Alterations can be a stressful and yet exciting time for brides; stressful because it may seem like there's a lot of work to be done, exciting because there is no better feeling than seeing your gown come to life and fit you perfectly. Our job is to minimize the stressful side of things so that you can experience more of the joy and excitement. The way in which we can do that is first by educating our brides on everything they need to know about alterations and the alterations process. In doing this, we hope to clear up some misconceptions, help you to know what to expect, and also to plan accordingly. We always suggest that our brides do their research- ask your friends who have been married or call other bridal shops and see what the average alteration cost is. We assure you that we are on par with most places out there and the work and service is phenomenal.
Here are our TOP FIVE things to know about alterations:
1. EVERYONE NEEDS ALTERATIONS. We really cannot stress this enough. Unless you are getting a custom gown made to your exact measurements from head to toe by a designer in their design studio, no dress is 100% custom-made to fit your body. When we take measurements we are simply using them as a reference to know which size on that particular designers sizing chart would be best suited for you. Therefore, when the dress comes in, it will surely fit you better than the sample did however, there will certainly be alterations needed to certain parts of the dress to make it fit you perfectly. Typically, we see brides with one area of the body being a larger size than the rest of their body; we must order the size that will accommodate the biggest part of the body. This means, if you are a size 8 at the hips/buttocks but a size 4 at the bust, your gown will likely come in and fit nicely around the hips but be too big at the bust. This is where alterations really come in. Even if you are measuring to be a "perfect size 8" on a designers measurement chart, you can still bank on some nips and tucks needed. Another thing to note is that on average you need 3-4 fittings and the seamstress needs time in between to do the work. We recommend starting your alterations 6-8 weeks prior to your wedding to ensure a stress-free time-line.
2. THE COST OF ALTERATIONS IS NOT INCLUDED IN YOUR DRESS PRICE. I think this speaks for itself but we wanted to be upfront and clear about this in case there were any misconceptions. While we can do our best to provide an approximate price range ($400-$600) we cannot estimate what the cost of your alterations will be until the seamstress has her initial fitting with you.
3. THE COST OF ALTERATIONS IS DEPENDENT ON THE AMOUNT OF WORK NEEDED/YOU WANT DONE. While some bridal boutiques have set alteration prices for each of their gowns regardless of the work you need done, we do not. At your first fitting our seamstress, who is a master dress-maker, will take a look at the dress on your body and show you everything she would do to the dress to make sure it fits you better than you can even imagine. She will help to show you how things like adding soft boning can really enhance a strapless dress (and make it stay up all night!) and exactly what bodice work is needed to suit your bust size. These are just some of the suggestions she might make that will enhance the way the dress fits you on your special day. It may be her professional opinion that you definitely need a certain alteration done but you get the final say. Simply put, if all you want is your hem taken up, then that is all she will do and it is all you pay for. While we never like our brides to walk out without the absolute best alterations for their dress we understand that it is your choice as to what you want done.
4. HOW MUCH YOUR GOWN COST DOES NOT DICTATE HOW MUCH YOUR ALTERATIONS WILL BE. Yes, it's true that with a lot of beading and delicate lace work, extra time and handling may be necessary for your alterations and therefore be reflected in your alterations cost. However, whether your gown is $1000 dollars and you want cups built in and a lowered back, or your gown is $6000 and you want cups built in and a lowered back, the cost for that type of work is fairly equal.
5. SAMPLE GOWNS ARE A GREAT WAY TO SAVE MONEY ON YOUR DREAM DRESS BUT YOU WILL STILL NEED TO FACTOR IN THE COST OF ALTERATIONS (and dry-cleaning). When we sell off our floor sample we are selling them AS THEY ARE. If the bottom is a bit dirty or the zipper isn't working it is the brides responsibility to inspect those things upon purchase and plan to have those things fixed in alterations (dry-cleaning is the responsibility of the bride although we do offer a discount coupon for our preferred cleaners). Often brides get their dream dress at a discounted price which affords them some extra cash to spend on making it a perfect fit for them.
If you have any questions regarding alteration costs or the general process- please refer to our FAQ tab or feel free to contact us!