How is a Bespoke Wedding dress made?

Lots of brides-to-be call me expecting a bespoke wedding dress to cost a fortune, but many are pleasantly surprised that’s it’s a lot less expensive than they had thought. Many have had disappointing shopping trips, just not finding what they want, or liking something but the designer price tag being in excess of £5,000.

But how does it work when you get something made?

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 factored in the cost for alterations. Dresses range from approximately £950 - £1,500 depending on the type of dress and fabrics.

I thought it would be a good idea to explain in more detail how the process works.

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 required can vary from 3 to 8 months. Some brides have a very clear idea of what they want before they even meet me, however 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 or dresses 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 ideas you love, we can edit this down later. Even if a picture is only for one little thing it's still worth saving. I also have trends boards that I've put together, showing all the looks that are currently popular.

If you're not sure what dress 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.

I have bodice and skirt samples to show you too, so you can see how various fabrics look together, and you can mix and match different idea's, layering fabrics up etc. You can also see different construction techniques.

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. I have a vast selection of fabrics, laces and trims, so can show you things to suit your budget. 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 around 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. I don't think Allison (below) will mind me sharing how stunning she looked on her wedding day in her 'disco ball' dress.

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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