Wedding dress alterations: A how-to guide

Wedding Dress Alterations: A How To Guide

Why Bother With Wedding Dress Alterations? 

So you found your dream dress and now it’s time to fit it to your perfectly unique self. Wedding dress alterations are part of every brides journey. No two bodies are made the same, and when it comes to your big day, you want your wedding dress to fit perfectly and comfortably. 

So what should you expect from your wedding dress alterations? We’ve broken it down into a few easy tips, tricks, and steps below. 

Types of Wedding Dress Alterations

  1. Hemming
  2. Tailoring
  3. Customization

No two brides are the same which means the alteration process looks different for everyone. The end goal will always be a dress that fits you perfectly and makes you feel amazing, but the specifics of your alterations can vary. Hemming and tailoring are essential alterations that you’re best to budget for. Luckily they are the least expensive alterations. Customizing your dress by adding or removing detailing can get a little pricier, but are also a really nice way to make your dress as unique as you are. 


The best length for your gown will depend on the style of the dress as well as your personal preference. Typically, the dress will be long enough to cover your shoes but not so long that you trip over it. 


Of course tailoring is meant to ensure your gown complements your unique shape, but ensuring your comfort is an often underrated reason for tailoring your gown. A comfortable gown that you trust to stay in place while you dance, eat, sit, and stand will free you up to focus on the important parts of your wedding day. 


Details like sleeves, beading, lace appliqués, and buttons (to name just a few) are a beautiful way to customize your wedding dress to be as unique as you are. There are other customizations that will play more into the functionality of your gown, like bustles or the length of your train

Five Tips for a Successful Fitting

  1. Budget for your alterations
  2. Bring your wedding shoes, accessories and undergarments to the fitting
  3. Bring a friend
  4. When in doubt, size up
  5. Feel yourself


Budget for your alterations

Wedding dress alterations are priced a little differently depending where you go. Some tailors charge per service while others work on a flat fee basis. Customizations usually run at a slightly higher price point and can add up quickly. Speak to your stylist and tailor before buying your dress so you can budget for alterations from the very beginning of the process of choosing a dress. The average price of alterations ranges from 250$ and can even exceed 650$ depending on the work that needs to be done.

Bring your wedding shoes, wedding accessories, and undergarments to the fitting 

To get a real ideal of how your dress will fit and feel on your wedding day, try to wear exactly what you will wear on the actual day. Things like shapewear or strapless bras will effect the fit of the gown, while shoes can affect the length of the hem. Bringing things like jewelry and other accessories will help in terms of adjusting necklines and sleeve length.  

Bring a friend

Inviting a loved one to tag along to your fitting can help put you at ease and make the experience a lot more enjoyable. Not to mention that it never hurts to have a second set of eyes. 

When in doubt, size up

Sometimes, you come across a deal you just can’t refuse. When you find the perfect dress, and they don’t have it in your ideal size, err on the side of caution and default to a larger size. It’s typically easier to bring a dress in than to have to add fabric. 

Feel yourself

Unfortunately, we still live in a world where body shaming is common, especially in fashion, even more especially in the wedding industry. Fittings can be triggering if the tailor isn’t sensitive to the way they speak to you and offers suggestions. It can be helpful to spend some time identifying your own triggers and letting your tailor know ahead of time what kind of language to avoid using. 

Finally, take a deep breath and enjoy

Remember that wedding dress alterations and tailoring are just another step in the process of preparing for your wedding day. Take the time to budget time and money for it in advance, and then when the day arrives, bring a friend and enjoy! You might even consider carrying a bottle of bubbles with you for the occasion to make it extra celebratory! But make sure to check with your seamstress or tailor that it's permitted, of course!

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