Thinking of designing your own wedding dress? It may seem daunting but it can end up being cost-effective and a way to get the exact, unique dress of your dreams. You need to think very carefully before embarking on this route, however, and do a lot of research. It may be that you simply can’t find the right dress for you in your local bridalwear shops, or are after something that is difficult to buy off-the-peg – so commissioning a handmade wedding dress is the way to go for you!
Firstly, work out what you are after – scour wedding magazines and websites to find the style and design that you absolutely love. It may be that you are mixing and matching several aspects of wedding dresses, or going for something that is not traditional, like a medieval or Gothic or Victorian style etc. The wonderful thing about designing your own wedding dress is that you can create something perfectly suited to your personality and style – just make sure that the fit and cut of the dress you are after suits your body shape. Think about:
- The general style (A-line, empire, ballgown, bodice and skirt, retro, vintage, sheath etc)
- The length
- The train (if any)
- The straps/sleeves (if any)
- The fabric
- The colour
Next you need to find an experienced and professional seamstress to make it for you – unless you, or someone you know is very savvy with a sewing machine! Although it is cheaper to get a crafty friend to have a go, are you really sure you want to put your wedding dress dreams into the hands of someone who doesn’t do this for a living? Do a local search for a wedding seamstress or wedding dressmaker and visit them to find out what styles they seem most comfortable with and have a good look through their portfolio.
Once you’ve found a seamstress you want to work with, you will have a consultation to decide on styles, designs, fabrics, details and so s/he can take your measurements. Listen to the advice of your dressmaker – they can guide you in terms of the most flattering styles and best fabrics to suit your plans. They will then usually make a calico muslin of your dress to make sure it fits well – expect between three and five fittings before your dress is fully finished. Although you can have off-the-peg wedding gowns altered to fit better, there’s nothing like a bespoke wedding dress that fits like a glove!
Making a wedding dress from scratch can take between six and twelve months, and the cost will vary greatly between seamstresses and depends on the fabrics, style and details you choose, but a handmade dress usually costs between £600 and £2000.
If you wish, most seamstresses will also offer to make coordinating bridesmaids dresses, flower girl dresses and matching accessories.
But if that seems like a whole lot of effort and expense, then before you go down the design-your-own road, have a look in factory outlets and discount designer wedding dress suppliers who generally stock one-off or end-of-line designer gowns, meaning you will still find something unique and ‘off-the-peg’ without the expense and time consuming efforts of designing your own!