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  • Writer's pictureMarie Chandler

How a bespoke wedding dress is made - a step by step guide

Designing a bespoke wedding dress gives you the opportunity and freedom to express who you are as a bride and come away with something that truly is yours, and unique to you. It is an exciting process, as the creation and vision we create together can be brought to life throughout the bespoke process. If you’re thinking of going bespoke, you will not be disappointed. Here at Marie Chandler Bespoke Costume and Clothing I have created a step by step guide to show how the process works, and what to expect when shopping for, and creating your bespoke wedding dress.

1. Enquiry

The process begins with an enquiry from the client (you!) either by phone or email where we would discuss any ideas you have, and your vision for your wedding dress (or any other garment you might fancy!).

This helps me to create an image of the overall look and I can get to know you, and what you have in mind for your big day.

2. Consultation

This is an informal consultation which takes place at our friendly studio in Reading, Berks (or at another suitable location) where we would discuss your ideas further and would go through any visual inspiration you may have.

I would normally have created a mood board before the first consultation based on our previous conversation, then we would collate all the inspiration we have to make sure we are on the same page with themes and ideas.

We would also discuss fabric samples, shapes, colours, fit and style at this stage. This way, I have all the information I need to go away and design you something fabulous! It will also allow me to give a guide price for your bespoke dress at this point. The initial consultation is always complimentary, and you are under no obligation to book at this stage.

3. Design Stage

At the design stage we will work through designs, altering and refining, until you are happy with the choices made. We will also go through final fabrics and bring the design choices together to create your bespoke wedding dress. All our bespoke garments are one of kind and are never replicated for another client.

A final costing will be given at this stage - prices for bespoke include consultation, design, fabric, pattern cutting, construction, fittings and the garment handed to you in a high-quality garment bag to keep it safe.

Fittings will then be arranged, and the construction of your bespoke wedding dress can begin.

The design stage fee is £60 which is redeemable against purchase. This allows us to spend time working on both your perfect design and selecting the right fabric for your bespoke dress.

4. First Fitting

At the first fitting we would try on the toile of your gown – this is a mock-up of the final dress made in a cotton calico. Here I am ensuring that I get a good fit of the dress, which helps define both the shape and design. Doing a toile gives the opportunity for any changes to be made to the design – reshaping a sleeve, altering a neckline –and defining all the finer details. Now your dress can be made in your final fabric!

Don’t worry at this stage if you’re feeling a little underwhelmed, calico isn’t a good look on anyone, this stage is all about getting the design and shape perfect!

5. Second Fitting

Now it starts to get extra exciting! The second fitting will be in the final fabric chosen and you can really see your wedding dress coming together. More tweaks and alterations will need to be made at this stage and minor alterations can be discussed if required. This is such an exciting stage of the bespoke process but also gives the opportunity for an final adjustments.

6. Third Fitting

It's all about the details! At the third fitting your dress will almost be complete! I allow for any final adjustments at this stage but it’s all about the look and the feel of the dress and perfecting the smaller details, for example the hem length, sleeve, buttons and any other fine details you may have on your bespoke wedding dress. Occasionally a fourth or even fifth fitting is needed – this all depends on the changes made and the complexity of the dress.

7. Final Fitting and Collection

After you are 100% happy your dress will be steamed and packed for collection before your wedding day!

The process of a bespoke garment would normally take around 3-6 months, but I can do it in less for last minute weddings if I have space available. All our costs are inclusive, and our made-to-measure process means there are no hidden alteration charges. On average a bespoke wedding dress cost at Marie Chandler Bespoke Costume and Clothing is £1750.00, however this all depends on design and fabric choices and could start from as little as £300 for a stylish cover up blouse and anywhere up to £4000 for a bridal extravaganza.

If you’re thinking of going bespoke, you will not be disappointed, our relaxed, friendly and professional service will allow to have the freedom of choice and give you a special and unique product that you can cherish forever.

Real Bride

Here is a bespoke wedding dress we made recently. Bride Keeley wanted something completely unique. She had never seen herself wearing a white dress so we worked together on the design, using Pinterest for inspiration and discussing shapes and styles that would suit her and her personal style. Over a glass of fizz in a London bar we decided on gold sequins and black tulle and an overall look of ‘Hollywood Starlet’. When Keeley entered the ceremony for the first time she got an audible gasp from her friends and family which was 100% our goal! We even created groom Trevor a matching sequin tie! The whole process took around 4 months. You can see more pictures of Keeley's dress in our gallery!


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