The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Dress Alterations


Make the dress fit you

Congratulations on your engagement! Whether you have already said ‘yes to the dress’ or you’re still search for ‘the one’ we are here to give you all the details on wedding dress alterations. 

What are wedding dress alterations? 

It can be disheartening when your dress finally arrives and it doesn’t quite fit right. This is because while we take your measurements at your appointment, we often have to match you to the closest possible fit before it can be altered unique to you. 

Wedding dress alterations are when a seamstress tailors the dress to perfectly fit your figure. A seamstress will take your measurements and make any amendments required to make the dress fit you like a glove. It is easy to underestimate the impact alterations can have, but the flawless fit of an altered gown just enhances your overall look and boosts your confidence.


Veasna - Rosa Clara | Hannah Elizabeth Bridal

Alteration timings

How long before my wedding should I get my dress altered? 

You can’t rush perfection, and we always recommend allowing at least 2-3 months for alterations, but essentially the more time the better. Wedding dress timelines can seem like a lot to remember, so we’ve created this handy guide. 

How many appointments do I need?

This will depend on the number of alterations being made and if you change weight or shape between appointments. Usually a bride can expect to have two or three fitting appointments, with the first one lasting the longest. 

How long does a fitting appointment last?

Typically, the first fitting appointment will last one hour. This is the longest appointment as the seamstress talks you through the process and pins all the necessary changes. Subsequent fitting appointments should be a lot quicker as any changes should be minor.

Alterations 101


What can be adapted

The basic changes we recommend all brides make to their dresses to ensure the perfect ‘custom’ fit, is to hem the length of the dress so that it grazes the floor and to adjust the bust to fit flawlessly. But, the options are endless when altering a wedding dress, from adding sleeves to extra embellishment. Speak to your seamstress to find out what services they are able to offer.

What size dress should I buy?

We will help you decide this at Hannah Elizabeth Bridal, but typically we order your dress to your biggest measurement, so if you are bigger busted for example you may need a dress size bigger than your waist and hips. It is easier for a seamstress to alter the dress to make those areas smaller, than to try and make a smaller dress bigger. 

How much can be let out

This will depend on the style of the dress and fabrics used. We will be able to guide you on this when you have chosen your dress, but some gowns are able to be adjusted up to two sizes smaller. 

Jane Hill | Hannah Elizabeth Bridal
Catherine Deane | Hannah Elizabeth Bridal

Wedding dress alteration tops tips


Shoes and underwear

For all your fitting appointments ensure you take your bridal shoes and the underwear you plan to wear on the day. We recommend nude underwear instead of white to ensure this does not show through your gown. 

Realistic wedding weight 

You may plan to shed a few pounds or maybe you’re planning to gain seven extra pounds with a new bundle of joy. Consider your wedding weight when buying your dress, and book your alterations closer to the wedding date if you think your weight is likely to fluctuate. 

Consider your bra 

Before falling in love with a backless gown, consider your bra options. For our fuller chested lovelies who cannot forgo a bra, you’ll want to pick a dress that covers your bra.

Lots of design changes

If you’re wanting to change your neckline, add sleeves and make countless other design changes to your dress, then is it really the right dress for you? Be honest with yourself when picking your dress and allow us to help you find the dress of your dreams. 

Dresses from Hannah Elizabeth Bridal


At Hannah Elizabeth Bridal we do not have an in-house alteration service, however all of our lovely brides will be given details of our favourite seamstresses and all the information you need to have a stress-free alteration experience. 

If you are still searching for your dream dress, look no further than Hannah Elizabeth Bridal. Book your appointment to explore our stunning gowns, or head to our website to check out our upcoming events.


Your bridal appointment

Our award winning bridal boutique is located in the Hampshire village of Botley, home to our carefully curated collection of modern luxe wedding gowns. From the streets of Paris, to the beaches of Australia, and the hustle and bustle of NYC – we’ve selected the finest bridal designers from across the globe, all specialising in exquisite designs, classic couture and exclusive styles. Your bespoke experience starts the moment you make contact with us. From our first phone consultation to your exciting and luxurious bridal boutique appointment. We lead you with our expertise and guide you through our extraordinary array of designers, their exquisite fabrics and mesmerising designs. We passionately provide an unparalleled, inspirational and high-end bridal shopping experience.


find inspiration

5 High Street, Botley,
Southampton, Hampshire,
SO30 2EA