Tips For Wedding Dress Alterations: Everything You Need To Know

Apr 1, 2020

When it comes to your wedding dress, the way it fits is the most important aspect. You can get the dress of your dreams, but if it doesn’t have the correct alterations, it’s not going to feel like your dress. That’s why our tips for wedding dress alterations are going to be a huge help to you!


The difference between a bride in an ill-fitting gown and a bride in a dress that fits her like a glove is HUGE. These tips for wedding dress alterations can help you to make sure that the entire process goes smoothly!

Factor alterations into your budget

Make sure that you keep the price of alterations in mind before you even purchase your dress! They can add up and you don’t want any surprises when it comes to your budget. We recommend budgeting at least $500 for any adjustments that will need to be done to your wedding dress. Depending on the alterations that you need, that number may be higher or lower. But $500 is an excellent budget to have! Also, keep in mind that seamstresses charge differently! Some will charge per service, while others charge a flat fee to cover all of the alterations that your dress may need. If you only need a couple of alterations done, it may be better to find a seamstress that charges alterations per service. If you need a lot of alterations, then you may want to find a seamstress that will charge you a flat fee.

Find out if alterations are even possible and what kind

Before you commit to buying your dress, make sure that the alterations you want to have done are even possible! Remember that alterations are just that  alterations. This includes adjusting the hemline, fixing a gaping bust line, or getting some extra space in the hip area. Looking to change the silhouette from an A-line to a mermaid? Change a zipper-back to a corset? Add an illusion neckline? With any of these changes, you’re starting to veer into design/construction territory rather than alterations. Make sure that everything you want to be done to your dress can be done to your dress before saying yes!

Research seamstresses

If your bridal shop does not offer alterations in-house, ask your stylist who they recommend! They likely have a list of seamstresses that their past brides have experience with. At K&B, we provide you a list of our top recommended seamstresses in the area who specialize in bridal, so that you don’t have to worry about whether or not your seamstress will be able to handle your wedding dress alterations! If you can’t get recommendations from your bridal shop (or if you don’t live locally to the place where you got your dress), research local seamstresses and make sure that they specialize in bridal or formalwear. Make a list of your top five choices and narrow it down from there!

Keep your weight in mind

Although you should not stress about your weight, it’s crucial to keep your weight in mind when thinking about wedding dress alterations. Once your alterations start, you really should strive to maintain a consistent weight. If you end up losing too much weight, then your seamstress will have to do all of the alterations a second time meaning that you will have to pay for them twice. We also advise against ordering a wedding dress that’s too small for you as motivation. Of course, the choice is entirely yours. If you feel confident that you will lose weight, go for it! However, keep in mind that it is much easier to take a dress in than to let one out. An alternative to purchasing a smaller gown is to buy one with a corset. This allows your dress to tightened or loosened easily. You can also ask if your designer will build new cups into your dress if your bust size changes. If you just can’t find a gown with a corset that you like, opt for an A-line or ball gown dress! The more form-fitting a gown is, the more difficult it will be to change the fit if you lose or gain weight.

Make sure your hemline is right

When you’re choosing your hemline length, you want it to be grazing the floor. This will let you mingle all night long, walk properly, and dance! However, you also want to make sure that you won’t be tripping over your dress. Once the seamstress your hemline pinned to graze the ground, make sure to walk around a little bit in your shoes to make sure that it’s a comfortable length. If you’re nervous about staining and ruining the bottom of the dress because it grazes the ground, don’t worry! No matter what the length of your dress is, it is going to get a little dirty on the big day. But the stains will come out when you get post-wedding preservation done!

Remember to schedule accordingly

Be sure to purchase your wedding dress early enough to leave plenty of time to have alterations done! If possible, purchase your dress at least 10 months before your wedding date. Your dress can take several months from the time that you order it to arrive at the bridal salon! Generally, you will have about three alteration appointments. The first will be about three months before your wedding and the last one will be about two weeks before.

Bring all of your accessories

Photography by Alysia and Jayson

The first item to bring when it comes to tips for wedding dress alterations is your wedding shoes. If you know what shoes you will be wearing on your wedding day, bring them! If you aren’t sure yet, try to bring a pair that will be a similar height to what you think you’ll end up wearing. This way, your seamstress can adjust the hem more precisely. It’s also an excellent idea to bring the undergarments you’ll be wearing, as well as any day-of accessories. Spanx, a strapless bra, or no bra at all can make a huge difference in how your dress fits you. So, you’ll want to wear exactly what you’re going to be wearing on your wedding day! It’s also an excellent idea to bring any jewelry, gloves, veil, or other accessories that you’ll be wearing. Although these won’t change the fit of your dress, they contribute to your overall look. Besides, seeing where your necklace falls could effect where you want your neckline to sit!

Keep the entourage to a minimum

We recommend going alone or just bringing one other person with you to your alteration appointments. While it may be tempting to bring the entire crew, it will open yourself up to too many opinions. The only voice that matters when it comes to how your dress fits is yours! An alternative is to bring anyone that you want to bring to your final dress fitting, instead. This way, they can learn how to bustle your dress and how to help you get in and out of it!

Speak up

Once you’re at your initial fitting appointment, be sure to make your preferences as clear as possible to your seamstress. If they don’t know exactly what you want, then they’re going to decide themselves. Plus, a lot of seamstresses are more “old-school,” and tend not to alter for a more modern fit. Be sure to tell them how you’re hoping for the dress to look on you!