You may have budgeted a set amount of money for your dream wedding dress, but, keep in mind, it won’t be a perfect fit off the rack (or out of the box). Your wedding dress will likely need to undergo several rounds of alterations in order to fit you like a glove. So, when wedding dress shopping, don't forget to factor in the cost of wedding dress alterations before saying "yes" to the perfect dress.
How much do wedding alterations cost, exactly? Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect.
On average, typical wedding dress alterations cost between $150 and $600. If you're customizing your gown or modernizing your mother's dress, it may be up to $1,000. Some bridal boutiques may charge you a flat fee, while other seamstresses may charge you for individual alteration services.
The amount of money that you’ll pay to alter your wedding dress depends on how much work you’ll need done. Some wedding dresses are simple to alter, for example, some dresses just need to be hemmed for length and adjusted on the sides to properly fit.
But, of course, the more complicated or custom the gown, the more expensive it's going to be. You may want to adjust the neckline, add a strap, or add additional beading and/or other embellishments. These customizations may require an additional cost. Your seamstress will likely also need to add in the bustle, which keeps the train off the ground post-ceremony.
Related: How to Bustle a Wedding Dress
If you’re having a gown custom made, or you’re modernizing your mother’s (or another relative’s) wedding dress for you, expect to go to multiple rounds of fittings and consultations. These customizations will be the most time consuming and expensive to pull off.
The list below is an idea of how much typical alterations cost, but, of course, prices can vary greatly depending on where you live and how much your seamstress or bridal boutique charges. If you ordered your bridal dress online, or are finding your own tailor, you can always shop around to compare prices before deciding where to take your beautiful dress. Below, find examples of potential alteration costs to factor into your budget:
The work on your dress may be more expensive depending on how delicate the gown is, too. For example, with more lace or detail there may be an additional charge for the bridal alterations.
Purchasing the perfect wedding dress is obviously a big investment, and you want to make sure that it’s in good hands when you give it over for bridal alterations (don’t worry too much, you’ll see it again soon.) At your first fitting with the seamstress, make sure that you go over exactly what work needs to be done, from getting the sleeves shortened to having a missing bead repaired. Ask for a detailed receipt or get everything listed in writing, so that there’s a record of what work is agreed upon, in case anything goes amiss with your bridal gown. At the same time, go over the price of each alteration service and make sure that everything is in writing before you leave the dress.
If you’re not sure who should take care of your wedding gown alterations, you might need to do a bit of research. If you got your dress in a specialty or bridal boutique, they might have a seamstress on-site who will take care of all the alterations. They also will give you a specific timeline of alterations, so you don’t have to worry about that. However, if you bought your dress online, you’re going to need to find a seamstress in your area. Don’t just take your dress to any dry cleaner or tailor, but, rather, look for someone who specializes in wedding gown alterations so that you can have a perfect dress on your wedding date.
Before walking down the aisle, make sure that you give plenty of time for wedding dress alterations. Getting the timing right for alterations is key. You don’t want to do them too early, as your dress might fit differently by the time the wedding day rolls around. Don’t wait too long, though, as your wedding dress isn’t something you want to rush. You’ll want to give yourself at least a week’s buffer in case something needs to be altered last minute. Leaving two or three months before your wedding for alterations is generally plenty of time.
While you may not want to spend extra money for an alterations specialist, it really is essential when personalizing your dream dress. As long as you have plenty of time for your dress fitting and alterations, you'll be able to walk down the aisle in confidence with your perfect wedding dress.