Wedding dress alterations cost $150 to $700 on average, with most brides spending around $450 for alterations. Bridal gown alterations are more costly than other dress alterations because the delicate fabrics and embellishments often require hand-stitching that is slower than machine sewing for other garments. Some bridal shops charge a flat alteration fee of $500 to $1,000, not including customizations like changing the neckline or adding a corset.
David's Bridal offers dress alterations for gowns purchased in their store or website. Most brides spend $150 to $500 for alterations from David's, with prices varying depending on the store location. David's guarantees the fit, or they will do another round of alterations at no charge.
Tipping for wedding dress alterations is not standard practice, but acknowledging exceptional service with some type of gesture is encouraged. Giving a small gift bag with some candles or lotions from a local shop or a handwritten note with a gift card to a local restaurant are both appropriate ways to say thank you. If you want to give a cash tip, 10% to 20% of the total alteration cost is a general recommendation.
Many bridal salons have an onsite alterations department for standard dress alteration services. A local tailor, seamstress, or dressmaker may be a more affordable option, especially if you plan on making significant changes to the dress style. Look for an alteration specialist with experience in wedding dresses since bridal alterations require more skill and precision than regular clothing.
Wedding dress alterations take about 2 months during off-peak times and up to 3 months during peak wedding season when more brides are scheduled for fittings. The more fittings you need, the longer the alterations will take. Be sure to discuss the expected number of fittings with the seamstress and schedule appointments in advance to suit your busy pre-wedding schedule.
Schedule the initial consultation with the seamstress as soon as your dress arrives so you can discuss your vision for the dress and plan your alteration timeline and budget. Most wedding dresses require 2 to 3 fittings, but if you are making numerous changes or customizations plan on additional fitting appointments.
The first fitting should take place 3 to 4 months before the wedding, the second fitting 6 weeks before, and the final fitting 2 weeks before the big day. During peak wedding seasons, you may need to start even sooner to avoid stressful delays in getting your dress. Scheduling less than 1 month before the wedding is considered a "rush job" and incurs costly extra fees.
A wedding dress that is too big can be taken in 2 sizes by an experienced seamstress. To take in more than 3 sizes requires more time and expense since the dress will need to be recut. Altering by several sizes also makes it likely that the gown will lose some of its specific details or need to be redesigned entirely.
A wedding dress that is too small can be altered by releasing the side seams or adding a gusset to increase the dress by a size or two. Adding a zipper extender or a corset back can add up to 5 inches to the bodice if more room is needed.
Before scheduling a consultation with a wedding dress alterations specialist, be prepared to explain exactly what you want the dress to look like. Asking these questions can help you choose the best seamstress for your alterations:
Most brides spend months or even years dreaming about their perfect wedding dress, and choosing the right seamstress is just as important. Don't let an ill-fitting dress ruin your special day. Follow these suggestions when choosing a seamstress so you can relax knowing your dress will be the perfect fit:
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