What to expect when having a bespoke wedding dress made.

Choosing your wedding dress is not easy, with so many to choose from and so much pressure from everyone asking about it, it can be a daunting task. Social media and unrealistic airbrushed photos certainly don't help!

Lots of brides-to-be enquire about having a bespoke dress, often after disappointing shopping trips, but they have no idea how it works, and often expect it to cost a fortune.

In terms of costs you might be surprised. I can't compete with Wed2Be or a sample sale, however, my dresses are no more expensive than most other bridal shops, especially once you've paid for alterations. Dresses range from around £950 - £1,195 depending on the type of dress and fabrics.

I thought it would be a good idea to explain in more detail how I work. I've included a few pictures from when I made my own wedding dress, to help explain what happens.

So, every bride is different and has different ideas of the perfect dress. We don't all have the same budget, and time frames vary depending if you're having a short or long engagement. However, the process is roughly the same, regardless of what you want.

Depending on the time of year, and how busy I am, the time I need can vary from 3 to 8 months. Some women know exactly what they want before they even meet me, and some only have a vague idea and the design evolves along the way. Either way is fine for me, I love that no two brides are the same.

If you don't have a clear idea, a good start is to have a look on Pinterest and start a board with all the things you love, we can edit this down later. Even if a picture is only for one little thing it's still worth saving.

Set a budget. It's very easy to get carried away when it comes to weddings, so it's always a good idea to set a price limit. I have a vast selection of fabrics so can show you fabrics to suit your budget.

If you're not sure what kind of shapes suit you, go and try some dresses on. It doesn't necessarily have to be wedding dresses, just any that are the kind of shapes, fabrics, details, colour and necklines you're thinking of.

Think about the venue. What style suits the venue and the aisle you're going to walk down. Is it practical for sitting, being outside, travelling in a car etc. Will your children be there, and if so, is it too delicate for little fingers to pull at!

Once I meet you we can design your dress and choose fabrics, trims etc. This doesn't need to be set in stone at this point, within reason the design can be changed a fair bit along the way. I can only give a definite price however once the fabrics have been finalised. The fit can be adjusted if you want to lose any weight or tone up, however if it's going to be dramatic, which is often the case if you've just had a baby, I'd need to know this at the beginning, it won't be a problem if I'm aware though.

The first fitting will be to try on the calico toile (sample). Please excuse this dodgy selfie of me in mine! At this stage I will make sure it fits like a glove and you're happy with the shape. It's not the most glamorous of things to try on, but it's an essential part of the process, and is the start of your dress coming together.

If a lot is changed at this stage I will probably make a second sample before starting to make the real thing.

The amount of fittings needed depends on the style of dress, but is usually 4-6.

Once this is all done it's time to start the exciting bit. The hard work starts for me, and you'll soon get to try on your dress for the first time, albeit with pins and lots of tacking.

Once we're both happy with this I will put the dress together properly. Everyone tells me how nice it is to see their dress coming together rather than just going and buying one.

Once the dress is made any embellishments and trims are added. Quite often these details aren't decided until the dress is put together fully.

Some brides like to get their dress made nice and early, but I always advise a last fitting a few weeks before your wedding, just in case your size has changed slightly. I want it to fit perfectly!

And then finally, after a lot of deliberating and hard work, your big day arrives and you get to wear your dress that is truly unique.

If there's anything I've not covered here, or you'd like to find out more, please get in touch. You can also see some of my recent projects here.

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