Everything You Need to Know About Wedding Dress Alterations

This article is part of our Ultimate Wedding Dress Shopping Guide.

After months of researching and trying on bridal gowns, you finally found your dream dress, but can’t quite cross everything wedding gown related off your to-do list just yet! Once your gown arrives, it’s time to have it altered to fit your body. If you loved your dress when you first tried it on, you’ll love it even more when it fits like a glove! Keep reading to learn more about wedding dress alterations, why you need them and what to expect. 

Types of Wedding Dress Alterations 

Typically, when shopping for wedding dresses, your gown is ordered based on the designer’s size chart in the dress size closest to your measurements. Because of this, your wedding dress will most likely need to be altered. Even a made-to-measure gown may need a tweak or two to make it fit your curves flawlessly!  

Sometimes these modifications are minimal, such as raising the hem, tightening straps, adding in cups and creating the bustle, but other times gown alterations may be more complex. For example, if your gown needs to be taken in multiple sizes, you are customizing a neckline, adding sleeves or adorning it with additional embellishments, your alterations process may include more appointments and be more expensive.  

If you haven’t purchased your wedding dress yet, consult our True Crew experts to determine what alterations can or cannot be made before saying “I do” to your gown to avoid disappointment during the alterations process. 

The Alterations Process 

Now that you’ve said “I do” to your dream dress, you may wonder how to proceed with the alterations process. Check out some frequently asked questions below to help you on your wedding dress alterations journey! 

Where Can I Get my Wedding Dress Modified? 

Finding a seamstress to alter your wedding dress may seem daunting. After all, you want your dream dress to be in good hands! While True Society stores don’t offer alterations, your True Crew stylist can provide recommendations for local seamstresses and alterations shops, so you can feel confident in your decision! 

If you do need to outsource a seamstress, make sure to do your research! Read plenty of reviews, ask questions about the scope of their work and ask to see photos of gowns they have altered and any customizations they may have made to wedding gowns. It also never hurts to ask friends or family members who were recently married to make recommendations.  

When Should I Get My Wedding Dress Altered? 

Just like how you factored in time to accommodate your wedding dress search, make sure to budget the right amount of time (and money!) for your gown alterations. While every seamstress may have slightly different time frames (and the extent of your alterations will also be a factor), we recommend booking your first appointment two to three months out from before your wedding day. Your final appointment should be around two weeks before the wedding to ensure that your body doesn’t change too much before the big day. 

How Many Fittings Are Needed for a Wedding Dress? 

While the number of fittings needed depends on the extent of your alterations, the average number of fittings is usually around three. Your first appointment may be the longest, but as you get closer to your wedding date, your alterations should take less time as your gown moves closer to its final form. 

What Should I Wear and Bring? 

To have your dress altered, there are a few key items to bring with you to your appointment. First, make sure to bring the shoes you plan on wearing so that your gown is appropriately hemmed (or at least a similar heel height to what you’d like to wear, if you don’t have your wedding shoes picked yet).  

You’ll also want to bring any undergarments you will wear with your dress (think shapewear, underwear, a strapless bra, etc.) and if you have them, your accessories to see the whole look together! If you can, we also recommend that at one of your fittings you try to have your hair and makeup done similar to how you’d like to wear at your wedding, so you can see your bridal vision come to life and adjust anything if needed for the big day. 

What Should You Budget? 

Like any wedding expense, it is important to include alterations in your budget. Some alteration shops charge per service, like taking up a hem or taking in the seams, while others charge a flat fee that covers most changes to make your wedding gown fit flawlessly. Multiple appointments for different services can add up if you make numerous changes to your dress!  

According to Zola.com, wedding dress alterations can cost between $150 and $600, but your location, amount and difficulty of customizations and any rush fees applied for alterations on short notice can change the price upwards of $1,000. Make sure you speak to your seamstress to have a solid understanding of the pricing before you start the process, so there aren’t any surprises! 

Wedding Dress Alterations Tips 

Now that we’ve discussed the basics of wedding dress alterations, here are a few extra tips to keep in mind: 

  • Watch out for your hem! The ideal wedding dress hem should just graze the floor so you can move easily without showing too much of your shoes. Before your seamstress hems your dress, make sure to walk around with it pinned to ensure you feel comfortable. 
  • Plan to embark on a healthy eating or workout journey before the big day? Don’t fall into the trap of ordering a dress in a size that is too small to keep you motivated. Taking a dress in is much easier than letting out the seams. 
  • Patience is key! Remember that fitting into your bridal gown just right may take a few tries. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t fit perfectly after one appointment. 
  • Keep your guests to a minimum. As with wedding dress shopping, bringing only one or two people to your alterations’ appointment is ideal! If your gown will have any components that can be a little tricky to manage, like bustling, make sure to bring someone who will be by your side on your wedding day so your seamstress can teach them what to do.  

We hope this post helped you learn more about the wedding dress alterations process! If you have any additional questions, talk to your local True Crew who can guide you through the alterations process in better detail.  

If you’re still searching for the gown of your dreams, you can find a True Society store near you and book an appointment to get one step closer to saying yes! Availability may vary per store. 

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