• 01/07/2022

The Average Cost of Wedding Dress Alterations

White hems of wedding dresses.

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Modern society has moved from tailored clothes to mass-produced fashion, so needing a tailor for your wedding gown may never have occurred to you. Wedding dresses come in several general sizes, so there will likely be small gaps and places where your gown doesn’t quite fit you right away. While you might be prepared for the price tag on the dress, you might not know the average cost of wedding dress alterations.

There are rare cases where a bride-to-be buys a dress model straight from the store, and it fits her perfectly. However, most of the time, wedding dresses require at least basic alternations, making it an important expense to factor into your overall wedding cost.

A skilled tailor can remake the lines in your gown to suit you perfectly. Even if you never meet with a tailor again, a dress fitting is an essential step in preparing for your wedding day.

What Is the Average Cost of Wedding Dress Alterations?

The average cost of wedding dress alterations typically ranges between $50 at the low end to over $1,000 if you’d like major modifications to your dress. What you’ll likely pay falls somewhere in the middle. The price may vary depending on what alternations you need, how long they take, the tailor you’re working with, and your location.

Remember, the price of alternations includes the cost of labor and the time spent meeting with you. Tailors usually meet with brides two to three times, depending on the amount and significance of the alterations.

Some tailors charge per item or hour, while others have a flat rate. Communicate openly with your tailor about their prices, and always remember that you have options. However, quality sewing takes time, and a good tailor is always worth paying well.

Try to meet with your tailor in-person before you decide to work with them. Your wedding dress is precious and shouldn’t be entrusted to just anyone. Pay careful attention to their contract, and ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable.

Most wedding dress boutiques either partner with a tailor or can give you good recommendations. If you find a tailor on your own, always ask for access to feedback from previous clients.

Different Kinds of Alterations

Even if everything else fits perfectly, most wedding gowns will need to be hemmed. Depending on the layers, material, and details, this can be simple and inexpensive or a labor-intensive and costly affair. For instance, many dresses have lace detailing along the bottom that the tailor may have to remove and resew higher on the skirt. Other gowns have multiple layers of delicate fabrics, which require separate time and care to update.

Additional alternations may include changing sleeve or strap length, fitting the bodice or skirt, or adjusting the neckline. Some brides may want to add extra lace or a belt to their gown. Another common alternation is adding a bustle to take up any extra skirt in the back for the reception.

Again, these alternations can be simple or considerably complex depending on the dress and the bride’s wishes. As a general rule, more complex alternations mean a higher cost.

Most brides purchase the dress they love and pay to have it fitted to them. However, some brides see their gowns as the beginning of a unique project.

If you plan to ask your tailor to change your garment significantly, you can expect a hefty price tag. You should also be prepared to attend more fittings and communicate more frequently with your tailor.

Preparing for Alterations

You will have a much smoother experience if you go to your fitting prepared. For instance, it’s best to order your gown early so that you have time for multiple fittings. Here are a few tips to get you ready and excited for your first appointment:

Order up instead of down.

You may be between standard dress sizes. The best way to handle this is to order a size up and then have your tailor size the garment down to fit you. If you order a dress that is too small, it will be very challenging to change it to fit you well.

Bring any special undergarments.

Ideally, you should have all your bridal undergarments before your fitting. That way, the tailor can fit your gown over you and your underwear. Different kinds of undergarments can change your shape considerably. Try to replicate the wedding day as much as possible for your fitting!

Wear your shoes.

It’s also important to wear the right shoes. If you’re planning to wear heels, you should ideally have them before your fitting so your tailor can mark the correct hem length.

Also, consider whether you’re planning to take your shoes off at the reception. How can you best plan so that your hem works for you over the whole day?

Take a friend with you.

Making a lot of decisions at once can be overwhelming, especially when it’s about something that matters to you. Take along a trusted friend or family member who can help give fashion advice and ask the questions you don’t consider.

Make a day of it.

Make the most of this experience, and add a fun activity with friends or family to the day to celebrate the process. Getting your wedding dress fitted is exciting and gives you a taste of how you’ll feel on your wedding day. It’s the perfect time to celebrate and dream of the future!

The Cost of Wedding Dress Alterations

When you go to your wedding gown fitting, don’t be surprised if you need to make some alterations. No bride will be the exact same measurements as the model, but that’s OK! The right tailor will help make your dream dress fit like a glove. Just keep in mind the average cost of wedding gown alterations when setting your budget.

Go into your fitting with an open mind, and enjoy the process. Before you know it, all this work will be over, and you’ll be walking down the aisle on your wedding day.

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