Delarah Banner

Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Dress Alterations

Wedding dress alteration guide

As Wedding Know How editors, we write about things that we love and we think you'll like too. We have affiliate partnerships and sponsorship and may generate some revenue from these at no cost to you.

For brides such as yourself, your wedding day is one of the most important occasions in your life which is why everything has to be perfect on your special day. Aside from you and your groom, the centerpiece of your wedding day is your wedding dress.

It’s common, however, for even the perfect wedding dress to not have the fit that it should. This is why alterations exist; to help you achieve the perfect wedding dress, both in design and fit.

Delarah Banner

Here’s a list of everything you need to know about wedding dress alterations. The what’s, the why’s, and the when’s – you’ll find everything you need to know here.

The Whys

Bride in wedding dress at the garden venue

Why Should You Do Alterations?

This is because sometimes, you can find the right dress in terms of design and style but it doesn’t quite meet the exact specifications you’re looking for to make it the perfect dress. This is when alterations come in. Plus, when you alter your dress, your seamstress can not only turn it into the dress of your dreams but also make it one-of-a-kind that showcases your unique personality and sense of style.

However, when shopping for your wedding gown, it’s not recommended to buy one you plan on making large changes later on. What you should do is shop for something that’s closest to your ideal dress and add certain details that will make the dress uniquely you. Keep in mind to ask if the alterations are possible first before making the final purchase.

The Whens

When to do wedding dress alteration

When to Buy the Dress

The key here is to shop around early for your wedding dress because dress fittings after each alteration can take months to accomplish, especially if you’re working with a popular seamstress. Make sure, however, that you consider various options first before deciding on your final dress. Consider checking designs online before going to shops as this can give you an idea of how you want your final dress to look.

When To do Alterations

As mentioned, dress fittings can take up a lot of time which is why you should properly incorporate it in your wedding planning schedule. However, if you bring your wedding dress too early, it might not fit properly when it’s time for your special day.

The same goes if you’re bringing it far too close to the wedding date as this might not be enough time for your chosen seamstress to work their magic and alter it to perfection.

So, the key here is allowing enough time from your first fitting to your last. This depends on the availability of your seamstress and how complicated or simple the alterations to your gown will be.

The Hows

Wedding dress hanging from tree

How To Find the Right Seamstress or Tailor

When shopping for your gown at a bridal salon, you can ask if they have a seamstress or tailor who can do the alterations needed for your dress. However, if you’re shopping for your dress in a store that’s far from home, it might be wiser to find a seamstress that’s closer to home as this will be more convenient and cost-efficient compared to constantly traveling for dress fittings.

When this happens, a great way to find the right seamstress or tailor is to find someone who specializes in altering wedding dresses because wedding dresses are more delicate than your average garment and are considered huge investments, both emotionally and financially.

You can start by asking married friends, family members, or colleagues in the area if they know someone who can do the alterations or check reviews and other recommendations. You should also meet with them in person so you can see if they can cater to your needs.

How Much Do Alterations Usually Cost?

Wedding gowns are delicate garments and require someone who has expertise in handling such garments to do the alterations you need. This is why alterations can range anywhere from $400 to $700 and sometimes even more depending on the complexity.

This is why it’s advisable for you to include the cost of alterations you need in your budget when shopping for your wedding dress as even simple adjustments like taking the dress down or bringing it up a couple of sizes can cost a pretty penny.

This will prevent you from being hit with bill shock later on when you see how much the dress has cost you.

The Whats

Bride in white dress holding flower

What To Bring During Fittings

When trying on your gown after each alteration, don’t forget to bring your wedding shoes and undergarments. This can drastically affect how low or high your hemline is and how your dress will fit you. Plus, when you bring your shoes and undergarments, you can gain insight on how the dress will look and feel during your big day.

What To Expect During Fittings

One thing to keep in mind during alterations is that it’s a process and your tailor has their unique system of doing things so your dress might not look exactly the way you imagined it on the first go. Expecting that everything’s perfect the first time around will only lead to feelings of disappointment. Give your tailor time to work their magic on your dress and trust their process because once they’re done with your gown, you’ll see just how they’ve altered it to perfection.

What to Do During Fittings

Another thing to remember is that although you should trust your tailor, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t voice out your concerns when you have them. If you’re worried about certain things like how the dress fits or how it looks, you can certainly speak about them. Not only will this build your trust and relationship, but this will also allow them to modify the gown to accommodate your new concerns sooner rather than later.


Bride sitting next to her best friend

Who To Bring With You During Fittings

Even if you have a whole squad of giggling bridesmaids ready to help, it’s not necessary to bring all of them to your dress fittings. When going to dress fittings, consider taking someone you trust – like a close friend or relative to give their honest opinion on how the alterations are going. Another pair of eyes will be of great help in these cases.

On the last day of dress fittings, it’s best to bring someone responsible who will be helping you on your wedding day, like your maid of honor, because they will need to know how to do your gown’s bustle (if you have one) or other technical aspects.

Other Things to Take Note Of

bride in white dress

Some Fabrics Are Harder to Alter

The more delicate the fabric is, the harder it will be to alter. Fabrics like chiffon, charmeuse, and georgette require careful handling, which is why if your gown uses these fabrics, you will really need someone with expertise to properly handle it. It’s best to find an expert with plenty of experience working with wedding gowns. This will prevent any mishaps from happening to your precious dress.

Customize Accessories to Complement Your Dress

Another thing that can do to ensure that your dress stands out from the crowd is to have customized accessories to complement your dress. Consider having your veil customized to make it uniquely you and match it with your gown.

Just Enjoy and Trust the Process

Although meant for a joyous occasion, having your dress altered to perfection can feel more tedious and stressful than it has to be. If you’re working with a great tailor, they will ensure that your wedding gown is perfect in every detail. So, instead of stressing out, just try to relax and enjoy the process. This will help both you and your tailor alter your gown to achieve the perfect wedding dress.

Closing Thoughts

Bride in white wedding dress

A lot of preparation goes into each detail of every wedding and your wedding dress alterations are a part of it. Your wedding gown is one of the most important garments you will ever wear in your lifetime which is why it’s vital that it’s perfect down to every last detail.

Alterations will help turn your ideal dress into the dress of your dreams. Having the perfect wedding gown on your big day will help you feel like the queen you are and make the day even more special than it already is. Hopefully these tips will help you find your ideal dress on one of the most special occasions in your lifetime.