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Wedding dress designers own blog

The latest trends and fashion in wedding dress design from Kate Edmondson

Going bespoke vs off-the-peg…

Now for any cynics out there, I’ll be up front. Yes, I’m a bespoke wedding dress designer, and yes, I’d love it if everyone chose a bespoke wedding gown for their wedding. But I’m also realistic and I know that in some cases a bespoke gown is just not an option. Also don’t get me wrong, I know that there are definitely some absolutely stunning off-the-peg wedding to be found if you look hard enough.

The purpose of this blog is to highlight the unique experience that comes with going down the bespoke path. I also want to flag up some of the risks involved when trying to customise an off-the-peg dress. Without wishing to jump straight to the punchline, it usually doesn’t work out as you may have hoped, and the alteration costs can become eyewatering!

So, for the sake of argument, let’s imagine you’re at a bit of a fork in the road. You’re trying to decide whether to go for an off-the-peg dress or get a bespoke gown designed. You’ve got plenty of time and you think you’ve got the budget.

Very often the brides I work with, who are in this position have a pretty good idea of what they’re after, but for one reason or another, they’re struggling to find that one perfect dress. It may be down to fit, or it might be that everything they’ve tried so far feels like a compromise. Perhaps the fit is perfect, but the fabric isn’t quite right. Or maybe the neckline of one dress is just what they want, but they wish it had the sleeves of another. For these exasperated brides, a bespoke wedding dress can be an absolute dream come true.

Having a wedding dress designed especially for you has the obvious advantage of starting from a clean slate. Lots of measurements are taken to ensure it fits you in the most perfect way possible. As well as this, every tiny detail can be custom designed and tailor-made. You can embark on the hugely exciting process of watching the dress you’ve always dreamed of rise of the pages of a sketch book and gradually come to life!

Going bespoke does require a bit of advanced planning because it is a process that naturally takes some time. But all the brides I work with actually relish in this. In the occasionally tedious or stressful times of general wedding planning, dress fittings, fabric selection and meetings to discuss accessories and finishing touches offer an injection of excitement, fun and joy during the run up. And then, when it comes to that final fitting - after months of planning, watching and waiting, stepping out of the fitting room to reveal your uniquely personal finished gown to close friends and family is an experience made all the more magical by going through the bespoke process.

So, I can assure you, having a bespoke gown made is an experience like no other, ‘but what about the price?!’ I hear you cry. Well, no doubt it usually comes with a higher price tag than buying a gown off-the-peg, but as I described above, you’re paying for expert consultation and craftsmanship, the incredibly special experience of watching your own bespoke gown come to life, and not to mention, a garment that is completely unique to you, something that you’ve had a huge hand in creating yourself. All of these are things that an off-the-peg dress just can’t offer.

And while we’re on the topic of cost, a word of warning. Very often, brides will buy an off-the-peg dress that perhaps doesn’t quite fit, but was possibly a good deal in a sale. Or they may buy a dress that is close to what they want, but not quite right. In both these instances, they buy the dress in the hope that a designer will be able to tailor the dress to fit. Or they hope that certain accents, features, or amendments can be applied to make it the dress they want.

Honestly, this approach is never advisable. These dresses have been brought finished and it was never intended that they be taken apart. As a result, alterations can be very had to make, and it takes a long time to carefully prise open the seams and make the various adjustments. Also, dresses are usually made up of numerous layers - applying alterations to all of those is a very lengthy process, and the costs can add up very quickly.

The conclusion is that basically, asking a designer to make even fairly minor amendments to a finished off-the-peg dress can take much longer than you may expect and as such it can be very expensive. Costs can often add up to being way over what a truly bespoke dress would have cost in the first place. In these scenarios, it’s far better to spend your budget on a dress that’s actually want you want and love. Not only will you have your dream dress, you’ll also enjoy that truly unique, once in a life time experience.

If you’re at that point where you’re trying to decide whether or not to take the plunge and go bespoke, let’s have a chat, it may not be as much as you think, and I promise it will be an experience you’ll never forget!