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wedding dress being altered

How Much Do Wedding Dress Alterations Cost?

It’s no exaggeration to say that your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life. You’ve imagined yourself as a bride since you were a little girl, and now that your special day is fast-approaching, you want the way you look to be perfect and unforgettable.  

Weddings are far from inexpensive. Seeing as this is a once-in-a-lifetime event for many, paying the price may be well-justified, but planning and budgeting can still be stressful and overwhelming. It’s easy to forget about smaller expenses, like your wedding dress alterations cost.

The cost of your wedding dress alone can be jaw-dropping. Not to mention, you have to consider wedding dress alterations alterations when you plan your budget, as they are almost always necessary. The cost of wedding dress alterations should also be factored into your budget.

You have a lot on your plate, and we want to help, so we put this article together for you to ensure you are well-equipped with the necessary knowledge and know what to do to avoid surprises or a wedding gown crisis.

So, how much does getting your wedding dress altered cost?

Getting the perfect fit can run anywhere from a couple hundred to a few hundred dollars or easily hit the thousand-dollar mark. It depends on the extent of the changes.

Read on to find out what they may involve and how to best budget and plan for them. 

Are Wedding Dress Alterations Always Necessary?

wedding gown alterationsIn short, the answer is yes, wedding dress alterations are necessary.  

The exhilaration of seeing everyone’s reaction when they lay eyes on you as you make your entrance and walk down the aisle—especially the groom’s response—is the only thing exceeding the thrill of finding the right dress for yourself.

All brides want to look stunning in their wedding dresses. We understand.

It’s very rare that you won’t need any alterations to your wedding gown whatsoever.

If you are lucky enough to fit one of the standard sizes all dresses come in, congratulations. It means you are among the very few women who don’t have to worry about paying extra to make sure the dress fits as if it was made especially for them.

In most cases, though, the standard sizes only come close to fitting ideally but don’t exactly hit the mark and need to be altered at least minimally. That’s why most brides opt for wedding dress alterations to get the perfect fit. 

How Many Wedding Dress Fittings Should You Schedule

getting wedding gown fittedUsually, tailors and wedding salons encourage you to schedule at least three fittings. This helps to ensure that your wedding dress alterations are as accurate as possible on your wedding day. 

The first one should take place two to three months before the wedding, and it will usually last about an hour. The dressmaker will carefully measure you and begin making the major necessary adjustments and to begin wedding dress alterations alterations. 

It’s a good idea to schedule the second fitting for your wedding dress to occur about a month before your wedding day. The fittings will usually last no more than 30 minutes from now on. 

At this point, your tailor will have made the most significant changes to your gown and will focus on any small remaining details and imperfections. Don’t be afraid to speak up at this time, and make sure you address even the tiniest of concerns you may have.

The final fitting should happen roughly two weeks before the big day. Usually (and hopefully), you will find your dress fits like a glove at this point and looks flawless on you. Typically, this is when you can finally take it home with you. Yay!

Keep in mind that this guide is general. Three fittings usually are quite enough for necessary, standard wedding dress adjustments. 

Suppose you are making extensive, fundamental changes to your gown and adding considerable customization and elements that weren’t part of it, to begin with.

In that case, you may need to schedule additional fittings (and also plan for the additional expenses). The more drastic the wedding gown alterations, the more time-consuming and therefore expensive. 

Types of Wedding Dress Alterations and Bridal Tips

Learn the most common bridal alterations for wedding dresses. Some of these gown alterations are simpler than others, so the alterations cost will vary.


wedding dress being hemmedHemming is the primary type of wedding gown alteration. As mentioned above, most—if not all—women will have to take this initial step toward perfection and making sure they look like the most beautiful version of themselves on their wedding day. 

It’s the process of fine-tuning the dress and ensuring your gown supports and accentuates your bust nicely, contours the shape of your body, and complements it. The steps involved are adjusting the length and sides of your gown.

Keep in mind that your dress should cover your shoes but not be long to the point of becoming a tripping hazard. The right length is essential, and a long dress is gorgeous, but you don’t want the extra-long length of your gown to become the reason for a horror story taking place and leaving you mortified and scarred for the rest of your life. 


Customization will naturally be pricier. It introduces new details and elements that weren’t originally there. 

Totally custom made gowns are even more expensive, as you’re starting from scratch.

Things like extra beading and buttons, adding a bustle, making train alterations, the introduction or removal of sleeves, off-the-shoulder straps, appliqué lace, and so on, all fall in this category.

Bridal Gown Tips

If you’re worried about the cost of wedding dress alterations, or the timing, use our tips to ensure your wedding dress looks perfect on the big day.

Plan Well

We’ve already mentioned how vital pre-planning for alterations is. When initially purchasing the dress you should factor in dress alteration costs and the time it takes to alter dresses.

Wear Your Bridal Shoes and Accessories to Your Fittings

We advise you to always wear your wedding shoes and any accessories or wedding undergarments involved during all your fittings. The tiniest of details can throw off the entire look.

Don’t Take Risks

Don’t order your wedding dress in a smaller size to give yourself the motivation to lose weight. Taking risks can lead to beautiful things, but in this case, it’s not necessary or worth the extra stress. 

If your goal is to lose weight and you achieve it (go you!), you can always make a larger dress smaller. It’s much easier to take in a large wedding dress than to make a smaller dress bigger. If you want to save on wedding dress alterations, pick your size wisely. 

Bring Someone You Trust to All Your Fittings

Bring a trusted friend or a family member to all your wedding dress fittings. You should pick someone who can be unbiased and can offer their honest opinion on your bridal gown. Otherwise, you defeat the purpose of having a second set of eyes there with you. 

After all, an honest friend is a true friend.

Shop Around

Make sure you pick the right bridal salon and tailor. Shopping around is essential. Get a feel for the vibe and energy in the salon. Trust your gut and intuition.

Stay on Schedule

Don’t miss any fitting appointments. We can’t stress this enough. Not only will it throw off your schedule for receiving your final bridal gown, but it’s rude to your seamstress or bridal boutique.

wedding dress tailorOk, so what is the average cost to get your wedding dress altered?

Changes can certainly add up.

There are some bridal salons and dressmakers who prefer to charge per service. Others have a flat fee for making the dress look ideal on you. Of course, the flat fee will include customization and all the fundamental changes you might want to make.

Essential hemming services like adjusting your gown’s length and resewing the seams can cost anywhere between $150 to $250. 

Flat alterations fees that include any hemming and customization changes you are interested in can have an average price range from $500 to $900 or $1,000.

If you are making alterations to the dress design, prepare to be quoted prices anywhere from $50 (for a new neckline, for example) to a few hundred dollars if you are changing the material, altering the dress silhouette, or asking for additional beading or lacing.

The cost of adding a bustle alone can range between $75 and $250.

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