Dear Charlotte & all the RMW lovelies (including Adam!),
I’m hoping you and all your gorgeous readers will be able to help me.
I’m getting married on 27 July next year, hopefully outside, in the Oxfordshire countryside. As the Boy is paying for the whole day, the budget is rather tight and as such I dont have the budget for the dress of my dreams (Monique Lhuillier’s Scarlet) or anything like it. I have a budget of around £500. So I was thinking of getting my dress made instead – it’ll be one of a kind and exactly what I want – or at least that’s the theory.
So…..what I’m hoping you can help with is this: have any of your readers had their dress made? how did they find the process? and more importantly – how much did they spend? and could they recommend someone? I’m willing to travel to Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, all of Oxfordshire, Bristol, Bath, Northamptonshire and probably even London!
Hope you can help!
P.S – Absolutely love those beautiful polka dot pages, I am (as Naomi would say) “all over them, like a pigeon on a chip!”
I felt compelled to respond to your appeal for dress making advice, not because I had my own dress made (although I did have my bridesmaids dresses all hand made), but rather because my own history with wedding dresses probably renders me the most qualified to advise….!
Never having had a wedding dress made from scratch, I have no idea if your budget will allow for the dress of your dreams – our readers should and will have buckets of advice and information for you, so you will leave here better armed for Project Wedding Dress.
My experience with having my bridesmaid dresses made were that the silk was expensive, but worth it because I wanted to have a good quality material that hung nicely. The dress maker I used is predominantly a Wedding Dress maker and her portfolio was amazing, after all of my own dress issues I wish I had gone and just given her my spec, budget, and ideas and let her create something for me! I will send you a private message with her contact information.
An alternative, rather than splashing out for your dream dress, is to buy second hand, or pre loved if you will (a nicer turn of phrase). This early in the planning stages you may feel that a pre owned dress is almost certainly not an option but I would beg you to change your mind and look at what is out there. After trying (and failing) to get rid of the first wedding dress I purchased, I quickly realised it’s a second hand market out there at the moment. Well that, and it’s cheaper to get it made in China.
It might be worth just looking and trying on a few styles, and then finding a dress maker to tweak it to your own personal specification, et voila! An utterly bespoke wedding dress, and one that fits in with your budget!
Take it from someone who dithered and spent / wasted (delete as appropriate) a lot of time and money on wedding dresses. I too wanted a dress that no one else had, and took my final dress to my dressmaker to tweak and I wish I had just cut out all the stress beforehand and made that my immediate course of action!
You can pick up gorgeous designer ‘pre loved’ wedding dresses, for literally a fraction of the cost brand new. Have you checked our very own RMW Undress? It’s common for bridal boutiques to also stock pre loved wedding dresses, you may even find some that went unworn (like my first dress, hey why don’t you buy that?)
Just because you feel your budget is low, doesn’t mean you still can’t have the dress of your dreams. Just be creative and confident in your decisions, and honestly, for those of us that spend a shameless amount of money on our wedding dresses… just ask us what we have done with them since we got married… my own is sitting in a plastic lidded box from Ikea and is kept in the loft at my Mum-in-Laws.
Previous to that, it was rolled up and shoved into the bottom of my wardrobe.
It hasn’t even been cleaned!
If I could go back and do it all over again, getting a dress made, or buying a pre loved dress and customising it would be exactly what I would do. And I would spend £500 on it.
And if anyone asked, I would probably say it was a Monique Lhuillier (although I could probably say it was made my Bob Dylan and they would still be none the wiser).
So lets open it up to the forum, has anyone gone down the dressmaker route? And can you give Anni any tips?
Wishing you all the best of luck,