(Closed) Do you have to have BM dresses altered?

posted 5 years ago in Bridesmaids
Post # 2
9485 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

the dresses my girls picked were $139.  i paid $100 towards each dress (3 of them) but the balance and alterations were on them. 

i also paid for hair and makeup if they wanted it.

my gift to them wasn’t extravagant, but i also gave them a gift for being a Bridesmaid or Best Man as the above I didn’t count as the gift.

Post # 3
2076 posts
Buzzing bee

I have always had to have a Bridesmaid or Best Man dress altered.  Whether it be in the hips or the hem or even the bust.  I have never had a special occassion dress fit perfectly.

If you want to make being a Bridesmaid or Best Man affordable for your friends then ask them their budget individually before you even look at dresses.

If you wish to help them out with the alteration costs then I suggest you give them each $50 (or whatever you decide) and tell them to please use it towards their alterations.  Not everyone will have the same exact changes to make nor will it all cost the same, but giving the same out is pretty fair.  Also, they should take their dresses to whoever they wish in regards to alterations. They shoudn’t be forced to use the salons seamstress or anything like that.

Post # 4
10473 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

The women in our wedding party are all picking their own dress (letting yours do this would really help with costs) so if they want alterations it’s up to them. I know FI’s best friend is going to wear the bridesmaids dress she bought for her sister’s wedding last year, which I know was expensive so I’m glad she has another opportunity to wear it! Future Sister-In-Law has been in 4 weddings this past year and I don’t think any of her dresses needed to be altered. I think it really depends on the person and their height/shape.

The best thing to do would be to ask each bridesmaids, individually, what they are comfortable spending and pick a dress within the lowest budget given. You could offer to pay for alterations, if you would like.

Post # 5
1833 posts
Buzzing bee

If you have a large chested Bridesmaid or Best Man the rest of her dress will be big because they order according to the largest measurement.  One of DD’s BM’s is extremely large chested and nothing about that dress even came close to fitting her except in the chest area.  I have seen this occur in all of my daughters’ weddings.  It is rare to not need alterations.

If you let them purchase non Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses from a brick and mortar store there is a far less chance of needing alterations.  I think it is just another trick of the wedding industry to suck your wallet dry.

Post # 6
859 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2016

It truly depends on the body shape, the fabric of the dress and what alteration is needed.

I am tall and thin with big boobs so I always end up getting a bigger size and needing it taken in or get the right size but the boob area needs loosening. I also had a wedding where the bride ordered knee length dresses with a slight flair but wanted them altered to be pencil. That was annoying but not worth the fight.

Are you the bride or the bridesmaid? I can’t tell from your post.

Post # 7
995 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

I picked a color scheme and am having the girls all pick their own dresses. They can buy off the rack or pick something that needs altering, totally up to them. One of my girls got hers on clearance for $21!! And my sister spent about $100 on hers. So, it gives them a good range of what they can spend.

Another option would be to pick short dresses… usually less alterations bc of length.

Post # 8
8998 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

View original reply
ehmmgee:  it depends on the dress. 2 out of 3 bridesmaid dresses fit me off the rack and 1 I needed to get altered (the boobs were ridiculously huge in order to get a dress big enough to fit my hips….first time that had ever happened to me!).

Post # 9
626 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2016

I have been a Bridesmaid or Best Man twice. Once I didn’t need the dress altered at all because it had a corset back which meant I could make it tighter in some places and looser in others. The other time, I needed a large size to accommodate my hips but it was enormous in the top so I had to have the top taken in. I’m pretty tall but not tall enough to need extra length so I don’t typically need to get special occasion dresses hemmed.


Post # 10
1569 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

View original reply
ehmmgee:  I’ve purchased 4 Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses and only had one altered, and that was because I ordered 2-3 sizes larger than normal since that was the only size available (Target dress, not a normal Bridesmaid or Best Man dress maker).


Yes, if you want a perfect fit you should probably have them altered, but I’ve found that most store sizing fits well for me and still fits the vision of the bride.

Post # 11
698 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

In the past three years we’ve had 4 weddings, including mine, in the immediate family.  We all needed alterations.  For my middle sister’s wedding I needed them because I got a long dress and it was nearly 7 inches too long (I’m 5’2″) and the shoulders in it were made for a line backer, it seemed.  For my wedding, my youngest sister needed them in her knee length dress because she’s 4’10” and the knee length dress came down to almost a capri-pant length.  My middle sister had her dress altered for my wedding because her bust was way, way too big for her normal size so she had to buy up about 4 sizes to get something to fit her bust.  If you’re a pretty standard size with a typical heigh you might be fine, but we all had issues with the shoulders if it wasn’t strapless, the length to the knee, the bust or some other number of things.

Post # 12
2375 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

The dresses I’ve worn as a bridesmaid all needed alterations, and the dresses for my bridesmaids all needed them as well. Nothing major, mostly hems, straps, and bust area. From what I’ve seen, most dresses are cut a bit large in the bust area, and a bit long, because it’s far easier to take in a bit or hem up an inch, than it is to add room in the bust or add length.

Post # 13
13905 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

I think my girls had some minor alterations – mainly hemming them to be the correct length with whatever shoes they wore. 

I’ve had to have dresses altered aboutt 50% of the time.  One had fairly major alterations, a few were hems, and some fit perfectly as they were.

Post # 14
9006 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

View original reply
ehmmgee:  TBH, I don’t understand why Bridesmaid or Best Man dresses need to be altered. I mean, sometimes, sure. If someone has an unusual shape or a dress is especially form-fitting then I can see needing alterations. But most people (that I know, at least) don’t get their sundresses or suits or “regular” clothes altered. And nobody is scrutinizing the BMs that closely. So why do their dresses need to be altered. Who cares if the waist is a tiny bit loose? Just seems like a lot of time and money for something that will have miniscule impact on anything.

Post # 15
7698 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I’ve worn a LOT of bridesmaid dresses and all but one required alterations. One just required a hem, the others all required more, one required extensive alterations to fit my six months’ pregnant self. 

Anything sheath-like will likely require alterations for most of your BMs. An A-Line is more forgiving and may just require a hem. A hem on short dresses will depend upon the height of your BMs–if you want them all at the knee, for example, and you have a Bridesmaid or Best Man at 5’2″, one at 5’5″ and one at 5’8″ there will be hemming involved as they will all arrive with the same drop. 

Salons can vary greatly in what they charge for alterations, so you may want to shop around before you order. You can offer to pay for alterations to help out your BMs and make sure your bridal party appears at their best. Or, as PPs have suggested, let your BMs select their own off-the-rack dresses.

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