New announcement. Learn more

Wedding dress designers own blog

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

While a stitch in time may save nine, some of life’s best things just take time

And a bespoke wedding dress is one of them…

Last week, it was reported that the custom made Chloé bridal gown that Ellie Goulding wore at her star-studded wedding last month took 640 hours to make (with the veil apparently taking an additional 591 hours)

While many people (or at least the journalist for that particular Metro article) baulked at this, I have to say, I’m not at all surprised.

If you break this down, it’s the equivalent of one wedding dress designer, working on a dress for 8 hours a day for 4 months– something that is every bit a reality.

As I mentioned in a post recently, opting for a bespoke wedding dress is an undertaking that requires time, planning and patience, but the result is like nothing else – literally. However, if you go bespoke, you do have to be prepared to embark on a journey, and like all of the best things in life, a bespoke wedding dress takes time to develop and evolve and become the breath-taking garment you’ll wear on your big day.

Despite the press’ best efforts – 640 hours for a bespoke wedding dress is hardly newsworthy. Let’s spare a thought for some of the highest end wedding dress designers that famously spend in excess of 2,000 hours on a single dress. In an article in the Telegraph a couple of years ago, Tamara Ralph, of Ralph and Russo said

“We encourage clients to get in touch as soon as possible with bridal requests, and in general advise that six-nine months be given for creation. Our bridal pieces are extremely intricate and can take over 7,000 hours to make, with up to 24 couturiers working on the gown at any time."

I mean, wow - that really is quite staggering isn’t it!? Rest assured you’ll have to pay top dollar for something like that. Even I have to admit that that seems like a lot of work for a dress that will be worn for less than 24 hours, and it’s really very interesting to see how far things have come on in little over 150 years.

It was actually Queen Victoria who apparently started the custom wedding dress trend, when in 1840 she commissioned a white lace gown for her wedding to Prince Albert. After this, Couturiers noticed that society girls of the time wanted to emulate their Queen and started creating white dresses - a colour that had traditionally been worn when women were presented at court and one which signified wealth because it was difficult to keep pristine – dresses designed purely for their wedding. Prior to that, women just wore their best dresses to get married in.

So, now you’ve read this; when you ask your wedding dress designer how long they think your dress will take, and they say 4-9 months, please don’t think they’re being self-indulgent or unreasonably slow. A lot of work goes into these once-in-a-lifetime gowns, and it’s that care, passion and attention to detail that separates an off-the-peg dress from a bespoke wedding gown.