Ashburn, VA

How much do wedding dress alterations cost?

$150 – $700 average total cost

Get free estimates from alteration services near you, or view our cost guide below.

March 9, 2022

Reviewed by Tom Grupa and 3 expert alteration services on Fash.

Average wedding dress alterations cost

Wedding dress alterations cost $150 to $700 on average, with most brides spending around $450. Hemming a wedding dress costs $70 to $280. Wedding dress tailoring costs $30 to $40 per hour. Bridal gown alterations require 2 to 3 fittings over 2 to 3 months.

Average wedding dress alterations cost - chart
Average wedding dress alterations cost - chart

Wedding dress alterations cost
National average cost $450
Minimum cost $50
Maximum cost $1,000
Average cost range $150 to $700

Cost data is from research and project costs reported by Fash members.

  • A wedding dress can be taken in or out by 2 sizes, but must be recut and customized for more.
  • Schedule your first fitting 3 to 4 months before the wedding.

Wedding dress and gown alterations price list

Bridal gown alteration costs $150 to $700, depending on the complexity and the seamstress' time and rates. Alterations that involve delicate fabrics and embellishments increase the cost. Some bridal shops charge a flat alteration fee of $500 to $1,000, not including customizations.

Most brides need a hem, bustle, and side-seam work to take it in for a perfect fit.

Wedding dress and gown alterations price list
Service Average cost
Bodice alterations
Add bra cups $20 – $40
Corset – Replace zipper or buttons with corset closure $100 – $280
Reshape neckline $40 – $100
Take in/let out the side seams $50 – $200
Sleeve & shoulder alterations
Sleeves – Add cap or long sleeves $200 – $400
Sleeves – Alter or taper $30 – $100
Straps – Add or adjust $20 – $80
Shoulders - Raise or lower $40 – $70
Skirt alterations
Hem $70 – $280
Add Bustle $30 – $170
Take in/let out the skirt width (skirt seams) $20 – $50
Train - Remove or shorten train $30 – $250
Embellishments
Add belt or sash $20 – $40
Beading – Repair or add beadwork $30 – $40 per hour

Wedding dress alterations and fitting session
Wedding dress alterations and fitting session

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Hem wedding dress cost

Hemming a wedding dress costs $70 to $280 or more, depending on the fabric, skirt style, and hemline embellishments. Most seamstresses charge a la carte fees for individual hemming services with upcharges for applique lace, satin fabrics, and detailed beading work.

Costs to hem a wedding dress
Service Average cost
Beading/re-beading (per hour of seamstress labor) $30 – $40 per hour
Chiffon, each layer $50 – $80
Cut edge, each $20 – $70
Hair braid, enclosed $100 – $170
Hair braid, stitched on $80 – $120
Lace/fancy $130 – $250
Lining (per layer) $30 – $50
Lining, with crinoline (per layer) $40 – $50
Remove train, lace (per layer) $50 – $100
Remove train, plain (per layer) $30 – $60
Satin/silk, rolled $70 – $100
Shorten from waistline and reshape skirt $150 – $300

Cost to bustle a wedding dress

Adding a wedding dress bustle costs $10 to $200, depending on the number of attachment points. A bustle lifts and secures the train to the back of the gown with buttons, hooks, or ties. The shortened train keeps the dress from dragging on the floor after the ceremony.

Cost to bustle a wedding dress
Service Average cost
Bustle (1 pt) under/over $10 – $50
Bustle (3 pts) under/over $30 – $60
Bustle (5-7 pts) $50 – $100
Bustle (7-10 pts) $60 – $200

Cost to customize or redesign a wedding dress

Redesigning a wedding dress costs $200 to $1,000 or more, depending on the number of changes. Customizations range from a simple neckline change to a complete redesign to modernize a family heirloom gown. The most expensive customization involves having a designer create a one-of-a-kind custom gown.

Additional bridal gown alterations prices

Additional alterations cost $20 to $100 for improvements such as adding bra straps, buttons, a zipper, slits, or steaming. While most alterations improve the bridal gown's fit or style, some improve the gown's comfort.

Additional bridal gown alterations prices
Service Average cost Purpose
Add bra straps $15 – $45 Adds support
Add buttons or a zipper $40 – $85 Adjusts size or makes dressing easier
Add modesty panel $20 – $60 Makes the dress less revealing
Add crinolines $15 – $30 Adds volume to the skirt
Remove crinolines $15 – $30 Reduces the skirt's weight and volume
Move/add snaps, hooks-and-eyes (each) $5 – $20 Adjusts size or makes dressing easier
Open or close slit (per layer) $25 – $40 Allows more freedom of movement
Shorten belt $20 – $30 Removes excess belt length
Steaming $40 – $100 Removes wrinkles

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Cost factors to alter a wedding dress

The cost to alter a wedding dress depends on the complexity, gown fabric and style, and labor rates. Other price factors include:

  • Flat rate vs. a la carte charging – Some bridal boutiques charge a flat fee for standard alterations. Most professional seamstresses or tailors charge a la carte. Each alteration has a minimum price that increases with the complexity of the task.
  • Gown complexity and type – Satin or silk gowns require delicate hand stitching to hide seams. Altering heavily embellished gowns requires meticulous re-beading. Lace dress alterations are the most complex and the costliest.
  • Amount of services – The more alterations needed, the higher the cost, especially when paying a la carte fees.
  • Custom work – Customizing the neckline, sleeves, and bustle increases alteration time and expenses. A complete redesign of an heirloom dress requires additional fittings and more time to match or replace fabrics and embellishments.
  • Measurements and consultations – Some sewists charge a small fee for dress measurements or a dress redesign consultation. The alteration price typically includes standard fitting appointments.
  • Number of fittings – The alteration process takes 2 or 3 fittings. Some professionals charge for additional fittings, especially if the bride changes her mind after work is completed.
  • Seamstress or tailor vs. local dry cleaner – Dry cleaner sewing services are cheaper but are not recommended. Even simple bridal alterations require a skilled professional to ensure the proper fit and flow.
  • Rush charges – Brides should plan 2 to 3 months for alterations or longer during the peak wedding season. Anything less than three weeks is considered rush service and incurs an additional fee of $25+ per service.
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Custom bridal veil cost

A custom bridal veil costs $30 to $400, depending on the length, number of tiers, fabric quality, and embellishments added. Seamstresses charge $30 to $40 per hour for labor to add embellishments like heirloom lace or pearls from your mother's wedding dress.

Custom bridal veil cost
Custom veils by length Average cost
Shoulder length (19-23 inches) $30 – $130
Waist/Elbow (24-31 inches) $30 – $170
Fingertip (32-48 inches) $50 – $180
Ballet/waltz (49-71 inches) $50 – $220
Sweep/Floor-length (72-87 inches) $50 – $250
Chapel (88-105 inches) $70 – $350
Cathedral (106-126 inches) $100 – $400
Add embellishments (crystals, pearls, antique heirloom lace) $30 – $40 per hour

Bridal dress alteration tips

  • Don't wait until the last minute to go dress shopping; you need 5 to 6 months for your ordered dress to arrive and another 2 to 3 months for fittings and alterations.
  • Plan your dress budget with alterations in mind because every dress requires at least minor alterations.
  • If you purchase a dress outside your typical size, be aware that making a gown smaller is easier than making one bigger.
  • Never order a too-small dress in anticipation of losing weight. Instead, consider a corseted dress that is easily adjusted if you reach your weight loss goals.
  • Always bring your wedding shoes, undergarments, and accessories to each fitting. All pieces are needed to ensure proper hem, bodice, and neckline alterations.

Bridesmaid dress alterations

Bridesmaid dress alterations cost $60 to $200, depending on the dress fabric, style, and number of alterations needed. The most common alterations include hemming the length, taking in the bust, waist, or hips, and shortening the straps.

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Frequently asked questions

When to get the wedding dress altered?

Schedule the first fitting for wedding dress alterations 3 to 4 months before the wedding, the second fitting 6 weeks before, and the final fitting 2 weeks before the big day. Most wedding dresses require two or three fittings, depending on how complicated or custom the alterations are.

How long do wedding dress alterations take?

Wedding dress alterations take about 2 months during off-peak times and up to 3 months during the peak wedding season. Scheduling less than 1 month before the wedding day is often considered a "rush job" and incurs additional fees.

How much can you take in a wedding dress?

A wedding dress can be taken in 2 sizes but must be recut to take in more than 3 sizes. Altering by several sizes may make it impossible to keep specific details of the gown.

Can you alter a wedding dress that is too small?

A wedding dress that is too small can be altered. A seamstress releases the side seams to let the dress out by a size or two or adds a gusset for more room. A zipper extender or corset back adds up to 5 inches to the bodice if needed.

Where to get your wedding dress altered?

Many bridal salons offer standard dress alteration services. Another option is to use a local tailor, seamstress, or dressmaker. Find one specializing in wedding dress alterations, as bridal alterations require more skill and precision than regular clothing.

Do you tip wedding dress alterations?

It is not customary to tip for fitting services. Still, if you developed a relationship with your seamstress, a gift card to a local shop or restaurant is a nice gesture. Otherwise, a general recommendation is 10% to 20% for exceptional service.

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Hiring a seamstress or tailor for bridal dress alterations

Before hiring a seamstress for dress alterations near you, be sure to:

  • Ask for referrals from friends, family, your wedding planner, or other recent brides.
  • Search online for a local seamstress with years of wedding dress experience or local tailors specializing in bridal gowns.
  • Read their reviews on Fash and Google.
  • Select a minimum of two, preferably more, and make appointments at each to discuss your vision.
  • Go with the shop that is the most professional, skilled, and works within your budget and timeframe.
  • Review all contract terms before signing and ensure you are completely satisfied before making the final payment.

Questions to ask

Before you go:

  • How many years of experience do you have, and how many wedding gowns have you altered?
  • Can you give me a quote in advance without a fitting charge?
  • Do you charge a flat fee for alterations or charge individually for each service?
  • Do you have a photo gallery of finished work I can see or a list of references I can contact?
  • How many fitting appointments will I need?
  • How long will it take to complete the alterations?
  • What should I bring to my first appointment?
  • How long will my fitting appointments take? Should I bring someone with me?
  • Is my gown steamed after alterations?

At your first fitting:

  • What alterations are necessary for my dress to fit correctly?
  • How many changes can I make to my dress?
  • How much will the alterations cost?
  • When and how should I pay for my alterations?
  • How far in advance should I schedule my fitting appointments?

At your final fitting:

  • When can I pick up my dress?
  • Is there a particular way I should store it until the wedding day?
  • Will you show me the best way to get into my dress?
  • Do I need to steam my dress myself on the day?
  • Do you have any recommendations for getting the dress cleaned after the wedding?

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