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A step by step guide to designing your own bespoke wedding dress

Updated: Apr 16, 2023

Designing a bespoke wedding dress really is such a special way to create your wedding look; it gives you the opportunity and freedom to express who you are as a bride and come away with something that truly is yours, and unique to you. It is an exciting process for both me as a designer and you as the bride, as the creation and vision you have can be brought to life throughout the bespoke process. If you’re thinking of going bespoke, you will not be disappointed. Here we have created a step by step guide to show how the process works here at Marie Chandler Bridal, and what to expect when shopping for, and creating your bespoke wedding dress.

A step by step guide to designing your own bespoke wedding dress

1. Enquiry

The process always starts with an initial enquiry from the client (you!) either by phone or email where we would discuss any ideas you have, and your vision for your dress.

This helps me to create an image of the garment and I can get to know you, and what you have in mind for your big day.

2. Consultation

This is an informal consultation which takes place at our friendly studio in Reading, Berks where we would discuss your ideas further and would go through any visual inspiration you may have. This will help prepare me for the design process and to make sure we are on the same page with themes and ideas.

We would also discuss fabric samples, shapes, colours, fit and style at this stage. This way, I have all the information I need to go away and design with. It will also allow me to give a guide price for your bespoke dress at this point. The initial consultation is always complimentary, and you are under no obligation to book at this stage.

A step by step guide to designing your own bespoke wedding dress

3. Design Stage

At the design stage we will work through designs, alter and refine, until you are happy with the choices made. We will also go through final fabrics and bring the design choices together to create your bespoke wedding dress. All our bespoke garments are one of kind and are never replicated for another client.

A final costing will be given at this stage - prices for bespoke include consultation, design, fabric, pattern cutting, construction, fittings and the garment handed to the client in a high-quality garment bag to keep it safe. But prices can vary if any changes are made to the design or fabrics as we progress.

Fittings will then be arranged, and the construction of your bespoke wedding dress can begin.

The design stage fee is £150. This allows us to spend time working on both your perfect design and selecting the right fabric for your bespoke dress.

4. First Fitting

At the first fitting we would try on the toile of your gown – this is a mock-up of the final dress made in a cotton calico. From this we ensure that we get a good fit of the dress, which helps define both the shape and design. Doing a toile gives the opportunity for any changes to made to the design – lowering necklines, making sure sleeves are the correct length or the width of the strap is just right – we will now define all the finer details. Once we have done this your dress can be made in your final fabric – which will be ordered after the appointment.

A step by step guide to designing your own bespoke wedding dress

5. Second Fitting

The second fitting will be in the final fabric chosen. More tweaks and alterations will need to be made at this stage and minor alterations can be discussed if required. This is the first time you will see your dress coming together – an extremely important and exciting stage of the bespoke process.

6. Third Fitting

At the third fitting your dress will almost be complete! We allow for any adjustments at this stage but it’s all about the look and the feel of the dress and perfecting the smaller details, for example the hem length, sleeve length buttons and any other fine details you may have on your bespoke wedding dress. Occasionally a fourth or even fifth fitting is needed – this all depends on the changes made and the complexity of the dress.

A step by step guide to designing your own bespoke wedding dress

7. Final Fitting and Collection

After you are 100% happy your dress will be steamed and packed for collection before your wedding day!

The process of a bespoke garment would normally take around 3-6 months. All our costs are inclusive, and our made-to-measure process means there are no hidden alteration charges. On average a bespoke wedding dress cost at Marie Chandler Bridal is £2,500.00, however this all depends on design and fabric choices and could start from as little as £400 for a simple bolero and anywhere up to £4000 for that show-stopping gown.

If you’re thinking of going bespoke, you will not be disappointed, our relaxed, friendly and professional service will allow to have the freedom of choice and give you a special and unique product that you can cherish forever.

Here is a bespoke dress we made recently. Bride Keeley wanted something completely unique; she had never seen herself wearing a white dress and trying some on at a local wedding shop just confirmed this. We worked together on the design, using Pinterest for inspiration and discussing shapes and styles that would suit her and her personal style. From the off we were both on the same page: gold, sequins and tulle would play a big part, and an overall look of ‘Hollywood Starlet’. We certainly created this and when Keeley entered the ceremony for the first time she got an audible gasp from her friends and family. We even created groom Trevor a matching sequin tie! The whole process took around 4 months. Look out for the making of Keeley’s dress on the blog soon!

A step by step guide to designing your own bespoke wedding dress

For more inspiration for your bespoke wedding dress why not have a look at our Pinterest board here.

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