How Long Do Wedding Dress Alterations Take?

Wondering how long wedding alterations take?

While there is no clear cut standard, there are guidelines that you will find helpful.

Each bride is unique and the alterations are determined by her. Simple alterations, such as hemming or taking in the sides, need only a few weeks. Then, there are more complex modifications requiring more time.

By planning ahead, you are going to thank yourself later. Of course, we can always help with ‘rush’ custom alterations. But who wants that stress or to rush the alteration process?

Take a look at our comprehensive guide on wedding gown alterations and a standard timeline.

Bridal Gown Alterations Initial Consultation

When a bride reaches out, we always strongly suggest a complimentary consultation for alterations. Your seamstress or tailor must see you with your gown on. It allows them to evaluate the gown’s fit and also understand your needs (or wishes).

Dress too big? Your dress may need to be taken in or only in certain areas.

Dress too small? Your experience seamstress may need to make adjustments. (Depending on the size difference, this results in complicated alterations.)

Customization needed? This is the time to discuss any neckline changes, added ornamentation, lace removal, etc.

If this is a sample or vintage gown, you may need to set aside time for professional dry cleaning. (Vintage fashion often requires wet cleaning. Sometimes, we suggest restoration before alterations. This is determined by the gown’s current condition.) Consult with your trusted professional to determine the best course of action.

What are some of the factors playing a role in alterations?

  • Wedding dress fabric. Materials possess distinct properties such as drape, stretch, or stiffness.
  • Gown’s structure. Boning, seams, and closures also influence which alterations are needed (or can be done).
  • Your body type. Each of us are made beautifully unique and our features should be accentuated.
  • Current condition. Gowns that are not brand new need an extra step – cleaning (and finishing).
  • Bustle options. Complicated bustle arrangements or moving bustle placement.

The initial consultation is a great time to have an open conversation. Explain to your seamstress/tailor any wishes, areas of concern, and more. (If you have a weight loss plan or are pregnant, it is important to mention.) The bridal dress alterations consultation goal is to make sure that you feel your very best and the fit is impeccable.

Schedule a consultation today.

infographic explaining wedding alterations tips. Bring undergarments and shoes to all fittings. Bring a friend so they can help put your dress on. Discuss with your seamstress any changes to ornamentation.

Common Wedding Dress Alterations Timeline

Shopping for a wedding gown is exciting. And when you finally found THE DRESS, you’re most likely clipped in to give the total effect. It is extremely rare to find a dress that fits your body perfectly off the rack. (This is actually for a lot of clothing.) Garments are meant to be altered to fit us. It’s why the universe gave us talented seamstresses and tailors!

If possible, prepare ahead so you’re not rushed. Typically, you want to allow around a few weeks to a few months. Here is a suggested timeline*:

*This is for gowns that do not require a restoration or pre-wedding gown cleaning.

  • Consultation/First Fitting. Schedule around 3-6 months prior to your wedding day. Your seamstress listens and also provides suggestions based on their expertise. Exact measurements are taken to create a personalized plan.
  • Second Fitting Appointment. Around 3-4 months prior to your wedding day, you can have either your initial fitting or your second. At this point, alterations are being worked on.
  • Third Fitting. Six weeks before your wedding day, it’s time for another visit. You’ve got things to do but stop in for a quick visit.
  • Final Fitting. Many brides schedule their final fitting about two weeks prior. With the stress and excitement, your weight may have had some slight shifts. It’s the perfect time to check in for any extra adjustments.

Again, we provided a general timeline. Some brides may have additional fittings in-between or one more at the time of pick-up. Our team will work with you to create the perfect schedule.

Helpful Bridal Gown Alterations Tips

So you found your dream dress! Explore some tips for your wedding dress fittings.

  1. Bring what you plan to wear on your wedding day. This includes correct undergarments, wedding shoes, and veil. Have them with you for all  bridal fittings.
  2. Avoid purchasing a gown too large or too small. Drastically changing a gown’s size is time-consuming and costly. It also may work against gown’s structure.
  3. Plan for your alterations ahead. Avoid rushing the process. And remember, tailors and seamstresses are busy during wedding season. Get those appointments for custom alterations scheduled.
  4. Research alterations services. Hallak Cleaners has a talented team that has earned multiple 5-stars over their 50+ years in business. Bridal alterations are one of our specialties!
  5. Ask a friend or family member to join you. If possible, the person that is helping you into your gown should see how the gown goes on. (Especially true for corseted backs!)
  6. Show images for any bespoke details you’d like added. If possible, bring lace applique or other decor you’d like to add (or remove). (If your wedding tailor has to source ornamentation, this can take a couple of weeks.)
  7. Discuss any custom sleeves or detachable sleeves options. If you need them custom made, decide if you or seamstress is sourcing the custom fabrics.

Speak with an Alterations Specialist

Your bridal shopping experience was fun so let’s have some fun with your fittings. Hallak Cleaners has in-house seamstresses and tailors. The wedding team loves working with brides (and grooms)! Both the New York and New Jersey locations are available for appointments.

Hallak also offer pre wedding gown cleaning, vintage restoration, and post wedding preservation. Save this post so you can later request a gown preservation estimate.

Schedule your wedding dress alterations appointment. Call (212) 832-0750 or message us today.


Common Wedding Dress Questions

What factors affect the alterations process?

Several factors play a role in determining how long wedding dress alterations will take. The complexity of the alterations needed is the primary factor. If your dress requires adjustments to the silhouette, such as increased or decreased waistline, bust, or hip size, it may take longer than simpler alterations like hemming or adjusting sleeves. Additionally, the fabric of your dress and the intricacy of its details, such as beading or lace, can impact the timeline. It is essential to consult with an experienced seamstress or tailor who can assess these factors accurately.

Is it possible to expedite wedding dress alterations?

Yes, Hallak Cleaners always does its best to accommodate special needs. When it comes to alterations, this can be a little tricky. It is best to schedule a consultation immediately so we can determine services needed. Allow yourself (and the seamstress) plenty of time.

How many fittings should I expect for my wedding dress alterations?

A good rule of thumb is around 3-4 fittings. Of course, each bride is unique. How do we determine the number of fittings? We consider the needed alterations, gown complexity, time allowance, bride’s body shape, etc. ( Body weight loss or gain triggers additional fittings.)

Can my bridesmaids’ dresses have their dresses altered too?

Absolutely! Your whole wedding party is welcome at Hallak. We are here for grooms, bridesmaids, groomsmen, mother-of-the-brides, etc. Everyone. Coordinate your fittings and make a day of it.

How much do wedding alterations cost?

The cost of alterations varies. Your Hallak bridal alterations specialist reviews with you the various cost for each alteration.

What is your alterations policy?Currently, we do not have any alterations policy that charges you for additional fittings. In our decades of garment care, we have rarely had a bride requesting too many alterations per month, etc. Hallak’s alterations artisans are your trusted guide throughout the alterations process.


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