When it comes to wedding gowns, every bride dreams of that perfect dress with the perfect fit. What brides may not realize going into the shopping experience is that a dress most likely will not fit perfectly when it arrives. A majority of wedding gowns will need at least some alterations.
Before ordering a special order gown for any customer we take bust, waist, and hip measurements. We then look at the specific designer size chart (because each designer has their own size chart - of course they don't make it easy for us retailers!). This will also help us know what may be needed in terms of alterations. For example - a customer may be a size 8 in the bust but a size 12 based on their waist measurement. We always recommend ordering off the largest measurements. Why? Because gowns can be taken in but they can not necessarily be taken out. We want to make sure the dress will be able to achieve that perfect fit, even if it means having the seamstress take it in!
Since we do not offer in house alterations, this can be a bit of a challenge as brides want to know how much alterations will cost them. This is tricky because there are several things that will factor into the price. It depends on the material, what exactly needs to be done, if there is a lot of intricate bead work (beading will certainly be more expensive), how many layers need to be hemmed, and if there is lace lining hemline. Although we can't give an exact number, we can usually tell if the dress will be on the higher end to alter or on the lower end. It is important to factor the cost of alterations into your wedding gown budget (we'll talk a little more about average costs below).
To help guide you, we turned an expert in the field, Sabrina Garcia, with Divine Alterations in Round Rock. She is our preferred seamstress and have worked closely with her since the day we opened.
1. When should a bride bring her dress in for alterations and how many fittings can she expect to have?
Two to three month before the wedding (or bridal portraits if any) is best to start alterations. 2-4 fitting are usually required for a wedding dress.
2. What is the average cost of alterations? This is certainly a broad question as it can vary so much but is there a high/low average?
On the low side alteration can be as low as $180-280 if not much alterations are needed and/or it's a fairly simple dress. On the high side alterations can be as much as $800-1000 if the dress has lots of beading or lace, or if it needs extensive alterations and/or needs to be modified from its original design. Usually hemlines are the most expensive part on a wedding dress alteration. If the dress has a lace hem line alterations just for the hem can cost $300-400.
3. What is one thing you wish brides new before coming in for alterations?
- That they bring their shoes and undergarments to each fitting.
- That they mention all the alterations they need on their first fitting that way we can lock in a price. For example if they want the belt sewn in or to add buttons or straps, it's best that they mention all these details on the first fitting rather than on the second or third fitting in order to avoid price changes.
- That they mention to me if they are in the process of loosing weight that way we can start first fitting closer to the date rather than too soon.
- That they mention to me if they are pregnant that w