The favorite part of Gale Loveitt's job is when a bride-to-be tries on her wedding dress.
Loveitt, who has made and fitted dresses for more than 30 years, said it is usually the second time the bride wears the dress, when the alterations have been made, that the giddiness and thrill come.
"When the bride tries it on and it fits comfortably and it is everything they hoped for, they are just so excited," Loveitt said.
Loveitt, who works for Sew What, has designed everything from a medieval style dress with Juliet puffed sleeves to a reconfigured antique lace dress.
"A wedding dress is one of those things where you can see a whole range of styles. Everything from very chic and modern to story book princess dress," Loveitt said.
The joy and excitement is still there when brides try on the more traditional dresses, Loveitt said. Although the final result can be exhilarating, the process can be bumpy, especially in Steamboat where buying a traditional wedding gown at a store is hard, if not impossible, to do.
Loveitt said brides should give themselves plenty of time to buy or make a dress. She recommends that the bride have the gown in her possession at least three weeks before the big day. That time will give her a chance to be fitted for the gown, but is not too far in the future for a bride's shape to change.
If a bride decides to have her dress made, Loveitt recommends giving the seamstress at least two months to work on the dress.
Another helpful hint, Loveitt said, is buying for a dress that fits the upper body best. She said it is often harder to make alterations for the shoulders or bust than for the hips and waist.
Loveitt also recommends that on the day of the fitting, the bride should wear the same under garments and heels she plans to wear at her wedding.
After 30 years in the dress-making business, Loveitt has developed a good eye for what dresses work well with what figures. She said petite women often prefer going with simple patterns and not so much fabric, while taller women can pull off heavier fabrics.
She said full-figured women do well in generous sheath dresses and a bride with an hourglass figure fits nicely in the classic wedding dress with broad shoulders and a small waist. She said someone with a straighter figure could fill out the hips by adding ruffles.
Loveitt said most women know what dresses work best for them before coming into her shop.
"In general, by the time they are ready to get married, they are in their 20s and 30s and probably have tried on enough clothes to know what they look best in," Loveitt said.
In the decision on whether to buy or have someone make a wedding dress, Loveitt said, if a bride has a distinct idea of what she wants, the best route is often to have their own dresses made.
"If you look around and can't find anything that really fits your image or that you feel comfortable in, maybe you should have it made," she said.
If a bride wants a dress with lots of beading and hand work, Loveitt said, heavily detailed dresses are often less expensive in stores than those made by seamstresses.