Lovely readers, this post is fascinating. Wedding planner extraordinaire, Charlotte from La Fete Weddings & Events just happens to be getting married herself this summer, and has decided to go down the bespoke route for her wedding dress. Not only that, but her dress (or should I say dresses) have been made abroad, in India. We know this is something lots of you consider, but perhaps have major wobbles about, so today we thought we'd ask Charlotte all the questions you'd want answers to! Read on for the truth - the highs and lows of having your dress made abroad, the costs involved and for photos of Charlotte's dresses both being made, and in action...
1. What was your experience at the beginning of dress hunting?
When I first started looking for dresses I was overwhelmed. With so many different styles to choose from, in a strange way it can feel just as stifling as having a restricted selection. My main issue was thinking that I knew what I wanted, when actually those I had in mind just didn’t work for me. The overall experience was a blend of excitement, confusion and quite a lot of stress!
2. Why did you decide to go bespoke?
One of my best friends had her wedding gown designed and handmade and despite being dubious at first, I was blown away by the end result. From then on, I thought that a bespoke dress would be the perfect solution when it came to combining the elements that I had liked in the dozens of discarded dresses that hadn’t been quite right. The bespoke option also let me have a creative input in designing, allowing me to truly reflect my personal style.
3. How did you find the company you then trusted to make your dresses?
I used the same company as my friend as she couldn’t stop raving about them and I had seen their work first-hand. This helped so much in establishing a base of trust with them, which only grew when I flew to New Delhi for a fitting to meet them in person and see them work.
4. Why did you decide to have three dresses made?
It was important to me to distinguish the three chapters of my wedding. The first was the legal wedding which I wanted a demure and shorter dress for, almost with a retro twist; the second was for a black-tie wedding celebration in Seville, hence the dramatic fish tail gown inspired by flamenco dresses and my third and final dress is to match a secret garden theme for the romantic ceremony in France, complete with embroideries, pleating and lots of drama.
5. How did the process work?
The process was quite straightforward; plenty of measuring at home with FaceTime sessions and calicos being sent back and forth to determine the best cuts and options for me. I will admit that it's challenging to work with a studio so far away, but they made the whole experience as easy and enjoyable as possible.
6. What has been the scariest/most stressful moment?
The scariest moment was hands down waiting for the final package to arrive! My nerves were all over the place, especially as postal services and couriers can lose items occasionally. I was also concerned that everything would be packed well and most importantly, still fit after trying them on in New Delhi a few months before. Fortunately, everything was perfect.
7. What has been your favourite moment?
My favourite moment was meeting the whole team in New Delhi and getting to experience something other than calicos and a phone interaction. My sister was with me too and it was so useful to have her input on the final designs, which being entirely custom pieces could be tweaked as much as I wanted. Additionally, I am so happy that such wonderful, talented people worked on my dresses, getting along so well with them made the experience that much sweeter.
8. Would you recommend this process to other brides?
I would definitely recommend this process to other brides but only if they have at least 18 months available for it. There is a lot of back and forth and you need to allow the time for designing, receiving parcels, making decisions, alterations, etc. And if you can go out there for a fitting, definitely do!
9. Are your final dresses anything like you'd imagined you'd wear prior to starting the process?
The dresses are very different to what I thought I would ever wear. What I realised is that they each reflect different aspects of me and in them, I don't just look like a bride, I still look and feel like myself. Throughout the experience, I also welcomed advice and input from the team in India and my sister, who made me think of styles and details I never would have before.
10. Once you'd decided on a final design, how many big design tweaks did you make throughout the process?
There were a few design tweaks but mostly I was confident in my initial decisions. The biggest ones were probably additional 3D embroidery to my French gown, the length and fabric of my civil ceremony skirt and going from a removable train on my Seville gown to a full beaded fish tail. There were also some changes in veil lengths but it was all straightforward and never an issue to change my mind. If anything, the studio were the first to suggest the best tweaks and alterations! They always wanted me to be 100% happy and for that I'll be forever grateful.
11. And finally, if you feel comfortable disclosing costs, please let us know roughly how much this cost?
My three gorgeous, unique gowns cost me a total of £8,500. For me, they were worth every single penny, not just for the quality of the materials, but for the quality of service I received and the determination to make me a happy bride.Big thanks to Charlotte at La Fete for giving us such a great insight into having your wedding dress made abroad. Featured above are Charlotte's dresses for her civil ceremony and reception in Seville. Keep an eye on Charlotte's Instagram for the French part of their wedding triptych.