Updated: Jan 2
There is nothing that can quite prepare you for the nuances of the wedding dress process, until you are utterly exhausted from visiting every boutique in search of your dream wedding dress. The alternative of course is to have decided in advance that your 'dream' bridal gown will be like no other, and you already have a list of specialist bridal seamstresses in your little black book. But, what if you haven't quite reached that stage yet, yet alone be finalizing designs and choosing the cloth? all at a time when you are barely engaged and overwhelmed by information that you need to take in at a slower pace? Well. When you get a quiet moments it will be worth you while doing a little bit of research into this hidden sector of the bridal industry, as you never know who and what you may find that could turn out to a hidden gem and better suited to your needs and circumstances.
The Wedding Dress Process and What To Expect at the First Consultation
We have made many changes over the past year to accommodate the government requirements, and keep our brides safe whilst moving steadily towards their wedding date. One of which is the way in which we meet to have the initial chat about needs.
You will be invited to attend an online consultation initially to discuss your ideas with the design team. This is to help us gather as much information about your ideas, needs and expectations of the service. A quotation for the work will be provided at the first meeting and if accepted will lead to a follow up in depth meeting.
The follow up meeting usually takes place in the bridal studio, where you will be invited to try on a range of different styles and shapes before we begin the design stage of the wedding dress process. We do prefer the follow up consultation to be face-to-face but, we can also conduct this in others ways if needed (especially useful for our overseas brides who cannot attend in person).
Designing Your Wedding Dress and Sharing Your Ideas With a Dress Designer
So how do we learn which styles work best for each bride?
Firstly, we love seeing the sources from which our customers draw their inspiration. This could be any combination of styles within the private Cynthia Grafton-Holt Couture Collection. Alternatively, we invite you to bring along (or send by email) images on your phone, Pinterest boards and magazine cuttings. Once we have discussed all of the available options with suggestions and recommendations for changes, we then proceed with producing the final sketch.
Recording Your Body Measurements and Weight Loss Concerns
Before we can begin the practices most associated with the wedding dress process, a full set of body measurements are required so that we can begin work on the pattern and toile. Brides do tend to panic at this stage, especially if planning to lose weight.
We do like to reassure our brides that measurements will be taken again closer to the date of the wedding to allow for any changes. The most important issue during the early stages is to have a good fitted bra and same height heels as you plan to wear on your special day.
With all of this information now in place, the bespoke process can truly begin with a final sketch of your bespoke gown prepared for you along with a sample of the fabrics, beading & trims to be used and any special finishes that we have discussed.
Agreeing a Timeline For making Your Dress
From placing your order to creating the first mock up takes approximately 12 weeks (depending on availability). Awaiting fabric deliveries and preparation for the actual dress can easily between 4 -8 weeks, which is why it is important to discuss and agree a timeline for weight loss so that the production of your gown does not fall behind.
Prior to making your dress, we create a 'TOILE', also known as a mock up of the final design. The toile enables us to interpret the design and to determine the suitability for your body shape and height. We fully appreciate your concerns about modesty, body shape issues, weight loss or gain during the process. We are quite used to all of the above and will work in a way that is flexible to allow you to get the best from the service. Our aim is to work closely with you until the final design is one that will fit you perfectly.
Designing Your Wedding Dress and Choosing the Perfect Fabrics
This stage of the process is best known as the design development stage.
Unlike the ready-to-wear dress process where the dress fabric has already been chosen and you are able to see the finished product. The bespoke dress process provides far greater opportunity to view a wider range of exquisite premium fabrics and laces are best suited for the design style that you have chosen. The wedding dressmaker is highly skilled at this and will recommend suitable material combinations based on your needs and the dress price. On the plus side, you may find a particular fabric that can be reworked and enhanced with couture techniques to create a unique design that will be exclusive to your gown.
Once the materials for your order has been placed, we will update you when the fabric is on its way to us and post you out cuttings of the colour & texture to assist you with planning other elements of your wedding such as floral’s, shoes and event design.
Obtaining fabric samples has slowed down somewhat during 2020, so ample time between the initial consultation and delivery must be factored in, together with any additional costs for obtaining larger sample cuttings from the textile houses but, this cost is often reimbursed
The First Bespoke Wedding Dress Fitting
The first fitting of your dress will be super exciting! Be sure to ask lots of questions about anything that concerns you to be absolutely sure that your vision is completely understood.
However, to ensure that you get the best from the process of having a bespoke gown made, it is really important to wear the same foundation garments as for the toile fitting and to bring along your wedding day shoes. Your shoes are crucial at this fitting so that adjustments for dress length and train can be assessed to help build an accurate picture of the final look
As this will be the first [actual] dress fitting throughout the process, please choose someone close to you to attend this first appointment and of course you’re welcome to take photos.
Who to bring with you to the final dress fitting
It is always a good idea to invite whoever is most likely to be your right-hand-woman on the big day itself. This needs to be someone who is able to focus on details as they will be in charge of lacing or buttoning the back of your dress, bustling the back train on your wedding day and making sure that everything fits as it should.
What does Atelier mean?
Atelier is a french word (hat-el-e-a) for the studio or workshop that is occupied by an artist or haute couture fashion designer; also known as the place where the magic happens.
Our North London Bridal Atelier is easily accessible for London brides who wish to use public transport. For brides travelling from Surrey, Kent, Essex, Chester, Dorset, Oxfordshire and much further afield in the UK by car, there are multiple car parks within Wembley Park village that are a two minute walk away.
Studio Location Elvin Gardens, Wembley Park, HA9 OGQ Tel: 0203 026 0689 EMAIL Studio@CynthiaGraftonHolt.com
Photography credits Photography https://nataliestevensonphotography.com/