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The Bespoke Wedding Dress Process

Updated: Feb 21, 2023

a wedding dress maker working a dress

There are many reasons why I would recommend the bespoke wedding dress process to brides - not least because handmade wedding dresses is our specialism and we absolutely love to create unique experiences for our brides. I would quite simply say, that it will be the best choice you will ever make about the most important dress you are likely to ever wear.

How to know if a Bespoke Wedding Dress is the right choice for you.

Whilst the bespoke wedding dress process caters exclusively for brides who either don’t want a typical ready-to-wear wedding dress or, who have very specific ideas about how they want to look and feel on their wedding day; it also offers multiple opportunities to reinvent the classic bridal styles in a way that embraces the personality and creates a whole new look. Most wedding dress makers would also agree that any bespoke bridal gown, that is authentically hand crafted and designed for the wearer will have the added benefit of 'fitting like a glove'. This is perhaps the biggest unseen advantage that most brides-to-be miss when trying to compare bespoke against ready-to-wear off the shelf factory made dresses.

How to ensure you get the best experience and the right results

Whilst many brides assume that a bespoke wedding dress will be way more expensive than ready-to-wear. The easiest way to find this out, is to compare the costs right at the beginning. It is perfectly OK, once you find a dress that you love, to ask for a quote for alterations prior to purchasing the dress. Ask the boutique for a written quotation for shortening your specific dress style, taking up the shoulders, taking it in under the bust and anything else that doesn't fit you well. The quote will provide you with a ballpark figure that you will need to add to the dress price to provide you with the total dress costs .

Also worth knowing is that a 'custom-made' gown is somewhat different to a bespoke wedding gown. A custom made gown is a gown that is modified from the original design. It doesn't mean that the dress is going to be the perfect fit - it merely suggests that the gown will be made in your nearest size along with the changes that you have requested and for which you will be surcharged.

The Benefits of Commissioning a Bespoke Wedding dress

  1. Designing and commissioning the dress that you want saving hours of time visiting multiple shops

  2. Allows brides to create the 'dream wedding' from a combination of style into one dress they truly love.

  3. No surcharges for design changes and each fitting appointment is an opportunity to 'fine tune' the fit of the gown so that it is perfectly fitted on completion.

  4. Avoids having to find a seamstress who can finish the job so that you are 100% satisfied

  5. The cost of the dress is inclusive of labour, materials, fittings and adjustments - with no further costs for alterations and modifying the design.

  6. Getting married is such a special 'once-in-a-lifetime event, why not treat yourself to the dress of your dreams




How To Get The Best Results When working with a Specialist Wedding Dress maker.

I often suggest to brides that they visit several specialist bridal gown dressmakers and Couture bridal gown designers to understand their work, their style and design processes, and to get feel for whether you will make a great team together.

Why do I recommend this? Because every wedding dress maker is different, has a different style and different set of skills. Doing your due diligence, by visiting several wedding dressmakers in your area will allow you time to examine work they have completed. Do not be afraid to ask to see examples and do not rely on images on social media alone as evidence of skills and capabilities. A fully trained wedding dress seamstress will have spent many years honing their skills and will be familiar and proudly demonstrate their work history and portfolio of work.

At Cynthia Grafton-Holt Couture, we make no more than 20 couture bridal gowns each year. This is purely so that we can offer an unrivalled 'once-in-a-lifetime' bridal shopping experience to our brides, right down to the smallest details and, to ensure that the bridal journey is packed full of fun and fond memories of the journey.

The Cost of A Bespoke Wedding Dress

The initial cost of a bespoke dress design is to do with time that it takes to create a one-of-a-kind design. Whilst there is no prepared pattern for the dress in the size required, everything is prepared from scratch (or from a concept which is provided in the form of sketches for the customer).

Many weeks before the dress making process begins, our in-house design team spend several hours working out the logistics of the design, sourcing the right fabrics in suitable shades to present to the client. This not a overnight process and cannot be rushed as it involves multiple suppliers and makers to collaborate and provide services.

As a general guide a Cynthia Grafton-Holt Couture bridal gown Platinum package price starts from £3650 . This cost excludes materials, decorative embroidery and beadwork and any additional services required to produce rushed orders.

Understanding the Timeline Of a Bespoke Gown

The design and making of a bespoke wedding dress can take between 6 to 9 months to complete the order. This time frame has certainly become a challenge in recent months due to the multiple lockdowns and the impact that it has had on the movement and availability of clients.

To allow for these gaps of uncertainty, it is our recommendation that a further 3 months is added to ensure success for everyone involved. By increasing the timeframe, both clients and the workroom team can factor in and negotiate any unexpected changes in advance and know what to expect at each stage of the journey



"Thank goodness I found Cynthia! She is an amazingly talented designer, dressmaker and all round lovely lady. I visited her for some alterations to my wedding dress that weren’t the easiest but Cynthia went above and beyond to make sure everything fitted perfectly and to check I was happy and comfortable. I’m in awe of how skilled she is and wish I had gone to her from the start to make my dress. I would recommend her without a doubt to any brides looking for an extra special (and truly unique) dress.

Alannah | West London bride


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