The Perfect Wedding Dress
Buying a wedding dress is one of the most emotional and expensive retail purchases a woman is likely to make. It’s not surprising that the competition among dress vendors is intense, and for anyone who has been through the dress shopping ritual, an often unpleasant experience.
It’s not uncommon to hear brides complain that a salesperson did not address her needs and simply pushed the latest inventory, or that nothing off the rack even came close to a flattering fit.
And of course, for the bride who has a unique vision for her ceremony (and who doesn’t) it’s nearly impossible to find a dress off the rack, even from a designer brand, that will match the picture that she has in her mind for her dream day.
Sadly, for too many brides “the perfect wedding dress” is a compromise — one that ticks off enough of the boxes (like price, fit, design, fabric, etc.) to be considered “perfectly acceptable.”
But there is another way, and it’s easier than you think. Go custom.
Custom vs. Customized — What It Means and Why You Want Custom
In today’s fashion industry, there is quite a bit of confusion about the difference between a “custom” dress and a “customized” dress.
“Customized” generally refers to the process of modifying an off the rack dress in terms of its features and fit. Adding or removing sleeves, adding details or altering a hem are examples of how a pre-fabricated dress might be customized.
Unfortunately for most, however, attempting to change the fit of a dress off the rack isn’t going to work because proper sizing often makes or breaks a style. If your body shape is even a bit different than standard, the alterations are going to completely change the look of the dress.
For brides shopping online, there are no shortage of “customized” or “design my dress” type services. Unfortunately, if you’re looking for something really unique, you’re not likely to find it there either.
According to Anomolie cofounder Calley Means, “We believe that the next generation of retail clothing companies are and will be led by engineers, not designers…And when it comes to wedding dresses, the variables are constant and low. You can break the majority of dresses into five silhouettes, three bodice constructions, and less than 10 materials.”
That’s a pretty narrow and uninspiring vision.
“Custom,” on the other hand, refers to a dress that has been totally created and fabricated from scratch — a custom, one-of-a-kind design sketched and cut specifically for one bride, using materials and details selected by the bride in coordination with a knowledgable, professional designer. There is no need to worry about alterations because a couture dress will be made to fit you (and only you) perfectly.
This is what you want.
Custom Wedding Dress Design is About More than Just Making Luxurious Dresses — It’s Really About Designing a Precious, Priceless Memory
It’s not a secret that many young women begin imagining their wedding day from an early age. Sometimes they are inspired by a wedding they attend or participate in, sometimes (and often) by something they see in the movies or a magazine.
For most, the process of planning and organizing their event is as much of an experience in itself as the actual event, with lots of occasions for good times with family and friends.
And there is perhaps no experience that encapsulates the excitement of wedding planning more than spending an afternoon in a dress designer’s atelier with your closest confidantes.
Champagne, laughter, maybe some happy tears — and sharing your bridal vision with a professional who can bring it to life. A lot of brides say it’s like being in a scene from their favorite wedding movie —and it is.
The Custom Design Process — How It Works
Working with a designer is pretty straightforward, but you can make it even easier by doing a little bit of preparation beforehand.
A standard timeline is usually six to twelve months (depending on the designer’s schedule), and allows time for multiple fitting sessions along the way to ensure the most perfect fit.
Even if you already know that you want a one-of-a-kind dream dress, it’s still a good idea to try on a few dresses at a boutique. You’ll get an even better idea of what you like, what you don’t and why.
Ask yourself what trends you are drawn to, what silhouettes make you feel beautiful, and what fabrics you love most. Save pictures and examples of what you like (and what you don’t), look through magazines and online sources like Pinterest for ideas, and bring them all to your initial consultation.
The design process is unique to every bride, so there’s no wrong way to start. After getting to know you and understanding your vision, your designer will guide you to select the best fabrics and special touches for your design.
Then it’s time to produce a detailed sketch of your design, take measurements and draft an original pattern. Through the course of several fitting sessions you’ll see your design evolve and take shape, finally bringing your dream dress to life.
So now that you’ve decided you want to “go custom,” you’re probably wondering how much it’s going to cost. And the answer is: it depends.
It may not actually be as expensive as you might imagine, considering the cost of some commercial designer dresses. Of course it’s going to depend on your design, fabric selection, complexity of construction, etc.
And of course it’s going to depend on the designer, your budget and a whole list of other factors. There are plenty of guides that recommend this or that percentage of your wedding budget be set aside for your dress.
So let’s look at the question this way.
1. How much is it worth to look exactly the way you want on the day you’ve been dreaming about for so long? With a custom dress, you’ll know that your dress will fit perfectly, and will communicate your bridal style and vision. Working with a professional designer who can not only guide you toward the most flattering silhouettes and fabrics for your body, but who also knows how to help you feel comfortable with the process, can make the whole wedding planning adventure maybe just a bit easier — because you can be confident that you will look and feel amazing on your special day.
And “one-of-a kind” means that no one else in the world will have one just like it.
2. How much is it worth to have the truly luxurious experience of having something designed just for you?
3. As they say, it’s not just about the destination — it’s about the journey, and journeys are meant to be shared. Going custom isn’t just a dress shopping trip — it’s an occasion that can involve your friends and family for an experience you will always remember.