Fact: Finding the One is not easy. It takes a lot of time and effort. And no, we are not talking about finding a partner; we mean finding the perfect wedding dress to walk down the aisle in. Sure, there are a lot of online bridal boutiques offering a variety of gowns, but if you want something truly unique that fits like it was made just for you, then, well, sometimes the trick is getting it made just for you.
If you're thinking about ordering a custom wedding dress but are not really sure what the process looks like and how long it will take, we're here to help.
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We caught up with one of our favorite French bridal designers, Laure de Sagazan, who recently launched a made-to-order service our of her New York City atelier, and she gave us the rundown.
First thing's first: Creating a custom bridal gown takes time, so if you plan on eloping next week, it's probably not the choice for you. Sagazan says that the first appointment is usually made about a year before the wedding to go over your vision for the dress, try on styles, and decide on the silhouette. But the actual making of the dress doesn't start until four or five months before the big day. If you're expecting your body to change significantly by the wedding—like if you're pregnant or on a weight-loss plan—that process will probably start closer to one or two months prior your nuptials.
And if you think that choosing a more simple dress style will speed up the process, that's not necessarily the case. "The style doesn't impact so much the work to be done. We do the alterations step by step, fitting after fitting," says Sagazan.
But there are some fabrics that are a little harder to work with. "It is the silk muslin or mousseline de soie [in French]. It can't stop moving, and it's very complicated to do alterations on it. Also, when you have to cut it, it moves a lot," she says.
Of course, this doesn't mean you should stay away from that fabric, it just means you need to find an experienced designer who knows how to work with it.
Sagazan's made-to-order offering is a five-step process. The first two are all about planning every single detail of the dress. Then there's one "muslin fitting," where you will try on your dress but it will be made from a light cotton fabric. The point here is to adjust the overall fit to your body before the pattern-maker gets to work. Lastly, the dressmaker will tackle fabric and a final fitting—and you're ready to walk down the aisle.