Bridal shopping can be an overwhelming and exhausting experience; especially when you’re not prepared. Finding your perfect gown should be a fun and enjoyable experience and knowing what traps to avoid will help make it an easy breezy journey for you. It’s very common for brides to receive the wrong advice from online articles and friends, thus creating many misconceptions that tend to make bridal shopping even more difficult. Before you grab your bridal tribe and head to the boutiques, it’s important to do some research to better prepare yourself. Become familiar with the time-frame, prices and different dress styles. Read blogs and ‘real bride’ experiences on various reputable bridal directories so you have a good idea of what to expect. Real Bride stories tend to be a fantastic and honest reflection of the dress-hunting process and can help eliminate any confusion or misconceptions of finding a gown.
Designer: Lili Hod (Luka Gown)
1. EVERYONE PRESENT SHOULD AGREE
Quite often brides feel pressure to please their closest family and friends when hunting for a dress. It’s important to ensure you are happy with your gown and know that your entourage will support your choice no matter what. We always advise bringing along family and friends to your appointment as it can often be a scary and overwhelming experience without the support of your close ones. However, it’s important that you don’t bring a large audience as this can often end in mixed opinions and great confusion. Don’t feel pressure to invite only a couple of people from your bridal party. Just because they’re part of the crew doesn’t mean they should all come along. It’s important that you bring along people you can trust and people that you know have your best interest at heart.
2.YOU HAVE TO TRY ON EVERY DRESS IN THE STORE FIRST
Don’t feel like you need to try on every single dress from multiple stores. It’s important that you try on quality over quantity. Try on a ball gown, A-line, Fit and flare and once you know which style you like more you can try on a few more options in that range. The more you try on, the more confused and overwhelmed you will become. For brides that aren’t sure what style is suitable, chat to your bridal consultant or designer for guidance. It’s important to trust in the professionals as they will know what styles, shapes and features will be most flattering on you. If you’ve already tried on a heap of dresses and you’re feeling lost and confused, it’s best to take a step back from dress shopping for a while and start fresh with only 2-3 styles.
Designer: Asaf Dadush
3.IT’S SUPER EXPENSIVE
Believe it or not, custom-made isn’t as expensive as you may think!! Unlike an off-the-rack gown, when creating a gown from scratch you will have a lot more flexibility to adjust the price. This can be achieved through selecting alternate fabrics, opting for a shorter train, removing unnecessary corsetry and slightly modifying the style without sacrificing the appearance you love. It’s also important to remember that when you buy a dress off-the-rack, alterations can often cost an additional $500-$1000. If you know your style and budget, chat to a designer about what you’re after to receive a quote. There is no harm in enquiring about the custom-made route, you may be surprised with the price point of a unique and tailored-made gown.
Designer: Eisen Stein
4.YOU HAVE PLENTY OF TIME
This is definitely one of the most common misconceptions about bridal gown shopping. Creating a gown from scratch is time-consuming and needs to be done in a number of step by step stages. Getting in early is the key to having the best quality fabrics and the most experienced dressmaker for your style gown. Whilst the time-frame will vary from label to label, it’s always advised to give at least 6-8 months’ notice to ensure you can get exactly what you’re after. Some dressmakers will have stock of standard fabrics and laces, whilst others will need to custom order them in depending on your requirement. This can increase the time-frame by many months. Speak with your chosen designer to check the realistic time-frame of creating your unique gown. At d’Italia we work 12-18 months in advance!!
Designer: Zuhair Murad
5.YOU NEED TO ATTEND HEAPS OF FITTINGS
Many brides tend to be concerned about committing to lots of fittings when getting a gown custom-made. Reality is, you don’t need to attend too many fittings at all.
At most custom-couture places, you will be provided with an unlimited number of fittings but generally brides only need 3-5 fittings on average. If you tend to be indecisive and are known to change your mind a lot, then it’s important to note that this may increase the number of fittings you require as your dressmaker will continue to modify the dress until you are completely satisfied with the fit and finish. For brides who live inter-state or cannot commit to fittings due to work or travel, chat to your dressmaker about creating an organized and well-planned schedule to limit and reduce the number of fittings you need to attend. Ideally you will be required to try on your mock-up gown at least once and then your finished gown at least once. The complexity of your bespoke piece may increase this slightly but not by a lot. Have fun with the fitting process. It’s exciting seeing your ideas come to life and evolve overtime.
Designer: Ralph and Russo
6.YOU SHOULD CRY WHEN YOU FIND ‘THE ONE’
Just because you don’t shed a tear doesn’t mean it’s not the perfect gown for you. It’s completely normal to not get emotional when you find the perfect one. In fact, it is a lot more common for brides to jump with joy when they’ve found the dress of their dreams. In some cases, it could even be a feeling of hesitation and anxiousness. Committing to one dress is a challenging decision….and an expensive one too. It’s important that you feel comfortable and love the way it makes you feel when saying ‘yes to the dress’; that’s when you know it’s the right one for you.
Designer: Jesus Peiro
7.YOU CAN’T TWEAK THE STYLE THROUGHOUT THE PROCESS
Unlike a standard off-the-rack gown, tweaking throughout the custom process is definitely possible. In fact, it’s extremely common for brides to want to tweak and modify their bespoke gown as they begin to see it evolve. This is the beauty of custom-made. When you create a gown from scratch, you will often be given the opportunity to try on a mock-up dress. During this stage, you are generally given unlimited fittings and the option to change and modify your style accordingly. As you go through the custom-process, you may notice that your initial ideas and design is not as suitable as you would’ve hoped. Don’t be disheartened or anxious, because this is a very common experience for most brides. It’s important to know that you have the flexibility and opportunity to alter any element or feature on the dress that you may no longer like or need. As the dress evolves on your body, just have fun with the process and don’t be afraid to tweak it.
Designer: Gali Karten (Burano Collection)
8.PRODUCTION MUST START STRAIGHT AWAY
Getting a gown custom-made is very different to purchasing a dress from a ready-made boutique. Whilst most designers will work 12 months in advance, this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to begin the production process straight away. In fact, it’s important that you begin the production process at a time that is right for you and this will be influenced by many factors. One of the main reasons why you might not begin immediately is because perhaps you’re wanting to lose weight. With most brides working on a fitness and weight goal, it’s very common for your designer to push production back to allow you to have time to reach your ideal size. Gowns shouldn’t be altered more than two dress sizes, so for brides wanting to lose a significant amount of weight, don’t worry, your designer will create a detailed plan to allow you time to reach your goal before beginning production. Along with this, fabrics will often be custom-ordered in for your particular gown, which can sometimes take as little as a few weeks, to as long as six months. It’s always a good idea to secure your spot with the right dressmaker even if production doesn’t begin immediately.
Designer: Helen Kolan
9.THE FABRICS ARE READY TO GO
One of the biggest misconceptions of getting a gown custom-made is that the fabrics and gorgeous laces are all in stock and ready to go. It’s important to note that most dressmakers, designers and renowned bridal labels will need to custom order in your fabrics depending on your selection and the amount you require for your gown. Some standard base fabrics such as your silks, crepes, sheer overlays, tulles etc. may be in stock but will generally only be available immediately for smaller quantities. So, if your gown requires a lot of materials, then chances are you will need to get it custom ordered or shipped in from an off-shore warehouse. This can often take anywhere between a few weeks, up to three or four months. But what about laces, embellishments and all things glitzy? Well, in most cases, fabric stores will only stock sample displays to showcase to designers and brides. These samples are small pieces which may only be suitable for a sleeve or top. Most bridal laces and embellished trims are custom created for you and can take anywhere up to six months depending on the amount of beading, intricate lace-work and amount required for your gown. If you decide to further customise these laces and fabrics then the time-frame will increase and take slightly longer.
Designer: Bebas Closet
10.ANY DRESSMAKER WILL BE SUITABLE
Finding the right dressmaker to bring your vision to life is a difficult task, but one that no bride should take lightly. It’s always a great idea to check out their work prior to committing to them. This may mean, reading google reviews, checking out their designs and finished gowns on their socials such as Instagram and Facebook or even visiting them in person to see the quality of the gowns. The right dressmaker can make your custom journey one of the best and most memorable experiences of your life. But along with this, it’s important to know that not every dressmaker will be able to bring your vision and design to life. Ensure that your dressmaker has experience in creating similar designs before and that she has the knowledge to provide great suggestions to really compliment you, your body and your goal. It’s also very important that you get along well with your dressmaker. Afterall, you will both be working very closely together right up until your wedding day. Ensuring that your personality’s and values complement each other will also help with having a smooth, stress-free and enjoyable experience. If you feel uncertain and can’t trust in your dressmaker, she/he may not be the right one for you.
Designer: Yumi Katsura
ARE YOU THINKING ABOUT TAKING THAT LEAP AND WANT TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT HOW WE CAN WORK TOGETHER TO CREATE YOUR VERY OWN CUSTOM GOWN? Contact d’Italia today, for your free in-store design consultation and and over the phone styling advice service from our lovely team of designers who have been creating dream wedding dresses in Melbourne for the past 19 years!