First off, I will say that I hate being taken advantage of. I will also admit that I do not know what all goes into alterations for a wedding dress, so I may be underestimating the amount of work that goes into altering a dress.
Mr. Santos was recommended to me by the place I bought my dress from. I took it there and he took all the usual measurements. I didn't ask for a quote (hindsight says I should have got something in writing). I also asked for a bolero jacket to be made, but I did get an oral quote or $200 or possibly even $300 depending on the detail of the jacket.
The alterations to be done on the dress (for a better idea), were the following:
1) Taking it in at the waist and hips (Dress was a size 6 and needed to be closer to a four in the waist and minor taking in at the hips)
2) The straps needed to be shortened
3) Hemmed at the bottom
4) modesty panel as the dress is low cut
The detail on the dress is that it has ruching (goolge Watters 1039B)
The first time I went for a fitting after the alterations, the fit of one of the shoulders wasn't right. (I thought it was obvious as it didn't quite sit on my shoulder). Mr. Santos tried to tell me that it was fine, but okay he would take it in.
The second fitting, I also asked that it be taken in a little more around the hip/ waist area as it didn't sit quite right. (I probably should have mentioned this in the first fitting, but I wasn't sure until I saw it on again.)
The third fitting was for the jacket. The shoulder area was a bit big and puffy. I asked that it be taken in. Again, he tried to tell me it was okay but it really didn't fit right.
I will say that the final product was good. The dress and the jacket fit well in the end and he made some design decisions that went against what we talked about , but were actually better in the long run. I will give him credit for that. Mr. Santo's is also very personable and easy to like so I also almost feel bad about writing this review.
In the end when it came to paying, I was in a bit of shock. I had assumed about $450 - $500 for the dress alterations and maybe $300 for the bolero when all was said and done. I thought I was being reasonably conservative. The final price was about $300 more then I had expected. I couldn't believe it would cost so much. The dress alterations cost almost more then the dress itself.
The final cost for the jacket was around $400 and though it was a nice jacket, it was not $400 worth of niceness. In the end he told me he quoted $300 for the jacket, but I know that isn't true. I wouldn't have agreed to a jacket where the starting price was $300. I would have looked online for something else.
I didn't argue the price. I was in shock, but I needed the dress so I paid. I will say that it ruined the dress for me. It tainted it. I didn't care about the dress, and actually I wished I had another dress. Even during the wedding, I could have cared less about the handling. Everyone loved the dress, but I couldn't see it.
In the end I felt like he pegged me for someone who could afford the cost. The price he asked for was off the top of his head (no notes). I will again admit that I do not know the amount of work that goes into altering a dress but I felt like I was taken advantage of. Maybe for regular altering of clothes, it would be different.
If you are looking to alter a wedding dress, I would get a written quote on the work to be done so you are not surprised. The final work done was good (not great) but it was good, but I think I could have found a place that cost less with the same quality of work. I believe he is capable of great work as he is proud of the work, but what was done for me, did not match the cost I paid.