Wedding Dress Guide: Bespoke, Custom, Made To Order & Off The Peg.

Written By Robyn at Joel and Son Fabrics


Wedding Dress Guide: Bespoke, Custom, Made To Order & Off The Peg.

Embarking on your wedding dress journey can be a little overwhelming to begin with. There are so many options and it's easy to be confused about what all the options actually mean. What is a bespoke wedding dress and how does it differ from a custom wedding dress? Where does the difference lie between a made to measure bridal gown and a made to order one? If you're unsure what all of the different terms really mean and would welcome a bit of simple decoding, scroll through the explanations below. You'll be an expert in no time!

A bespoke wedding dress is a dress that has been created especially for you, from start to finish. This means that the design has been drafted from scratch, according to your specific requirements, cut and sewn according to your particular measurements, and detailed and embellished exactly how you would like it.
Having a bespoke wedding dress made is a time consuming and expensive process. Brides opting for a bespoke bridal gown often know exactly what they want and tend to have a large budget. Bespoke dress design is a true luxury and involves a consultation process and numerous fitting sessions. It can take anywhere from two to eight months, depending on how busy your dressmaker is, and prices generally start at around the £3000 mark. If you have a design already and are simply looking for a seamstress to make the actual dress, you can save a little money, but it is still usually a costly option nevertheless.

A made-to-measure, or custom wedding dress, is a dress that is made from an existing design and customised to your unique shape and measurements. In other words, instead of creating a brand new design purely for you, the dressmaker uses a design that they have already and tailors it to your sizing and how you want it to fit. Made-to-measure wedding dresses are a little cheaper than bespoke wedding dresses because of this – most are priced at about £1500 to £3000.

Made to order
A made to order wedding dress is the most common choice amongst brides. It involves trying on sample dresses at a retailer, who will then order the one you have chosen in a standard size from the designers. Alterations to the dress can be made if the size is not perfect, or elements need adjusting, with basic things like hems or sides taken in costing roughly £200-£300. Some brides may require more dramatic sizing alterations however, and you should be careful when you are ordering your dress that you are not being cajoled into ordering one that’s far too big because significant alterations can cost a lot of money. A made to order wedding dress normally takes roughly four to six months to make.

Off the peg wedding dresses
Off the peg wedding dresses are a good option for brides on a limited budget and you can often find great discounts at bridal dress outlets. It’s fantastic if you find the right dress in the right size, that fits you perfectly. However, because the retailer buys the dresses in bulk, they cannot order one dress at a time, so if your size isn’t available, you’re out of luck. One other thing to be aware of is that many discount outlets take out the under layers of the dress and expect you to buy the corset and/or underskirt separately. Also, remember to keep alteration costs in mind. You can find an outlet wedding dress for between about £400 and £1000, with the underlayers adding an extra £100 or so to your price.

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