How I Design One-of-a-Kind Custom Wedding Dresses

Angela Kim designing a custom wedding dress

Many of my clients are unsure about what my custom wedding dress design process is all about, so for today’s post, I thought I would take you through the steps I take to create your custom couture design. What many of my clients are surprised to know is that each custom wedding dress is one-of-a-kind and handmade, with some requiring hundreds of hours of work to create. I offer two (or three) in-person fittings to ensure a perfect fit for the bride. The gowns are true couture, meaning each dress is made specifically for the bride that it was designed for. 

When a potential client contacts me, the first thing we do is a free design consultation. This is a 1-hour meeting that can be done over the phone, by email, video chat, or in person.  I will have a conversation with the bride about what she wants in her dream dress—her vision, her ideas, and what she is looking for in a custom-made wedding dress. 

Choosing fabrics for a custom wedding dress by Angela Kim
Custom wedding dress sketch and fabrics

We will look at any inspiration photos that she may have, as well as some sample garments and fabric samples to communicate ideas clearly.  At this point I will have enough information to make some hand sketches to show how I will create her dream wedding dress. 

This is when a true collaboration between me and the bride starts to happen. She is able to give me any input on the design, or if she wants any aspects of the gown changed. After the design is confirmed, including the materials and the details of the dress, I give her the estimated price. At this this time, if she wants to go ahead with the order, I take detailed measurements and analyze the bride’s body type so I can make any necessary construction improvements to achieve the most flattering dress design.  

Angela Kim selecting fabrics for a custom wedding dress

Angela Kim in a fitting session with a bridal client

Just like it is done in the Haute Couture design houses of Paris, I create a mockup dress in a similar material to test the fit and design details. The bride attends the first fitting and is able to test the fit and feel of the dress before it is created in the final fabric. 

The right fabric on a gown can make all the difference. This is why I personally source fabrics which are often one-of-a-kind created specifically for the bride. My fabrics are sourced from some of the best vendors from around the world, a few that are used by well-known luxury designers. 

Custom hand beaded wedding dress
Sexy white custom wedding dress

After the type of fabric is selected, we make an appointment for the second fitting. This is where the bride will get to try on the custom gown created in the real fabric of the dress. This fitting is to ensure that the fit is perfect. Couture dressmaking is all about creating a garment that is specifically made to fit one person in particular to create the perfect fit. 

If there is any beading or embellishments to be added to the dress, the bride may be involved in the process as much as she desires. If she likes, the bride may specify the materials and even work with me to ensure the placement of embellishments will give her the exact look she is looking for.  

Bridal fitting session by Angela Kim Couture
Hand sewn rhinestone embellishments

Once all embellishments have been added to the dress, it is time for the final fitting and styling. The bride will get the opportunity to try on the dress fully finished to make sure she is completely happy with the finished gown. At this point I can also help to guide the bride on the styling of the dress by suggesting the right shoes, accessories, hair and makeup to help complete the look. If there are no other alterations needed, the bride will go home with the dress and an original sketch beautifully bound in a custom folder. 

It is important to note that I am not a customized wedding dress service. I do not mix and match elements from an archive to create a dress as many of the dress services you will find online offer. I design and create one-of-a-kind dresses for a bride specifically based on her needs and requirements, and this process can take from six months to one year. This is true wedding gown couture. 

Looking at the bridal gown sketch with the designer
A happy Angela Kim Couture bride
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