Shall I buy a sample dress? Pros and Cons  

Sample wedding gowns can be a tempting alternative to bespoke and pre-ordered wedding dresses. They are often heavily discounted due to wear and tear and the difference in size. If the sample bridal dress is in good condition and fits within two sizes, it might be worth considering.

The downside of buying a sample wedding dress is that it is essential to keep a sufficient budget for alterations, repairs, and dry cleaning to make the dress perfect for your wedding day.


Sample Wedding Dress – Too Big

If a sample gown is two sizes bigger or smaller, bear in mind that the dress almost needs retailoring. Seams need to be unpicked and resewn, which can take time, especially with complex couture gowns whose bodices are corseted, boned, hand-finished, and sometimes with overlapping laces. We resize and our seamstresses re-apply the distinctive couture finish.


Sample Wedding Dress – Too Small

If a wedding gown is too small, we need to add panels and gussets to add extra width. We regularly restyle bodices and turn them into laced corsets, which can be a beautiful feature on your dress.


Alteration Costs for Sample Wedding Dresses

Alteration costs of bridal wear depend on the style, construction, and fabric of your wedding dress. With many different bridal types available, it is impossible to provide cost estimates without seeing your dress. For first enquiries, please send us photographs of your dress and you wearing it  – front – side and back view.


Time Estimates

Sample Ball Gowns & Couture Gowns

Take-in corseted bodice – 8/10 hours

Restyling of a too-small corset into a laced corset – 8/11 hours

Shortening – full-skirt layers, depending on the finish – 1 hour per layer

Sample Wedding Dresses

Take-in sides, from underarm through hips  – 2.5-3 hours

Lift shoulders – 1/1.5 hours

Reshape neckline – 2/3 hours

Adding a modesty panel – 2/3 hours



Our charges are based on time at an hourly rate of £60+VAT for alterations and fittings. Final prices vary according to the complexity of the alteration depending on the dress construction.


Enquiries, Bride & Alter, 14 Ingate Place, London SW8 9NS

*B&A offers free consultations pre-wedding dress shopping to equip you with the knowledge you need to choose the correct style, size, and finish to buy the perfect dress for your wedding day!

photo reference:

Top: Alice Temperley bridal showroom, Somerset

Bottom: B&A workroom

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