Ask Jenny – Project Wedding Dress.

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!

Anni x

P.S – Absolutely love those beautiful polka dot pages, I am (as Naomi would say) “all over them, like a pigeon on a chip!”

Dearest Anni,

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,

Love

Jenny x

Author: Jenny

68 thoughts on “Ask Jenny – Project Wedding Dress.

  1. Am I first? Ooh!

    I too am on a tighter-than-tight budget, and wanted to go down the dressmaker route. I looked around, followed up on a few contacts, but found that the material was going to be expensive, let alone the dressmaker’s fees. I looked at lots of preloved wedding dress sites including eBay out there, literally scoured for about three months before I was told two little secrets. You see, there are lots of brides on a budget out there, and my friend was in a bridal shop in Devon where she tried on a bridesmaid dress that was, well, wow. It was gorgeous. But it wasn’t white or ivory. It was blue. The shop told her they could make it in ivory. For £250. Her jaw dropped. This dress was beautiful, it was all full and layered at the bottom, and all strapless and corseted at the top. So my advice to you (via my lovely friend) is to get a bridesmaid’s dress and have it made in your colour.

    As for me? Well I cheated good and proper. The same bridal shop that my friend used? The lady in the shop told her of a website in China that makes replica designer dresses. I’ll probably go to hell for this but I did it. . I was worried about the quality, but I did my research, and it is fantastic! I’m currently having a seamstress fiddle with it a bit so that it fits just right, but I absolutely love my dress!

    Good luck with your search xx

    1. Hello, I am looking to go down the ‘Designer dress made in China’ route and I am in the process of researching first, could you possibly send me the details of who you went through on ebay for your own dress? I have my eye on a Elie Saab…little out of my reach, but I am a creative person, and open to ideas! Please help!!!

    2. Which site did u use in China.. ..literally reading your comment sounds exactly the predicament I’m in…..i know exactly the type I want (but unfortunately I do not have a Galia Lahav budget…..its more of a primark budget!!) I will be forever in your debt if you could share your wisdom with me???

      1. Hi Kay
        I think you have muddled me with someone else – I am a designer and dressmaker based in Kent and as such I would never recommend Chinese websites, having had a wealth of experience of unhappy brides with unbelievably bad dresses! I can quote you for a bridal gown made specifically for you, but you need to be within travelling distance. I hope this helps!
        Best wishes
        Maureen

    3. Hi, I came across this website now that I am looking to buy/have made a wedding dress. There are so many opinions out there.
      I am also looking into ordering mine from China, because of all the reasons described above (only wearing it once, tight budget, justwontspendthiskindofmoneyonadress kind of thing). Could you PM me re the actual website you used, as there are loads, so if you say they made a quality job, then I would like to have a look at their dresses.
      thank you and hope you had a lovely wedding.

        1. Hi im looking for a wedding dress thats on a low budget but dont seem to find any in my colour unless u buy online. But dont want to do that ive seen sum i like but there all white & i want red & white how much would it cost to make a wedding dress. Thank you

          1. Hi there and thanks for your enquiry!
            The cost of a wedding dress depends entirely on the fabrics you choose, but generally speaking a plain dress in synthetic fabric could cost around £300 and if you want pure silk, lace or any other finishes, it will cost more. I’m sorry I can’t be more specific than that, but in theory you can pay whatever you want for a dress!! It’s probably best to let a dressmaker know your budget and they should be able to tell you exactly what you can have within that budget.

  2. Hi Anni,

    Not having really started on my dress search yet (although I get married 5 days after you!!) here are my suggestions for your plight!!

    Highstreet – Coast have some LOVELY dresses, as do Debenhams and House Of Fraser. Originally I thought I would go down this route as I didnt want to spend ‘an obscene amount’ however things change and I can now afford to spend a little more.

    As Jenny has said, Preloved or Undress on here and You and Your Wedding Forum all have sections of people selling preloved but also brand new with tags dresses that have never been worn!

    My Final suggestion is this: Have you thought about contacting a Fashion Design course? ie. Northampton University have one. If you get to a final year student before September you can find someone who wants to do Bridal design and tell them that you will contribute towards the toiles and material etc. You can help them with ideas and they can use the dress in their final show. It will give them hands on experience of a real bride and you get a completely one off creation. Just a thought!!

    Happy searching, and let us know how you get on!!

    Helen x

  3. Hey there,

    Check out lightinthebox.com, they’ve got a whole lot of beautiful dresses for supercheap. You can always get one of their’s and then have it altered locally to match your design.

    Good luck!
    Dx

  4. I looked into it as I was struggling to find something I LOVED but it was far more than an off the peg creation! I would second all the advice above and I woud have probably gone the china route if I was stuck on budget..

  5. Congrats Anni…
    I am going down the dress maker route as many of the style I like are on a couture level and not within my reach.
    I would start making appointments with dressmakers sooner rather than later so you can go for not obligatory meetings to discuss the styles you like and your budget.
    Also, check out places like http://www.theoutnet.com and google sample sales with the designer names that you like. If you find stockists of your fave brands then ask them if they have any styles that will be discontinued and therefore they are selling the sample.
    Preloved dresses is absolutely the way forward – I would bite someones hand off if I could buy something thats garanteed to have only ever been worn once!!

    Good luck in your search.
    Lots xxx

  6. The only thing about doing this is you need to be really sure about what you want and what suit you – so many people find they’re wrong about this when they go dress-shopping. Have you considered looking on the high street? Monsoon and Phase Eight have some absolutely stunning dresses – I was just reading a dress supplement that came with the latest issue of Brides, they had examples of brides who spent a variety of amounts on their dresses from £250 to £22,000 and the £250 dress was far and away the nicest. Or check out vintage shops as well. Personally I spent £867 on my dress and I absolutely love it, but I also considered buying secondhand via RMW or Preloved. I think you have loads of options and while you could get a dress made I’m not sure that’s the cheapest way to do it especially in the Southeast.

  7. Oh wow! Hello lovely ladies!

    Thank you for all your advice so far. I have been dress shopping already as my parents left the country a week ago and I wanted to include my mum so I already know what look good/horrific on me and I have a design drawn…just nobody to make it…should that be the route I go!

    Will definitely be keeping an eye on Undress and Preloved!

    All of you who have yet to buy your dress…..is it something that weighs heavily on your mind….I know it is for me!

    Thank you so much for all your fabulous RMW Community support so far!

    Anni xxx

  8. I bought my wedding dress from Unforgettable Vintage, a gorgeous vintage wedding dress boutique near Leamington Spa. Absolutely incredible dresses – so lovely, I bought two (one for the ceremony and one for dancing) and a 1950s fur stole for my £500 budget!

  9. I’ve put a deposit down on an Oh My Honey wedding dress – have you seen them? If not, then have a look because they are FABULOUS! The one I really had my heart set on was about double my budget (which is around the £500 mark too) but a few quick emails to Louise and she’d suggested some alterations that could be make to bring the price down and make it perfect for me. I’m not getting married until December so am going to wait until August or so to order it ready to be made, but I can’t WAIT! Also – have a look at the Kitty and Dulcie dresses which are beautiful and available at great prices – I have heard SO MANY great reviews.

    Yes, I am a little nervous about it’s arrival, and not being able to try it on before I buy it, but am keeping my emotions in check by reminding myself that there isn’t a lot a good seamstress can’t fix, and that it is after all, one dress, to be worn for one day.

    Good luck! x

  10. Anni, also keep an eye out for sample sales – I got my £1,000 dress for an absolute steal of £150! It had been tried on by a few people but you wouldn’t have known as it was in great condition.

    I’m sure you will land upon the right solution and find the perfect dress xx

  11. If you’re not set on a particular design, which can only be made as a bespoke creation, I would strongly recommend ebay. I bought my Jenny Packham dress on ebay for £700 rather than the £2690 it would have cost new and although it’s an ex-sample and so has some make-up stains from other brides trying it on, it has never actually been worn and will be perfect once it has been cleaned (I’m also having some extensive alterations, but that’s another story!).

    Obviously, there’s a lot of luck involved in this option, and I was incredibly fortunate that I managed to find the dress I wanted, in my size(!) on ebay for such a bargain, but I would recommend trying on some styles and keeping an eye on ebay (I think you can set up alerts for when particular items are posted).

    Another option for cheaper dresses is J.Crew. You may need to pay some import duties as it’s an American retailer but they have some gorgeous dresses for less than your budget.

    From my very limited knowledge, I think it’s a little optimistic to expect to find a good dress maker who will make a wedding dress for £500 particularly if that includes the cost of the material, however it could be possible.

    Anyway, I hope this helped a little.

    Good luck! x

    P.S. be careful about the China option – my friend bought a replica dress made in China and it was horrific! It has, however, become the costume of choice for various male friends’ stag parties…

  12. Anni, my budget is also about £500 (because the boy is paying for everything else!) and I was going to get a dress made. However, first I decided to go to a vintage dress shop just to try on styles and work out what did/didn’t suit me. This was the best thing I could have done because the 50s lace look I was in love with made me look, well, awful! Like a doily! I tried on a totally different style (1930s halterneck, amazing) and it turned out that dress wasn’t actually 1930s at all, but a 1990s replica. The dressmaker who owns the shop is going to make some alterations and add some bits and bobs so it’ll be a one of a kind AND second hand (I have no problem with calling it what it is!) and all for £550!
    So, my advice is try some dresses on, you might be surprised about what you can find already available, and if you do get something made, go in knowing what you want and what suits. Oh, and £500 is plenty for a fab dress!

  13. I have no experience of having a dress made by a commercial dress maker (luckily for me my mum is handy with a sewing machine) but if you do decide to have a dress made I would bear in mind the price of material when budgeting. Silk especially is even more expensive than normal at the moment because of recent natural disasters like the tsunami in Japan.
    Oh, and if you like the 1950s style try Honeypie Boutique online – their dresses are really reasonably priced and look gorgeous.

  14. I would really keep your eye’s peeled for the amazing sample sales, or even the high street. I went to a friends wedding at the weekend and she wore a monsoon dress – it looked absolutely stunning and I promise you couldn’t tell it didn’t cost a fortune.
    Do try lots on, you might suprise yourself – I ended up buying mine from the alice temperley outlet shop (top tip – this is the only one in the country, and it stocks wedding dresses. Its in bicester village, oxfordshire, oh and they dont charge you to try dresses on!!!) My mum pulled out a lovely dress for me to try, which I never would have picked myself and it’s THE ONE, blimmin’ beautiful and cost £695 (reduced from £2500) a bargain and a half.
    Failing this, go preloved, after a dry clean no-one will know the difference and you get a great quality dress for the fraction of the price!! x

  15. Don’t rule the bridal shops out. As well as the regular sale racks many shops have, there are the seasonal sales too. Plus you never know, you may pick the perfect dress from the current range, try it on, love it, want it, be told the price and then find it’s way under budget. That’s what happened to me. I didn’t want to spend a fortune but all the ads I had seen suggested I was going to have to in order to get a decent frock. I wasn’t willing to spend a fortune on a dress (shoes were a whole different matter mind you). Budget wasn’t a major issue, but I had my mind set around £700. Mum thought around £1000. That perfect dress from the current range….£450! Ka-ching!!! Sold!!!

  16. My outfit is being made by a lovely local lady who I found on etsy. I would definitely recommend looking there :o)

    Good luck!

  17. Hi Anni, I’m having the same ‘do I just bite the bullet and have it made’ dilemma as well!

    My thoughts are that depending on the design of your dream dress, £500 might not be enough to have it made by a UK dressmaker at the moment- as Sarah said above, silks are currently hugely expensive and going up all the time.

    I think the China route is becoming more popular for people on a budget but it is a risk- I work in a bridal boutique and have met on several occasions brides who have had China dress disasters, although Maddy above has a great dress… so it’s hit and miss I suppose.

    I’d try vintage and charity shops… and go to every sample sale you can! The bridesmaid suggestion is brilliant, as is buying any formal, full-length (or shorter if you want!) evening/maxi dress that doesn’t have the ‘wedding’ price tag to boot.

    A final suggestion- try Etsy. A lot of dress designers on there who might be making something you like at a fraction of the cost.

    Good luck! xxx

  18. I got my dress from lightinthebox.com and it is amazeballs!!!!!!! very cheap too just needs a bit of adjusting by a seamstress around the bust as aparantly they assumed i would have mahooosive bazongas. try there and etsy for excellent dressmakers in your area. x x x best of luck and remeber choosing your dress should be one of the most fum things about planning a wedding no matter what your budget is xxx

  19. Hi Anni 🙂

    I definitely know what you mean about it weighing heavily on your mind, I think it’s the pressure of finding ‘the one’ for me, there are just so many to choose from, at the moment it seems like an impossible task! Although to be honest I haven’t started looking yet (mostly cause it scares the poop out of me)!

    I was also thinking of getting a dress made, not so much cause of budget but because I am a complete short arse and thought having one made for me might work better, but like you I don’t have a clue where to start in terms of finding a good dress maker. I’m in the same area as you too, so if you find one give me a shout!

    Good luck, I’m sure you’ll look amazing no matter what!

    Xxx

  20. @Steph – WHERE is your dress from?!?!

    My best friend and Maid of Honour just skyped me from Sudan with the same idea as Jenny…find a dress that you like, but isnt perfect, and get it altered. So…. here goes…

    This is the original dress: https://allurebridals.com/Store_ProductDetail.aspx?pid=c9F612264977F6hI8g82 – although I want it more fitted at the bottom.

    And here are two dresses that could be altered…
    Kitty & Dulcie: https://www.kittyanddulcie.com/city-slicker-cheap-wedding-dress.html – made in the UK
    Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/listing/101331252/ivory-sleeveless-lace-wedding-dress – a full length version of this is around £257

    Which do you think would be easier to alter? And @Jenny – how much alteration did your Lady do?

    Thank you all so much for your help lovelies – I think the Boy is a little bored with my dress dilemmas!

    xxxxx

  21. Afternoon lovelies, felt compelled to ask- am I an alien because I knew from the start I would not want to spend a fortune on my wedding dress or go in a pony boutique? I just couldn’t justify spending thousands on something which is worn once when money is in high demand. I love anything vintage- lace and pearls etc. Was thrilled to find Anoushka G- a great lable which House of Fraser stock, my dress ‘Louisa Vintage’ is perfect and in the sale at £275! The only one left in my size was in the Preston store (I live in Guidford) but a lovely lady in that store found it for me and it came in the post all wrapped in tissue with a lovely hand written note wising me a fabulous wedding day. My veil is from BHS online (underrated!) and I can’t wait to wear them both. Expensive is not always the best I say xx

  22. How supportive is the RMW community?! Wow.

    Just a postscript message to add on:

    When I tried on dresses in bridal boutiques to see what suited me, I did actually try on the dress that I eventually had made from the China website (Maggie Sottero Presca Marie), and the boutique put on a Stephanie Allin lace jacket with the dress as I was adamant I didn’t want a strapless dress. However the jacket alone was £400 to make, so I scoured Etsy and found an extremely similar one for £56! Etsy is definitely worth a look…!

  23. HiI got my dress from Swoon Wedding Gowns (just off M25 West Byfleet, Surrey). They do heaps of sample and once worn dresses. The shop feels/looks just like a ‘normal’ bridal shop and the owner is wonderful. Just been back for my first fitting. Don’t forget that a dress can be altered and changed considerably to what you want. Well worth a trip- you can look online first to see if they have anything suitable. They have anything from Jenny Packham to Pronovias. xx

  24. Hey 🙂
    As some of the other ladies have said you could try vintage bridal shops. You need to shop around as some vintage bridal shops can be just as expensive as the normal bridal boutiques. But I went to little one in London that had a range of dresses (from the 50s tea dress to some slinky satin 30s-40s numbers and many more styles) I didn’t get my dress from there but there were some very good prices and they were also very willing to alter the dresses to exactly how you wanted, so it would be completely unique to you.

    My only warning is that unfortunately the majority or dresses in that store were sizes 6-10! I’m just about a 10 (when I breathe in! ha ha) and did find a few dreses that fitted but I imagine it might be harder for some of the more curvy ladies – so make sure you ask before you go along.

    Good luck with the hunt 🙂 xx

  25. Have you seen the twobirds dresses??? I’m thinking of having that for my bidesmaid…but she’s trying to get me to wear one istead!! They are lovely!!

    xx

  26. @ Anni. Just wrote a nice long detailed post and lost it! Got my dress at Gwennes’s in Broxburn (just outside Edinburgh). Was simple dress but my one. Just goes to show, always worth a look.

  27. I’m getting my dress made up by a local seamstress, I approached her with an idea of shape/style and together we looked through lots of fabrics and came up with our own design.
    She talked me into using polyester fabric to make the dress (shock horror!), which has massively kept costs down. It is actually very nice fabric that hangs well, plus I thought it was silk until she told me otherwise so hopefully everybody else will be fooled as well! The total bill will be about £350 for a dress that fits me perfectly and doesn’t exist anywhere else.
    Alternatively, there are quite a few shops on Etsy who sell beautiful dresses that you can buy RTW or bespoke for under £200.

  28. Anni what a great post…everyone feels your plight! Though you asked whether the dress hunt weighs heavily on our minds…mine weighs more on my mind now I have bought it! I’m constantly looking at dresses wondering whether I have made the right decision! But I keep reminding myself that Jon will just see white…(and hopefully me!) …he wont care as long as I have a big smile on my face and I wont care by that point either…on the day whatever the dress whatever the cost I’m sure you’ll look beautiful because you’ll be sooo happy! x

  29. Hi

    I was a bride on a budget and after trying on several dresses from the high street I went to Berkshire brides they have lots of preloved and sample dresses.My Benjamin Roberts sample dress was £700 and I’ve not seen another bride in it. It was totally stunning I’m so glad I went down that route.

  30. Hi all, sorry for the late commenting I go to bed so early these days that I miss the afternoon posts.

    I can recommend Berkshire Brides, the lady that owns it contacted me a few times about selling my dress (for a phenominally low amount) so I think you could pick up a complete bargain there!

    As for the China wedding dresses, I was lucky when I ordered mine (the second dress) as it was gorgeous and only needed a little adjusting. I have seen/heard some horror stories about horrific dresses turning up in the post though, so be careful if you go down that route.

    When I finally settled on the third dress, the cost to have the amendments made only came to a few hundred pounds.

    There are so many options, which will you go for…?

    Jen xx

    1. Hi Jenny
      Commenting on a very old post – but your input gratefully received – can you divulge the dressmaker you referred to in your original post that you used for your bridesmaid dresses with the fabulous portfolio?

  31. Hi,
    I saw this article, and as a pattern cutter, designer, seamstress… (who is currently making her own wedding dress…) I felt I should comment… All the advice above has been really fabulous! … And unless you go down the China route or are really lucky… Getting a dress made from scratch is, (if the seamstress is good) probably more expensive than buying a dress off the Peg… But this also depends on the dress and the person… If the dress is a very simple straight up and down no fuss number, than you may be able to get it done, but if it has a boned bodice, with a full skirt, with lots of layers etc, the costs go up considerately… Having just made two wedding dresses recently, the cost of just the fabric alone for both came up to about £500… And the dresses were Grecian style (so no full skirts or boning, although it had layers of light chiffon gathered over a silk base) For good bridal lace the prices are around £150 -£300 per metre and for my own dress, for a plain matt satin brushed silk, it’s costing me £50 per metre… So in conclusion … Fabrics are expensive… Although… There are good polyesters and imitation fabrics, which can be used equally as well… But you need someone who knows fabric to help so you get one that moves how you want, breathes how you want creases how you want etc… Hope that was helpful.

  32. I agree with @Steph – don’t rule out bridal shops as most will have amazing sales at some point.
    I originally went to Monsoon and tried on a lovely dress, but then a friend mentioned she’d heard about a sale in a local bridal shop – which I’d previously ruled out as I thought they’d be out of my £500 budget. I managed to bag a £1200 stunning Pronovias dress for £300! When I went to get it altered the seamstress said that the raw materials (silk and chiffon) would have cost nearly that much to buy, so I’d got an amazing bargain.

  33. As many of the others have said you can find some amazing high street and off the peg dresses within your budget.

    I am having a one of a kind dress made for me, but its about the same price as dresses at the high end of most bridal stores (1400). Admittedly it might be possible to get one made by a local seamstress within your budget but you may have to compromise on fabric quality.

    I would advise that you have a look around to see if there are any off the peg that you love. But you still have AGES until you need to be buying your dress. Get your ideas together than about 8-6 months before the big day go looking then!

  34. Hi Anni, I got married 3 weeks ago and I too was on a tight budget and had my dress made. It wasn’t so much my budget that pushed me to getting a dress made, but more that what I wanted didn’t exist! My dress was made by Wendy at Flossy and Dossy, based in Glasgow, (www.flossyanddossy.co.uk). She is AWESOME! She made my 50’s style duchess satin dress with tuille layers, 3/4 length sleeves and wonderful button details for £240! (if you go to her blog you can see some pics of my dress under Naomi and Paul!). The whole experience was brilliant for me, mostly because I had complete faith in Wendy, if there was something I wasn’t sure about she would change it without a problem. If you decide to go down this route make sure that you have good dialogue with your dress maker and never be afraid to say if there is something your not sure about! Also trust their experience, they make dresses for a living, so have a real understanding of how certain fabrics behave, the cut of things (for example Wendy made my sleeves on the bias as satin doesn’t stretch, but by cutting them on the bias it gave some movement in the sleeves!). I’m still not sure how she made my dress for that money but she did and I got to design my own wedding dress that was unique to me! Good Luck!

  35. Hi ladies!
    Well @Anni, I’m getting my dress made for the top end of my budget and therefore aiming to have less expensive accessories.

    After trying on several dresses in 5 different shops with three different friends over about 2 months to get ideas, I went to see a dress maker in Canterbury where I live. We went through all the pictures I had and we worked out a design between us, and then settled on material I could afford – satin effect material under loads of chiffon – floaty and princess-y, I think so!

    Other than budget and not finding precisely the one in the shops for the money I had, I went to a dress maker because, like @Tabitha I’m tiny!

    I kinda wish I hadn’t committed so early though, the chance that I could find ‘the one’ (and there was one that was perfect, just sooo much money!) in a sample sale keeps niggling at the back of my mind, as does the idea of having the luck to find one on pre-loved websites.

    Ah well – it’ll be fab when it’s done, of that I’m certain! I just keep reminding myself of that 🙂

    Hope you find exactly what you want Anni!

    Amy x

  36. hey Anni –
    I’m getting married in September to a wonderful man who is paying for everything … aren’t we lucky to have such gems!
    As such I didn’t want to pay too much for my dress and gave myself a budget the same as yours … check out sales in wedding shops and sample sales. My dress was once worn on a wedding catwalk and therefore cost £144. There are HUNDREDS of reasonably priced dresses out there that are beautiful – just make sure that you say your budget straight away and find a nice shop where they respect that. Having your dress made sounds fab, but have a shop around first, you really might be surprised! xx

  37. Hi – I’m getting married in 2 weeks and wearing a dress that I bought for £495 from a shop called Aisle Alter Hymn in Somerset near Taunton. The lovely Chris who owns this amazing treasure trove sells on dresses that have previously been used as shop samples for a fraction of the price of their RRP.

    My dress RRP is £1600 and is by a well known designer and is still on her website now for full price. I’m lucky that a size 10 fit me more or less exactly off the peg but it is worth looking into options like this to get the dress of your dreams for the budget of your dreams.

    I feel in love with a Stephanie Allin dress that cost over £2000 which although I could have just about stretched to that I disagree with paying such a large amount for a dress you only wear for 12 hours tops. I felt that the money would be better spent elsewhere so I investigated getting a copy made but it was only a little bit cheaper.

    Happy dress shopping.

  38. Hey,
    I didn’t want to spend loads on a dress either, am getting married in 2 weeks – wearing the kitty and dulcie dress you mentioned! So just to say that it seems to be really good quality, though I’m no expert, and my bridesmaids tell me looks better than a similar-ish Justin Alexender one I was fond of. I just had minor alterations so it fitted, which cost £35, including a new zip (I might have broken it and spent 15 mins stuck in the dress, but Kitty and Dulcie gave me £40 back as they were so surprised/ disappointed this had happened! ). Not sure if there’s anything else useful I can tell you! As you’ve got plenty of time it may be worth waiting until after the ssummer ummer sales, ,

  39. Hey,
    I didn’t want to spend loads on a dress either, am getting married in 2 weeks – wearing the kitty and dulcie dress you mentioned! So just to say that it seems to be really good quality, though I’m no expert, and my bridesmaids tell me looks better than a similar-ish Justin Alexender one I was fond of. I just had minor alterations so it fitted perfectly which cost £35, including a new zip (I might have broken it and spent 15 mins stuck in the dress, but Kitty and Dulcie gave me £40 back as they were so surprised/ disappointed this had happened! ). Also though, if you look at the bottom of the lace it’s scalloped, I’m 5’10” so didnt need to have it taken up, but if you did, I’m not sure how a dress maker would do this easily, there must be a way, but it would be more complicated than with some I guess?! Not sure if there’s anything else useful I can tell you! Good luck!

  40. I’m in total agreement with the preloved route, having purchased my dressjust today from a lovely girl in Nottingham (I’m from Solihull) for half the price it was in the shop! ok, it needs a couple of tweaks to make it perfect once again, but for £600 rather than £1200 I’m not complaining. Go to shops, try on, find the one and then google your butt off…chances are it’s here on the WWW somwhere just waithing for you to pay less for it!!
    Good luck xx

  41. My budget’s £500 FOR MY WHOLE OUTFIT! This includes shoes, accessories, lingerie.. And yet I’m 100% confident I can do this.. Why? How? One word; Ebay.

    I’ve never been a fan of paying big bucks just to own something branded. So as much as I’d love to say I have a Vera Wang wedding dress alongside Louboutin shoes, I ain’t going to spend the money to get those! So I’m going to go the cheap route; online retail, no designer, mass-produced, but yet unique in the UK. With Paypal & Visa on my side, I can order my dress before my wedding, and even if the retailer went ‘poof’, I wouldn’t lose my hard-earned pennies!

    Seriously, have a look as you’ll get a dress that’s been altered to fit you (just make sure somebody else takes your measurements; self-taken ones lie a little!) for a teeny-weeny fraction of the price you’d pay in a shop! (and you can still trawl shops for inspiration & try those wonderful things on!)

  42. Ooh hi Anni! I’m also getting married 27 July 2013 in the Oxfordshire countryside – how very exciting to find someone else doing the same!

    I haven’t started looking for my dress yet so this thread has been immensely helpful. Had a look at the Berkshire Brides website after someone suggested it above and it looks very promising..thanks for the tip!

    Also in response to your question wanted to say that its funny but the wedding dress is not weighing on my mind at all – i keep thinking that the wedding is ages away and I’m prioritising the photographer, videographer and venue over the dress. Plus I know my fiance will think I’m beautiful in whatever I choose. Hopefully when I do start looking I’m going to enjoy the process and not stress out too much over it!

  43. Hello Anni, I married my lovely hubby last year and had my dress made by the very brilliant and talented Kula Tsurdiu and her team in Nottingham Lace Market (www.kulatsurdiu.co.uk). I completely loved wearing it on The Big Day, will treasure it forever, and have even worn it again since our wedding!

    However… I only really went to Kula’s boutique to try on a few different vintage-inspired styles from different eras, to find out what suited me. And when I decided on a style, my Mum and I did loads of research trying to work out how we could either make a similar dress ourselves or find a local dressmaker to make it for less. What we discovered was that (1) silk is unbelievably expensive, and (2) not every dressmaker or seamstress (whether they be from the UK or China!) has the skill and talent required to make your dream wedding dress look as beautiful as you’re imagining. (@Charmaine, I imagine you fall into the category that does :)). In short, it dawned on us that there was a reason why the Kula Tsurdiu dress I loved was going to cost me well over £1000!

    SO… my big piece of advice would be to try all the other options that everyone has suggested above before you set your heart on getting your dress made. In fact, I wish I had known about these brilliant suggestions a year ago, as I started out really wanting keep my dress budget to a few hundred pounds but gave up!!

    I’m sure you’ll find a beautiful dress and will feel a gazillion dollars on your wedding day!

  44. @Lola I hope you see this !!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have a Twobirds Full Rosette Ballgown for sale !!!!!! (in ivory)

    It has NEVER BEEN WORN – I can sell it to you cheaper than the RRP price 😉

    My 4 bridesmaids are in Twobirds dresses and I was supposed to wear the Twobirds rosette ballgown but that’s not the plan anymore (which has nothing to do with the quality etc of the dress!)

    @Jenny / @Charlotte can you get in touch with Lola to let her know incase she dosn’t see this?

    @Anni sorry for hi-jacking your post! If you were looking for rosette’s this could be for you too but you are looking for lace 😉

  45. Hi Anni,

    Congratulations! I also had the same problem – the dress I fell in love with was a Stephanie Allin gown that cost nearly £3k – which I definitely couldn’t afford! I am now having mine made to measure by Gilly Woo in Bristol, who is wonderful – but prices do start at about £1,000 so perhaps it’s not quite within your budget? It works better for me because I’m really short and normal sized dresses were swamping me!

    Another option I had looked at was Kitty and Dulcie – they beautiful vintage style wedding gowns for a really affordable price. There is one that looks a little bit like the one you like for £395: https://www.kittyanddulcie.com/city-slicker-cheap-wedding-dress.html

    If that doesn’t work, they’re launching a new collection in 2 weeks’ time so you might be lucky!

    I hope you find the dress of your dreams very soon!

    Gina xx

  46. My sister brought her monique lhuillier dress from Becketts bride and I think they do others designers too like vera wang. Im getting married next year and have my heart set on the ‘amaranth’ dress and have already put a deposit down. May be worth having a look http://www.beckettsbride.co.uk x

  47. What a lovely shop! I had my wedding dress shortened and it came out absolutely perfectly – just lets my shoes peep out of the bottom and is exactly 1/2″ off the floor all the way around.”

    The shop itself is beautifully decorated and on a pretty little street. There are ample thick black velvet curtains around the dressing room, too, so you’re never left feeling like someone’s going to see in.

    And, unlike a lot of shops, the people here actually seem to understand real customer service. I’ll certainly be coming back.
    https://www.alterationsboutique.co.uk/how-we-work
    Dress alterations

  48. Having your wedding dress made needn’t be the nightmare that most brides are worried about. Of course it will be more expensive than buying a cheap dress online, but if you do that you will inevitably need to have it altered to fit you and that’s where it can all go horribly wrong! Most designer dresses are made from pure silk and that is what you will pay for – along with the label of course. I have had years of experience in making bridal wear, both bridal gowns and bridesmaids’ dresses, and I work closely with my brides to ensure they have the most appropriate fabrics for the look they want to achieve. The final cost is down to the amount of work involved and the fabrics chosen, but can be a fraction of the cost of a designer gown.

  49. Hi all. I need to have my dress made as it is my own design I did many years ago.
    Can you recommend a great seamstress who can make this dream dress for me thanks.
    -A.

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