Common Wedding Dress Alterations and What to Plan For

Once you found the perfect gown and your about 10 weeks out from your wedding day, it’s time to start thinking about alterations! Alterations are so important in order to make your gown fit like a glove. While there are so many different silhouettes of wedding gowns, what kind of alterations are a must? We’ll go over some common wedding dress alterations and how to plan for them.

Below is a photo of our bride, Lindsey. Photo by Emily Knuth

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What are Wedding Dress Alterations?

Dress alterations are the tailoring and adjusting of your wedding dress.  During your fitting appointment, your seamstress will take your measurements, and pin the areas of your gown that need to be taken in.  Without alterations, your designer wedding dress will fit loosely and not highlight your curves and figure.

What are some Common Wedding Dress Alterations?

There are parts of the dress that should always be tailored to fit just right. Standard alterations include adjusting the bust, taking in the waist and hips (if it’s a fitted wedding gown) are a must. These three alterations help keep your gown up and in place. In addition to these three, a hem and bustle are also needed for the length of the gown and functionality of the train. Other alteration standards include adjusting straps and sleeves.

 The Length of the Hem

Shortening the hem of a wedding dress is important.  This allows you to walk and dance without having to grab the front of your dress.  It is important to bring your wedding shoes or heels to your alterations appointment. Be sure to communicate to your seamstress any concerns about your hemline or shoes. If you plan on changing from heels to flats for your reception, be sure to share this information with your seamstress. .

Below is a photo of our bride, Lindsey. Photo by Emily Knuth

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When to Start Your Alterations

Alteration timelines vary from bride to bride. If you are loosing weight or gaining muscle mass through wedding planning, you will start alterations closer to your wedding date than a bride who keeps a stable weight and body mass. Standard alterations start at about 8 weeks before your wedding. However, seamstresses can work with less than 8 weeks. At about 10 weeks before the wedding, start booking appointments and communicating with your bridal stylist or seamstress the alterations questions or concerns you may have. Depending on your specific alteration needs, they will be able to suggest when to start alterations and how much time it will take.

Adjusting the Straps

Wedding gown with straps are a classic style. When a gown has a strap, it typically needs adjusting. Altering and adjusting straps and sleeves is considered standard alterations.   

Altering the Neckline

If you are desiring a lower-plunging neckline, or you want to raise a neckline for fit purpose, these changes are considered a custom change, however, they are very common. Neckline depth on wedding gowns is a personal choice. While some women like having a sexy plunged neckline, others like a conservative higher neckline. When you find your wedding gown, be sure to ask your bridal stylist about neckline options and custom changes.


Adding Sleeves and Large Alterations

Whether you are adding sleeves to the gown or wearing a bolero, there are sleeve options for every gown. If your seamstress is adding sleeves to your wedding gown, this is considered a custom change. When you purchase your wedding gown, communicate with your bridal stylist the changes you want. He or she will be able to order the fabric you need to make these changes in alterations.


It All Comes Down to Preference

While there are ‘standard alterations’ and ‘custom alterations’, wedding gown alterations are all based on the specific needs each bride has. During your wedding gown shopping appointment at The Bridal Finery, your bridal stylist, Tali or Roberta, will communicate and express exactly which alterations you need and will be able to give you a close estimate to how much it will cost. Our goal is to make wedding gown shopping and your alterations appointments as simple and easy as possible.

If you are a current client of ours, click here to book your first alterations appointment with our seamstress.

Below is a photo of our bride, Lindsey. Photo by Emily Knuth

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Our bride Lindsey’s wedding vendors:

Wedding planning: Blue Ribbon Weddings

Photography: Emily Knuth Photography

Dress: Ines Di Santo

Venue: TPC Sawgrass