How Much are Wedding Dress Alterations

How Much are Wedding Dress Alterations

You’ve got the perfect wedding dress, but it doesn’t fit quite right and requires wedding dress alterations. Don’t be dismayed because like many brides-to-be, the perfect dress will almost certainly need alterations in order to fit your specific body. 

As you consider alterations it’s normal to wonder about wedding dress alteration costs, why you need alterations in the first place, and the exact types of alterations you should ask for. Read on to learn everything there is to know about finding and getting fitted to the wedding dress of your dreams. 

Fit Into Your Perfect Wedding Dress

If you’ve decided to alter your wedding dress, you’re probably wondering how much are wedding dress alterations.  Contrary to what you might have seen in movies, it’s actually not as expensive as you might think. Of course, that does depend on the type of alterations you got, where you get them, and how tedious or elaborate the alternations need to be. 

On average, wedding dress alterations can range anywhere from $100 to $500. Considering your dress might be anywhere from $1000 to $5000 dollars when you factor in the price of alterations, they tend to be proportional to your traditional every day alterations. Still, for many, this sticker price is a pretty hefty one that might leave many wondering if alterations are necessary in the first place. 

Today, we will be getting into the Nitty Gritty of wedding dress alteration so that you know exactly what to expect when it comes to your dream dress. Read on to learn more. 

Finding Your Perfect Wedding Dress

How Much Does It Cost to Alter a Wedding Dress?

So exactly how much are wedding dress alterations? Well, it’s really not a one size fits all. Because of this, it can be hard to determine just how much you can expect your wedding dress alterations to be. Typically, however, the ballpark figure many brides will give you is anywhere from $100 to a couple of hundred dollars. However the more elaborate, expensive, and meticulous your dress is, the more costly alterations can get. 

Finally, considering that anything related to weddings is automatically charged, you should expect a wedding dress alteration to be at a slightly higher price point than your typical everyday clothing alterations. 

What Is the Average Cost of Wedding Dress Alterations?

The price of your wedding dress alteration will be directly related to the type of alteration you need to be done and the type of material it is being done to. For example, a standard silk or satin fabric material is pretty easy and straightforward to alter. Once you start getting into materials such as lace, beadwork, sequins, and other elaborate fabrics, you can expect the price point to tick up. 

What Are Some Common Types of Wedding Dress Alterations?

As you can imagine, some alterations are more common than others with wedding dresses. As styles change the types of common alterations ebb and flow as well. However, the more common types of alterations you can expect include the following:  

  • Bringing in or out the fabric at the hips and waist
  • Taking fabric in or out around the chest
  • Shortening the straps
  • Adding a waste stay so that your dress stays snug around your waist without you needing to yank it up every time 
  • Altering the neckline
  • Altering the back
  • Adding or removing sleeves
  • Changing the hemline
Wedding Dress Alterations You Should Know

Factors That Affect the Cost of Wedding Dress Alterations

Simple alterations like shortening straps or bringing fabric in or out of the waist or chest area are simple, straightforward, and relatively easy to do. Tailors typically charge a flat fee for this type of service and may adjust the fee just a bit depending on the complexity of the alteration. However, these alterations are some of the most affordable you can expect.

On the other hand, alterations that might require you to add or remove sleeves and alter the neckline or the back are expectedly more complex and will unsurprisingly cost more. Additionally, if your tailor will be working on fabric that is heavily beaded, lace, or otherwise complex and elaborate, you can expect that the alteration will cost more. 

Factors That Affect Wedding Dress Alterations Cost

Why Alterations Are Important for Your Wedding Dress

Alterations can add up, especially if your dress needs a complete overhaul and a smaller or more fitting size isn’t available. While it might be easy to simply opt for a different size or skip the alterations all together, this is a route to go down. 

Your wedding dress is undoubtedly one of the most important gowns you will ever wear. And with that comes all the beautiful photos and videos that will be taken of you in it. While you might not totally feel the difference if you’re wearing a wedding dress that does not fit you as it should, photos will absolutely reveal whether or not your wedding gown was a perfect fit — literally. 

Wedding photos aside, the overall look of a wedding gown will be slightly off if it’s not tailored to your body as it should be. The relatively small cost of a wedding dress alteration goes a long way when you enjoy your special day in your beautiful dress, and certainly when you look back on your wedding through your videos and photos. 

Wedding Dress Alterations: Dos and Don’ts

As with any big ticket purchase, including a wedding dress, there are some Do’s and Don’ts that you need to keep in mind. Following these tips can help you avoid costly alterations so that your dream dress is more affordable than you might imagine. 

  • Do your research – The boutique where you purchase your wedding dress from will likely have a tailor on hand that they can send you to. However, these tailors will typically alter your dress at a surcharge price. Instead, Do your research and work with a tailor that specializes in wedding dress alterations. You’ll be surprised at how many experienced and affordably priced wedding dress tailors might be in your surrounding area.  
  • Don’t blindly work with a seamstress – Always be sure to ask for references or sample before and after pictures of their work. This lets you get a clear idea of their skill set and whether or not they can work on your particular dress. Always ask for references and read any reviews available about the seamstress you are working with. 
  • Don’t fall for upcharges – Not all, but many tailors might try to convince you that your dress needs more alterations than it actually does. While it’s always best to trust the experience of an expert, be clear on why you are getting an alteration and ask your tailor to show you examples of why a rendered service might be necessary. 
  • Don’t do the alterations yourself – Even if you are a skilled seamstress by trade, it’s incredibly difficult to do alterations on your own clothing, let alone your own wedding dress. It’s best to work with an expert who can measure you, size you, and work on the alterations while you’re actually wearing the dress to ensure you are getting a perfect fit. 
The DO and DON’T Of Choosing Wedding Dress Alterations

How Much Should You Allocate for Alterations?

If you are getting alterations on your wedding dress, it’s important to shop around and get a couple of quotes from different tailored. Once you find a seamstress you want to work with, you should allocate enough to cover the services and an additional 5% to 10% in case added alterations are needed. Depending on the service you receive, it is up to you whether you want to tip or not. 

If you need simple alterations, allocate around $100 – $200. For more complex alterations or if you have elaborate fabric or extreme alterations, it’s best to allocate about $300 – $500. 

Tips for Wedding Dress Alterations

It’s completely natural and almost expected to have your wedding dress altered in order to have it fit you as it should. Still, there are some tips you should keep in mind as you seek out wedding dress alterations. It’s important to consider the following:

  • Try to minimize the alterations needed –  Simply put, try your best to find a dress that needs as few alterations as possible. For example, if you know you want a wedding dress that has sleeves, then shop dresses that are already outfitted with sleeves. This keeps you from having to face expensive alterations down the line. 
  • Work with an experienced boutique and tailor – An experienced wedding dress boutique will work hard to help you find the perfect dress. This means helping you find a dress that needs as few alterations as possible. You’ll avoid a huge hassle and wasted time and money by starting off strong with a wedding dress that fits you overall well. 
  • Shop around for an experienced wedding dress seamstress –  With wedding dress alterations, you get what you pay for, so make sure that you work with an experienced and skilled seamstress. Working with a seamstress that might not do a good job on your wedding dress will only cause you more wasted time and money down the line. 

Questions to Ask Your Seamstress About Wedding Dress Alterations

It’s important to vet any seamstress or tailor that is going to work on your wedding dress. Don’t feel as if you are impeding, are being too detailed, or are asking too many questions when you start working with a seamstress. An experienced and skilled seamstress will be happy to walk through the process with you in detail so that you can have your perfect wedding dress. 

As you work with different tailors, be sure to ask the following questions as well as any others that come to mind: 

  • Do you feel comfortable doing the alterations my dress requires?
  • Can you show me some before and after examples of your past work on similar wedding dresses? 
  • How many fittings will I need to come back for until my dress is ready?
  • How much time does each fitting take?
  • How long do you think it will take for my alterations to be completed?
  • What will be the final cost of the alterations?

Wedding Dress Alterations FAQs

If you have got more questions, you are not alone. Read on to explore some popular wedding dress alterations FAQs.

Can You Alter a Wedding Dress That Is Too Small?

If a wedding dress is too small and a bigger size is not available, a skilled seamstress should be able to add more fabric that compliments your wedding dress. If possible, however, it’s always best to work with wedding dresses that are much larger and need to be sized smaller. This makes it easier for your seamstress and can help you save on alterations.

How Long Do Wedding Dress Alterations Take?

Wedding dress alterations should typically take no more than a couple of weeks. If you need a wedding dress sooner, a seamstress will usually tack on an express fee that allows your dress to be ready much quicker. Of course, the more alterations your dress needs, the longer you should expect your alterations to take. During the course of your wedding dress alterations, you should also be prepared to come back into the shop for fittings to make sure that the wedding dress is fitting as it should

Where Should I Get My Wedding Dress Altered?

Many boutiques will offer an in-house seamstress who can rework your dress. When it comes to the quality of craftsmanship, in-house tailors tend to be the best because they are familiar with the type of dress that needs alterations and can work directly with shop owners. This helps simplify the overall hassle associated with wedding dress alterations. If you are looking to strike the right balance between price and quality, and if you’re willing to do the necessary research, you can also work with a seamstress that’s not associated with the boutique you purchased your wedding dress.

How Long Does a Dress Fitting Appointment Last?

Wedding dress fitting appointments take anywhere from one or two hours. If it’s your first time getting a fitting, you should expect it to take upwards of an hour or more. If you’re simply getting a fitting to test out the alterations, then it should not take as much time. 


Wedding dress alterations might seem like a burdensome cost at first, but it can help to know that they are a one-time purchase that can make a world of a difference when it comes to the way you look on your big day. 

We hope this guide on wedding dress alterations has helped you better understand how, why, and where to get your wedding dress altered. Be sure to let us know in the comments section below what you consider to be the most important part of wedding dress alterations and any other tips you may have on saving costs along the way.

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