How much do wedding dress alterations cost?


Industrial Sewing Machine for bridal gown alterations

When looking for a seamstress for bridal alterations you may want to inquire about the equipment they use!

Have you been wondering how much your wedding gown alterations are going to cost? This is a problem that every bride faces as they pick up their gorgeous wedding dress from the bridal boutique and then need to trust someone to take scissors and a needle to their gown to make it fit like a glove! While every bridal seamstress or tailor will charge a little differently, you can expect the same type of pricing if shopping correctly. One thing you should understand as a bride however is that you DO NOT HAVE TO USE the seamstress or tailor that your bridal boutique suggests. You have options. As a good consumer you should at least look into those options. You did just spend endless hours looking for the perfect wedding gown didn’t you? Why would you just trust the first person that has a pair of scissors to work on your treasured wedding dress then?

Common Wedding Gown Alterations and Cost:

  • The hem (the bottom) $140-$225
    • The bottom of your bridal gown will almost always need to be shortened. As such the hem is many times much more complicated than it looks. You may see some plastic webbing around the bottom, or feel it in the dress. This is called horsebraid or horsehair, and as a result of that little bit of plastic your price is higher. Have more layers with it? You will be charged more. Have a layer of lace on your bridal gown down there? Yep, the price goes up with that. Is the bottom of your wedding dress beaded? Guess what, the price goes up even more… So what does an average bridal hem cost? From our experience you can estimate $140-$225.
  • The sides $50-$200
    • Many times brides need the wedding dress taken in at the sides. Don’t be mad at your bridal boutique for ordering a size too big though as you wouldn’t want to be stuck with a bridal gown that was too small, would you? Again, lace and beading will increase the amount that taking in the sides of your wedding dress will cost. Additionally, most places charge for how much they need to take the wedding dress in, whether it is just in the bust area, the hips, or along the entire seam… So what does is the average cost for taking in the sides on your bridal gown? From our experience you can estimate anywhere from $50-$200.
  • The bustle (picking the back of the bridal gown off the floor so you can bust a move on the dance floor!) $55-$95
    • If you have a train a bustle is needed. This is where we see many seamstresses make the most profit as they put an insane number of bustles into wedding gowns. In our experience you should rarely need more than 6 or 7 bustle points, but we have seen as many as 35 in a wedding gown. Can you imagine having your friend or mother under your dress trying to decipher 35 bustle points? Neither can we… So what is the average price for a bustle on a wedding dress? From our experience you can expect to pay $55-$95, but beware, many seamstresses will push that number as high as $250. This is something to ask about!
  • The cups (if you aren’t wearing a bra) – $20-$40
    • Cups are one of those things that almost all brides want in their wedding dresses, but rarely think about before their bridal alterations appointment. The cost to put cups in will vary slightly but you can pretty much expect to pay in the $20-$40 range.

So, in final you may be still wondering… what will the cost of MY bridal alterations be?

  • From our experience in Denver, CO you can expect to pay somewhere between $250-$450 for your bridal gown alterations. Designer bridal gowns with lace, beading, and complicated hem lines may be more, but then again you are going to look amazing rocking a Claire Pettibone down the aisle anyways, right?!

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  1. Can you help with dresses that are to small in the bust area. That is my problem now. I love the dress buti need more room.

    • Kareema,

      Thank you for posting to our blog! We may be able to help you out but we would need to see you in the dress and also see the inside of the dress before we could make a final decision on that. You will just need to make an appointment to come in and we can take a look at it for you. Appointments are free and we can give you a price quote at that time as well. I look forward to hearing back from you.

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    • This is an interesting question. Most brides do not know that the seamstresses that they are “referred” to actually are the ones that just pay the most back in “commission” for the referral. In Denver I know other seamstresses pay between 30%-50% per dress in commission back to the bridal store.

      We built our company by not paying any commission at all. If we had to pay such a high commission we would have to pass that cost to the client, which really doesn’t seem fair. if you don’t mind paying I do not see any reason to pay above 10%. You may loose business to other seamstresses, but in the long run you will make more AND your brides will pay less. Its a win-win for you and YOUR clients.

      The bridal store makes enough on the sale of the dress (we know as we also manufacture gowns) so they really shouldn’t push so hard and create fear that ONLY THEIR preferred seamstress can do the work, and if a bride takes the gown elsewhere it will surely get ruined. We see this tactic all the time to keep the gown in house for alterations, which makes sense based on the extra revenue the store makes if they do. We have had many phone calls from fitting rooms of bridal boutiques around the metro area from scared brides!!!

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