Tips on Altering a Dress for Modesty

modest wedding dresses for LDS brides, photo by Carly Daniel photography for
Photo Courtesy of Stacey Kay Photography

Modest wedding gowns are few and far between, especially if you live in an area where there aren’t many modest wedding gown retailers that cater to Latter-day Saints. One option, often selected by LDS brides with no other choice, is to buy a dress that comes close to being modest and having it altered by a seamstress. Doing this is trickier than it sounds, so make sure that you follow some general wedding dress alteration guidelines.

Not All Wedding Dresses Can Become Modest

altering a wedding dress for modesty, photo by,
Photo Courtesy of Marielle Hayes Photography
If you buy a dress planning to add sleeves or otherwise modify it for modesty,  you need to be very careful. Certain types of wedding gowns lend themselves well to such modifications, while others don’t. You can’t just buy any old dress you like and expect a tailor to be able to add sleeves that look like they were always part of the dress.

When you choose a wedding dress, your deposit is generally non-refundable. Having to pass up the dress and lose your deposit, or even returning a dress after you’ve paid in full, can be pretty painful on top of all the other expenses of a wedding.

tips on Altering a wedding dress for modesty

Bring the Seamstress Wedding Dress Shopping

The best way to avoid unpleasant surprises is to bring the tailor with you when you go dress shopping. They will be able to tell you at a glance which dresses can be modified and which ones can’t.  They will examine seams and hems to tell you exactly what they can and can’t do with the dress.

Even in cases where sleeves and other coverage can’t be added, there are other solutions like adding a shawl, wrap, or stylish short jacket to foster modest wedding gown standards. Don’t discount the possibilities for no-sew solutions as they apply to modest wedding dresses. 

modest wedding dresses for LDS brides, photo by Carly Daniel photography for
Photo Courtesy of Allichelle Photography

Hiring a LDS Wedding Dress Tailor

Since they only get one shot at creating the perfect wedding dress for you, the selection of your tailor is crucial. Compile a list of potential seamstresses and ask one:

  • Do you charge by the hour or by the type of modification being done?
  • How much is the deposit and how much do I owe upon completion of the dress?
  • How long will it take to alter my dress?
  • Do you have previous experience in tailoring modest wedding gowns?

Avoid a seamstress that charges 100% of the fee up-front, because you’ll lose everything if you’re not satisfied with her work in the end. It’s also best to bring in a sketch or pictures of the types of modifications you want, since verbal descriptions can sometimes lead to misunderstandings.

Realizing that you might be able to modify an immodest gown opens up your eyes to more possibilities when you shop for the perfect Mormon wedding dress, but know that even the best tailors have their limitations. If you understand basic rules of wedding dress modification, you are in a good position to alter your way to the wedding gown of your dreams.

♥ Jenny Evans
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Modest Wedding Dresses, LDS temple weddings

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