The Bad Bride Diaries: Tips For Having Your Wedding Dress Designed

What happens when you have your wedding dress designed for you?

You may remember that I didn’t particularly enjoy my visit to a bridal shop in search of a wedding dress. I hadn’t expected to be fussy, but it turns out I really am. Instead of put myself through more frustration in the temples of tulle, I decided to look into having a wedding dress designed.

I had assumed that a bespoke dress would be very expensive, but I also figured it never hurts to ask. I actually went to school with Steph of Stephanie Kyles Bridal and she’s made and altered wedding dresses for a few people I know, so I was already familiar with her work. I sent her a message explaining what I wanted and asked if she thought it was possible within budget. I was delighted when she came straight back to tell me it was!

Having Your Wedding Dress Designed – Tip One

Don’t assume you can’t afford it. If you’ve found a designer you like, let them know what you’re looking for and what your budget is. You might be pleasantly surprised. As Steph explained it to me, you can do a lot to make more room in a budget if you make careful fabric choices. When I went to see her, Steph had hundreds of samples of fabrics, but she only showed me what would work within my budget. If I’d more to spend, I could have looked at different laces and so on, but honestly, I was overwhelmed with choice anyway!

Remember too that the off the rack dress you quite liked might be £800, but all off the rack dresses will need some alterations. It may be simple and just mean altering it to fit, but if you’re changing a dress to match the dream by adding sleeves, or adjusting the neckline, that will soon add up. Many brides spend well over £200 on alterations.

Having Your Wedding Dress Designed – Tip Two

Try on before you go. While bridal boutiques weren’t for me, I was glad I’d done it. Because I’d tried on dresses before going to see Steph, I had a good idea of what I liked and didn’t like, and could make informed decisions about things like fastenings and shape. Steph drew me a beautiful design, but it’s hard to picture what a dress on paper will look like on you if you haven’t tried any on. Pay attention to small details of the dresses you try on. How do they do up? What small decoration details appeal to you?

Having Your Wedding Dress Designed – Tip Three

Take your time. A good dressmaker will talk you through the process as you go, so take the time to consider each decision. My appointment was a little over an hour, which felt about right. There are a lot of choices to make, and it could get overwhelming. All the details on my dress are chosen by me, because I had time to consider fabrics, fastenings and finishing details.

Having Your Wedding Dress Designed – Tip Four

Ask for advice. Your seamstress will of course make whatever you ask for, but remember, they’re the expert. If you’re not sure, ask what they’d suggest. Steph had some brilliant ideas I wouldn’t have thought of, and she was able to clearly explain what my decisions meant. For example, for choosing the base satin, she helped me to choose based on how the satin looked under the lace I’d chosen, and also advised me on how the different fastenings would work, when I was focused on look.

I go back for my first fitting soon, and I’ll keep you updated on the process of having your wedding dress designed and made just for you. I can’t wait to start going for fittings!