Every bride has their own fairytale wedding in mind and finding that one perfect gown to make you feel exceptionally beautiful and special can be the biggest challenge of all. Have you tried on gown after gown and found nothing you liked? Or perhaps you’ve found a few with different aspects you love but not all in the one dress? If this is you then don’t fret; you’re not alone! Finding a non-generic and unique wedding dress that ticks all the boxes is becoming more and more difficult nowadays. As off-shore bridal production increases, wedding gowns are becoming cheaper but unfortunately at the cost of high-quality. If you’re struggling to find that dream gown then perhaps you should consider getting your wedding dress custom-made. The biggest misconception about custom-made is that it won’t be within your budget. When you find the right Couturier and Designer, they will work with your chosen budget and will guide you through all the possibilities to make your dream gown come to life.
Designer: d’Italia, Real Bride: Jasmine Latif, Photographer: @hakandalar, MUA: @makeupby.demi, Florals: @houseofbloss
1. KNOW YOUR BUDGET
When considering custom-made it is crucial to know your budget constraints. The first thing most designers and dressmakers will ask is what your maximum spending limit is. This will give them a good idea of what possibilities to explore as well as give you an idea of what can be achieved. A lot of brides tend to be quite unsure as to what budget is realistic when opting for a custom-couture gown. Whilst the price will vary from label to label it’s important to ask for a ballpark figure to give you an idea of whether your vision is possible.
Designer: Anya Fleet
Most professional designers and dressmakers won’t compromise on the quality of the materials and laces used to construct your gown therefore you should be aware that you may need to invest slightly more into a custom-piece in comparison to an off-the-rack gown. If you’re happy to opt for a slightly cheaper fabric and lace then it’s important to let your dressmaker/designer know from the beginning. This could cut down 50% of your fabric costs. But do keep in mind, that most designers will only use premium bridal fabric.
At d’Italia a simple, non-lace gown usually costs between $2000-$3000. Any gown with lace or embellishments will start around $3500 (all inclusive). The pricing will vary depending on lots of little details such as the length of your train, the lace you select, the amount of fabric you require and if your gown needs in-built corsetry etc. For brides on a smaller budget don’t be afraid to tell your consultant the absolute maximum amount you would like to spend. The beauty of custom-made is that anything is possible and your professional bridal consultant will know exactly how to help you bring your vision to life.
Designer: Rime Arodaky
2. BE OPEN TO CHANGES AND TRUST THE GUIDANCE OF YOUR DRESSMAKER
It’s important to know the basic shape to allow your Dressmaker to give you a more accurate ballpark costing. A good Designer will be able to guide you with fine-tuning the style and recommending different details and features that will complete the look and flatter your body shape. Whilst having a clear idea of what you’re after is super helpful, be prepared for the style to change slightly throughout the process. Most custom-couture labels will give you the opportunity to try on a mock-up gown before the final one is made. This is usually made from a cotton Calico material and gives you the opportunity to make slight changes and ensure the gown fits you perfectly before your dressmaker cuts the final fabric. As you try on your gown throughout the toiling stage, you’ll often find that the style will change slightly. From this process, you may discover that specific details and finishing’s do not suit you as well as you had hoped. Your bridal Couturier will work closely with you to modify the style accordingly and ensure you’re happy with every aspect of the gown (from the design features to the fit and drape). It’s important to be open to the suggestions and advice of your couturier. Trust in their knowledge and experience, because they will know the best way to bring your ideas to life. As they say… communication is the key!
Designer: Solo Merav Haute Couture
3. YOU DON’T NEED TO KNOW A THING ABOUT FASHION
Getting a gown custom-made from scratch can be a very scary process, especially for anyone who hasn’t gone through this experience before. A common concern that most brides have before diving right in, is whether or not they need to know anything about fashion and garment construction. Figuring out what dress styles suit your body shape the best, along with what neckline details, laces and fabrics will be most flattering for you can be a challenging and confusing task. The good news is, you’re not alone. When getting a gown custom-made you will work closely with your designer and dressmaker to put all your ideas together and bring your vision to life. You don’t need to worry about knowing what style will suit you or the different types of fabrics you could use. In fact, your designer won’t expect you to know every detail of your dress when you meet for the first time. The main thing you need to know is your wedding budget and the rough inspirations. Your designer will guide you with fine-tuning the style, suggesting flattering necklines and sleeve ideas for your figure, recommending the suitable train length for your dress shape and height, along with the perfect fabrics to create your truly unique and one-of-a-kind masterpiece.
Designer: Gali Karten (Paris Collection)
4. PRODUCTION DOESN’T START STRAIGHT AWAY
Unlike a pre-made off-the-rack gown, the custom-made process generally requires a much greater time-frame. But despite this, you most likely won’t begin production straight away. Why is that, you may ask?… The custom-made process focuses significantly on nailing the perfect fit and with most brides wanting to lose weight before their special day, it’s important that our team of dressmakers begin the construction process at a time that is suitable for you. The toiling and mock-up trial can begin as early as you like but remember that if you intend on losing a significant amount of weight, your dressmaker will need to regularly alter your gown. Whilst this is possible, it is advised to limit the amount of alterations as the fabric can easily become flimsy and frail with a lot of changes. Along with this, a dress should never be altered more than two dress sizes. In this case, the shape and fit can be easily distorted. Most custom processes will also require time to order in your materials. This can take 3-6 months alone. Whilst your fabrics are in production, your designer will be creating a production plan for your trial run and final gown. Trust in the processes and remember it’s always a good idea to lock in your spot with the right couturier even if you don’t begin the creation process straight away.
Designer: Gali Karten (Burano Collection)
5. DON’T LEAVE IT TOO LATE
If you’re considering getting a custom-made gown then it’s important that you don’t leave it too late. Whilst the time-frame will vary from label to label, most Bridal Couturiers work at least 8 months in advance. Believe it or not, at d’Italia we work 12-18 months in advance!! One of the biggest differences between a good couturier and a great Couturier is the time-frame they work to. A professional and well-experienced Couturier will ensure that the gown is produced over a number of months and from the highest quality materials (which tends to take months as well). Quite often local-based dressmakers will claim to be able to work to a 6-12 week time-frame. If this is the case, the chances are they will be rushing to complete your wedding dress in time for the big day. Whilst local dressmakers are still equally as skillful and talented; it can often be a stressful and rushed experience when producing your dream gown in such a short amount of time. It’s important to be aware that supreme Bridal fabrics and laces can take anywhere between 3-6 months to order in specifically for your gown if not already in stock. Along with this, the toiling process could take anywhere between a few weeks to a few months to complete. This will depend on a number of factors such as the complexity of the gown, how many fabrics and layers are required, if there is any lace or hand-work involved and if you’re flexible to attend multiple regular fittings. With all this in mind it is always safest to give your Designer at least 6 months’ notice. The earlier, the better!
Designer: Atelier Eme
6. BE PREPARED FOR LOTS OF FITTINGS
Like most things in life, getting a custom-couture gown will take time. Throughout the process you will have multiple fittings to ensure the gown molds to your body and fits you beautifully by the end. The number of fittings will often depend on how complex the gown is and how easy it is for you to make decisions throughout the toiling process. Remember, it is completely normal to make changes and alter the style slightly. Keep in mind that such modifications will often increase the number of fittings you will need. At d’Italia you are given free unlimited fittings. That’s right….as many as you need to ensure the gown is exactly how you vision it!
Quite often brides tend to get overwhelmed when they hear how many fittings are required. Ultimately, having a gown created from scratch is a lengthy process but it is also quite often the most rewarding experience being able to walk down the aisle in your custom-designed and perfectly fitted couture gown. Your wedding day will be one of your most cherished memories and the gown you wear will be a part of that joy.
If you travel for work, live inter-state/overseas or can’t find the flexibility to attend all your fittings then that’s okay! It’s important to be open with your Designer/Bridal Couturier and discuss what will work best for you. Your dressmaker will create a detailed planner in order to reduce the number of fittings you need to attend.
Designer: d’Italia, Bride: Elle, Photographer: @danny.millo
Along with this, if you intend on losing or putting on weight before your wedding then it’s important you address this with your Couturier from the beginning. Quite often the dress-making process will be pushed back slightly to give you the opportunity to work on your goal weight. Most brides aim to lose weight right up until their wedding day, which can sometimes be problematic when purchasing an off-the rack gown. When getting a custom-made gown, you will try on your dress in stages right up until your wedding which allows for any last-minute alterations to be made in case your size does alter slightly.
HOT TIP: Take as many pictures as you can throughout the toiling process! This will help give you an idea of how the dress captures on camera, along with showcasing the evolution of the gown from start to end. Fittings are always an exciting and enjoyable experience… be sure to document it!
Designer: Dovita Bridal
7. FABRICS ARE THE KEY
What makes a gown so beautiful?…Some may say the design and cut of the gown but the real secret to any stunning outfit is the fabric. You could have the most simple and plain design but with a beautiful material or Designer lace it could look exquisite. When opting for a custom-made gown it’s important to invest in the most premium bridal fabric. The finish and drape of the fabric will make a great impact on the overall appearance. Consider using pure silk materials and other natural fibers in the creation of your gown. Not only are they sustainable and environmentally friendly but they will feel beautiful against your body and look luxurious on camera. Be aware that majority of pre-made wedding gowns are made with synthetic polyester. When opting for a synthetic material it’s important to know that it can often be static and cling to the body. Along with this most polyester-made gowns will expand over a couple of hours of wear due to the elasticity content woven into the fabric. This can sometimes show off a shiny, plastic appearance so be sure to take photos and analyze the material in different lightings. Your designer will guide you with the most suitable materials to construct your gown.
Designer: Dovita Bridal
8. KNOW YOUR STYLE
When attending the first consultation with your Designer it’s important to be prepared with ideas and images of what gowns you like and even some you don’t. Explaining your vision can be difficult so we always suggest doing some research before coming for your appointment. Grab your bridal tribe and head to the boutiques to try on a variety of different style dresses. Most stores won’t allow you to take any pictures so be sure to ask your bridal consultant first. If you’re not keen to try on gown after gown, then you can easily head to the following sights for an abundance of inspiration and ideas: Pinterest, Instagram, Polka Dot Bridal, Easy Weddings, Bridal guide and Hello May; just to name a few. The fabrics used for your custom-gown will greatly depend on the style you go for. Not every fabric will be appropriate so it’s important to go to your designer with a relatively clear vision and idea in mind. Your designer/dressmaker will be able to help with fine-tuning the style and give you advice on what little details and necklines will flatter you the best. But it’s important to not go into your appointment completely clueless and uncertain of the shape as it will be very difficult for your designer to give you an accurate costing.
Designer: Donatelle Godart
WANT TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW WE CAN WORK TOGETHER TO CREATE YOUR VERY OWN CUSTOM GOWN? Contact us today, for your free in-store design consultation and our over the phone styling advice service from our lovely team of designers!