Finding a wedding dress is an emotion- and expectation-filled process. Not only should it fit perfectly while moving effortlessly from ceremony to pictures to dinner to dancing, it also needs to be the best and most memorable dress you’ve ever put on your body.
Here’s the first step: breathe. Maybe you’ve been dreaming about this since you attached a kleenex veil to the head of your first Barbie, maybe not – either way, this’ll be fun. Lay aside your need for perfection and trust that you will get a gorgeous dress that does its job beautifully.
There are countless ways of finding, creating, or magicking your dress into existence. One option is to use a dressmaker. A talented dressmaker can design a gown to your specifications, re-create a dress you love, or alter a dress you’ve already bought.
How To Get an Epic Gown Designed Just For You
Pin it: Keep an inspiration board of whatever you’re most drawn to – affordable or not. If your choices tend to feature lots of lace or strapless slink, that’s valuable guidance. Keep in mind that trends you love may not be styles that work on your body shape. But don’t think too hard at this stage. Even if what you love doesn’t add up to a coherent design theme, a good dressmaker can tease out the common threads to build you a gorgeous dress.
Check your closet: Think about what you already own that flatters you and makes you feel good. Your wedding dress shouldn’t feel like a Halloween costume, it should feel like an extra-amazing version of you.
Pick and choose: Emotions can be high in this process, but this dress doesn’t have to be your everything. Don’t try to cram everything you love into one gown. Find one strong design concept or statement that you adore and will flatter your shape and let the dressmaker run with it.
Do a mock-up: Some dressmakers offer the option to do a muslin mock-up of your dress. This is a great way to be sure you love the style when you put it on and will help the dressmaker adjust the fit before stitching on the actual dress begins. Some women do decide to go a different route after trying the sample, so this is a good layer of added insurance.
Ask: Ask plenty of questions, especially questions you’re afraid to ask. Think of your dressmaker as your sartorial therapist – share any dreams, thoughts, hopes, concerns. Good dialogue equals good dress.
Know thy budget: Custom design isn’t always the most budget-friendly option, so if you find the design you want ready-made, it may be cheaper to buy it off the rack and get it altered. But custom doesn’t always break the bank either. Some brides end up paying considerably less than they would in a boutique – without the added cost of alteration. Know your needs and your requirements and you should be able to get what you want. (Within reason, of course.)
Trust your designer: If you read all the feedback, love everything in their shop and like their style – give them the overall look you want and then trust them to create something lovely.
Don’t lose sight of what’s really important: It’s easy to get befuddled by the infinite options, but the most crucial thing is to wear a dress that suits your body and makes you comfortable.
Other Ways a Dressmaker Can Help
Be a copycat: Have a copy of your ideal dress made by a professional dressmaker. An experienced dressmaker can create a less expensive version of your designer favorite.
Alter an heirloom: Maybe your grandmother wore a gorgeous dress. If she agrees, you could get the gown customized – maybe a high neck could morph into strapless or you could remove puffed sleeves to show off your arms. Just make sure the lace or fabric is still in good condition – a good dry cleaner or dressmaker can advise you.
Add special details to a budget dress: Vintage lace, silk flowers, hand beading or buttons can make a simple dress special without too much added expense. If you’re on a budget, you can order a white bridesmaid’s dress and have a dressmaker work their magic. Even just a few simple alterations to make it fit beautifully can make an enormous difference.
Never underestimate the power of tailoring: Trains can be lengthened or shortened, bodices can be slimmed or let out, sleeves can be customized, beadwork can be reshaped – dresses can even be redesigned. An experienced dressmaker may be able to do the seemingly impossible – it never hurts to ask. If you’re buying a gown that will need significant revision, purchase a larger size so the dressmaker has more material to work with.
How To Choose a Dressmaker
Get references. Ask to see other gowns they’ve completed and pay attention to the quality. See if they have experience creating the style you want. Make sure they plan to use a quality fabric – you don’t want to end up with a polyester version of a silk gown.
Make Sure It Fits
When preparing for your fitting, make sure to bring everything you need. Bring the undergarments you plan to wear, as they really affect how a dress will fit. Bring the shoes you plan to wear because the height of the heel will affect where the hem hits. If you have accessories, bring those too. Bring a camera so you can get photos to make sure you like the fit. Prepare questions and write them down – conversation can distract you and you want to make sure your mind is set at ease about any concerns. If you still need to shop for jewelry and accessories, ask for a fabric swatch.
How did your wedding dress experience work out?