Wedding Dress Alterations in London

Many brides ask whether it is necessary to alter a wedding dress. The answer is “Yes, in 99% of the cases wedding dresses need to be altered”.  Not many women fit a standard designer’s size so when you have said yes to the dress, we will order it in the most appropriate standard size for your measurements and have our seamstresses to tailor it for your body shape. 

Although alterations appointments are not as exciting as your first bridal appointment they are a crucial part of the process to complete your bridal look in fact apart from making sure that the dress fits perfectly, this is also the right occasion to customise it by reshaping the neckline, adding sleeves or a bustle to your train so you can move and dance easily.

Pinning A Wedding Dress In Our Bridal Boutique In London

The most common questions about wedding dress alterations

The most common wedding dress alterations are:

  • Taking in the dress to make sure it stays up and flatter your silhouette. 
  • Shortening the dress to make sure the front and the side of the skirt are not too long.
  • Add a bustle to train to temporary reduce the length of the train, useful if you want to move at ease and dance without changing dress.
 
In addition to the most common alterations the following alterations can be done to a dress: 
  • Adding and shortening sleeves or straps
  • Reshaping the neckline
  • Add lace appliqué, mesh or beading on the bodice and/or on the skirt.
  • Add bra cups
  • Add pockets

We recommend that a dress can be altered down up to one UK size however this ultimately depends on the dress as some can be taken in two UK sizes. We don’t recommend to recut a dress to make smaller than 2 UK sizes as it is expensive and could severely affect the structure of the dress.

Letting out a wedding dress can be tricky as most of the dresses don’t come with enough seam allowance to cover a size bigger. When you are placing an order for a new wedding dress, you should always go for a slightly bigger size dress to prevent a more expensive “let out” alteration process that could potentially involve panels and changes to the pattern.

Alteration timelines vary from bride to bride. Generally we recommend to start the alteration process 2 months before your wedding date.
If you are planning to lose weight and need more time please let us know as we can start altering your wedding dress 1 month before your wedding date. Typically we will book you in for your alterations appointments few days after your wedding dress has been ordered.

Typically the wedding dress alteration cost is between £280-350 based on the below: 

  • Shortening the dress (Hem front only )
  • Taking in the dress (bust only)
  • Add a bustle to the train
  • Shortening straps

Wedding Dress Alterations Process

Your wedding day is the only day you will be wearing your wedding dress and our aim is to make sure that fits you perfectly and that you keep having a great bridal experience with us. 

During your first bridal appointment we will talk you through what alterations and customisation can be applied and give you a cost estimate. Once you have placed an order for a wedding dress and agreed to the alterations cost, we will book you in with our in-house alteration partner  for alteration appointments in the bridal boutique so you won’t need to book your alterations with somebody else and to take your dress to a different address. 

On average we run two alteration appointments. 

  1. The first alteration appointment is to fit the wedding dress. This appointment last approximately 90 minutes
  2. The second alteration appointment is the final fitting. This appointment last approximately 60 minutes. 

We believe that two alteration appointments are enough however if necessary we can have you in for a third or even a fourth alteration appointment. 

We will store your dress free of charge until the final alteration appointment or you can come and collect it and bring it with you at your first alteration appointment.

We offer this wedding alteration service only to those brides that purchased a wedding dress from our collection. In case you bought a sample sale wedding dress, we will also clean and steam the dress so it is ready for your wedding.

The 5 most common Wedding Dress Alterations Types

There are many alterations and customisations that can be applied to wedding dresses however it is likely that you need at least two of the alterations below:

  1. Shortening a Wedding Dress
  2. Taking in a Wedding Dress
  3. Shortening or adding straps
  4. Shortening or adding sleeves
  5. Adding a Bustle to the train

1. Shortening a wedding dress

Most of the designers make the hem longer to fit taller bride. So shortening the hem, or taken up, in most cases is a necessary alteration because either the wedding dress is too long or the bride wants to show the shoes.

Typically wedding dresses with a train needs to be hemmed at the front around to the sides however it is also common to reduce the train.

The seamstress will pin and hem the skirt so that it meets your height perfectly so it is important to wear the shoes that you will be wearing for your wedding as the heel height and shoe type change your height and posture that affect how the wedding dress fits.


If you are undecided about your wedding shoes you should at least attend your first alteration appointment with a pairs of shoes of the same height shoes you are planning to wear on your wedding day.Shortening a dress and reduce the train can cost anything between £25 and £250 depending on the number of layers and on the complexity of the skirt. It becomes more expensive when there is lace, appliqué or beading that needs to be taken off before adding it back to the final hem length.

2. Taking in a wedding dress

Designers make wedding dresses following their own dress size charts and it is unlikely that your body shape perfectly fits one of these sizes. During your bridal appointment we will clip any dress for you to see how it fits your silhouette, take your body measurements and let you know what is the best size to order your dress in. If it needs to be taken in, during your first alteration appointment our seamstress will professionally pin the dress together to perfectly fit your body shape. Once the dress is pinned the seams of the dress will be unhemmed and new seams will be sawn

3. Shortening or adding Straps

Many wedding gowns are made with a little bit longer straps so that they will fit a wide range of brides. If the straps are either standing too high or falling down we will be able to shorten the straps so that you are comfortable and they fit your body perfectly. Alternatively if the straps are too short preventing you from wearing your dress, we will either replace the straps with new ones or find the material to lengthen them.
If you are in love with the shape of a strapless dress but want to feel more secure by having straps, we can also add create bespoke embellished or plain straps and attach them to almost any dress.

Shortening Wedding Dress Straps In Our Bridal Boutique In London
Shortening Wedding Dress Straps In Our Bridal Boutique In London

4. Shortening or Adding sleeves

Sometimes you love a sleeveless wedding dress but you would like your arms to be covered because you are either having a winter wedding or you feel more secure about having sleeves.

Depending on the dress you can add cap sleeves, ¾ sleeves, long lace sleeves, balloon sleeves or we can create bespoke sleeves for your gown. During your bridal appointment we can pin into your wedding dress a pair of unattached sleeves so you can have a better feel of how they fit your arms and complement your wedding dress. If you are happy to proceed in adding a pair of sleeves, before the first alteration appointment we will agree with you the material of the sleeves, style and length.
Alternatively if you change your mind about having long sleeves, another common wedding dress alteration is to shorten to a ¾ length or to the any desired length.

5. Adding a bustle to the train

Many brides love a long train for the ceremony and be able to walk and dance freely at the reception without changing into a second dress.
Adding a little ribbon loops attached to the train that make it possible to lift it (to bustle up a wedding dress) is the solution we recommend.

There are two types of train loops:

  1. A long train loop that a bride hold on her finger or wrist
  2. A short train loop that either tie in a ribbon or buttons under the bum

While the finger/wrist loop gives a dainty princess look, you will need to carry it all night and might get tired of it. Some other brides opt for both options as the wrist loop is useful when taking photos and the bustling the dress is handy to move and dance freely. 

Wedding Dress Alterations Price List

All prices for the most common wedding dress alteration below are a guide only and are subject to change.

Shortenitng the Hem alterations

Take in Bodice, Waist and hip

Bust Seams/Darts

restyling back bodice/necklines

STRAPS / SHOULDERS / ARMHOLES

Sleeves

Bustles

Belts

Bust Cups

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