Commissioning a Bespoke Wedding Dress – The Benefits

written by Rachel Lamb
2 · 22 · 18

Something I often notice when chatting with some brides-to-be is that sometimes there are a few misconceptions about what it means to have a bespoke wedding dress designed and made, so I thought it would be useful to create a little mini series of posts about the Bespoke side of my business. I’ll be covering the benefits, fears and FAQs that often occur, and we’ll be looking in on a fitting to give an idea of what happens and the progress made.

This post will discuss the benefits of my bespoke service. I often ask my bespoke brides what they were looking for in the service, and why they decided to go for a bespoke design with me, and they often tell me without being asked! So the following are some of the general benefits of a Bespoke bridal design service, combined with comments from my own Bespoke brides from the past few years:

1. “I want a unique wedding dress – I don’t want to look like everyone else.”

You know that feeling – you’re engaged, you’ve been to several weddings and the brides all look similar and you don’t want to look like everyone else when it’s your turn? This is perhaps one of the most obvious advantages to commissioning a bespoke anything, not only a wedding dress – the design is unique. It can be anything you want as long as it can be made. One of the common misconceptions is that Bespoke has to be dramatic or outlandish in design – of course this is not the case – unless you want it to be! Simple or dramatic, conservative or avant-garde, it’s your call. I’ve designed the simplest shift style dresses for brides or grander, theatrical designs. You can be different but still on-trend, or throw out the rule book entirely!

Lara’s bespoke wedding dress was very simple in design. Photo: estherwild.com

2. I wanted a creative experience – a treat.

Having a bespoke wedding dress made is a luxury process, and does take time and is spread out over several months in most cases. This is an opportunity to have fun, peace, creative space and to see your dress develop and grow over time and be involved in the project. Appointments are generally between 1-2 hours for most designs, and are private. So this is an opportunity for some calm me-time, as well as an opportunity to chat through your plans. Many of my brides have said they looked back at the appointment time as an oasis of calm in what can sometimes feel like a frenzy of wedding preparation.

“Rachel made the dress of my dreams exactly as I imagined it. I was totally involved every step of the way. Every fitting was fun and relaxed and Rachel gave me the most wonderful bespoke wedding dress experience I could’ve asked for.”
4 Counties Wedding Awards voter 2017

3. I liked your design style and wanted you to design a wedding dress for me – you were as excited about it as I was!

It makes sense to like the work of the person you are commissioning. Trust is important so have a good look at the work of the person you are considering booking, it’s important for both client and designer to feel good about the project. I’m always very flattered and privileged that brides choose me to make such an amazingly special thing for them as their wedding dress, and I do get very excited about the creation of it!

4. I wanted creative input in my wedding outfit.

Says it all really – you can bring your own ideas or leave it all to me, or have some input as and when – which I always encourage. It’s a two-way process in most cases and works best this way. If you know your own style or have a distinctive style, having it realised for your wedding dress is a natural and rewarding experience.

Sophie’s Bespoke gown was inspired by film star glamour and made in 2 parts to give 2 looks and to be worn again.

5. I wanted a different colour dress – not ivory or traditional bridal tones.

Bespoke dresses can be made in any number of colours, there’s no need to stick to traditional colours if that’s not your style. I’ve designed many brightly coloured dresses and even one of tweed, according to the bride’s requirements.

Charlotte chose aqua chiffon for her winter wedding.

6. I am very tall/short/curvy/slim and I wanted my wedding dress to fit properly.

Having a bespoke wedding outfit made is more than made to measure. The whole outfit proportionally fits better from the start regardless of your shape or size. The process is organic, so rather than making the dress and then altering it, it rarely needs altering at the end because the fit has grown from the inside-out, and fits proportionally before the real dress is even cut out.

At under 5′ tall, bride Nisha is petite, so a bespoke wedding dress was perfect for her.
Photo: johnharrisphotography.co.uk

7. I wanted something more than just buying a dress.

This is similar to no.2. It’s an experience to remember

8. I wanted a dress made using gorgeous fabrics.

When it comes to fabrics there are obvious choices that work for certain styles and effects, but with a bespoke bridal gown you can choose which lace you would like, how many layers of chiffon you might like, the weight of satin you prefer, or your preference for giant pearls can be realised, for example. You don’t have to do this however, I can advise you and help you choose, or choose for you too – but the option is there for you to choose if you’d like to.

Sherie’s fuchsia silk bridal gown had a lime green lining!

9. You actually listened to what I wanted and you created it for me!

It’s important to feel that you’re listened to and your requirements understood. I can’t say more than that.

10. I tried on dresses in shops and they weren’t what I wanted. I liked areas of the dress but not the whole.

This is quite common. Often brides say they loved that a dress did one thing, but didn’t like that it did another. I can combine what you liked with a new design that suits all your preferences.

11. I wanted to include something sentimental/an heirloom/some of my own fabric in my wedding dress design.

This again chimes with the design being unique. For example you might want to include lace from your mother’s dress, or pearls from your grandmother’s necklace. Sometimes brides have had some gorgeous fabric given to them, or picked up on their travels and want to use it for all or part of the dress. This is your opportunity to bring other elements into the design of your dress if you like.

Vintage lace from a family wedding dress was re-purposed into a new design for a bride.

12. I like the fact that I know who is making my dress and where it is being made.

I/we are making your dress here in the UK, in my workshop in Cambridgeshire – it’s being made locally – in the room next to your fitting!

13. The idea of trying on dresses doesn’t appeal to me/I hate shopping/I’m shy.

Yes, many brides-to-be say this. Not everyone looks forward to the idea of wedding dress shopping. If this is you, the opportunity to cut out the shopping part of the wedding dress experience can be done by going straight for a Bespoke bridal design.

“I had scrolled through endless magazines and could not find the perfect dress, and the thought of trying on hundreds of dresses terrified me as I detest shopping at the best of times. I am probably no different to lot of brides in that I wanted a beautiful dress, but I also wanted something that was unique. Rachel patiently listened to my ideas and drew a design that exceeded my expectations but thankfully not my budget!”
Kat S Jan’18

14. I’m an older bride and wanted to look like a bride but not ‘mutton dressed as lamb’.

Bespoke is ideal for older brides who often know what they do and don’t want in certain areas, but want something glamorous and special and that fits them properly. Much as I hate the ‘mutton dressed as lamb’ phrase, many of my older brides still use it when describing what they don’t want. Elegance, sophistication and fun is more the thing!

I think that’s all my thoughts for now. Can you think of any further advantages?

Coming soon: Commissioning a Bespoke Wedding Dress – The Fears and FAQs, and we’ll look at a fitting for a bespoke wedding dress.

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