I thought I would post about my experience getting my wedding dress custom made. I have loved the entire process so far and thought that maybe this might help other brides who are considering going this route.
You work along side with a designer, creating your dream dress that is built for your body!
You have to trust in the process knowing that you won't be able to see what it will 'really' look like until the very end.
Deciding on going custom:
When I thought of planning my dream wedding, the idea of going into a bridal store to try on tons of dresses in front of an entourage never really appealed to me. In fact whenever I have gone into a bridal store previously when friends were looking for their dress I found the whole process really overwhelming.
Skip ahead to getting engaged…My fiancé proposed 5 days before my 30th birthday. My girlfriends had no idea he had been planning this (he wanted to surprise them too!) so it was a fluke that they got me a gift certificate to have a custom made dress. I have a bit of a thing for fancy dresses!
They had thought I would use it to get a nice party dress custom made but I soon found out that this boutique also makes wedding dresses! I went online and found some really beautiful and unique wedding gowns and the best thing is that they work with your budget! About a month later I gave the store a call to find out more details, I had a lovely chat with the owner/designer and booked an appointment to come in. We talked about price point, what fabric I was looking for, style, inspiration images etc. I did not think when I walked in the store that I would order the dress that day …but that's what happened. I'm not getting married until Jan2016 and this was back in Nov 2014 (yes…very early). It just worked out that they have a promotion every Nov, plus I had that gift certificate from my friends and she also offered no tax if I paid cash. It was too good of an offer. This also includes final alterations two weeks before the wedding date.
Note: For any Toronto brides, if you're interested the boutique is called "Champagne and Cupcakes" on Queen West. Talk to Caroline - she's the best!
I've always sort of had an idea of what I wanted in a wedding dress. Nothing pouffy, something a little more sleek and form fitting, definitely with a low back and romantic.
I realized early on that I definitely wanted lace and hoped that it would fit into the budget Caroline and I talked about. She got a bunch of different lace swatches that all fit in my price range.
I picked the one in the middle. I liked the cording detail and the delicate feel to it. Some of the other lace options I found too busy or too shiny.
Caroline and I decided to combine all the elements that I loved and add a couple of other details like straps that came in a little further at the back of the dress. After our initial conversation we picked a date and time for our first fitting and she built the first muslin mock-up.
I got into the dress and Caroline went to town with pins and a sharpie. I felt like I was going in for a plastic surgery consultation with that sharpie marking all over the dress I was wearing. She marked how low we wanted to go in the back and front with the bust line. It was really fun to play around with placements of everything and to see it take shape.
We scheduled the next fitting two weeks later. As you can see in the second fitting the little tweaks and adjustments from the first fitting start to materialize. I started to kick myself thinking why did I start to do this process right before Christmas! My office was being bombarded with all sorts of treats and Christmas cookies and here I am trying to fit into a wedding dress but I really liked the advice she gave me. She said "No, this is good. If it looks good when you have had the Christmas cookies, it will just look even better later on". That made me feel a little better! lol!
Caroline could have built the dress after two fittings but over the holidays I think I watched one too many episodes of "Say Yes to the Dress" and had some ideas of how I wanted to adjust the dress. I wanted a slightly lower back but with a section of just lace before the lining started (see the 3rd inspiration photo above) and wanted a longer train. We scheduled a third fitting and it was a really good idea that we did. My fiancé and I had been doing some renovations over the holidays and I was basically running up and down stairs for two weeks solid. By the time I went in for the third fitting we both realized I had lost some weight so we had to take it in quite a bit.
I joked with my fiancé that we should just do renovations from now until the wedding as my work out regime. haha!
Picking Up the Dress:
I was so excited to pick up my dress last week but also a little nervous!! I have been so happy with the entire process so far but then a couple days before I went to pick it up, I had this awful thought of what if it wasn't what I was picturing at all. Thankfully my fiancé talked me off the ledge and said "if you're not happy with it, we'll just get a new one" - he's the best! I was really hoping it wouldn't come to that though.
I went in with my two maids of honour and tried it on. The first thought I had was - this dress is huge! lol! Caroline then told me that she always makes them quite a bit bigger...just in case. It is just to be safe and that it is always easy to take it in and not so much the other way around. She said that she always gets brides coming in promising to lose a ton of weight (lol like me!) and they make her make the dress to fit exact and she's had to make brand new dresses a couple times when it came down to the final alterations. Here's a side by side of the my dress!! The left is the pic where I look like I'm all boxy and shapeless (dress as is) and the right is the pic of sort of what it will look like when the final alterations are done. (excuse the messy bedroom on the right, I was trying to quickly get a selfie before the fiancé came home)
Here is the back of the dress-my favourite part!! Again the one on the left is very loose. I love what she did with the straps. They were a complete surprise as she couldn't use the lace from the rest of the dress. She took two pieces of edging and combined them to make the straps. I think they turned out really pretty!
Here are a couple more shots of the dress up close...
I love that I had a hand in designing my own wedding dress! It's pretty neat watching the whole process come together. I would highly recommend going this route if you're looking for something specific and unique.
Now I have it at home and I want to put it on everyday - lol! It's going to be hard to wait until next winter to get the final alterations done but I'm sure I'll have tons of planning to keep me occupied!