Top 10 Things to Know about Wedding Gown Alterations

Wedding Gown Alterations can be such a confusing part of the wedding dress shopping experience. Since we don’t usually alter our clothes in every day life, it can be hard to know what to expect. To make the experience a little easier, here’s our top 10 things to know about alterations.

10.) Expect to need alterations.

Even if you are custom ordering a dress, chances are you will still need alterations. At a minimum, even if your dress is a perfect fit, you will still need a bustle sewn on to hook up your train for the reception.

9.) Plan enough time.

Alterations can take 6-8 weeks to be completed, so keep that in mind when you are planning. You will want to wait until right before your wedding in order to make sure your body will undergo minimal changes while your dress is being fit to you.

In addition, you’ll want to call to set up your appointment far enough in advance to ensure they have the flexibility to fit your schedule. The amount of time for this can depend on the time of year. Keep in mind that wedding gown tailors are busiest before big wedding seasons, which run usually from June to October. If you’re having a winter wedding, chances are your tailor will have more openings, but a fall or summer wedding will need more time to schedule an appointment.

8.) Expect Two or Three appointments, at least.

Alterations appointments take time, and afterwards, the seamstress will need time to work on it. Not everything can be done in one appointment, and your seamstress will be able to help you set up your next appointments based on how much work they need to do on the dress.

7.) Your first fitting is just pinning.

The first fitting will most likely be the longest. At this appointment, they usually pin everything; from the hem and bustles to taking in the waist. You can also ask about getting bra cups sewn into the dress so you don’t need to wear a bra. Additionally, make sure that you walk around in the dress with your shoes on to make sure the hem is the correct length.

6.) The second fitting will be to make adjustments.

After your alterations have been completed, it’s time for a second fitting. At this point, you will try on the dress and see if you need any additional tweaks. It can be common to have tiny adjustments needed even when the basic alterations are done. If that is the case for you, you will need to come back for additional appointments.

5.) Be real about the budget.

Getting a dress altered can be an unexpected addition to the budget, so it is best to plan it in to your overall wedding cost. A good average is $300-$600. Keep in mind, that with this price tag, you get what you pay for in alterations. A good seamstress will expertly handle the delicate materials and adjustments to your dress. A perfectly fitting dress will be well worth the price, as you will be looking back at it in pictures for years to come.

4.) Make sure a friend will be able to learn to do the bustle.

The bustle of your train can be super confusing if you don’t know where to look and where to put the hooks. The best way to make sure you know what to do is to bring your maid of honor or mother along with you so the seamstress can show them what to do and help them practice a few times. You may even want to take a video of them doing it to remember on the big day.

3.) The final fitting will be the last time you try your dress before the wedding day.

More times than not, the final fitting will be the last time you try on the dress. This appointment can be anywhere from a few weeks away from the big day to the week of. Make sure you are comfortable with how the dress looks and feels at your final fitting.

2.) Don’t forget about steaming and pressing your gown.

Once the dress is done, it’s time to get it steamed and pressed so that it looks fresh for the wedding day.  At Altar, we steam and press our brides’ gowns free of charge. If you’re not one of our brides, you can check in with your seamstress about what options they offer for steaming and pressing.

1.) Communicate with your seamstress.

The number one thing to remember with your alterations process is this: the dress is YOUR dress. Only you will be able to know how you feel in your dress. Make sure that you are communicating with your seamstress about your comfort and the fit. If you feel that something isn’t fitting properly, point it out so they can know to work on it. A dress can look great on you and still not fit comfortably, so you need to make sure that you are clear with your tailor so that they can fix any problems you may have.


We hope this was helpful in clearing up a little of the mystery around wedding gown alterations! We love getting to help brides from start to finish in their wedding dress experience, and love our recommended tailors! If you want to start looking for wedding gowns, set up an appointment! If you are wanting more information about our recommended tailors or our alterations process, contact us with questions!

Tags: ,

No comments yet.