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Made To Measure Bridal Gowns
Written by Lisa Merton

Are you thinking of having your wedding gown made to measure, but not really sure about what’s involved? Can a couturier really create your perfect gown exactly as you desire?

Lisa Merton from Culture Shock Bridal and Eveningwear guides us through the “Bridal Couture” process, and explains your options.

Why Choose Couture?
Choosing what you will wear on your wedding day has a huge impact on the look and style of your whole wedding. Many girls dream about their ideal gowns long before they have even met their future partners, whilst others like to shop around and try on lots of different styles to help them reach their decision. Photos from bridal magazines and other peoples’ weddings can be a great source of inspiration and can make your search a lot easier, but sometimes no matter how hard you look, you just cannot find the perfect dress for your big day. This is when you need a couturier to create a dress that is designed and made specifically for you!

The term “couture” simply means “made to measure”, and a “couturier” is a professional who can design, source the fabric, patternmake, cut and sew a gown to your exact measurements, incorporating all the requirements you need (budget, style, colour, fabrics, trimmings, etc). Couturiers specialize in their own signature style, and with a bit of research you can find one whose style appeals to you. Most couturiers adapt and make up their own designs for you, whilst others are happy to work to your design, or a mutually satisfying mix of both. (Note- most couturiers will not copy someone else’s work….if you simply want to copy a picture, then what you need is a dressmaker, not a couturier.)

Some of the many advantages of working with a couturier are:

  • Getting Exactly What You Want
    every detail is approved by you, and if you want to change a detail such as sleeves, neckline, etc, you can!

  • Perfect fit
    no matter what size and shape you are, your couture gown should fit you perfectly

  • High quality
    in design, fabrics, trims, fitting, workmanship and most importantly, personal service

  • Individuality
    a unique one off design that can truly be called your own

  • Co-ordination
    couturiers can design outfits for your entire bridal party, from flowergirls and bridesmaids through to the mother of the bride and groom

  • Flexibility
    throughout the making process, adjustments can be made to improve the fit and look of the gown, and most couturiers are also flexible with appointment times to suit your busy lifestyle

The process of having your gown made to measure by a couturier is time-consuming but well worth the effort. The gown needs to be constructed over a period of time with several key stages as I will explain below. Of course, all couturiers have their own special ways of working, but in general here is a step by step guide:

1. Timeframe
A couture wedding gown can take anywhere from 3 to 12 months to make, depending on how busy the couturier is and how far in advance they require a booking. Exclusive imported fabrics can take months to order in, and delicate hand-work such as beading and embroidery is very time-consuming. In general, you should start looking around as soon as you can, and allow at least 6 to 8 months wherever possible. Smaller couturiers could make a wedding gown in 3 months, but larger businesses will need more time to co-ordinate their orders.

2. Budget
Despite popular belief, it is not necessarily more expensive to have a wedding gown made to measure. Compared to exclusive designer labels and European imports, a couture gown is indeed great value when you consider the quality of workmanship, originality of design and the fact that you are getting exactly what you want! A smaller sized couturier with lower overheads has a lot to offer in terms of value for money and friendly personal service. Depending on the quality, fabrics selected and amount of work involved, most couture gowns will cost anywhere between $2000 to $5000. The average price would be somewhere around the $3000 mark, although it is possible to get a simple yet stylish gown for under $2000. If you are conscious of keeping the price down, try to reduce the amount of hand-work such as beading or embroidery, and keep the style simple. Using man-made fibres such as polyester rather than silk can reduce the price slightly, but it doesn’t really make that much difference … the bulk of the cost is in the labour.

Continues on page 2

Made To Measure Bridal Gowns
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For further information on Culture Shock Bridal and Eveningwear please contact Lisa Merton.

Lisa Merton
Culture Shock Bridal and Eveningwear (Sydney)
Ph: 02 9569 0551

This article has been reproduced on Wedding Central Australia with permission. © Lisa Merton 2003. All Rights Reserved.


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