Inform Bridesmaid Attendants about their Alteration Responsibilities

Bridesmaid Dress Alteration Responsibilities

As the bride, you have asked six of your closest relatives or friends to be your bridesmaids. With joyful glee, they have each accepted with a resounding, “YES!” Once the excitement has settled and your bridesmaid dress shopping begins, it is important to let your attendants be a part of the planning. Though there are many aspects of being an attendant, the bridesmaid dress and alterations are at the top of the list. By communicating your specific expectations, you can alleviate any conflict before it arises.

Some of the questions your attendants might be thinking shortly after you ask them to be part of the wedding include, What color is she going to choose? Will she let us pick out our own style? How much is this going to cost?

As the bride, you may have decided to choose the color, style and cost on your own. Or you may have asked for input from those who will be directly affected. Dress alterations are a major consideration when searching for the perfect bridesmaid dress. There are several points to remember and to pass along to your wedding party.


Order the Right Size

One of the most important ways to avoid costly alterations is to order the correct size. A reputable bridal salon will have trained professionals on staff to take your measurements and may even have you try on the manufacturer dress size to double check. Bridal sizes are not equal to regular street clothes sizing.  You may wear a size 8 in day-to-day clothing; however in a bridal size you may be a 10 or 12. Don’t be alarmed or insist on a smaller size based on a number. Order the recommended size, as taking a dress in a little is much easier then letting a dress out.

FIT TIP – When you purchase your bridesmaid gowns, ask the bridal shop if they will hem the dresses for free. Since you are buying several gowns, they may be willing to accommodate your request. It never hurts to ask!


No matter what size bridesmaid dress they order or what price range you choose from, most of the time the dress will need to be altered in some way. Bridesmaid dresses are not custom fit unless you have a seamstress make them specifically for you. The three most common alterations are straps, side seams and hems. These all play a factor in the final cost of the dress depending on the intricacy of the gown constriction. It is your responsibility, as the bride, to make sure your attendants are aware of the extra cost. Find out if a family friend or relative could do the alterations for you. If so, you could eliminate some of the drudgery by holding an alteration party afternoon.

FIT TIP – To save on alteration costs, avoid chiffon. This material is more difficult to work with and hems take longer to complete. If you have your heart set on chiffon, be sure to make your bridesmaids aware of the possible extra cost.


If you have bridesmaids in different cities or states, it is best to send specific instructions on how the alterations should be completed. We recommend the hem of a longer dress to be 1” inch off the floor, allowing the beautiful hem of the dress to sweep elegantly while avoiding stumbling or tripping. If you have selected tea length gowns, it is important to note your desired length (i.e. the measurement of the distance from the ground to the dress hem). Remember, each person is a different height, and one seamstress’ idea of ‘tea length’ may be 4” inches shorter then another’s.  Communicating your wishes on such simple decisions as hem length will prevent any confusion or tears, as once the hem is cut it is impossible to sew back on.

FIT TIP– Save the fabric! Even as little as 2” inches of fabric from the hem of your bridesmaid dresses will allow you to add accents to their bridal bouquets or decorations on the reception tables. The possibilities are endless.

It may be hard to remember all the details of everyone else’s dresses in your wedding party when you’ve got your own to worry about too. But, by having your bridesmaids order the right size dress, explaining alteration costs and communicating details such as hem length, you can be sure everyone has the necessary information to make their alterations as simple as possible. That way you can spend more time thinking about the really fun activities – bridal shower, bachelorette party and of course the WEDDING!