If you have been searching through the offerings of endless shops, and trawling the internet in search of THE dress, but are coming up blank, you could be forgiven for thinking that the best option is to give up and just settle for something which isn't quite right, but is at least easier to find right?
This is your day, and having the right dress, one that makes you feel beautiful, fits you perfectly and is comfortable even after a day of standing, sitting eating dancing and generally being the center of attention is very important.
So.. where to start?
1)Get some ideas together- shapes that you know suit you, details you like, even things that show the general feel of the wedding can all help your chosen designer to create that perfect dress. Pinterest is good for this, but you could equally do a good old fashioned scrapbook. The important thing is to add notes- what is it that you like ( or don't like) about a dress- it could be anything, the shape, the material, the beading, neckline, anything.
3) Budget there is a saying in the costume industry which works equally well for choosing a wedding dress;
- I want it NOW
- I want it ON BUDGET
- I want it PERFECT
you can choose two... if the deadline is very close, finding the perfect materials within the budget will be difficult, If you are on a tight budget, but have plenty of time, your dressmaker will probably be able to find a perfect bit of lace being sold as a remnant, or the perfect silk marked down in a sale. If time is short, but you aren't willing to compromise on detailing and quality, it will cost you more.
Be realistic with your budget- do not expect a bespoke dressmaker to be able to price match a mass produced, "made in china" dress you saw online- making a bespoke piece requires hours of pattern cutting, at least one mock up or 'toile' ( often two or three) and all the time spent scouring shops for the right fabric, that perfect trim.
I cannot speak for all bespoke dressmakers, but I do this job because I am a creative person- I get a kick out of creating beautiful things and seeing the delighted grin on the customers face when they try it on. I will make it perfect, and that takes a lot of time and effort. I do not do this job to try and make a quick buck, so please, if i have worked out a quote, believe me- I have worked it out carefully to give you good value without forcing myself to work for £2 an hour- please don't try and barter.
3) Find a designer/ dressmaker
Often the best way is by word of mouth, but you can also try local classified Ads, google maps and others such as Yell.com
. Look at photos of their work, testimonials and if possible, talk to them. They should be able to give you an idea of what is achievable for your budget and within the given timescale. Some dressmakers use commercial patterns, some make their own some do both, some design, some make, some do both. Get a feel for their skills and expertise, and when you feel happy, GO FOR IT!
4) Get started!
Take all your pictures and ideas along, I personally like to go through them in person, so I can ask questions and find out exactly what drew you to each picture and possibly do some quick sketches to show you of the sort of ideas that are forming from the ideas you've brought with you. I will take measurements, ( don't be scared of the tape measure- it is your friend!) and by next time I see you I should have a clear sketch of the dress, and a mock up of all, or part of the dress.
This will look fairly unimpressive to start with- a plain cotton toile covered in esoteric lines, arrows and numbers.... this helps refine the basic standard size pattern I made from your measurements into a dress that will fit you like a glove. After that the real fun begins as the dress begins to take shape! It is an exciting process, you can have direct input into the dress. do you want the neckline a tiny bit higher? Do you want the dress to highlight a particular part of your body or disguise a bit you are less keen on? Speak up, it can all be accommodated And above all, Enjoy it!