamstress measure you for your wedding dress. You will need to get measurements for your bust, waist, hip, and body length. All of which will be used to tailor and alter your chosen dress for a flattering and perfect fit.
The best way to guarantee a perfect fit is to obtain your precise body measurements.
That may make you feel a little anxious, whether you choose to measure yourself or have a professional do it for you.
But thankfully, having an idea about what needs to be measured and how can help to put your mind at ease.
Your bust, natural waist, hip, and overall height/body length will need to be measured for your wedding dress to ensure a precise and flattering fit (more on how to obtain these measurements will be discussed in further detail below).
And you can get an accurate measurement of these areas with a few simple tools – those that you likely already have!
Keeping this in mind, let’s dive deeper into exactly how to measure yourself for a wedding dress, things to keep in mind when measuring for a wedding dress, and where you can get measured for a wedding dress (if you can’t or choose not to do it yourself).
How Do You Measure Yourself For a Wedding Dress?
In order to measure yourself for a wedding dress, you will need to have a soft measuring tape, a full-length mirror, and (ideally) someone to help you measure. If possible, wear the shoes you intend on wearing for your wedding day and any shapewear/undergarments you plan on wearing as well. You will need to get a measurement of your bust, waist, hips, and body length.
Before you begin, change into your undergarments or shapewear that you plan on wearing on your wedding day.
If possible, wear your wedding day shoes; if you don’t yet have your wedding shoes picked out or purchased yet, put on a pair of shoes that are similar in height to what you’ll be wearing on your wedding day.
This will ensure an accurate measurement using the clothing you will be in on your big day.
Be sure to wrap the soft measuring tape around you from back to front so you are able to read the numbers easily.
It’s best to stand up straight and not let your head lower to the ground; it’s best to have a family member or a bridesmaid help you to ensure you get an accurate measurement.
To obtain your bust measurement, place the soft measuring tape around the fullest part of your bust; the measuring tape should wrap around your back with the two ends coming together in the front (so you’re able to read the numbers).
Do your best to keep the measuring tape in a leveled, straight line and make sure it isn’t too tight; you should be able to fit your finger between your body and the measuring tape.
Be sure to breathe normally.
To get your natural waist measurement, stand with both arms at your sides and slightly lean over to one side; where you crease on the side of your torso is your natural waist.
You should put the measuring tape around your body (in line with the crease point) to get your natural waist measurement. Your natural waist is approximately in line with your belly button.
Your hip measurement is the measurement of the widest part of your hips and around the fullest part of your bottom.
Pull the measuring tape across the widest part of your hips and the fullest part of your bottom while standing straight.
Be sure the measuring tape isn’t too tight (you should be able to put a finger between your body and the measuring tape).
Body Length Measurement
To get an accurate body length measurement, you’ll need to stand up straight.
Tilt your head towards your shoulder; the point where your neck and shoulder intersect is the starting point (place one end of the tape measure here), follow the tape measure down your body, leaving it flush against your body and down the fullest part of your breast.
‘Walk’ the tape measure down towards the ground, measuring to a couple of inches from the floor (to around your ankle bone).
It’s best to have a friend or family member help you get these measurements; they will ensure you stand up straight and keep your head up.
Be sure to double-check your measurements for accuracy.
Things To Consider When Measuring For A Wedding Dress
There are a few things to keep in mind when measuring for a wedding dress, including your expected wedding weight, the proximity of the date you take your measurements and your wedding day, the style and type of dress, and if you are pregnant.
Your Expected Wedding Weight
If your wedding is a few months or even years away, consider if and how your weight may change by your wedding date.
Are you planning on completing a diet and exercise program before your wedding?
Is there a chance you could get pregnant before your wedding date?
It’s best to anticipate any changes that could result in a weight increase or decrease by your wedding day.
On average, if you aren’t planning on completing an intense exercise regimen or drastically changing your diet (for better or for worse), your weight shouldn’t change too radically (plus or minus 5 to 10 pounds).
The Time Between The Date You Take Your Measurements To Your Wedding Date
You want to make sure you don’t leave too much time between the date you take your measurements and your wedding date.
Most wedding dress shops or stores will require a minimum of 6 months (from the date you order your wedding dress/when measurements are taken) for dress alteration and tailoring.
This time frame could be longer or shorter, depending on the type of wedding dress you select.
You don’t want to wait too long in between the date of measurements and your wedding date.
You want to avoid any major alterations that may result from changes in your measurements over time.
You can expect to go in for at least three to four visits (if not more, depending on if your measurements changed a lot) to either a seamstress or the shop where you purchased your wedding dress from.
The Style And Type Of Your Wedding Dress
No matter what type of dress you end up wearing, you will need to get your bust, waist, hip, and overall body length measurements to ensure a flattering fit.
Custom wedding dresses will likely need more extensive body measurements (like your Hollow to Hem measurement, which is the hollow point of your neck/mid collarbone to the floor).
You can compare your measurements to size guides (often found online) for your particular wedding dress; if you aren’t sure, contact a seamstress or tailor in your local area for help.
For wedding dresses that are more fitted throughout the bodice (or body-hugging styles), it’s good practice to select the size (of dress) that best matches your largest measurement of your bust, waist, or hip measurements.
If your bust is the largest of these measurements, this means that your (body-hugging) wedding dress will fit the best around your bust.
For A-line or ball gown style dresses, focus on the measurements for your bust and waist; use the size (of the dress) that best matches the larger of the two.
These dress styles tend to flow outwards from the bust or waist, so using the larger of these measurements will allow for the dress to flow nicely.
Always remember; it’s much easier to take something in than to let it out (this is why you use your largest measurement).
If You’re Pregnant
If you’re pregnant, you may want to consider seeing a seamstress or tailor to help you obtain new measurements.
Depending on your dress, how pregnant you are, and when the wedding is, major alterations may need to take place on your wedding dress.
Pregnancy can pose an issue when getting your measurements for your wedding dress, as your body will be changing drastically and potentially quite quickly.
Another issue that may arise if you’re pregnant is changes to other parts of your body (like your arms, for example); unequal weight distribution or swelling are also factors that should be considered when measuring your wedding dress while pregnant.
If you’re pregnant and need to get measurements for your wedding dress, it’s best to have a tailor or seamstress help you, as they’ll be able to accurately measure and customize your dress to your changing body.
Where Can I Get Measured For A Wedding Dress?
If you don’t want to or cannot measure yourself for your wedding dress, you have other options available; these include: having a salesperson (at the bridal shop), a seamstress, or a tailor obtain your measurements for you. Having any one of these professionals complete your measurements is a simple and quick process. You can rest assured that they will accurately obtain your measurements so that your wedding dress looks amazing on you!
Many salespeople at bridal shops are well-versed in obtaining your measurements quickly and efficiently.
Oftentimes, these salespeople are women; if your salesperson happens to be a male, there will likely be a woman salesperson to take your measurements if you aren’t comfortable with the former.
A seamstress or tailor can also take your measurements for your wedding dress. Many bridal shops have an in-house seamstress or tailor who can measure you, or they likely have a trusted alterations company that they can refer you to to get your measurements.
Keep in mind, if you go to a seamstress or tailor that isn’t part of an in-house team where you are purchasing your wedding dress from, there may be a fee for the seamstress/tailor to measure you (this can vary from place to place).
Your wedding dress is one of the most significant and beautiful pieces of clothing you’ll ever wear.
Ensuring a perfect fit begins with getting accurate measurements of your bust, waist, hips, and overall body length using a soft tape measure.
If you wish to DIY this aspect of your wedding, it’s relatively simple to get your measurements (ideally with the help of a friend or family member) for your wedding dress.
If you’d rather not or (can’t) get the measurements yourself, you can have a salesperson, seamstress, or tailor measure you.
No matter what, you will look absolutely stunning on your wedding day!
Other related wedding dress guides you may want to see:
- How Many Sizes Can A Wedding Dress Be Taken In?
- How Long Is A Wedding Dress Fitting?
- How Long Does It Take To Get A Wedding Dress?
- Can You Make A Wedding Dress Bigger?
Hey, I’m Allison – a recent bride, an expectant mother and the chief editor here at Everlasting Occasion. Here I document all the knowledge and experience I accumulated while researching and planning my dream wedding and ahead of our new baby. Here, I try to answer those many questions couples have when planning their dream wedding, while equally, helping expectant parents ahead of their new arrival!