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The Secret to Affordable Wedding Dress Alterations

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For most brides, after pulling together the money to purchase their dream dress, it can come as shock to realize how expensive it can be to have it altered. And the search for affordable wedding dress alterations can leave you frustrated and hopeless.


Photo credit: Lori Greig / Foter / CC BY-NC-NDAffordable Wedding Dress Alterations

Photo credit: Lori Greig / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
Affordable Wedding Dress Alterations


As annoying as it may be, almost all wedding gowns will need to be hemmed and taken in at the waist. Also, if the dress has any sort of a train, it will need to be bustled (a little hook or hooks that pick up the back of the dress allowing you to dance and move without your dress being stepped on). Changing the neckline (to a ‘sweetheart neckline’ for example) and adding embellishment (belts, sequins, etc.) will add even more to the bill.


If you live in a big city, you’ll get quotes anywhere from $400 up to over $1000 like I did. ┬áBut after doing some research for affordable wedding dress alterations, I realized a few things:

  1. You DO NOT need to get your dress altered where you bought it. Bridal boutiques will often charge hundreds more than it would cost at a dressmaker or tailors shop. No matter how much the bridal boutique pressures you or makes it seem like no one else knows how to handle their dresses, they’re usually just trying to make a commission. Seamstresses and tailors usually charge less than bridal boutiques.
  2. The secret to affordable wedding dress alterations is…getting your dress altered at the dry cleaners. No joke. Is it a little tacky? Yeah, a bit. Did they do a great job and save me a bunch of money? Damn skippy! I visited a dry cleaner who’d been highly recommended in an online forum. It was the first time I’d seen anyone recommend someone who didn’t work at a bridal boutique or was a seamstress. When I went in to the dry cleaners I saw several wedding gowns waiting to be altered, so I knew other brides had the same idea. And the price she quoted me was a little over half the lowest price all the other seamstresses I called had quoted me. She did great work. I had 2 fittings where she took the waist in, sweethearted my neckline, hemmed the dress, and added a bustle. I was suspicious at first but in the end I was so happy I’d given them a chance.


So you never know where you’ll find a great bargain. If you can be open-minded while planning your wedding, you’ll save yourself a ton of money and a whole lot of frustration. Do you have any tips for getting affordable wedding dress alterations? Please share them in the comments below. We’d love to hear it!


P.S. Here’s a great article on how to prepare for your first dress fitting.




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