Post # 1
So I made my first alterations appointment for my dress the other day — big yay! My changes are definitely not too major — adding a bustle, shortening the straps a tad, hemming, and fixing up the sweetheart neckline a little, essentially tweaking things here and there since the dress size itself was a great fit. I purchased through a Macy’s bridal salon and have no problems doing the alterations through them but I know there is an off chance the costs might be higher than what I budgeted. And I know they have a policy that alterations costs must be paid during that first appointment. So here’s my question — did any of you shop around for the best deal? If you walked into an appointment and got major sticker shock for the actual costs, were you able to tell them no? I’m budgeting about $200 but I’ve heard of brides who were floored with $500-700 fees for simple alterations! That’s a whole new dress right there! Anyway, I’d appreciate hearing anyone’s experiences!
Post # 3
I too only budgete $200 for alterations. My dress fit perfectly. All I had done was a hem, bustle and bra cups…..it cost me almost $400.
Post # 4
I design high end bridal gowns and I’ve seen a lot of these posts where people don’t understand why alteration costs are so high. A lot of people have commented that they felt it was a rip-off, etc. for an "easy job". I think most people think most alterations are simple, but only because they don’t understand how much work it takes since they are not in the industry. A hem can look simple, but when there are mutiple layers it’s very time consuming. Also, there is a lot of structure inside the dress which requires work. Most hems alone cost more than $200 with a well qualified establishment. I think we all get used to shopping at Target and Forever 21 so we get used to those super low prices, but labor costs in the US are not like China. Most bridal seamstresses get $12.50 – $16.00 per hour (in the LA area).
The added plus of getting it done through Macy’s is that if they mess up, they will probably replace the dress. If you only look at price and someone is willing to do the work for very little money, they might not be qualified and you might be stuck with a horrible alterations job. Hope this explains about the cost factor from a person who is in the industry. You can also look around for independent seamstress, but make sure they are qualified and have worked in bridal before. Make sure you see samples of their work before you trust your dress to them. Best of luck!
Post # 5
Yes! You can shop around. I was quoted $300 by my bridal store and nearly had a heart attack. After trying, unsuccessfully, to negotiate, I just took my dress and left. It still had all the pins in it!
The thing with bridal stores is that the seamstress has to pay a cut to the store, so the price is automatically inflated. I found an independent seamstress who works out of her home who did a great job at a fraction of the price.
Post # 6
@lovelondonrain – That was actually a really helpful post, thanks for putting that out there. Bridal dresses are obviously not an everyday purchase, and with the range of styles, it’s hard to know when the costs are within reason or if you’re being overcharged…I guess that’s why I wondered if people ever shopped around for the best deal, like they would for any other part of their wedding. I think I’ll probably end up getting it done through Macy’s since the dress was rather pricey and I know they will fix any mistakes if any were made, but I still wonder.
Post # 7
@charmedbride I think it’s always good to shop around, that’s how you make informed decisions 🙂
Are you in NorCal or SoCal area? I had my dress alteration done by this amazing lady. She was pretty cheap too ($160 for dress alteration plus making me a sash).
She lives in Fremont area and I got her information from two other friends that got married before I did. Let me know if you want her info.
Post # 8
Charmedbride, I’m pretty sure I know who ipodgirl is talking about, and she’s phenomenal. Not super cheap, but still. Also, keep in mind that most Macy’s (or dept store’s in general), don’t have in-house tailors anymore. So they send stuff to a local tailor, and they may charge a mark up (or who knows, maybe a discount). Essy’s, the place I go for everything in Fremont, actually does do tailoring for the Newark Macy’s.
I agree that good tailoring is expensive, but to be honest, I’d rather talk to the person who is actually going to be doing the alterations than a random salesperson at Macy’s (though it’s also possible that the tailor will come to your appointment, something worth finding out). So I’d still say shop around. Ask them specific questions…like if they are moving a zipper, how will the do it. Exactly what seams will the open etc. I know a reasonable amount about sewing/tailoring so I can get a good feel, but even if you don’t the specificity with which they answer your questions will tell you how good they are. If you are paying a lot for alterations, then you want to know they will be done well.
Post # 9
I would definitely say ask for recommendations-it’s your wedding dress so you definitely don’t want it messed up! I bought mine out of town so alterations at the bridal store would have been super inconvenient. I called the local bridal store and they won’t do them if you didnt purchase your dress there, but they did refer me to a lady who does alterations in her spare time out of her house.
For a bustle, adding cups, removing a sash, and shortening the length one inch it is going to be $65.00-$85.00, I’m sure in part because she has no overhead!
Post # 10
I shopped around. I was quoted $650-$1200 for what i thought were ‘simple alterations’ by various bridal salons. I ended up getting my alterations completed by a couturier for $250. Make sure you get reccomendations though! If your bridal salon scews up, they can probably get you a new dress. If an outside place does something wrong, youre screwed.
Post # 11
- Wedding: September 2009 - Westwind YWCA camp
usually the price of alterations depends heavily on the type of dress.
My dress is simple, but lace. I needed it hemmed, and on a lace dress, this is NOT simple.
My alterations (fix the v-neck a bit, shorten the straps, get a french bustle, hem – similar to you) came to $500, but I’m getting them done with a cute little russian lady that does alterations out of her home.
I’d look up reviews for good seamstresses in your area – that’s how I found mine, and she’s amazing!
Post # 12
Thanks for all of the advice and input ladies! I wish I could take advantage of this amazing seamstress you’re talking about, ipodgirl, but the wedding is not in CA and my dress is in a salon in my hometown! I appreciate it though!
So I’m wondering, when you go into your alterations appointment, is it possible to get them to quote you a price you need based on you just wearing the dress? Or do they need to do all that pinning and tucking first and if you decline their services based on cost, have to awkwardly leave with your pins in your dress =P? I’m such an alterations noob!