So, it’s time to look for the perfect wedding dress and you just don’t think that the perfect dress for you is out there. We feel you!
Choosing your wedding dress is a big part of planning your wedding and a huge emotional roller coaster. There’s a lot to think about when you’re wedding dress shopping, and there’s another layer of questions when you consider going down the bespoke route. We have been designing and creating wedding dresses for over 10 years and have faced every possible question and worry. Here are our top tips to choosing the right designer for you, developing the right design and being confident in your choices, and how to enjoy and get the most from your fittings.
How to choose a designer…
- Do your research and know their work: Look at the previous work of your designer – the wedding dresses they share will give you an idea of the styles they have loved creating and the fabrics they love working with. Are you drawn to their style and creativity?
- Have a conversation: Do you find them easy to talk to? It is important you feel comfortable with your designer, and confident that they know what you’re describing and can turn your ideas into reality.
- Get to know them; read their blog and follow them online. How they talk to people and the businesses they work with speaks volumes about how they approach their business and value their clients. It is important you are confident they have your best interests at heart; do they share images of work before the wedding day and does that bother you? Are they inspired by their work and excited about their projects?
- Do you feel pressured or like they are trying to ‘sell’ you a wedding dress? Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into anything. Good designers are busy and their work speaks for itself. Their job at this stage is simply to help you discover the perfect gown and find out if this is the right route for you.
- Know your time frames. How do they work, how do they space out their fittings and how many times on average do they require fittings. What days are their appointments and does that fit in with your personal schedule.
How to navigate the design process….
- Shop sooner rather than later. It sounds obvious but this isn’t something you want to rush. Research and developing your design takes time and you want to make sure you can make these decisions without any pressure. Most designers book up a year in advance, particularly in those busy summer months. A well sought after designer may have longer lead times than ordering off the peg.
- Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. It is all about you and I’m guessing you’re exploring the bespoke process because traditional bridal shops don’t have quite what you’re after. There are no rules or silly ideas. Don’t reign yourself in and trust your designer to take your ideas and suggest designs and fabrics that turn your ideas into the perfect gown for you.
- Be choosy with your fabrics. Your designer should understand which fabric will work best for your given design, however not all designers stock a wide range of samples, or work with particular fabrics. Ask to see fabric samples, and check which fabrics your designer tends to work with most. Lace for example is quite a specialised fabric, and not every design house uses it well.
- Take a look at what’s already in your wardrobe. You don’t wear wedding dresses every day but you do know what you feel good in and the clothes in your wardrobe will give you some good ideas. Also don’t be afraid to look round. We encourage everyone to have a look around and try on various styles and shapes at other boutiques. Our ultimate goal us that you have your perfect dress and being able to cross shapes and styles off your list is invaluable in helping you make the right decision.
- Don’t feel pressured into having something because someone else likes it – you’re only going to do this once so give yourself time and space to do it right
How to get the most out of your fittings…
- Remember that it’s a process. It’s easy to get caught up in the design phase and get excited about the dress you will ultimately be married in but this is just the beginning of a process. Now the real work begins. There are several stages to go through to make your design real; pattern drafting, toile generation and dress fittings. It is quite possible that you will have several fittings and your dress not ‘look’ like your dress until quite late in the process. It’s a journey that you get to see in its entirety. You get to know and understand the entire life of your dress and see it evolve. For most this is exciting, for some it can be quite a nerve wracking anticipation waiting for it to become what you imagine. Our advice here; remember you have done your research and you have chosen the right designer for your ideas.
- Keep people to a minimum. We recommend that you bring 1 or 2 trusted friends with you to your fittings. Those whose opinions you trust and you know have your best interests at heart. For the reasons above we don’t recommend bringing extended family or work colleagues to fittings until much later in the process. It’s much better to wait until the day for the full impact.
- Try not to take pictures, instead focus on how you feel. It’s very tempting to try and document every stage of your wedding preparations, however sometimes photographs can be unhelpful. We will take photographs during fittings as they are a massive aid to our notes and highlight areas for attention. We will encourage you not to take photos until the end. We want you to focus on how your dress makes you feel and let us focus on that wrinkle.
- Always say what you’re thinking. Every bride is different. Every dress is different. Some people want to feel supported by their dress and others want to feel as carefree as possible. A good seamstress will always offer suggestions on fit and what looks true to the design, however you need to say if there is anything you want tweaking. Most seamstresses welcome this feedback. It’s how they know they are getting it right. Don’t avoid saying anything for fear of offending or assuming your seamstress will automatically know how it feels for you. Communication is key.
- Wear the right lingerie. During the design process you will have discussed support and construction. If your design does requires that you wear lingerie make sure you bring it to each and every fitting. It can’t be underestimated how much a decent bra will affect the fit of your gown.
(ALL IMAGES: Shelly of Toast of Leeds)