How Much Does Wedding Dress Alteration Cost?

Congratulations! You’ve found your perfect wedding dress! You said “Yes to the Dress” In your dress, you feel like the beautiful, gorgeous, elegant, stunning bride you’ve always wanted to be. You close your eyes and smile as you imagine yourself in your gorgeous flawless gown, walking down the aisle to meet your spouse. Take beautiful wedding photos, mingle celebrate, and party with your wedding guests. You open your eyes and your first question is “What if my wedding dress doesn't fit properly?”. 

We understand how important your dream wedding dress is to you:- 1. It represents your unique journey of finding true love, and 2. It’s a huge investment towards the legacy you’re creating with the love of your life. An ill-fitting wedding dress can quickly ruin a bride’s experience, turning a happy joyous occasion into a dark cloudy day!   


Wedding Realm has spent years working with wedding dress designers and seamstresses, We’re sharing our expert knowledge with you today. We’ve compiled a guide on types of wedding dress alterations, seamstresses, what to expect during your fitting or alterations appointments, and pricing. 

Wedding Dress Alterations In A Glance

Alterations is the process of taking in or letting out your wedding dress to make it fit perfectly. A seamstress professionally trained in altering wedding dresses will work with you to adjust your dress so it fits well. When your dress arrives, you’ll make a booking for your first appointment with a seamstress. The alterations process typically takes 8 to 10 weeks, depending on the style of your dress and adjustments needed. We recommend including the time needed for alterations as you dress shop. Pricing for alterations is not included in the cost of the dress and may range from $100-$1000 depending on the dress style and the number of adjustments needed.  

It takes approximately three fittings for a wedding gown to fit properly. Your dress is ordered based on measurements of your bust, waist, and hips. Your dress size is selected based on the largest measurement, so your dress may not fit perfectly at your first fitting. 

During your 1st fitting, your seamstress will pin your dress so it fits properly. It’s important to bring the shoes you’re planning on wearing to your wedding as well as any undergarments example a waist shaper, or stick-on cups. 

Appointments with your seamstress generally last between 30 minutes to an hour depending on your dress style and adjustments needed. Keep in mind alterations are a process and you most likely will need all 3 fitting appointments to dress fit perfectly. 

Your trusted bridal boutique may have an in-house seamstress you can work with or provide you with a referral list of experienced seamstresses. Our website also provides a list of seamstresses you can contact at your convenience.

Common Wedding Gown Alterations And Their Average Prices 

Wedding dress alterations costs vary depending on your dress style and adjustments needed.  Common types of wedding dress alterations listed include bust, waist, hips, and hem length adjustments, as well as creating a train bustle, along with their average pricing. 

Wedding dress Hemline length alterations:

Wedding dresses are typically made with a standard hem length. This allows a bride to adjust the hem based on the height of the heels you plan to wear.  Some designers offer a Hollow-to-hem length option on some dress styles as a custom order of your gown for an extra charge. It’s important to bring the shoes you plan on wearing to your first appointment. Some brides are comfortable wearing 3-inch heels and others prefer ½-inch or no heels. sandals. 

Whatever heel height you choose, your seamstress will adjust your hem accordingly depending on the complexity of shortening the hem, the number of layers to be shortened, and detaching and reattaching lace on the hem.  As a bride, you can decide if you want the hem length of your wedding dress adjusted. Keep it long or short; that’s your choice. Your seamstress and stylist can help guide your decision.

Wedding Dress Train Bustle: 

A seamstress will create a bustle for your dress by adding buttons, ribbons, or hooks. Bustle is the process of adjusting the train of a wedding dress so it looks like it has no train. Bustling the dress allows you to move freely, during your wedding reception and on the dance floor. There are several types of bustles including the classic or American bustle, also known as the over-the-hook bustle, and the French Bustle, also known as the Victorian or Under Bustle. Your dress style will determine what type of bustle your seamstress creates. Estimates vary; the average cost for a wedding dress bustle is $100-$250. 

Altering The Wedding Gown Bust, waist, and hips:

Wedding Realm believes that every bride is unique and deserves to get something extra special regarding her wedding dress. Wedding dress designers create dress styles that fit every body type. To make the dress fit properly, your seamstress will pin the bust, waist, and hips of your dress to fit your body type and gracefully complement your body. She may need to take in or let out your dress for the best fit. 

Remember your wedding dress size was selected based on the largest measurement of your bust, waist, and hips. Therefore it is very common to need adjustments in these parts of your dress. Pricing is based on the dress style and details on your dress eg. lace, type of beading,  as well as types of adjustments needed. Pricing ranges from $120 to $350.

Altering the Back of Your Wedding Dress:

You might be thinking of getting a low-back dress by altering the back of your dress. Adjusting the back might involve adding or removing lace appliques, and embellishments, creating an illusion back, adding beading, or switching zippers. While It is possible to adjust the original back of most dresses, it is highly recommended you review any changes you would like made to the gown during your dress search. 

Your trusted bridal stylist will provide you with valuable feedback on your choice. Your seamstress will also review your desired adjustments and provide you with valuable feedback. Pricing for this type of alteration ranges from  $100-$200 and upwards, depending on the style and type of modifications you want.

Customizations Of Wedding Dress

Customization is the process of adjusting the original style of your wedding dress to reflect the unique details you want in your dress. Customization includes adding to or removing long sleeves from your dress, raising or lowering a front neckline, lowering or raising back necklines, creating a corset back, adding a zipper, adding buttons, and adding lace to the wedding dress eg bodice, or hemline. 

There are endless options for customizing your gown and your seamstress will guide you through the process and provide recommendations on the best options for your dress and body type. Pricing for alterations varies on the type of work required. Your seamstress will provide an estimate after consulting with you.

Tips for a Successful Wedding Dress Alterations

The wedding dress alteration process is the final step in getting your perfect dress. Including time in your wedding planning for your alterations will help provide a seamless process for adjusting your dream dress so it fits perfectly. Here are a few handy tips to consider when it comes to alterations. 

Alterations Timeline 

The Alterations process begins 8 to 10 weeks prior to your wedding date. Starting 10 weeks prior to your wedding ensures there's enough time for all adjustments needed to make your dress ready for your wedding. Typically the dress is ready 2 weeks before your wedding date.  

Generally, a bride will have 3 fitting appointments over this period. Scheduling alterations in your wedding plans is important so you have enough time to have your dress adjusted, customized, and ready for your big day.  

Alterations appointments 

At your first appointment, your seamstress will consult with you on the look you want, provide recommendations and then pin your dress so it fits perfectly. It’s important to bring along any undergarments you plan on wearing, and your shoes. Your first fitting will take between 30 to 60 minutes. Keep in mind this is a process, and final outcomes typically are completed by the 3rd fitting. 

Your seamstress will schedule your second appointment with you. Wedding season is the peak season for seamstresses, and they usually have a very full calendar altering other brides' dresses. Showing up for your appointment on time helps your seamstress ensure your dress is ready for your wedding. 

During your second fitting expect to try your dress on. Your seamstress will have completed adjustments to your dress made during your first fitting, She will make any additional adjustments needed for your dress. 

At your final fitting, we recommend trying on your dress with all the accessories and jewelry you plan on wearing. Having your hair styled and wedding day makeup done helps you the bride finalize your look and make any last-minute necessary adjustments. You will also schedule a date to pick up your gown. Your dress will be steamed and packed in a garment bag, and ready for you to wear on your wedding day!

Bring a trusted friend along to your appointments

Brides can bring a guest to their alterations appointments. Bring a trusted relative or friend who understands your vision for your wedding day, your bridal gown, and your personal style and will be supportive during your appointments.  

Wedding Dress Alterations: Ask The Expert 

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

How many alterations will I need?

On average you will need 3 appointments to make sure the dress fits perfectly.  You may be asking why I need multiple appointments. Alteration is a process that takes time. Seamstresses painstakingly work on your dress to make sure it fits perfectly. Your seamstress will take in, or let out your dress, alter the hem, bust or sleeves, or straps, create a bustle, and whatever adjustments are needed to perfect the look of your dress to complement your body type. 

How long does a wedding dress alteration take?

The alterations process is an 8 to 10-week process prior to your wedding date. For your first alterations appointment, plan for up to an hour with your seamstress. She will consult with you on the look you want for your dress. The last 2 appointments will last approximately 30 minutes each.  

What should be my budget for alteration?

The cost of alterations varies depending on the style of dress, and the number of alterations required to make your dress fit you perfectly. Your seamstress will consult with you and give you pricing before she begins work on your dress. Most seamstresses are able to provide an estimate of the cost to help you plan. Some bridal salons charge per service, and others a flat fee. Cost can range  from  $150 - $1,000

Final Words 

Your dress has been altered and it fits perfectly just as you imagined. You’re ready to wear your perfect dress and walk down the aisle to meet your future spouse.  Congratulations! You are going to make a beautiful bride!