Wedding Alterations

If you’ve ever wondered how wedding dress alteration pricing works, look no further! In this article, we’ll break down the ins and outs of this often mysterious process. Whether you’re a bride-to-be preparing for your big day or simply curious about the world of wedding dress alterations, we’ve got you covered. From understanding the factors that affect pricing to finding the right seamstress for your needs, we’ll guide you through it all. So sit back, relax, and let’s demystify how wedding dress alteration pricing really works!


Factors That Affect Wedding Dress Alteration Pricing

When it comes to wedding dress alterations, there are several factors that can influence the pricing. It’s important to understand these factors so you can make an informed decision and budget accordingly. Let’s take a closer look at the different factors that affect wedding dress alteration pricing.

Type of Alteration

The type of alteration needed for your wedding dress is one of the key factors that determine the pricing. Different alterations require different levels of skill, time, and resources. Some common types of alterations include hemming, taking in or letting out, bustling, resizing shoulders, adjusting sleeves, and adding or removing embellishments. Each of these alterations comes with its own pricing structure.

The Complexity of the Task

The complexity of the alteration task also plays a significant role in determining the pricing. Alterations can range from simple adjustments to more intricate changes. For example, simple hemming may be less expensive compared to complex alterations like resizing shoulders or adding intricate lacework. The more intricate and time-consuming the alteration, the higher the pricing may be.

Fabric and Embellishments

The fabric of your wedding dress and its embellishments also affect the alteration pricing. Delicate fabrics such as silk or satin require extra care and precision during the alteration process. Lacework, beading, and other embellishments can also add to the complexity and time required for alterations. Altering these types of fabrics and working with delicate embellishments may incur additional costs.

Number of Fittings Required 

The number of fittings required for your wedding dress can impact the final pricing. Most alterations require multiple fittings to ensure the perfect fit and desired outcome. An initial consultation is usually followed by the first fitting, and subsequent fittings may be necessary to make any necessary adjustments. Keep in mind that each fitting session adds to the overall cost of the alterations.


Types of Alterations and Their Pricing

Let’s dive deeper into the different types of alterations and their associated pricing.


Hemming is one of the most common alterations needed for wedding dresses, especially if the length of the dress needs to be adjusted. Hemming pricing can vary based on the complexity of the hemline, the number of layers, and the type of fabric. Simple hemming, such as a straight cut, may be less expensive compared to more intricate hemlines or those with multiple layers.

Remove the Wedding Dress Train $89
Straightening & Shortening Plain Dress Skirt $150
A Lined/Narrow Bias Shortening Plain Dress Skirt $195
Full Plain Dress Skirt Shortening $250
Narrow Straightening & Hemming Lace Bridal Skirt $295
Extra Full Plain Dress Shortening $295
Shortening Full Lace or Detailed Skirts $350
Shortening Beaded Wedding Dress Skirt $395
Shorten the Bridal Skirt in 2 Spots (waist & bottom) $450

Taking In or Letting Out

If your wedding dress needs to be taken in or let out to achieve the perfect fit, this alteration may incur additional costs. The pricing will depend on the complexity of the adjustments required and the number of areas that need alteration. Taking in a dress involves removing fabric, while letting out involves adding fabric. Both alterations require skill and precision to ensure the dress fits flawlessly.

Take in or Let out a Plain Wedding Dress $65
Take in or Let out a Fancy Bridal Gown $110
Take in or Let out a Detail Bridal Gown $110
Take in or Let out a Bridal Gown with Zipper $110
Take in or Let out a Beaded Bridal Gown $150


A bustle is a method of gathering and securing the train of a wedding dress to make it easier to walk and dance in. Bustle alterations are particularly common for dresses with long trains. The pricing for a bustle alteration will depend on the type of bustling desired, the number of points needed, and the complexity of the train. Intricate bustles may require more time and expertise, thus increasing the cost.

Wrist Loops for Train $30
Up to 4 Attachments $70
5-10 Attachments $95
11 or more Attachments $130

Resizing Shoulders

Adjusting the shoulders of a wedding dress is another alteration that can affect pricing. If the dress has sleeves, the shoulders may need to be resized to ensure a comfortable fit. Resizing the shoulders involves altering the seams and may vary in pricing depending on the complexity of the original construction and the desired fit.

Adjusting Sleeves

For wedding dresses with sleeves, adjusting the sleeve length or width may be necessary to achieve the desired fit. This alteration can impact the overall pricing, as it requires skill and time to ensure the sleeves look balanced and fit comfortably. The pricing will depend on the complexity of the alteration and the type of sleeves involved.

Hem Plain Dress Sleeves $25
Taper $35
Hem Fancy Gowns Sleeves $45
Shortening from Top for Plain Gowns $75
Hem Beaded Gowns Sleeves $80
Shortening Fancy Gown Sleeves From Top $125
Shortening Beaded Gowns Sleeves From Top $175
Shortening Beaded Gowns Sleeves in the Middle & Reattach Detail $180

Adding or Removing Embellishments

If you wish to add or remove embellishments from your wedding dress, this alteration may come with an additional cost. Adding embellishments such as lace, beading, or sequins requires careful craftsmanship and potentially extra materials. Similarly, removing embellishments and making the necessary adjustments to the dress can also require time and expertise, thus impacting the pricing.

The Complexity of the Task and Its Impact on Pricing

Now, let’s explore the different levels of complexity in wedding dress alterations and how they can affect pricing.

Simple Alterations

Simple alterations usually involve relatively straightforward adjustments, such as shortening the length, taking in or letting out the dress at specific areas, or making minor tweaks. These alterations are generally less time-consuming and require less expertise, making them more affordable compared to more complex alterations.

Mid-Level Alterations

Mid-level alterations are slightly more involved and may require more time and skill. These alterations can include resizing shoulders, adjusting sleeves, or making moderate adjustments to the silhouette of the dress. The pricing for mid-level alterations will be higher than simple alterations due to the increased complexity and time required.

Complex Alterations

Complex alterations involve significant changes to the original design of the dress, such as adding or removing sections, reworking the structure, or incorporating intricate details. These alterations demand a high level of expertise, precision, and time. Due to their complexity, these alterations often come with a higher price tag.


Special Considerations for Fabric and Embellishments

Certain fabrics and embellishments require special attention during the alteration process, which can impact the pricing.

Delicate Fabrics

If your wedding dress is made from delicate fabrics such as silk, satin, or chiffon, the alteration specialist will need to handle them with extra care. Delicate fabrics can be more challenging to work with and may require additional time and expertise, potentially influencing the pricing of the alterations.

Lace and Beading

Wedding dresses with intricate lacework or beading require meticulous handling during alterations. Any adjustments made to the dress must take into account the specific patterns and designs of the lace or beading. Working with lace or beading adds complexity to the alteration process, potentially increasing the overall cost.

Special Trims and Appliques

If your dress features special trims or appliques, alterations may involve working around these details. The alteration specialist will need to ensure that any adjustments made to the dress do not compromise or disturb the trims or appliques. This level of attention and precision can impact the pricing of the alterations.


Number of Fittings Required

The number of fittings needed for your wedding dress alterations can affect both the overall cost and the timeline. Let’s explore the different stages of fittings.

Initial Consultation

The initial consultation is where you discuss your alteration needs with the specialist. During this stage, the specialist will assess your dress and provide an estimate or quote for the alterations. The initial consultation is usually free of charge, but it’s crucial to confirm this beforehand.

First Fitting

The first fitting allows the alteration specialist to make the initial adjustments to your wedding dress. This is an essential stage to ensure the alterations are on the right track and to make any necessary tweaks. The pricing for the first fitting is typically included in the overall cost of the alterations.

Subsequent Fittings

Depending on the complexity of the alterations, additional fittings may be required to achieve the perfect fit. Subsequent fittings allow the specialist to make any final adjustments or fine-tune the alterations. Each fitting session may incur additional charges, so it’s essential to discuss the pricing structure with your alteration specialist from the beginning.


Additional Costs and Service Charges

In addition to the core alteration pricing, there may be additional costs and service charges to consider.

Emergency or Rush Fees

If you require last-minute alterations or need your dress to be ready in a shorter timeframe, there may be emergency or rush fees. These fees compensate for the extra effort and resources required to accommodate your request within a limited time frame.

Storage and Preservation Fees

After your wedding, you may need to store or preserve your dress. Some alteration specialists offer storage and preservation services for an additional fee. This service ensures that your dress is properly cleaned, packaged, and protected to maintain its condition for the long term.

Travel or On-Site Alteration Fees

If you require the alteration specialist to travel to your location or perform on-site alterations, there may be additional fees involved. Travel or on-site alteration fees account for the specialist’s time, transportation, and any necessary equipment needed to carry out the alterations at your desired location.


Tips for Saving on Wedding Dress Alteration Costs

Wedding dress alterations can add up, but there are ways to save on costs without compromising the desired outcome. Consider the following tips:

Choose a Dress That Requires Minimal Alterations

When shopping for your wedding dress, keep alterations in mind. Opting for a dress that requires minimal adjustments can help keep costs down. Keep an eye out for dresses that already fit you well in terms of length, size, and overall silhouette.

Consider Second-Hand or Sample Dresses

Consider exploring second-hand or sample dresses. These dresses are often sold at discounted prices and may require fewer alterations compared to ordering a brand-new dress.

Ask for Simple Alterations Instead of Complex Changes

If you’re looking to save on alteration costs, consider asking for simple alterations instead of more intricate or complex changes. Simple adjustments like hemming or taking in the dress may be more budget-friendly compared to altering the structure or adding embellishments.

Plan Ahead and Give Ample Time for Alterations

Last-minute alterations may come with rush fees and stress. By planning ahead and giving yourself ample time for alterations, you can avoid unnecessary additional costs and ensure a smoother process.


Finding a Reliable Wedding Dress Alteration Specialist

Finding a reliable and skilled wedding dress alteration specialist is crucial to achieving the desired fit and outcome. Here are some tips on how to find the right professional:

Ask for Recommendations and Read Reviews

Reach out to friends, family, or recently married acquaintances for recommendations. Word-of-mouth referrals are often reliable and can help you find alteration specialists with a good track record. Additionally, reading online reviews and testimonials can provide valuable insights into the experiences of past clients.

Visit Local Bridal Shops and Designers

Visit local bridal shops and designers in your area. They often have in-house alteration specialists or can provide recommendations. By going to reputable establishments, you can have peace of mind knowing that they work with trusted professionals.

Check Online Bridal Communities and Forums

Online bridal communities and forums can be excellent resources for finding alteration specialists. Members often share their experiences, recommendations, and reviews of various professionals in the industry. Take advantage of these platforms to gather information and make an informed decision.

Schedule Consultations and Ask Questions

Once you have a shortlist of potential alteration specialists, schedule consultations with them. Use this opportunity to ask questions, discuss your needs and expectations, and evaluate their expertise and communication style. Look for someone who listens to your concerns and offers knowledgeable advice.

Evaluate Pricing, Communication, and Expertise

Lastly, evaluate the pricing, communication, and expertise of each alteration specialist you consider. While pricing is a crucial factor, it should not be the sole determining factor. Consider the overall value, including the specialist’s experience, reputation, and ability to understand and fulfill your alteration needs.



Wedding dress alterations are an essential part of the bridal journey, ensuring that your dress fits perfectly for your big day. It’s important to consider factors such as the type of alteration, the complexity of the task, the fabric and embellishments, and the number of fittings required when determining the pricing for wedding dress alterations.

By understanding these factors, asking the right questions, and following the tips provided, you can find a reliable and skilled alteration specialist who can bring your wedding dress vision to life while keeping the costs within your budget. Remember to plan ahead, communicate your needs clearly, and trust the expertise of professionals in the field to make your wedding dress alteration experience a positive and stress-free one.