Guide to Wedding Dress Alterations: How to Prepare, Budget & More

June 23rd, 2022 Wedding Ideas, Tips and Inspiration

Photo Courtesy of Riley Morgan Young

Guide to Wedding Dress Alterations: Tips on How to Prepare, Budget & More

Finding the perfect dress is just the first step to achieving your dream wedding gown. Even if you’ve found “the one,” your ensemble isn’t complete until you’ve gotten the right alterations and reached your desired fit. Depending on where you purchased your gown and what details you need adjusted, it could take some time and expertise to get it just right. After all, you’ll want to show off your gorgeous figure with a design that fits you perfectly.

Tips for Wedding Dress Alterations

We’ve gathered all the tips and tricks you’ll need to know when getting your dress alterations! 

To get familiar with knowing how to prepare for these alterations, it’s important to know first, what exactly is a wedding dress fitting. According to Brides, “A wedding dress fitting is an appointment with a seamstress or fitter to have the dress altered to fit correctly and sculpt the gown to the body. Brides typically need three fittings before the dress is ready to be worn.” 

So although you may have already found the perfect design, you’ll need to take some extra steps after purchasing your gown to get it fitting just right. Here are our top wedding dress alteration tips. 

When To Get Your Wedding Dress Altered

From when to purchase the dress to the final fitting, timing is everything. We always recommend our brides make their first appointment with a seamstress two or three months before the wedding date to give themselves plenty of time to get their wedding gown altered. 

Bringing it in too early could be a risk as you could lose or gain weight from the original date of trying on your gown. Waiting until a couple weeks before your wedding will put you in a time crunch. 

Typically the alterations process needs about three to four fittings before you can take your gown home, so be sure to keep that in mind when wedding dress shopping. Consult with your seamstress as to how many fittings you will need to get your desired look and you can schedule your timeline accordingly.

Where To Get Your Wedding Gown Altered

If you purchased your gown at your local bridal salon, it’s more than likely that they also offer an in-house seamstress who can do your alterations. 

If that isn’t the case, we suggest heading to a seamstress who specializes in bridal gown alterations. Because designs are often meticulously crafted and may include details such as hand-sewn jewels, intricate beading, or delicate lace appliques, this is not a simple job for someone inexperienced. There are often many pieces that need altered like corsets, boning, hem, bustles, and more, so getting an expert that is familiar with this process is important. 

With many different types of wedding dress trains available, you’ll also want a specialist if you want to include a specific bustle. If the bridal shop you purchased your gown from doesn’t have an in house seamstress they will likely have a list of experienced referrals they can recommend. 

What To Bring To Your Wedding Dress Fitting Appointments

It’s important that when heading to your first fitting you know what to bring to your wedding dress fitting - comfortable nude garments like a strapless bra, panties that fit comfortably and shoes you plan on wearing.


Bringing the right pair of undergarments is a must! If you already purchased your undergarments, including shapewear, that you plan on wearing on your wedding day, be sure to bring those with you. Wearing them at your fitting will give you a more accurate feel as to how the gown will feel on your wedding day. The seamstress will be able to take in extra alterations with them on. 


Shoes will help with measuring the right length of your gown and how much to take in depending on the height of the heel. If you’re still choosing the perfect pair of wedding shoes, bring a pair of shoes that have a similar heel height to the ones you’ve been eyeing. The seamstress will still be able to measure the length you’ll need your gown hemmed to. 


Bring in all the accessories you plan on wearing on your big day. These might include hair pieces, a veil or any jewelry. It will give you the opportunity to see if you want to add or take away from your wedding dress. Jewelry will help with balancing your look while the hair pieces will be a closer step to see how you’ll look on your special day. 

Who To Take With You To Your Alterations Appointments

We know that when it comes to your wedding dress, there should be no stress, and that includes the people you bring to your fittings. If you have a long list of bridesmaids, we suggest bringing one or two of your bridesmaids to your alterations appointments, or maybe just your mom or maid of honor. 

After all, they’ll need to learn how to unzip, lace up a corset back, or handle the bustle on your wedding day. Bringing them along gives them the opportunity to learn from professionals, ensuring there are no wardrobe malfunctions on your big day. 

What Alterations Could Cost 

When setting your wedding dress budget, it’s important to keep in mind that alterations will add to the total cost. 

Alteration pricing can vary depending on where you purchased your gown, the seamstress, what style gown you have, and what adjustments you need fixed. Bridal alteration prices can range from $50-$1000 depending on the complexity of the alteration (adding a sleeve, taking in sizing, adjusting a neckline, etc.). If you’re working with a reputable bridal seamstress, the cost might even be a little higher due to their expert skills. Similarly, last minute alterations might be more expensive. 

Gowns that fall under the category of couture and beaded wedding dresses or lace and vintage bridal gowns may also be at a higher alteration cost with all their intricate detailing. No need to worry, we also have a wide range of affordable lace wedding dresses that you’re sure to love and will keep you within budget! 

Next Steps

No matter what alterations you choose to take away or add, it’s important to remember how your gown should make you feel- beautiful, flawless and one of a kind. Find your nearest local authorized Val Stefani retailer and call to ask about any alterations they offer in house or referrals they can recommend. 

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