How Much Does Wedding Dress Alterations Cost

No matter how perfect a wedding dress can be, it’s very rare that a bride won’t need any alterations. Regardless of whether you ordered the best haute couture wedding dress or from a not-so-popular dress shop, alterations are almost always necessary. But exactly how much does wedding dress tailoring cost? Find out this and more in this article.

The Average Cost of Wedding Dress Alterations

The average wedding dress alteration costs around $50 to $1,000, depending on the actual cost of the dress, the scope of the alterations, or the extent of the adjustments to be made.

Wedding Dress Alterations

According to bridal dress experts, some salons would charge their clients on a per-service basis, while others would charge a flat fee. If you are charged on a per-service basis, your wedding gown expenses could be somehow uncontrollable at some point.

For example, the usual cost for a seam alteration is around $100, while having to shorten the gown will cost you up to $250. Changes in the design could be charged around $50 for a neckline design, and also you will need to factor in beading costs, and the changing of fabric or reshaping the silhouette of the dress.

Cost Breakdown

As mentioned, it is very rare for a wedding dress to not have any type of alterations from the time the gown was customized to the day before the wedding day. The list below will give you some ideas on what to expect in terms of alterations costs on top of the actual cost of the wedding dress itself:

Basic Hemming

  • Hem adjustment – $100 to $250
  • Side seams adjustment – $30 to $100 per side
  • Skirt’s side or bodice – $20 to $30
  • Shoulder reduction – $45 to $50
  • Strap length adjustment – $20 to $40

Additional Costs

You might consider some customizations while having your dress altered since you’re already back in the shop and hitting two birds with one stone might be a good idea. Here are some of the price ranges for additional work on your dress:

  • Bra cups insertion – $20 to $40
  • Additional straps – $50 to $250
  • Additional belt or sash – $25 to $35
  • Additional bustle – $20 to $250
  • Additional sleeves – $200 to $400
  • Sleeve length adjustment – $40 to $80 per side
  • Train length adjustment – over $250
  • Back design modification – over $200
  • Neckline adjustment – $40 to $60
  • Neckline replacement – over $250
  • Zipper to corset – over $150
  • Beadwork – $30 per hour
  • Steaming – $50

What Are Included in the Alteration Cost?

Alterations can be relatively costly when you compare them to the actual cost of the dress. However, they aren’t as simple a process as you may think.

To give you an idea of what goes with the cost, here are some parts of the drill:

  • The seamstress will let you try your dress on to assess what needs to be altered or adjusted.
  • The alterations will be performed according to your new measurements or preference.
  • The seamstress will let you try your dress again to see if the alterations were done perfectly according to your liking. Otherwise, they will make another adjustment.

Please note, though that per service alterations mean that you only get one adjustment per request. If you change your mind after one adjustment, you will get another charge.

Factors Affecting the Cost of Wedding Dress Alterations

Since not all wedding dresses and situations are alike, expect the price of wedding dress alterations to vary. The actual price would depend on the following: 

  • The actual price of the dress – it is understandable that the alterations cost will be directly proportional to the actual cost of the wedding dress. The more expensive it is, the higher the cost of alterations.
  • Type of materials – some materials can be very sensitive or fragile, and therefore, prone to snagging or fraying. These types of fabrics are more costly to alter than others simply because any error might cost an entire section of the dress.
  • Style and design of the dress – wedding dresses that have too many details or have intricate designs will definitely cost more to alter than simple ones. 
  • Shop’s reputation – if the shop/salon is known to produce quality wedding dresses and has an equally satisfactory alteration track record, then expect a higher price for wedding dress adjustments.
  • Location – the cost will also depend on the actual location of the business. Major cities will most like have the most expensive cost of all due to the cost of living and cost of doing business.
  • Lead time – anything requested in a rush would normally cost more because the seamstress would prioritize your dress over others and may cause some inconvenience.
  • In-house or not – you should be able to inquire with your wedding dress provider if they do in-house alterations as some bridal salons don’t. The advantage of having an in-house alteration is that there is likely a discount compared to having the dress serviced outside.

Your Major Considerations

According to experts, the first things to consider when having to alter your wedding dress would be your timeline, your budget for the wedding dress alterations, and your weight goal.

For first-time brides, it is advisable that you already decide on the kind of style you’d like your dress to be altered into. Would you want it to be the same style as it originally was, or would you like to make some changes to some parts of the dress, such as the collar line, sleeves, or train? 

However, you’d like your dress to look, try to make sure that you plan things, perhaps 10–12 months away. The reason why it cannot be rushed is that it will take around four to eight months to be produced, and you will have to expect three fittings for the dress. 

Major dress changes will need a few extra weeks before they can be done. Then, alterations and accessorizing will add more to the timeline.

You also have to be realistic when it comes to your weight goal on your wedding day. You will not want to wear something that doesn’t fit right on you.

Corsets are there to help, but some things can still go wrong. The best way to cover up those extra pounds is to try an A-line dress.

2 thoughts on “How Much Does Wedding Dress Alterations Cost”

  1. Question, I had a maggie soterro dress, style was called thaylia.

    The bodice had a lot of beading, and there was boning. It was a fit and flare style. The skirt part was simple tulle, no appliques, beading or anything.

    It had beaded spaghetti straps, and I added two more on each side that draped on my arms. It’s hard to picture, but the straps had beading sewn onto them, and the bottom strap had tulle added to it.

    Then because I felt the bodice came up too high on my armpits,I had them lower that part.

    I had her add extra tulle to the skirt so that it had more of an ethereal look, folded handkerchief Style, and evenly dispersed throughout skirt.

    Finally she did the hem and a 3 point over bustle, which she taught my bridesmaid how to do the first time I went to go pick the dress up.

    When I went to pick the dress up the first time they did the alterations, I was charged $975 before I even got to see the dress.

    It was nothing like what I asked for, she did not listen at all. She had little pieces of tulle all gathered at the top of it by the waist, making it look like more of a Peplum style skirt, or a mullet. Also, she didn’t lower the part under my armpits to where I asked her to. I later realized it was because she didn’t feel like cutting through the boning, which she reneged on saying and blamed it on broken English when I called her out on being lazy.

    When I put it on, a piece of the tulle came right off the skirt because it wasn’t security sewn on. I expressed concern over this, and they assured me it would be fine.

    For the price they had me pay, I expect to get what I want, and I expect it to be the quality of the price you’re making me pay.

    The owner was there every step of the way to “make sure they could do everything I asked, and oversee it all, as well as make sure to translate any misunderstandings to the tailor”, despite me being very vocal about not having confidence in the tailors abilities, as well as my expressed concerns over the tulle falling off of my skirt both the first time they did the alterations, and the second time when I finally picked it up and brought it home.

    On the day that they had to fix my dress (the same day I went to pick it up but it looked like a mullet), the owner wanted me to sit there for the next couple hours past closing, and wait for them to finish so I could take it home that night. I was bored out of my mind sitting there, but she acted like she was doing me a favor by having it fixed to the way I asked them to do it in the first place, and have me wait there past closing because “she’s always there that late past close anyway”.
    Well yay for her, she has to be there that late, I don’t. Even if she was staying later than she normally does, that’s their fault for not doing it right the first time, not mine. She wasn’t doing me a favor by fixing her mistake, she was doing what she should have done.
    I told her I didn’t really want to sit there and wait, and that I’d rather get it the next day. She insisted that she wanted me to walk out of there with the dress that night. I insisted that I had somewhere to be and that I would get it the next day, then I left

    When I came the next day, it was much better, although for the second time I expressed concern over the tulle falling off because it still didn’t seem like it was sewn on secure enough. She again assured me that it would be fine as long as someone didn’t step on it or anything.

    Then, as I Was preparing to leave, the owner went to the back and her employee asked me to come to the front. I thought that there’s no way they’re actually going to charge me for this.

    They charged me another $800 for fixing their mistakes. Not wanting them to hold my dress hostage, and it only being two weeks away from my wedding, I paid it and left.

    Then, the day of my wedding, every single alteration fell apart within 10 minutes of me putting the dress on in the morning, to the very end of the night. It was especially fun when a piece of tulle floated off of my skirt in the middle of the church ceremony in front of everyone while doing my vows. The bustle didn’t work. Like 10 different people tried to bustle it and couldn’t because the string that was supposed to wrap around three times was only long enough to wrap around once. The alterations falling apart is a whole other story.

    I have a few questions,

    1.) The dress itself was around $1800, is $1,775 too much for the alterations I had done? Or was it really that much work and resources?

    2.) Should I have been charged for them to fix their mistakes? I could see if they did exactly what I asked, and then I decided I didn’t like the way it looked, but the fact that they didn’t listen or do what I asked makes me feel like it was very tacky and unfair to charge me the second time… especially that much.

    When I ask for an itemized receipt,they didn’t have one to give me. They couldn’t specify what they were charging me all that money for either time, they just said oh well it’s a lot of work!

    Yeah well, it would have been a lot last week if they would have done it right the first time.

    Regardless, I am in need of your expert opinion please.

    Any opinions or advice that you could give me would be greatly appreciated.

  2. For hemming you can expect to pay anywhere from $150.00 to $250.00 for one hem, however if there are additional layers of tulle to be hemmed the price would be much more. If adding beading, straps, extra layers of tulle & altering a beaded bodice the price would go up more so $975.00 would be a fair price based the type of alterations & additions you requested. If you provided the seamstress with a written request of what you wanted & provided feedback at each of your fittings (should be at least 3)& she did not follow your instructions then you should not have been charged to have them make it right.


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