Today’s guest blogger is the fabulous Ailsa Munro, an incredibly talented Cornwall based dressmaker who creates exquisite couture wedding gowns. Ailsa shares with us the very beauty of having your own bespoke wedding gown…
Most people don’t even consider having a bespoke wedding dress made. I completely understand. My sister got married before I set up my business and it never even crossed her mind to have a bespoke dress. This was partly because she doesn’t consider herself particularly creative or arty, and didn’t think she would want to be involved in the process. We also assumed it would be much more expensive to have something made when, in fact, many of the dresses she tried on cost more than some of mine do.
I am convinced that everyone should have a dress uniquely designed for them at least once in their life. It is such a special process and when better to treat yourself than in the lead up to the most precious day of your life.
Boutiques often have hundreds of dresses, but all in very similar styles. When my sister went wedding dress shopping a few years ago, everything was strapless, and after five or six dresses they all started to seem like the same dress. She was very clear about wanting dress with an empire line and straps or sleeves (her only two criteria) but because that wasn’t the ‘in’ style, the shop assistants just kept bringing out more and more strapless corseted dresses and insisting she would love them. Spoiler: she didn’t!
One wedding photographer recently said to me you don’t have many sample dresses, but they are each so different that it’s hard to narrow them down. And, of course, since every dress is individually designed, brides are free to mix and match details from my dresses or bring their own ideas to the table. If you want to stand out and get something memorable, or even just find something flattering to your unique shape, having something handmade is the best option.
This might seem like an obvious one, but since most of us have never had anything tailored to fit us we can’t appreciate how much of a difference having something fitting us properly will make. Not only will it be much, much more flattering, but it will be much more comfortable. How any times have you had an item of clothing that you love, but it gapes a tiny bit at the front, or pinches under the arms, or just sat ever so slightly wrong on you? This is your wedding day – you don’t have to settle for less than perfect. A well made dress will not need as much corseting or heavy fabric as a store bought dress, so you will be much more able to move, eat, dance, and get carried over the threshold at the end of the night.
As I mentioned before, bespoke dresses have a reputation for being prohibitively expensive but this absolutely does not have to be the case. Since you are having a dress specifically designed and made for you, it can be designed within a certain budget. You can pick styles and fabrics to make something that is affordable for you rather than being stuck with the flat rate prices of dresses in shops. You will know that every penny is being spent on making something perfect for you, rather than the closest approximation you could find to what you actually wanted. What’s more, when you buy an off-the-rack dress the price you pay does not include alterations, so you typically have to add another 10% to the price in order to have the dress fit you properly. With a bespoke service this is of course included, so once you have agreed on a price you know that there will be no hidden costs.
The personal touch
Supporting local designers is immensely rewarding as there is a personal element to the process that is absent when buying an off-the- rack dress. A huge part of the fun of having your dress made for you is the relationship you develop with your dressmaker. There is something really special about meeting someone and knowing that they are the only person who is going to be involved in the designing, pattern cutting and making of your wedding dress. I fall in love with every dress I make and have been lucky enough to develop close friendships with many of my brides.
This really ties together all the previous points, but I really believe that other than getting the perfect wedding dress, a big part of the fun of going bespoke is being able to enjoy the whole process. From the initial consultation where you get to be personally involved in picking the fabric, lace, cut and design of your wedding dress, to seeing it grow and being updated at every stage, it’s so much more magical than waiting for your dress to arrive in from China.
To see more of Ailsa’s beautiful work, visit her website.