Have you decided that you want nothing less than perfection for your big day? That only something as unique and beautiful as you will suffice to walk down the aisle in? That you want something incredible creating especially for you? Or maybe you’re on a tight budget and you believe having something made is a cheaper option? Whatever your reason for wanting a bespoke dress you need to read the following guide to help you decide the best thing for you.
Getting some ideas and advice from the internet is fine, but you may begin to feel lost and overwhelmed! You could start with our Wedding Planner to plan your budget, but then you have to stick to it! Armed with some ideas and a strict budget, go and see a good dressmaker to discuss your options.
Try on LOTS of dresses in boutiques, there shouldn’t be any obligation to buy. You’re the one who will be wearing the dress and spending all the money, therefore you’re the one in charge! If you are a little bit shy and/or “too nice” then bring a friend or relative that can read you like a book and ask them to take charge of the conversation.
If you have a creative friend, bring them to draw up designs or take notes of what you’re feeling each time you put on a different dress – you might love the neckline of one, the skirt of another, and the back of another – there may be a dress out there to fit all your requirements and each time you try one on you’re getting that much closer to finding “the one”!
Having a bespoke dress may not be as expensive as you think!
It may not be as expensive as you think. If you have an idea of what you want and a budget then that it a very good starting point. If you’ve no idea what you want or how much it will cost then book a consultation with an experienced dressmaker and ask them everything you want to know!
If I was commissioned to make a wedding dress I would ask the bride what style of dress they usually like to wear and what they think suits them, what fabrics they like, what colour they like (wedding dresses don’t have to be white or ivory!) – I could start sketching ideas from this, or find a dressmakers pattern similar to what they want as a starting point, depending on the budget. The latter option means a LOT of the pattern will have already been drafted, and you can adapt every piece to the client’s measurements so the dress will still be a perfect fit, even if the bride is different sizes all over. I’ve measured a lot of women and I can honestly say I don’t think one is a standard size!
At the opposite end of the scale, if you don’t have a budget and you will pay whatever it costs for your perfect dress then you can really have a lot of fun with it! Do you want the absolute best quality fabrics in a simple design that is perfectly tailored to your body? Or an elaborate design that wouldn’t look out of place on a catwalk? Then expect to pay a lot and to have a lot of fittings!
Allow time for these! I usually work around my brides’ schedules and do offer evening and weekend appointments.
Start enquiring around 10-12 months before the wedding, the dressmaker you want may be very busy, get booked in with them sooner rather than later then they can give you a realistic time-frame of how long it will take to make, and how often they want to see you for fittings.
If you plan to lose or gain weight before your big day then advise your dressmaker of this and expect to have extra fittings. Set realistic goals for this too, speak to a personal trainer and/or nutritionist so you can gain or lose the weight you want steadily and healthily.
Don’t think of your bridal outfit as a “wedding dress”, think of it as the dress that you’re going to wear to your wedding.
A good dressmaker will be able to adapt any dress – whether it’s a “normal” dress or a “wedding” dress. Do you have your Mother’s or another family member’s dress that you could have adapted into a modern style? If not, you might get lucky hunting in charity shops for one.
Or why not try a pre-owned wedding dress shop like our very own Carol’s? She sells stunning designer dresses at a fraction of the price and I’m her official seamstress so I’ll be available to chat about all your ideas for your dream dress to make it yours!
Whatever route you take, as long as you’re happy, comfortable, and feel a million pounds in your dress, then you know you’ve made the right choice.