What Every Bride Should Know About Their Wedding Dress Alterations

May 1, 2016

Imagine: youve found your dress after an emotional appointment with your nearest and dearest. You ordered your dress after being measured by your stylist. Now, you eagerly plan to try it on as soon as it arrives at the boutique. The day comes and the dress is ready for you to try! When you giddily slip into it and walk out to see yourself as an (almost) bride the dress is too long. This may seem like an unexpected snag in your otherwise smooth-sailing planning routine. However, wedding dress alterations are an almost universal benchmark in any wedding timeline. You should know the fundamentals of the alterations process before you even schedule your first bridal appointment. Knowing the basics of wedding dress alterations will keep you on-track during your wedding planning, and keep you a happy, carefree bride!

Barbara Casasola

Find a Qualified Seamstress to Work on the Dress

Finding a seamstress can be a challenge, especially with a garment as delicate and intricate as a bridal gown. While you can find independent seamstresses by researching your local area, one of the most convenient options for finding someone for wedding dress alterations is to find a bridal boutique that will give you a list of seamstress recommendations. This way, you can be sure that the seamstress you choose is well-trusted by the boutique. They will also specialize in bridal, so you know that they can be trusted with the most important dress of your life!

Prepare for the Cost of Wedding Dress Alterations

Every dress is different and may require different amounts of work. Seamstresses quote their prices based on the volume and intricacy of the work (for instance, a ball gown with seven layers of fabric might be more expensive than a three-layer chiffon sheath dress). In most cases, the seamstress will let you know the price before the work even begins. The average cost of alterations ranges from $300 to $800. A great way to prepare for the added cost of wedding dress alterations is to add it to your dress budget. Most brides think of a dress purchase as one initial cost, but alterations is a reality for virtually every bride out there. If the plan is to spend $2,500 on your bridal gown, the goal should be to find a dress closer to the $2,000 mark in order to leave room for alterations expense. Keeping track of the cost up front will help to avoid unnecessary stress and as the big day approaches.

Keep Track of Your Alterations Appointments

Seamstresses need an average of three appointments to finish working on a dress. For the first appointment, your seamstress determines what work needs to be done on the dress, and pin the dress to fit. For the second appointment, the seamstress checks for any additional tweaks that need to be made to the fit of the dress. Your third appointment is the last try-on of your dress before the wedding. Schedule three months in advance to allow for a month between appointments so the seamstress has time to complete their work on the dress.

Book Your First Appointment Early

Brides should begin their alterations three months before their wedding, but that doesn’t mean they should wait that long to schedule. In fact, we recommend that brides schedule as close to when their dress comes in as possible. Bridal alterations, like any other profession, has busy seasons. Seamstresses are busiest in early Spring and Fall because May and October are the two most popular wedding months. Because their workload fluctuates based on these times, seamstresses book up their calendars fast. Even if your wedding is a year away, schedule your alterations appointment sooner rather than later to be sure that there’s enough time to finish the job! Your alterations appointments are as exciting as your dress shopping, and each appointment brings you closer to your finished bridal look! Share the experience with family and friends, and enjoy the experience while you can. At the end of the day, your bridal ensemble will leave your guests speechless. Read our FAQ’s Page for more commonly asked questions about bridal shopping.