There are few things more stressful than trying on your wedding dress and discovering that you cannot zip it up. After you choose the perfect dress, a sparkling set of bridal jewelry, and get your hair done, the last thing you want is to look like you are squeezed into a too-small dress when you walk down the aisle. Whatever the reason that it is too tight, you will obviously need to find a way to get your dress to fit comfortably by your wedding day. These are some practical solutions to help you get that too tight wedding dress to zip!

Let Out the Seams: Many wedding gowns, especially the made-to-order labels, are created with fairly generous seam allowances. That means that your seamstress may be able to let out the seams on your gown to gain an inch or sometimes even two of breathing space. One caveat: if you are wearing a dress with embroidery that runs over the seams, you will have to see if the seamstress can recreate the embellishments, otherwise there will be a weird gap in the design. In fact, brides who tend to have weight fluctuations would be wise to choose a gown which has more of a medallion style embroidery so that the area around the side seams can be discreetly adjusted if need be.

Raise the Skirt: If you are struggling to get your dress to lay smooth over the hip area, sometimes the seamstress can lift the skirt at the waist to make it roomier. Since most skirts, such as A-lines, get wider as they go down, raising the skirt at the waist by an inch or two will bring a fuller section up to your hips. This type of adjustment is easiest to do on simple A-line skirts, and will generally not work for very fitted styles like mermaids. If your skirt has pleating at the waistline, it may still be possible, to raise it, just keep in mind that it will probably be an expensive alteration.

Wear a Body Shaper: Sometimes you don’t need extensive alterations to change the fit of your wedding dress. If you are only a little ways off from zipping comfortably, you might just need to choose the right undergarments. A good body shaper like Spanx can whittle your waist, tuck your tummy, and trim your hips. Not only will your gown fit more loosely, but it will give a nice smooth line underneath. Don’t worry about body shapers not being sexy enough for the wedding night. You can always pack a bag with pretty wedding accessories to slip into after the reception.

Steal Fabric From the Train: If your seamstress has tried the more basic alterations and your gown still won’t zip, the next step is to add in panels to the bodice. Since they need to match the fabric of the dress exactly, your best bet is to steal fabric from another part of the same gown. If your dress has a train, you are golden, because it can easily be cut shorter to give the seamstress enough fabric to work with for changing the bodice. Because this is a major alteration, be sure to work with an experienced wedding seamstress. When done well, the panels will look as if they were part of the original design of the bridal gown, but when done by less experienced hands, the additional panels may be noticeable. The good news is that with all of these strategies, almost any bride can get her gown to fit beautifully by the day of her wedding.