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Botanica

THE BESPOKE EXPERIENCE

WORLD OF IVORY & CO.

Are you one of those brides who has tried on so many dresses you’ve lost count, despairing at the thought of yet another fruitless visit to a bridal boutique? Are you beginning to feel the perfect dress doesn’t exist? Then the bespoke route may well be for you. Having a dress specially made can be costly, with some designers charging extra just for a bespoke consultation, much less the full making of the dress. But not all bespoke services are the same and some designers do offer their bespoke service consultations for free. Written as a company that champions a bespoke service, here are my top tips for getting the most out of your bespoke experience.

 

 

RESEARCH ALL THE WAY

Anyone considering the bespoke experience needs to have an idea of the styles they do like, so do some research. Find designers whose style reflects what you are looking for and create a file with examples of their dresses for reference. Avoid the unexpected expense of choosing the bespoke route by making some phone calls to find out if the designers you like charge for consultations – this will help you budget for any extra costs. It stands to reason that anyone charging more for bespoke consultations will probably charge quite a bit more for a bespoke service as a whole so don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions. However, as the bridal industry has expanded, so have the options out there, meaning in a competitive industry some bridal houses offer their extended services for little or no extra cost, other than naturally occurring costs; i.e. cost of making a bespoke pattern or any extra fabric charges. This is where contacting designers is essential, to see if their bespoke pricetag is on budget for you. Some designers will only charge what the dress would have cost had it been hanging in their shop; others add a premium for the service offered; its up to you to set your budget and discuss cost with the designer you choose. We offer a full bespoke experience without the big price tag – brides are always amazed when visiting us that they can choose whatever changes and design they would like without the added costs usually associated with “bespoke”.  

 

 

FOCUS ON FABRICS

A good boutique will be available to discuss every aspect of a bespoke dress with you. From the cut to the fabric choices to which fabrics work well together, fabrics used can make or break a dress. It is important to use fabrics that flatter the shape of the dress you are designing and to work with a designer who will listen to your vision and offer helpful advice as to how to achieve your dream with the use of the right fabrics, patterns and styles. If you have a preference for certain fabrics, discuss with your designer the best shapes to use to make this fabric work for you. Man made fabrics will be cheaper than silks, making them a great budget option but silks drape beautifully and really lend a premium feel to a dress. If you are wanting lace on your dress, ask to see a few samples so you can choose the one you like the best. A designer will be able to advise you on the detailing, as well as offering you several different cost options to suit any budget. There is an abundance of choice out there so do not be afraid to ask for samples of the fabrics under consideration and also ask for any recommendations from your boutique ; after all you are paying for their expertise.

 

 

SO MANY OPTIONS

The beauty of opting for a bespoke service is that you get to decide on every aspect of your dress; from the embellishment to the fabrics chosen, the fastenings used and of course the style. There are many different options to consider. Do you want a train? What kind of neckline were you hoping for? Consider your own personal sense of style and try to reflect this in the design; you are the one that will be wearing the dress so it is important that it is a true reflection of your personality. A designer will be able to advise you on the detailing, as well as offering you various styles which suit your wedding theme and venue.  A great boutique will also be able to identify the best use of detailing to achieve what you are looking for; whether it be illusion sequins for a feminine shimmer or crystal embellishment for a more opulent look. Consider how you would like the dress to fasten; slinky dresses work well with invisible side zips, where as fishtail dresses look great with buttons running down the back – again if you are unsure look to your designer and their sample dresses for inspiration.

 

 

COMMUNICATION IS KEY

If you have a particular style you are going for make sure you communicate this clearly to your designer. It is very important that you articulate your vision, so the designer has a good brief with which to work; any good designer will suggest you trying on several dresses in their collection to give you some idea of what you do and don’t like. There may be elements of different dresses you wish to capture in your bespoke dress; after talking with the designer the next stage will be to have the ideas put down on paper in sketches. Don’t be afraid to discuss any sketches at length with your designer, or their design assistant ; it is important that you are 100% happy with the final design before committing to it. This should be an exciting time; a designer is making a one of a kind dress just for you to your specification, so make sure you have achieved exactly what you are hoping for before signing off on any design.

 

 

BESPOKE PROCESS

As we are so well known for our award winning accessories, many brides don’t realise that we also offer a silk designer gown label.  We supply bridal shops all over the world with our dress designs but also design for individual brides. When brides visit our flagship showroom they receive a bespoke experience from their first consultation to the final pick up day. This is a enjoyable time when our design assistants work together with brides to make their perfect vision come to life. So how does the process work?

Every bride is individual and we understand that each bride needs a unique bridal gown that represents their personality and works perfectly for their wedding day. So the first consultation starts with an informal chat allowing the dedicated assistant to get to know the bride and her wedding party. They discuss the venue, the feel and general style the bride is hoping to achieve and any practicalities to take into account (for example which fabrics work best for seasonal weather, destination weddings and which styles allow the bride the movement needed for any activities planned etc.)

 

 

Brides can then browse the huge selection in the showroom and select a few gowns to try as a starting point. Then we also select some based on our experience of what will best compliment each bride in terms of body shape, skin and hair tones and our understanding of the wedding day. We have been helping brides select their perfect style for so long that often our first suggestions are the ones picked to develop and make unique.

 

 

Sometimes brides will fall in love with a particular dress as it is or only wish to tweak a design in a small way, however brides often love elements from 5 or 6 different dress designs and that is where our design expertise comes into play to create a custom gown.

Brides can choose various elements to combine – so they might request a bodice of one gown, the skirt pattern of another along with sleeves, neckline, back bodice and fabrics of other styles. We endeavour to show the bride a clear idea of their chosen design by using separate skirt and bodices along with pinning laces and custom elements where needed and utilising boleros and separate sleeves to create a unique style.

 

 

Occasionally a bride will wish to commission a new design from scratch and can request a unique design based on the brides requirements. (Please note that we cannot copy a style from another designer.)

After the initial consultations the bride will return for a measurement appointment. This can take up to 3 hours as we retry the favourite combinations to be sure of the final design and to take many different measurements to make a new pattern for each bride. The ideal time for this appointment is approx 8 – 9 months before the wedding to allow ample time to produce the gown.

The bride will then return to see their finished wedding gown with a minimum of 3 months before the wedding. We ensure this time period to allow for any changes the bride may wish to make to the design.

 

 

FITTING DAY

It is normal for any bride to feel a mixture of excitement and apprehension before their dress fitting, especially when you are going to try on a dress that, up until now has been a 2D drawing on a page! But hopefully, having followed these simple tips to bespoke success, the dress you try on should be the dress of your dreams! Bear in mind that most brides need final alterations before their dress will fit perfectly. Your designer will be able to advise you of where to take your dress for alterations if they don’t offer this service in house.

Hopefully the idea of a bespoke dress should now not fill you with fear (or of blowing the budget!)  Bespoke can now be for everyone if you chose your designer carefully – so the unique dress of your dreams is now in reach!

Click the image below to view our collections of silk designer bridal gowns.

Click the link to learn more about the process of having your own “BESPOKE EXPERIENCE” – call us today on 01694 592030 to book an appointment and we can make your dream dress a reality.